19 Nov

Transfinder in the News: Flurry of New Hotels a Welcome Addition

From The Daily Gazette
By John Cropley
November 19, 2016

Sleek new hotels being built in and around Schenectady are beginning to relieve a long-standing shortage in the area, the effects of which have been felt by — and partly created by — major business, academic and cultural institutions in the city.

The arrival of hotels is being welcomed by the business community, which has long had to send corporate guests to hotels in Albany or Saratoga counties. It may also shake up the price structure for rooms in and around the city, as more locations create competitive pressures on room rates.

Finally, all the new hotel rooms are going to generate greater occupancy tax revenue for the county, which uses that money to attract more visitors to the area, thereby generating more hotel tax revenue.

The newest hotels on the landscape are:
• Courtyard by Marriott at Mohawk Harbor, 124 rooms, opened in October.
• Homewood Suites, across from Mohawk Harbor in Glenville, 105 rooms, on schedule for a spring opening.
• Rivers Casino & Resorts, 163 rooms, also at Mohawk Harbor, targeted to open next summer. 

A boater passes the Rivers Casino Hotel on the Mohawk River in Schenectady. (Photographer: Peter R. Barber)

Another relatively new option is a 120-room DoubleTree by Hilton that opened on Nott Terrace in November 2015, replacing a timeworn Holiday Inn.

And one of the earlier parts of the downtown revitalization included construction of a 93-room Hampton Inn & Suites at 450 State St. That hotel opened in 2007.

Finally, the owners of the low-rise Scotia Motel have received approval to replace it with a three-story, 65-room Comfort Inn & Suites. They expect to start work by June and open in the first quarter of 2018.

One of the best business-traveler setups is in the region would have to belong to Transfinder. The company sells software to design more efficient transportation routes. It then trains clients on the software’s use at its State Street headquarters — right next door to the Hampton Inn, where it books rooms for most of the trainees.

“We certainly have had a great relationship with the Hampton Inn,” said Frank Gazeley, Transfinder’s vice president of client relations. “Very rarely have had we had an issue with that.”

About once a month, the company brings transportation managers, mainly for school districts, from all over the country for one of its three-day Transfinder University sessions: 20 people at a time on average, all of whom need hotel rooms.

Even after Transfinder opened a training center in Texas, and as it prepares to do training elsewhere in its "On The Road" initiative, it still is increasing the number of training sessions in Schenectady. That means a greater need for hotel rooms.

As it is, Gazeley said, the company has to check the horizon to avoid scheduling Transfinder University sessions during other big events, including graduation season.

“There’s been times when we’ve been stuck a little bit. It depends on the time of the year.

“I think it’s good news all around,” he said of the new and soon-to-open hotels.