Hotels getting creative to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic

Reporter: Nicole Lauren
Published: Updated:
Westin Cape Coral (Credit: WINK News)

On Thursday, Southwest Florida is getting the first look at how the coronavirus is truly affecting our economy when it comes to tourism.

The numbers from the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau show that in the first three months of this year, visitor spending was already down 13.5% over last year.

Local hotels are now changing their business model to bring in more money, and even to help people find a quiet place to work.

A new hotel is set to open in a few weeks in downtown Fort Myers and is hoping to lure in tourism dollars.

But other hotels in town are trying to expand their clientele with deals.

At the Westin in Cape Coral, guests have flocked in but not necessarily to stay. Instead, they are there to work.

It’s a new program the hotel is offering where guests can use their rooms as a workspace for $99 a day.

So far, General Manager Mike Tighe says it’s been a hit.

“They loved it. There was a sense that they needed to get away from their house… There were a lot of distractions either with family members or the TV,” Tighe said.

A few miles away on Fort Myers Beach the Outrigger Resort is also offering deals to expand their clientele.

“We’ve been offering stay 4 nights and pay for 3. So you get a free night. Or stay 14 pay for 10 so you get an even better incentive to stay longer,” said Hannah Oliver, Director of Revenue at The Outrigger Beach Resort.

Oliver says the losses are around 30 percent this year but say it could be worse.

Thankfully Floridians are helping keep the resort afloat.

“We’ve seen an influx of people coming over from the East Coast which has been really nice,” said Oliver.

Tourism numbers are expected on Thursday and they will include airport traffic, hotel occupancy, and hotel rates to name a few.

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