Provo hotel industry revolves around BYU and Silicon Slopes

Manager Jessica Durrant at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Provo on Sept. 25. (Syd Smith)

Tourism in the United States is a multi-billion dollar industry and provides over 15 million jobs according to the U.S. Travel Association.

The Provo tourism sector is unique, however, with many visitors being attracted to the city for BYU events and visits to Silicon Slopes.

“Our business is mostly geared toward business travel and NCAA teams that come to play BYU,” Provo’s Courtyard by Marriott assistant general manager Cameron Stoddard said. He added that, so far, the hotel has hosted all of BYU Football’s opponents this season.

For Stoddard and his employees, all hands need to be on deck during ebig events such as Women’s Conference and Education Week.

“BYU Education Week makes or breaks how we do for the rest of the year. It is by far the most important week of the year,” Stoddard said.

He also said that the growing tech companies in downtown Provo have caused a lot of business for the franchise-owned hotel.

Fairfield Inn by Marriott is another hotel whose business gravitates around BYU. “This past weekend we had a ton of Washington and BYU fans,” front desk manager Jessica Durrant said.

Apart from business guests and sports fans, Durrant also said they anticipate a lot of people coming to visit national parks. But like Stoddard, Durrant agreed that the majority of their business comes from people visiting one of the many tech companies they neighbor.

Fairfield Inn is located in Provo’s East Bay neighborhood, home of the East Bay Technology Park.

Durrant said the Fairfield Inn negotiates deals with BYU, helping provide lodging for campus guests, teams and other major events.

Other hotels also stake a claim in providing lodging for BYU visitors. Little Suites Provo Manager Nina Ahir said their business is heavily influenced by BYU and the Church.

“While we do get all kinds of people at our hotel, our business gravitates around events such as BYU graduations or events for the Church,” she said.

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