MYRTLE BEACH — Full-week vacation rentals on the South Carolina Grand Strand have noticeably declined this spring, but tourism officials do not seem too worried about the latest numbers.
A report from Coastal Carolina University released Thursday reveals full-week rentals slumped 37 percent over the last six to eight weeks, compared to the same time last year, the Myrtle Beach Sun News reported.
Mid-week occupancy for partial week stays is off 3.6 percent, but weekend occupancy is up 10.9 percent, said Taylor Damonte, director of the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism.
“The numbers have implications for the entire area,” Damonte said.
The Britain Center tracks occupancy of rental rooms, including campgrounds and cottages, but is unable to determine why there has been a shift in vacation trends or if it is only temporary.
Brad Dean, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said he believes rainy weather in the spring, including the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana, is to blame for the decline in the weeklong rentals. He has heard “generally positive comments” from people in the lodging industry, he said.
Stephen Greene, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association, said he has not heard any complaints from hotel owners. He said the seven-day market primarily involves cottage rentals.
“If it’s impactful above and beyond, we’re the first ones to hear about it,” he said.
Area hotels have been pushing up their average daily rates, which could balance out any loss in occupancy, Green said.