New Alexandria hotel hosts mega-conference

Published: Jul. 30, 2016 at 9:19 PM CDT
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A new hotel in downtown Alexandria hosted the Louisiana Municipal Association for their 79th annual convention this weekend.

This was the first time that the city of Alexandria hosted the convention in seven years, and many attendees were surprised by how much the city had improved, beginning with the new hotel.

"You know, it was kind of like a shock, and pleasantly shocked," said Mayor Wayne Theriot from the village of Maurice.

Jay Sharplin, of the Holiday Inn, said he was proud of the way his staff sprang into action.

"Got everybody together, had a little pep rally, and they really pulled together; we couldn't do it without our staff," said Sharplin.

"Can we help you get this? Can we help you find this? And what are you looking for? That type of welcoming like you would get at Disney World," said Mayor Theriot.

Only officially open a week before the conference arrived, the hotel didn't really get a test run.

With so many elected leaders and officials in attendance, the city is hopeful that word of Alexandria’s changes will spread.

"We’ve got a sales force now all over the state," said Sharplin.

"It’s impressive enough to us to come back," said Mayor Theriot.

Sharplin said he wants the hotel to be the flag-ship property for Central Louisiana.

"We're shooting for mega-conferences this size every quarter, large conferences once a month, and then a weekly," said Sharplin.