Nearly a year after the height of the pandemic, travelers are expected to get back out on the roads for Thanksgiving at a greater rate in San Luis Obispo County.
“You look at last year, right in the middle of the pandemic, and we had huge outbreak numbers, the market was pretty soft, we saw 63 percent occupancy the week of Thanksgiving, the rate of $160 per night,” said Visit SLO CAL CEO Chuck Davison.
Following a quiet 2020 Thanksgiving, 2021 is looking promising on the Central Coast.
“We’re going to see pre-pandemic numbers this Thanksgiving. We’ve seen that all through the summer and late into the fall,” said Davison.
“I don’t think the pandemic necessarily stopped visitors from coming. I think the Central Coast and the Pismo Beach region specifically have always been strong. I know we’re sitting at 70 to 80 percent going into the holiday season,” said Martin Resorts Director of Marketing, Lindsey Roberts.
“In looking at the rates today in the fall across the county, we still have a lot of hotels that have availability,” said Davison.
San Luis Obispo County is coming off an impressive year financially in response to tourism as opposed to years prior.
“We just recorded the greatest year for tourism in the history of the county, beating 2019 numbers by 25 percent,” said Davison.
“The biggest difference year over year is the lead times are a little bit longer, so they’re taking more time to book their trips,” said Roberts.
For local hotels, the primary change from 2020 to 2021 is the safety protocols put in place to protect guests and staff.
“Enhanced cleaning protocols is something that is here to stay. We’ve always prided ourselves on cleanliness and, with COVID-19, it’s on the forefront of everyone’s mind,” said Roberts.
Hotels such as Pismo Lighthouse Suites say they have had the opportunity to bring back programs such as “Toys for Tots,” which was canceled due to the pandemic.
“Toys for Tots” is taking place from November until December 16.
“We encourage people to operate safely, but I think we’re a destination that is going to continue to thrive during these interesting times that we’re trying to live in,” said Davison.