While the hospitality industry continues to recover from COVID and the Quad Cities boasts over 6,500 hotel rooms, do we really need a new hotel?

Bettendorf-based Frontier Hospitality Group and its CEO, Dan Huber, certainly think we do.

About 18 months after Bettendorf’s Courtyard by Marriott converted to a Sonesta Select, Frontier plans to build a new four-story Courtyard by Marriott a stone’s throw away. Courtyard by Marriott Bettendorf Quad Cities will break ground for their new facility at 907 Utica Ridge Place on Tuesday, Oct. 18th at 10 a.m.

The new 113-room hotel will open in late 2023 next to the Home2 Suites by Hilton (also owned and operated by Frontier), close to the I-74 Spruce Hills exit, off Utica Ridge Road.

A rendering of the new four-story Courtyard by Marriott, Bettendorf, to open at late 2023. The exterior color scheme may be different (courtesy of Frontier Hospitality Group).

“The Courtyard brand is so popular, we felt it would be a good long-term development,” Huber said Thursday, noting this will be the sixth new hotel built by FHG since 2014. In addition to Home2 Suites (107 all suites, also four stories), Frontier in the QC owns the Cambria Hotel Bettendorf at TBK Bank Sports Complex, and Holiday Inn Express at the Quad Cities International Airport, Moline.

“Marriott is one of the most popular brand families,” Huber said. In 2020, FHG opened its Residence Inn by Marriott in East Peoria. “Courtyard is an especially popular brand within that family.”

Courtyard an established QC brand

And since the former Courtyard by Marriott at 895 Golden Valley Drive, Bettendorf, operated for 30 years, it is an established brand in the area, he said. “We’re replacing a hotel with a long history there,” Huber said, adding the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program also is very popular with its members.

Dan Huber is CEO of the QC-based Frontier Hospitality Group.

“You’re filling a void that exists there,” he said. And just since Home2 Suites opened in 2019 doesn’t mean the hotel need on the site of the former Jumer’s Castle Lodge (later The Lodge, before it was torn down in 2016) is fully satisfied.

Home2 Suites is an extended-stay hotel (designed for travelers staying four or five nights, or more), and is in the price tier of Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, and Fairfield Inn, while Courtyard is more upscale and more expensive, Huber said.

“That location has been a hotel location for years and years,” he said of the Home2 Suites and future Courtyard. “It’s really visible. That area is the center, the economic spine of the Quad Cities region. Hotels are clustered along the 74 corridor since you can get anywhere in the Quad Cities very quickly from there. The corridor has been massively improved by the new bridge.”

A rendering of the Bistro in the new Courtyard by Marriott (courtesy of Frontier Hospitality Group).

The new Courtyard (like all 1,200-plus Courtyards nationwide) will have a Bistro (bar and restaurant), meeting room, fitness center and pool. While the Home2 Suites offers complimentary breakfast, the Courtyard has meals for purchase, made to order.

Earlier this year, Frontier sold the Best Western Plus SteepleGate Inn Davenport and Best Western Plus Dubuque Hotel & Conference Center. It also operates the Residence Inn by Marriott and Holiday Inn Express & Suites in East Peoria.

Still recovering from COVID

Huber would not reveal the occupancy rates for Frontier hotels, but said the QC properties are doing better this year than the first two of the pandemic.

“Things have rebounded very well since the shutdown,” he said Thursday. After staff layoffs in 2020, Frontier has added employees, but is still struggling to add needed staff.

One of he 107 suites at Bettendorf’s Home2 Suites by Hilton, which opened in 2019.

“There aren’t enough available people to fill all the jobs,” Huber said, noting he still needs to add housekeepers, kitchen and front desk staff. Each FHG hotel employs about 25-30 full-time equivalent employees, with the Cambria a little more, since it has a restaurant.

“We’re definitely hiring,” Huber said. “The needs we have are less than a year ago. We’re making great progress on that front.” FHG has been increasing wages and benefits for employees, he said.

“We’re really fortunate, we have a great team of managers, with a lot of stability,” he said. “Because we’re local, we’re not so large, it’s more of a family environment. There’s more of a personal touch.”

The hotel industry nationally expects that 2023 will be more back to 2019 occupancy levels, Huber said. “It’s been a long road. I think we’re on track to get there, but a lot will depend on what kind of economy we have in 2023.”

For more information on Frontier, click HERE.