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SMEs lifted by the return of summer tourists | Business

U.S. SMEs that rely on tourism and vacationers say their business is recovering as Americans rebook postponed trips and spend their free time on food, entertainment and souvenirs. ..

US states and cities have relaxed many restrictions on crowd size and wearing masks. This is a positive sign for businesses that have struggled for over a year when theme parks and other attractions are closed.

Still, returning to “normal” before a pandemic is almost always a journey. There are few business travelers or foreign tourists. Many companies are tackling staff shortages and other challenges. And if the proliferation of more contagious delta mutants or other variants of the coronavirus forces the state to recreate restrictions or blockades, progress can be lost.

The American Travel Association, an industry association in the travel industry, estimates that domestic travel spending in 2021 will total $ 778 billion. This will increase by 22% from 2020, but decrease by 20% from the 2019 level. The association predicts that travel spending will not fully recover above 2019 levels by 2024.

Jenny Kimball, co-owner of the 180-room independent hotel La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, said her hotel sold out during the summer and booked an average of about 90% in the fall. It was. This is a welcome change from a few guests that the hotel had for a while as the hotel remained open during the pandemic.

“I’m busy and wonderful. Everyone is happy,” she said.

Customers are different than they were before the pandemic. More families and people are working in remote areas, and they are staying an average of four or five nights longer than a couple of nights.

“My family wants to stay longer, really on vacation, and see more cities and museums,” Kimball says.

Kimball’s biggest problem: shortage of workers in restaurants, bars and kitchens. She urged vacationers to have patience.

“After such a horrific year, it’s very difficult to be in demand and unable to serve, because 100% of our staff haven’t returned yet,” she says.

Heather Bise owns and operates a 7-bedroom bed and breakfast near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. She opened The House of Bise Bespoke in 2019, attracting guests from New Zealand, Botswana, Eastern Europe and other remote locations, and targeting international tourists.

Cancellation began in January 2020 and she refunded guests thousands of dollars.

So Vise renewed its business model and switched to renting an entire home. Ohio lifted the mass gathering restrictions in March and the Hall of Fame reopened in June. Business has recovered in the last two months. As a result, she has done more than before the pandemic. Due to the very strong demand, we raised the price and switched from serving breakfast and dinner to breakfast only.

However, all of her guests come from the United States, and families usually meet for reunions and wedding receptions. This currently accounts for 60% of her business. She is worried that the wedding business will evaporate in the summer and fall.

“Let’s hope people are having a wedding in January,” she said.

Many owners are delighted and surprised by the increase in domestic tourists, but before their business returns to normal, they need to meet corporate travelers and foreign tourists. It may take some time. The USTA has improved since 2020, but this year’s travel spending is less than half of 2019’s $ 270 million, and international travel spending is about one-third of the $ 179 million two years ago. I predict that it will be.

Martha Sheridan of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau said Boston’s tourism industry relies on “leisure visitors.” This means that weekend business is doing well, but mid-week business is still “much lower than normal.”

She said it might start to change when the tournament resumes at the end of July.

Due to the pandemic, the Boston Duck Tours lost a large group that they would normally rely on. Not only the people on the international cruise traveling in the harbor and town, but also the students on the school excursion were lost. The Tour Group has been offering land and water tours annually in the Boston area since 1994.

The business is about 80% of the 2019 level, with 21 of the 28 duck boats (which can operate on land and water) operating at about 75% capacity. However, leisure travelers are back with a strong return, said Cindy Brown, CEO of the company.

“I didn’t know how busy I was,” she said. “I was shocked to see how many people were eager to travel, see attractions, and get out of the house.”

And so far, tourists have been freewheeling on spending, says small business owners.

Denise Quinn owns a Gilded Oyster jewelry store in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and much of its business relies on Cape Cod vacationers.

Since May, when Massachusetts lifted mask obligations and restrictions on indoor and outdoor rallying capabilities, shoppers have come in large numbers and are spending more.

“It’s great to be here now. We’re open and we’re done wearing the mask,” she said. “Vacation rentals and inns are all booked and people want to treat themselves.”

She said people are spending more in the store, buying multiple items instead of just one, including gifts for themselves and others.

“The average price is definitely high,” she said. “People come to treat themselves and get souvenirs from their time in the cape.”

Quinn says he is concerned that the number of cases of COVID is increasing again and wants to keep his business as usual despite the restrictions. If necessary, she prepares to rely on Maskman dating, online shopping, curbside pickup, and courier to keep her business going.

Alanditrich, CEO of Crater Lake Spirits in Bend, Oregon, said there were two tasting rooms for tourists visiting the area, and pandemic restrictions were completely lifted before July 4, so demand was high. He said it had surged.

“Every minute we’re open, we see people coming in,” he said. “People have been locked down for the last 14 months and want to do something. The only limiting factor is staff.”

He also sees people spending their time freely. In Bend, staff shortages and rising wholesale food prices have raised the average price of main dishes by $ 3 and the price of cocktails by $ 1, said Dietrich, a director of Bend’s Tourism Development Group.

“No one is barking at that price,” he added. “For now, no one cares what it costs. People are just happy to go out.”

SMEs lifted by the return of summer tourists | Business

Source link SMEs lifted by the return of summer tourists | Business

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