Hospitality industry hosting more patrons this year as economy bounces back

The Masters hospitality business is seeing an upswing as the economy improves. (April 6, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

The Masters hospitality business is seeing an upswing as the economy improves. (April 6, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock / Monday, April 6, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Thousands of visitors in the city for the Masters are getting a taste of southern hospitality as they check in at hospitality clubs. Business for the clubs is increasing this year thanks to an improved economy.

"It's basically private access to a private party throughout the day," said Jay Norton, owner and operator of the Executive Club.

The party is packed with all the food, fun and friends you need. Hospitality clubs all along Azalea Drive are set up to offer visitors a chance to master this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The owner of the 1018 Club, Steve Parry, says business is finally picking up after years of a rough economy. "I do see some companies are back, others continue to stay longer. Although, not so much in the groups of ten, twenty, or thirty," he said.

Perry has been bringing southern comforts to dedicated patrons for more than 20 years. "You put that experience on the course, with watching the best players play, and then come back sit relax and enjoy the other side of it," explained Parry.

Parry says government bailouts and financial turmoil has made relaxing harder.

"A lot of clients have changed their seven day programs to four or five days. People have skimmed their budgets down," said Norton.

Jennifer Hines is here from Minnesota to experience Augusta and the Masters tournament. "We're able to contribute quite a bit, because we're able to come to town, spending quite a bit, helping everyone around," she said.

"We've been able to work with them to reduce rental rates to make pricing more competitive, give clients a better alternative," Norton added.

By this weekend, some hospitality places will be hosting around 1,300 guests per day.

Spaces are still available to book at many places. Parry says you can expect to pay $250 on average per night.


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