Innkeepers association moving in
A national trade association for people who run bed and breakfast-style inns soon will call Charleston home.
The 24-year-old Professional Association of Innkeepers International includes about 2,300 members across the globe, with most based in the United States, according to chief executive officer Jay Karen. He said the group conducts education, networking and advocacy work for the industry.
Formerly a local resident, Karen said, "I knew that it was very possible to run a successful trade organization out of Charleston," which he called "the heart of hospitality in the South, if not the country."
It doesn't hurt that the cost of living and conducting business here is lower than the association's current location just outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey.
Karen said the association would look for an office on Daniel Island or downtown. With five full-time employees and four part-time workers, he expects to use the office to plan meetings and publish a trade magazine.
The group held a conference in North Charleston last week that drew about 600 attendees for classes ranging from social media to tax law. Riverdogs president Mike Veeck delivered the keynote address.
Karen said he hopes to attract more local innkeepers to the association with the move.
Following a $13 million conversion from a Quality Inn & Suites, the Crowne Plaza Charleston Airport Convention Center officially opened last week on Tanger Outlet Boulevard.
The hotel has 166 rooms, more than 5,000 square feet of meeting space and the Sweetgrass Restaurant and Porch, which will serve regional cuisine every day.
The five-story Crowne Plaza belongs to hospitality giant InterContinental Hotels Group. Inland American Lodging Advisor, with a portfolio that already includes Holiday Inns in New Jersey and Florida, owns the property.
Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594.