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County’s fifth hotel checks in
Holiday Inn Express is off Hwy. 20 at Ga. 400
Holiday Inn 6 es
Karen Brodin works the counter Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Express in Cumming. - photo by Emily Saunders

If you’re going

The grand opening will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 870 Buford Hwy. in Cumming. More information on the ribbon cutting can be found online at

Forsyth County welcomes its fifth hotel today with the grand opening of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites off Hwy. 20 near Ga. 400. (click for map)

The ribbon-cutting event will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and tours. In addition to a pool, laundry room and fitness center, the hotel features wireless Internet access and a meeting room.

The business-focused features are part of the new prototype rolled out by Holiday Inn brand owner Intercontinental Hotel Group, IHG.

The new hotel, along with a Holiday Inn Express in nearby Johns Creek, are owned and operated by the YM Management Company.

Nicole Hayslip, the company’s regional sales director, said the corporate traveler can find prototypes not available, as “others here in the area haven’t quite brought their products up to speed yet.”

“The demographic study the company did, they felt like this property would do well here, with the traffic coming off Ga. 400 as well as it would be good competition to the other brands that are here already,” she said.

YM Management owns seven hotels throughout the state, with two more slated to be open before year’s end.

“We own two Holiday Inn Expresses ... so we have a good relationship with IHG,” Hayslip said. “They felt like [Cumming] would be a good place to put one up, and would drive some revenue, with it being such a nice brand that most people are aware of.”

In addition to lodging, the 50,000-square-foot hotel provides additional tax revenue that helps increase the county’s tourism and economic development.

Collected by local governments, the hotel occupancy tax is directed to the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

At least 40 percent of the tax helps promote tourism, with the remainder going to the chamber’s economic development initiatives.

James McCoy, chamber president and chief executive officer, said his organization is seeking a tourism representative.

“We have not been in the position in the past ... to be able to have enough money from the hotel tax to hire someone that is dedicated to tourism promotion,” he said. “We’d either be able to hire someone, or do programming, but not both.”

The chamber currently has volunteers on its tourism committee, led by Mary Helen McGruder. McCoy noted her efforts, saying McGruder has “really created, all through volunteer initiatives, a very substantial tourism program.”

But he said the county needs a paid employee to promote tourism full time.

McGruder said she was thrilled to welcome the hotel, which held a soft opening in October.

“It helps us promote tourism without costing our local citizens any tax dollars,” she said. “Holiday Inn Express is a well-respected national brand, and we feel that it is an important step in Forsyth County’s tourism development to have them as part of our community.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at