Grand Strand hotel rates up over last year; Chamber predicts ‘heavy volume’ of visitors

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — One of the biggest weekends for the Grand Strand is now just around the corner.

Some tourists may have to pay top dollar to stay in the Myrtle Beach area this Memorial Day weekend, though.

And after a year of restrictions or limited travel, a lot of them don’t care.

“We weren’t selling out like this last year at this time,” Jeff Moore said, who works at Aqua Beach Inn in downtown. “But we were still selling out because it was coming into the summer… But I think it’s extra busy going on now because of everyone being locked down in COVID and everyone wanting to be free.”

The Aqua Beach Inn is booked through the holiday weekend. Although the hotel says it actually lowered its prices since last year, Moore says a holiday weekend may cost you.

“Friday, Saturday, Sunday you’ll look to pay top dollar,” he said. “No matter where you go on the beach.”

The most recent lodging data from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce shows an average daily rate of $155.08. That’s for the week of May 9, and was nearly 50% higher than the same week last year.

Scroll through booking site Trivago, and room prices for this weekend are well into the hundreds. One listing was over $800.

“Normally it’s about $119 and yesterday it was like $380,” Connie Catapano said, who is visiting from Pennsylvania. After a year like 2020, she said, “money really isn’t an issue.”

The chamber estimates occupancy will be above 80% over the weekend, despite the apparent rise in prices.

That’s good news for the many businesses in downtown Myrtle Beach hoping to cash in.

“This summer we expect like good results,” Pilar Salcedo said who’s working in Myrtle Beach for the summer giving henna tattoos. “Good sales and people can have fun.”

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