Weather puts chill on hotel occupancy
Around 1200 hotel room nights in The Bahamas have been lost over the last four days, as prospective visitors battled brutal winter conditions that grounded many flights out of the United States.
The room loss estimate is net of those additional room nights picked up because some travelers were not able to return home either, according to Frank Comito, executive vice-president of the Bahamas Hotel Association(BHA)in an interview withGuardian Businessyesterday.
“It is unfortunate in any situation, but particularly right now as we’ve been showing some positive signs during the past year, but we’re hopeful that the impact will be minimal,”said Comito.
Local hotels have made efforts to accommodate travelers to minimize any inconvenience to them. In many cases, travelers who had to cancel their Bahamian vacation plans because flights were grounded will be released from hotel penalty clauses, according to Comito. He added that many hotels will allow those customers to defer those travel arrangements for an extended period of time, in some cases up to 12 months.
For travelers who found themselves stuck in The Bahamas, many hotels have used their hurricane cancelation policies, according to the BHA executive. That policy allows special rates for customers who must stay on at a hotel due to inclement weather.
“The Ministry of Tourism and the Nassau Airport Development Company have been very helpful in providing key information which we have been relaying to the industry throughout yesterday(Monday), so we could help to minimize the inconvenience to our visitors,”Comito said.
The news comes after initial projections for the holiday weekend were for marginal growth compared to 2009, according to Comito, in a separate interview last week. The Christmas growth had been anticipated to mirror the marginal growth the industry has seen overall compared to last year, according to Comito.
The holiday blizzard was particularly severe on states from the Carolinas to Maine on the east coast of the United States, and resulted in over 4,155 flights being canceled and tens of thousands of airline passengers being stranded, according to a CNN report.