Business travel in the city’s employment corridors is the engine largely driving the tourism industry in Chandler, said Micah Miranda, the city’s economic development director. With 35 hotels and more than 4,000 rooms, Chandler’s hotel industry will continue to grow as businesses move and expand into the city, officials said.
The Marriott Phoenix Chandler—the city’s newest hotel—is the latest example of the city’s growth in tourism. Located at 1600 S. Price Road, the full-service hotel opened Nov. 12.
Officials say the Marriott Phoenix Chandler is filling an existing void in the business travel and conference sector in the Price Corridor. The hotel has the largest conference centcenter space in Chandler with a 10,100-square-foot ballroom, said Kimberly Janes, tourism program manager for the city. Previously, the largest space was at the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Chandler, which has about 5,500 square feet.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for [event space],” Janes said. “We are trying to solicit new meetings and events to Chandler. There’s a lot of pent-up demand. I think this just gives us one more asset within our community to promote another reason to bring businesses here.”
Price Corridor, located near Loop 101 and Loop 202, is home to some of the city’s largest companies—such as Intel and Northrop Grumman—and is the employment corridor with the highest job count, at more than 40,000 jobs, Miranda said.
“Tourism in Chandler is really driven by our business travelers,” Miranda said. “One reason why economic development and tourism are connected is because it leverages our overall community brand—a community of innovation—through business travel, and we are able to generate a substantial amount of revenue to provide for all the residents and businesses in the city.”
According to the city’s fiscal year 2018-19 budget report, officials project earning $3.5 million from hotel and motel taxes collected.
Marriott Phoenix Chandler
Chandler’s newest hotel has the overall largest conference space in the area with more than 28,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event venues in addition to its 264 guest rooms, said Brent Menzel, general manager at the hotel.
“Before even opening our doors, we’re seeing a great interest for the Marriott Phoenix Chandler’s meeting and conference facilities,” Menzel said. “We know we’ve hit the mark with filling a need in the area’s business development and growth.”
Menzel said in the hotel’s third week open the hotel had one day where it was at 70% occupancy mid-week, which he said was high for a new hotel but on par with the midweek occupancy for neighboring hotels.
Marriott Phoenix Chandler offers more than 20 different spaces, including a large ballroom that can be divided into four separate rooms and eight different breakout rooms.
There is also a private dining room for gatherings as well as poolside and lawn spaces.
Menzel said this hotel is one of the few full-service hotels in the Price Corridor area.
“There are no properties that have the event space like we have,” Menzel said. “Typically these companies would have to go to Scottsdale or Phoenix to hold their meeting, so in part this hotel was built it to attract the demand back to the area. Tourism in Chandler really revolves around companies and business travel.”
Terri Kimble, president and chief executive of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, said the new Marriott Phoenix Chandler “has been a long time coming.”
“With all the stakeholder businesses along the price corridor, the need was there for business lodging as well as meeting space that can hold larger attendance,” Kimble said. “It is also a boon for tourism because it is right off the freeway and close to so many attractions.”
Tourism in Chandler
The tourism industry looks different in Chandler today than it did 15 years ago, Miranda said. About 15 years ago, there were about 1,600 hotel rooms in Chandler. In 2019, that number is closer to 4,000 rooms, Miranda said.
Janes said the plan to bring the Marriott Phoenix Chandler and its conference space to the city has been in the works for the better part of the last decade. She said the need for more hotel beds in Chandler has grown as the Price Corridor has expanded.
“We know most of our travelers are business travelers, and we know our hotels need to be conveniently located near those businesses and near our roadways,” Janes said.
In 2016, when Chandler created its first tourism strategic plan—which is a guiding document for city officials to use to execute a vision for growth—the city was collecting about $2.9 million in revenue from hotel and motel taxes. Chandler’s transient lodging tax is set at 2.9%. Revenue collected from the tax in Chandler has increased in three years by about half a million dollars, according to budget documents from the city.
The plan notes that Chandler is considered an “early stage” destination in tourism given its annual investment and size of staff of the tourism department. Established destinations in the Valley would include Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe.
Miranda said the amount of new hotel rooms the city has seen in just a few years is indicative of a growing business community in Chandler.
“The amount of new hotel rooms delivered really encapsulates where the city is going,” Miranda said.
And tourism offers more than just the revenue collected from hotel taxes that go back into the city. Local businesses also benefit from the city’s increase in hotel and event space, officials said.
“Any time you bring people into the city it means tax dollars and the patronizing of surrounding businesses, be it restaurants, retail or entertainment,” Kimble said. “All this leads to a healthier economy for the city.”