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Kent State Hotel Celebrates First Anniversary

Posted Jul. 21, 2014

More than 24,000 guests lodge at hotel in first year of operation

enter photo description
The Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center
is lit up at night, welcoming visitors to downtown Kent.

The Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent recently marked a milestone, celebrating its first anniversary.

The hotel, which opened June 14, 2013, was part of the million-dollar redevelopment of downtown Kent, and is a partnership between the Kent State University Foundation and the Pizzuti Companies of Columbus, Ohio. The hotel features 94 boutique-style guest rooms, an onsite restaurant and lounge, an indoor pool and workout facility, a 24-hour business center and 5,000 square feet of event space with a 10-seat executive boardroom.

Within its first year, the hotel had 24,115 guests, eight weddings, and 351 functions or events.  As of now, the hotel also has 12 weddings planned for future dates, says Mike Riccio, general manager of the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.

Continuing to build on its success, the hotel has partnered with Kent State departments in order to reach greater audiences. Hotel staff met recently with staff from the university’s procurement department to explore areas where they could offer improved services to the hotel. Students from Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design were tasked with enhancing the guest experience in the lobby and restaurant area based on guest feedback. The hotel is looking at ways to enhance the lobby and restaurant aesthetically, adding more character and some definition.

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Kent State University alumni Nate and
Sadie Sargent were the first to host a
wedding at the Kent State University
Hotel and Conference Center.

(Photo credit: Carman and Pugh

In the past year, the hotel has offered several perks, including a special rate on rooms for Kent State  staff, alumni and for university events at $109 per night, complimentary hors d’oeuvres receptions with discounted drink prices to showcase offerings and the property, and waived deposits for university guest reservations.

“Building an independent hotel in the Kent market was an exciting undertaking,” says Riccio. “While there are always studies, demographics and statistics at your disposal, the truth is that you are in uncharted waters until you open your doors and dig into the business. Like most new businesses, many anticipated results were validated and some were not, but that is simply the process that you go through.”

Within the next year, Riccio says he wants to identify opportunities to receive additional business from the university, and hire graduating hospitality students to begin their career in the industry. Some of the other goals for the hotel include increasing business travel reservations Sundays through Thursdays, strengthening relationships with major corporate clients and partnering with the community to offer packages and discounted offerings in order to increase the hotel’s reach.

“We believe that we have had an incredibly successful first year, and we continue to build each and every month on what we have accomplished,” says Riccio. “The Kent market and surrounding community is like no other, and it has incredible potential on so many levels. Our goal is to continue to strengthen our partnership with Kent State, local businesses and the community, and to serve all on a very high level.”

For more information about the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, visit