County Commissioner Joseph Moroski says he is looking forward to seeing the check from the Lodge and Conference Center early next year.
He and fellow commissioners Dan Claypool and Peggy Carlo learned on Thursday that, barring a big downturn in the hospitality business, the county could reap an operating profit of $235,000 from the lodge’s operations this year. The profit does not take into account debt servicing on the lodge, but in previous years, the board has used lodge profits to reduce that debt.
The projected profit would be nearly $100,000 more than the lodge earned for the county last year. General Manager Jeannette Petrolia gave commissioners the good news during their work session on Thursday. She said that, through the end of October, the lodge had earned net income of $415,340, or $240,000 more than the original plan for the year.
“We have two months where we won’t be making money, we will lose money in November and December,” Petrolia said, explaining why the $415,340 will shrink to $235,000 by the end of 2012.
She said that business in November has, thus far, been soft, largely because of the foul weather, but December is looking very promising. The first two Saturday nights of December, when the lodge holds its Dickens of a Feaste event, are already booked. The dinner theater event itself still has openings, however.
Petrolia said there is strong interest in the New Year’s Eve event, as well, and the lodge is seeing an upswing in Christmas party bookings. It hosted one the same evening Hurricane Sandy rolled into the area. Ironically, the guests who booked the party did so to avoid the confusion and potentially bad weather that comes with Christmas in Northeast Ohio.
A strong average daily room rate has helped the lodge be more profitable than in previous years. This year’s rate has been $134.86, which is $10.04 higher than last year.
Another benchmark for the operation, revenue per available room, is $8.05 higher than last year’s figure.
Petrolia told the board that the lodge’s revenues for the first 10 months were $5.1 million. Of that, $343,000 was diverted into a reserve account that is used to fund major repairs. The fund is required per the agreement with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.