NEW ORLEANS—Demand generators are essential to the success of a hotel property. Without a reason to come to an area, even the most well-designed, experience-driven properties will have a tough time filling hotel rooms. The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, set to open in New Orleans Arts and Warehouse District next month, has a built-in demand generator: The Curio Collection by Hilton property is owned by The National WWII Museum and sits directly across from its entrance.
The hotel—named for Andrew Higgins, the founder and owner of New Orleans-based Higgins Industries, who oversaw the production of more than 20,000 “Higgins boats” used in every major amphibious battle of World War II, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy—is an eight-story, four-star hotel designed by Florida architectural firm Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates. It has 230 guestrooms and specialty suites, and 14 meeting and conference spaces.
It’s a hotel that fills a need in the neighborhood. “The museum itself welcomed 780,000 guests last year,” said James B. Williams, VP, sales, The National WWII Museum. “Of those 780,000, 90% are from right outside of Louisiana, so it made sense for us to build a property where people could stay on site and actually enjoy the museum.”
A part of the educational mission of the museum, the hotel—which features a conference center totaling 18,000 sq. ft—will further the museum’s ability to collaborate with student groups. “The educational component is a major part,” Williams said. “We produce around symposiums, leadership seminars for children and adults; since we opened in 2000, we’ve had 870,000 kids and teachers.”
Previously, the museum had to coordinate with hotels around the city. “Now, we could just walk right across the street and keep the costs low for the educational mission,” he said.