PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport opened in 2010 and now 11 years later, it finally has its first commercial business, the new Hilton Garden Inn.

The hotel had a soft opening on July 8th.

Three days later, the airport experienced several delayed flights and the hotel jumped to 100% occupancy.

The new hotel sits is about a mile from Beaches International Airport and is definitely designed with the traveler in mind.

The hotel lobby features a flight tracker so passengers can monitor their flight status, as well as a complimentary shuttle between the hotel and the airport terminal.

The hotel is also pet-friendly and equipped with a generator that can power the entire first floor, including the kitchen, computers, and guest rooms.

According to the hotel’s general manager, Katja Chatfield, this makes the hotel an oasis in any future storm.

“So let’s say, and let’s definitely not hope so, if something strikes this area we can definitely be that hub of support for people to come to us, be in our lobby until things smooth over, and enjoy the fact that we do have electricity, Chatfield said.”

ECP Executive Director Parker McClellan is thrilled to have the hotel as part of the airport campus.

“It makes it easier on our passengers and the employees at the airport,” McClellan said. “Now everybody is not super stressed out because there’s a place for people to go so it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Mcclellan said he’s also excited about other development that’s on the drawing board.

“As we look at Venture Crossings being an industrial park with businesses in the future at the airport we have the opportunity for maintenance and overhaul and other businesses as well as our passengers,” McClellan said. “So this is a great asset being this close to the airport and I think that was a great choice by the St. Joe company to do this”

This hotel is the fifth for the St. Joe Company’s hospitality division.

They have another six hotels currently under development or construction.