The Downtown Columbus Hilton Hotel adds staff despite a drop in tourism sector workers
The Hilton Hotel in Downtown Columbus has opened its new tower making it the largest hotel in Ohio.
The hotel has recovered from a lack of staffing after tourism took its toll during the pandemic.
The tower adds 458 new rooms, 50,000 square feet of meeting space, and four restaurants.
Experience Columbus reports the number of tourism sector workers is down in Columbus. Experience Columbus reported about 75,000 workers in the tourism industry in 2021. That total was 78,000 workers in 2019.
However, the Downtown Hilton has increased staffing from 250 workers in 2019 to about 400.
General manager Christian Coffin said they are on pace to add 100 more workers.
"Over the years we've adjusted our wages and enhanced our benefits,” Coffin said. “We've reached about 95% to 97% of our goal for hiring. Once everything is up and running, we’ll double our original staffing total to 500."
Experience Columbus finds that tourism is slowly recovering.
The city hosted more than 111 conventions, a 75% increase over last year, and visitors 42.7 million visitors. But still fewer than 43 million in 2019.
Coffin says August and September marked the first time that occupancy levels at the Hilton eclipsed pre-pandemic totals .
It will also host the Planning Convention Management Association in January, a national group of decision makers that brings future businesses to cities like Columbus.
The hotel will open one of its restaurants, FYR, Friday night.