March 3, 2021

Volusia hoteliers hope for an uptick in tourists – Daytona Beach News-Journal

With visitors flocking to the beaches on recent weekends, hoteliers in Volusia County are cautiously optimistic about prospects for the key summer season following catastrophic impact of the coronavirus.

Even with rain in the forecast this weekend, Volusia County hoteliers are cautiously optimistic that signs of stronger weekend business can lift the tourism industry out of the devastating storm of the coronavirus crisis.

“Looking ahead, all the weekends look really strong through the summer,” said Androse Bell, general manager of the Hard Rock Hotel, one of the marquee properties on Volusia County’s beachside.

At the same time, hotel managers emphasize that business hasn’t yet returned to normal summer levels, especially mid-week. Much uncertainty also remains about how long it will take to recover from an initial catastrophic tourism downturn tied to the pemic.

“We’re definitely exceeding expectations,” Bell said of a current surge in weekend travelers. “But we’re nowhere near where we normally would be.”

And, as guests start to return, they will find a different hotel experience in many ways than before the pemic.

At Hard Rock, for instance, guests are now required to sign a waiver at check-in, acknowledging that they underst the hotel’s policies on social distancing other guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, Bell said.

The policies call for a minimum of six feet between parties in public areas recommend, but don’t require, face masks for guests in such areas. The waiver also advises of new procedures that include housekeeping visits to a