MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – According to Coastal Carolina University’s latest study, occupancy rates for local hotels, condominiums, and campsites within the Grand Strand were down 95% compared to April 2019.
The university’s Tourism Economy Study shows fewer visitors resulted in a 98% drop in revenue per room for local hotels.
The City of Myrtle Beach normally generates billions of dollars from out-of-town visitors every year. A portion of that revenue comes from lodging reservations but since the coronavirus outbreak, many hotels have more vacancies this year.
Professor Taylor Damonte, director of CCU’s Center of Resort Tourism, says lack of lodging has a direct impact on local businesses. “In measuring the relative strength of demand for lodging, we can have a parameter of the relative strength of demand for everything else,” he explains.
The study also predicts what reservations for vacation rental properties look like for the upcoming weeks. It shows late year’s weekly rental property reservations compared to this year’s predicted reservations based on data from rental property booking websites.
“If visitation turns out as forecast, then we should be within 15 to 20% of the total retail sales that we were last year,” Damonte says.
Damonte stresses, however, that these predictions could easily change especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Many local government departments and business owners closely monitor the Tourism Economy Study to prepare for visitors or lack thereof.