Paul Edward Parker’s report of “Strong demand for Providence hotel rooms” is (probably) good news, with this part standing out (and inspiring my parenthetical note):
Extended-stay hotels — the two under construction would be the first downtown — appeal to business travelers who will be in town for more than a few days and to families who want more room to spread out, such as those attending the frequent youth-sports competitions at the convention center. Besides usually having larger rooms, they typically include a full kitchen.
“It’s sort of in the sweet spot of the American consumer,” Freitag said. “It’s the gig economy,” he added, where workers, especially in tech fields, are often hired for jobs that only last a few months to a couple of years. “Those people need a home away from home.”
The second paragraph makes it seem as if these hotels are a step down, not a step up. The appearance is this: Rhode Island’s economy isn’t producing jobs or opportunities that would lead people to move here permanently, so they need short-term housing. Imagine if Rhode Island could get rid of its regulatory problems. Then, even a gig economy might predictably produce so much work that people could expect to stay here for the long haul.
And regarding those business travelers and families that utilize extended-stay hotels for somewhat less-extensive periods, imagine if we eliminated our sales tax! Whether they’re here for other reasons or not, families could turn their trips into shopping sprees.