MYRTLE BEACH — The latest lodging statistics back up what promoters of the fall bike rally have said: This fall rally was bigger than last year.
While lodging occupancy at hotels, condotels and campsites for the entire week were about even with last year, vacation rental homes saw more business Sept. 28 through Oct. 4 than they did during the same rental period last year.
About 57 percent of them were booked during this year’s rally week, up about 3.2 occupancy points or 6 percent compared to the fall rally week last year, according to Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Resort Tourism.
“We were a little bit stronger this year than the year before,” the center’s Taylor Damonte said.
Promoters of the fall rally, which kicked off Sept. 30 and ended Oct. 6, have said more crowds attended this year, continuing on the momentum from the spring rally.
Traffic and sales were up at Myrtle Beach Harley Davidson’s locations in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, spokeswoman Sarah George said.
“We’re definitely pleased,” she said. “Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were really big...toward the end of the week it definitely picked up. We saw big crowds and had a big turnout here.”
While weekly vacation rental homes did better during this rally, overall lodging at hotels, condotels and campsites stayed about even with last year, according to CCU’s tourism center.
Occupancy in that sector was up during the week but down during the weekend. It was about 41 percent during the week – up 1 occupancy point or about 2.6 percent compared to the same week last year – and about 64 percent for the weekend Oct. 4 and 5, down 2.2 occupancy points or 3.4 percent compared to the same period last year.
Lodging prices during the week stayed about even with last year, but rates jumped about 3.8 percent on the weekend.
Officials say the rally is starting to come back after the decline following Myrtle Beach’s helmet law – which was eventually overturned – and other efforts to keep the rally out of the city limits.
Vacation Myrtle Beach Resorts, which oversees 14 hotels with most of them in the Myrtle Beach city limits, was busier during this fall rally than last year, spokesman Matt Klugman said.
“We’ve seen a little bit of growth,” he said. “We all have seen a little bit of it coming back.”
Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at email@example.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.