- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
June 3, 2020
Despite a hotel industry that saw occupancy plummet this spring, when the east side’s new Glo hotel opened two weeks ago, there were guests ready to stay there.
“We had reservations the first day we opened,” director of sales and marketing Kayleen Leonard said. “We haven’t had slow time. We’ve been having occupancy since then.”
The 79-room hotel at Dawley Farm Village has been attracting corporate travelers and guests from Minnesota and Iowa.
Those states, especially Minnesota, were slower to lift COVID-19 related restrictions, so the hotel saw guests from over the border looking “to get away because there are restaurants to go to and things they can do when they’re locked down in their states,” Leonard said.
Sports teams from out of state also are booking “because they can’t play at home, so we’re excited being as close to Harmodon (Park) as we are, and for east-siders having company come visit who potentially don’t want them to stay in the house, it’s a nice option to have.”
Glo is part of the Best Western family of hotels. It’s designed as boutique-style experience, with a bar in the lobby that will open later.
The decor is bright and modern with nods to the Sioux Falls area.
The highlight for many guests this summer could be the swimming pool, which is designed with a garage door that eventually will open to a patio once adjacent road construction is done.
The pool itself is open, though.
“So we’re super excited,” Leonard said, adding that for locals, “it’s a good little staycation. Stay at the hotel, and go swim. It’s not open to the public for a pass, but it’s honestly nice to just get out of your house.”
The hotel has followed Best Western guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19, which includes opening public areas such as the pool, lobby bar and fitness center in a phased approach and waiting 72 hours after guests check out before cleaning rooms.
“And we have partitions set up for check-in and 6-foot markings on the floor to make sure we’re focused on keeping social distancing,” Leonard said.
The four-story hotel was developed by Makenda LLC, which is based in Madison and managed by Birch Lake Hospitality.
Glo also has opened a small market area in the lobby for grab-and-go items “that’s heavily sanitized” and will add breakfast as part of its phased opening.
“We’re here for travelers now or later; whether they’re visiting or focused on being healthy during COVID-19, we’re going to be there later,” Leonard said.
“We’re doing everything we can to ease the guest who needs or wants to travel. We have protocols in place for where we are, and hopefully as it lifts, we’ll change, but it’s nice to have the protocols in place in case COVID makes a resurgence.”
Glo planned to bring on as many as 30 employees before COVID-19 hit but cut back initially to match demand.
“As occupancy grows, we’ll bring more people on. We do have a hefty list of people because we did interviews already,” Leonard said.
“It was interesting opening a hotel with only a few people. We carried all the boxes up to the rooms – every single piece of furniture, all the beds – everything was all a combined effort. It was interesting, but it gives you an awakening of what goes into opening a hotel.”
The east side’s newest hotel is now open.