Has the pandemic undermined off-season offerings?
“Covid has sped things up for Jackson,” said Sadek Darwiche, co-owner and general manager of the downtown Jackson Hotel. The once slow months – October, November, April and May – saw a spike in visits, nearly doubling pre-pandemic norms last October.
“The 2022 shoulder season could be over in Florida, Hawaii and major national parks with many prime destinations seeing double-digit increases in hotel demand in January and February,” Christie Hudson wrote. -word from Expedia Group, in an e-mail. , noting that many of these areas exceeded 2019 accommodation figures.
Most hotels charge more when demand permits. For the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Fla., more visitors over the normally slow summer and generally stable traffic otherwise pushed rates an average of 10% above 2019 levels.
At the Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in Gurney in the Hamptons, the surge was more dramatic as urban exiles drove the off-season to near extinction, according to resort owner George Filopoulos. There, average rates per night in the normally quiet month of December have fallen from $368 in 2019 to $486 in 2020 and $524 this year.
According to STR, one of the hottest hotel markets was in the Florida Keys, where average daily rates rose from around $272 in 2019 to $380 in November 2021, or nearly 40%.
“In mid-February of last year, we saw an increase in demand and it hasn’t stopped,” said Stacey Mitchell, director of the Florida Keys tourism board.
Of course, many destinations have worked hard to reduce the off-season. Door County, for example, holds a popular half-marathon in early May, and in 2021 it added a Christmas Market in late November and early December to attract visitors at traditionally slower times.