ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- "We have seen a lot of downsizing in Freeport and consequently there is less travel because of it."
Travel is one of the first things businesses cut during a recession, and one of the first things that resumes in a recovery. After nearly 2 years of checking out, more of these "Do Not Disturb Signs," are showing up outside hotel room doors at the Country Inn and Suites in Freeport.
"We're doing everything we can to fill rooms every day, and be the first ones."
The hotel is reporting stronger bookings especially in the last two months. Swift credits the upsurge to increased confidence from companies that business activity is coming back.
"Many of our key accounts have started to get back to their normal occupancy levels."
On most nights, over 40 of the 66 rooms are filled. Travelers are also staying on average, a day longer, but many guests are still cautious.
" The booking window is very short sometimes, as short as 48 hours where 10 years ago our booking window was 30 days."
Swift Isn't growing restless in the down economy. He's found new ways to generate business by avidly buying and building hotels, which could include expansion into the crowded Rockford market.
We have looked at Rockford. There have been several occasions and we hope to bring the brand to Rockford, we just haven't found the right deal yet."
But finding financing for a new hotel could be easier said than done.