Hotels in Southwest Florida are overcrowded after Hurricane Ian

Hotels in Southwest Florida are overcrowded after Hurricane Ian

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, the southwestern part of Florida, especially Lee County, is facing unprecedented traffic jams and a shortage of hotel rooms caused by the arrival of a huge number of construction workers, employees of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, etc.

All newcomers need a roof over their heads, so hotel occupancy rates have surged to almost 100% in this area over the past month. Lee County used to have 13,000 hotel rooms before the hurricane. No updated statistics is available yet, but Sanibel and Captiva Islands have a total of about 250 hotels.

With a shortage of supply and a high demand, the average daily rates at hotels in Lee County grew from $131.01 on October 8 – 15, 2021 to $158.15 on the same dates this year (+20%).

In Collier County, the trend was slightly different. On October 9 – 15, 2022, an average room cost $214.32 per night, which is 4.9% less than last year. A week later, however (on October 16 – 22), the rate grew to $230.73, i.e. 2.5% higher than a year earlier.

There are about 10,000 hotel rooms in Collier County, and it was hurt by the hurricane far less than the neighboring Lee County. Paul Beirnes, Executive Director at Visitor and Convention Bureau of Collier County, believes that a shortage of accommodation options caused by the influx of construction workers, emergency response officials, and local residents who lost their homes to the storm will abate in a while.

The 2023 tourist season, however, will probably be successful in this county, as tourists still want to come to Florida’s balmy beaches. This is good news for owners of rental homes that will be in demand due to a shortage of hotels.

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