Grand Strand Hotels booking rooms months in advance for Bikefest 2015

Grand Strand Hotels booking rooms months in advance for Bikefest 2015
Joseph Baxter, General Manager, Westgate Oceanfront Resort
Joseph Baxter, General Manager, Westgate Oceanfront Resort

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Just like the Bikefest Task Force is making safety plans for Memorial Day Weekend, the visitors that will be coming to the Grand Strand are making plans of their own. Some hotels and resorts are already seeing bookings for the event.

Westgate Oceanfront Resort said months in advance they're receiving calls, and booking reservations for this year's Bikefest.

The general manager said many visitors booked their rooms before they left last year's event, and that could mean an even busier Memorial Day Weekend, so the resort is preparing now.

Joseph Baxter, General Manager for the Westgate Oceanfront Resort said, " We have started receiving reservations for Bikefest. It really reaches a head probably a month, a month and a half before the actual weekend, which gets to the point we'll be almost sold out."

Right now on the Bikefest website, there is a list of what it calls 'biker-friendly" hotels along the Grand Strand, some offer incentives like discounted rates and bike security.

Baxter said, "We have attendants that are in all of our parking lots to assist individuals to make sure our guests and owners are parked as well as having additional staff on site."

Baxter says with the new traffic loop plan and other safety measures from the Task Force, businesses like his and others are making sure they are aware and prepared.

"We actually had a meeting designed specifically for Bike Week so we can look at how the new traffic plan is going to impact our property, our staffing levels, and we're also opening a new restaurant at the property," explained Baxter.

Baxter explained planning is key. He believes many businesses do not plan ahead of Bikefest, and he says that's often why problems arise.

"I have heard other heard horror stories about other properties from going to other meetings and talking with other individuals, but I believe a lot of it leads down to their staffing levels and service levels at their property," Baxter adds. "There is a continually need for service and I don't think believe that these other properties offer continual need for service 24 hours a day with proper staff levels."

Baxter says the security measures in place at the resort have worked for years, not just for Bikefest but for Harley Bike Week as well.  "They'll actually have a special wristband that we'll place on the bike that will be designated for that weekend; and so we ensure that only our guests are on property and we are guarding their bike."

He says the ultimate goal for the city of Myrtle Beach and businesses is for everyone who comes in May to be safe and enjoy.

"We've always had a successful Bike Week, we've never had any issues our guests - understand that we respect them and that we are here to help them," Baxter said.

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