DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — At the Sun Viking Lodge, owner Gary Brown can’t hide his smile.

What You Need To Know

  • Daytona Beach hotel operators say they’re sold out for the Memorial Day holiday
  • Two hotels said they’ve been able to raise rates due to the surge in demand
  • One owner says he thinks this could be one of his best Memorial Days in 50 years

“That is so different than it was at this time last year. … It’s just so exciting for me,” Brown said.

After a difficult year and half, he believes this Memorial Day is poised to be the best one he’s seen in 50 years. 

“Reservations have been coming in left and right, and we will be sold out for the (Memorial Day) weekend for each night this weekend, so it’s fantastic,” Brown said. “We have inched our rates up so we will have an higher average daily rate and should have a very good revenue weekend.”

AAA predicts that Memorial Day weekend travel will increase more than 60% over 2020 levels. Brown said he’s seeing that already and has even had to turn people away.  

“We are scrambling to find rooms for anybody that calls. We try and refer people to other hotels, and most of them are saying, ‘Sorry, we’re sold out too,’” Brown said.

One of those hotels is The Shores Resort and Spa.

“We are packed,” general manager Robert Burnetti said. “We’re busy right through, and it’s really been looking like it’s going to be one of the busiest Memorial Days we’ve had in quite awhile.” 

Burnetti said while The Shores first struggled with this surge in demand, it’s found ways to adapt in time for the holiday. 

“Everybody has heard of the supply chain issues, everybody has heard of the supply chain labor shortage issues, but we’ve learned how to deal with that now. You know, we’re tuned up and ready to go,” he said.

Like the Sun Viking, Burnetti says The Shores has also been able to raise rates thanks to the demand. 

“We’re all going through a healing process right now, and I think our industry is such an important part of that healing process,” he said. “People want to get out and travel. They want a place to go. So the fact that we have that demand, I think is good for everybody.” 

As for Brown, he hopes this wave of tourism is one his team can ride out for the rest of the summer. 

“Hopefully we will catch up from all the revenue that we lost last year, maybe if we’re lucky, and that would be a welcome relief,” he said.

Both Brown and Burnetti believe this will be a great summer. Burnetti said The Shores is already booked up every weekend through June. While this leisure travel is great for the hotel’s bottom line, Burnetti said he is really holding his breath for the return of group travel, which, on an average year, can make up 40% of its business.