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Aftermath Of Attacks Creates Problems For Triangle Hotels

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RALEIGH — The terrorist attacks devastated businesses connected to the travel industry. The impact is trickling down to Triangle hotels, which are already suffering from cutbacks in business travel. Now they are taking another hit, from companies that are cancelling meetings and conventions.

The phones at the Clarion do not ring as often as they used to. Like many local hotels, the Clarion lost bookings for conventions and overnight stays during the last few weeks.

Clarion Sales Director Ron Leedy says most clients are rescheduling their meetings for next year. In the meantime, ballrooms that were booked months ago are sitting empty. The hotel staff is doing everything it can to keep clients coming in.

"We see a decline on an immediate basis, and we hope it won't be a long-term thing," Reedy said.

"Especially in this time, just out of courtesy, trying to work with them more because of budget and expense constraints," Reedy said.

Some Apex High School graduates scheduled their ten-year reunion at the Clarion months ago. They decided not to cancel it after the attacks, but they wonder how many out-of-town guests will make the trip.

"We did run into if we're gonna still have it, but we have a lot of people who are still local, who don't have to fly. I'm curious if we still have the same showing we thought we would," reunion organizer Kristen Styers said.

Business was already slow at many local hotels, because of cutbacks in business travel and the state budget crunch. Now they can only hope it picks up soon.

"We're here for the long run. We'll stick it out," Reedy said.

Hotel managers hope that upcoming events like the State Fair will bring in more customers during the next few months.

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