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21,000 Rooms Booked At Fall Creek Falls Lodge In First Year

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
21,000 Rooms Booked At Fall Creek Falls Lodge In First Year

The Fall Creek Falls Lodge has generated $5 million in revenue since opening a year ago.

That is according to State Parks Hospitality Director Shannon Bowles. Bowles said over 100,000 people have visited the lodge based on bookings, dining and conferences.

“We’ve exceeded what we anticipated from that lodge,” Bowles said. “I would tell you that no one anticipated it being as great as it is even though we had high hopes for what it would do for that community. It has certainly exceeded all of those expectations.”

Bowles said compared to other lodges in the state park system, Fall Creek Falls saw the highest occupancy rate of 75 percent. Bowles said about 21,000 rooms have been booked despite some rooms being unavailable when first opening.

“I was having a conversation with the Park Manager Jacob Young the other day, and he was talking about how many more people are flowing through there because we have this fabulous new facility,” Bowles said. “A number of people come there and attend conferences and realize how wonderful the park is and come back. It really has drawn a lot of people to that park who normally didn’t come there. I think we are getting exposure to a new set of park visitors.”

The 85-room lodge also includes a full-service restaurant. Bowles said the state anticipated overnight stays to be the main appeal, but dining was a surprise contributor.

“I know we sold over 21,000 rooms since we opened and if we anticipated an average of two people a room, we would be well over 40,000,” Bowles said. “But that is just folks staying overnight at the lodge. We experienced a lot of folks driving to the park and coming in just to go to the restaurant. I personally underestimated the volume that our restaurant would have.”

By and large, Bowles said local residents and business owners have responded positively to the lodge. Bowles said the success translates to more sales tax revenue and hotel-motel tax for Van Buren County.

“I know that they really missed the financial impact while the old inn was closed and the new lodge was being built,” Bowles said. “In talking with a lot of the folks who work and live in that area outside just the park, I have heard over and over again what a tremendous impact it has had on the local community creating jobs and generating revenue.”


The post 21,000 Rooms Booked At Fall Creek Falls Lodge In First Year appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.