MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau unveiled a new lodging dashboard this week.
Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said the dashboard will provide area businesses, citizens and government leaders insight into real-time lodging trends across the Grand Strand.
Riordan said the chamber signed on with analytics company Key Data in the fall to supplement data it was already receiving from another firm, Smith Travel Research.
Together, the two provide lodging data for both branded chain hotels as well as independent properties, condo-hotels and vacation rental properties.
With a market of over 180,000 bedroom equivalents, Riordan said the Myrtle Beach area has a lot of rooms to fill on any given day of the year.
“We’re very excited to have this dashboard now, so we can look at how we’re doing both with the branded hotels but also with the rest of our inventory,” Riordan said.
The chamber has an annual contract with the vendors and an approximate cost of $180,000 for this project, which to start will include surveys of about 3000 rooms.
The hope is this data will help hoteliers and hotel marketing managers make better use of their investment resources.
“For our businesses it’s a chance for them in the hospitality industry to see this data and make some decisions about their own businesses, about whether they want to make some investment or changes to their marketing plan,” Riordan said.
They are able to subscribe to the service for more specific data to their own businesses, which will in turn help increase sampling and provide stronger market aggregate results.
Information on the dashboard will update weekly and is available for all to see.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department has expressed interest in using the data to better plan and prepare for large influxes of visitors.
The chamber forecasts a strong second half to 2021 for tourism, dependent on a number of factors including on-going COVID-19 vaccination efforts nationwide.
For now, Riordan said the market is week-to-week. She noted people are booking reservations very close in, meaning within seven days or less.
That’s because of the on-going pandemic. Riordan said people are deciding travel plans based on how they are feeling, their health, whether they have a negative COVID-19 test, if the weather will be good, and if they have the disposable income.
However, they are also seeing people spend more time here due to teleworking, virtual school and other factors.
Despite a strong forecast for the second half of 2021, Riordan doesn’t anticipate the market returning to 2019 pre-pandemic levels just yet.
“We at the CVB really believe it will be a 24-month journey to really fully recover,” Riordan said.