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Oasis Hotel & Convention Center General Manager Missy Handyside-Chambers can name multiple ways the company supports the local economy.
For starters, the Oasis welcomed more than 60,000 overnight hotel guests and hosted over 750 events last year. With around 30,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, the north-side property can accommodate groups from 10 to 1,500 people.
“One of the many things that set us apart from other hotels is that we have a permanent stage with theatrical lighting and sound," Handyside-Chambers says.
Lately, she says the leadership team also has increased efforts to position the Oasis as a resort-style hotel destination and attract more visitors to Fire & Ice Restaurant and Bar, the hotel's on-site dining space.
"We definitely want to not just promote the hotel, but promote Springfield and make people understand that it truly is a destination," Handyside-Chambers says. "You can come here and make a complete vacation out of it."
To encourage visitors to explore the city, the hotel offers entertainment packages. Guests can pair outings, like tickets to the Dickerson Park Zoo, game credits for Andy B's Entertainment Center and admission to the Discovery Center.
In 1999, Prime Inc. CEO Robert Low purchased the Oasis property. Prime encourages its network of around 5,000 employees and 4,200 independent contract drivers from all across America to stay at the hotel, inviting them to explore the city beyond the driving terminal.
"They come to the Prime headquarters and they see what a great city Springfield is, so they might bring their family and do a staycation or a vacation with us," Handyside-Chambers says. "These guests definitely contribute to our revenue as well as to our economy in Springfield."
Handyside-Chambers says Low continues to invest in the property. For example, the hotel made improvements to the bathrooms in its Courtyard King rooms last year. The renovations included adding digital thermometer lights on faucets, LED-lighted mirrors and showers with rain-shower options.
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the hospitality and tourism industry, the Oasis has made changes to its daily operations. Aside from increasing its cleaning, safety and sanitation efforts, the hotel formed a COVID-19 task force to develop a plan to recoup lost revenue.
For example, the team worked with guests and event planners to reschedule stays and conventions for the following two years. They also began offering private meeting spaces and offices with catered lunch and high-speed internet for locals whose offices had temporarily closed.
"Unfortunately, when the pandemic reached our community, we immediately started losing business because people quit traveling and groups halted events," Handyside-Chambers says. "We were fortunate to stay operating and are seeing guests increase on a daily basis. Groups are having events, families are having staycations, and youth sporting events are starting again."
In an effort to provide flexibility to their workers, some area businesses are beginning to offer four-day workweeks.
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