MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — “Welcome back to Myrtle Beach” — that’s the city’s message to visitors this Memorial Day weekend.
The holiday weekend kicks off in Myrtle Beach, and the city is preparing for a busy weekend. Hotel occupancies are nearing total capacity showing Myrtle Beach is bouncing back fast.
As of Thursday, more than 80 percent of rooms in Myrtle Beach were booked. City officials expect that number to jump to over 90 percent by Friday or Saturday.
“The good news is we are up double-digit percentage points compared to May of 2019, which was a very good year in tourism, so that’s very promising for our business community,” said Karen Riordan, the president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
Some hotels are working to keep up with the holiday weekend demand by implementing new measures.
Hotels have developed strategies to be more resourceful this year, as many businesses are still dealing with staffing shortages.
The chamber is asking visitors to have patience and recommends making plans and reservations in advance.
Several hotels introduced a new minimum night stay requirement to handle the demand.
The chamber supports the move and said that it’s a good idea to recoup profit margins.
“That means there is incredible demand,” Riordan said. “People want to be here, so you don’t have to choose between taking a no guest or one-night guest. You can say, ‘Hey, we are full right now, if you’d like to stay at our property, you’re going to need to stay a minimum or three or four nights.'”
Another new tactic involves housekeeping roles. Some hotels will only have housekeepers preparing rooms once a guest arrives instead of offering daily service.
The City of Myrtle Beach began enforcing the Memorial Day weekend traffic plan at 6 a.m. Friday.
Just like any other big holiday weekend on the Grand Strand, public safety is ramping up, which means more officers, blocked-off roads and barricades.
Those heading downtown this weekend can expect all northbound lanes on Ocean Boulevard to be closed. Starting Friday morning, vehicles will need to follow a one-way southbound route from 29th Avenue North to 29th Avenue South.
There will also be a heavier police presence than usual.
Three hundred officers will be coming in from various local departments to assist Myrtle Beach police.
“It will be busy, so we all need to be prepared for that,” Riordan said. “We know the MBPD and HCPD are ready for that from a public safety standpoint. We also need to recognize when the city is this full with this many visitors, it does require us to think a little bit about what our plans are as residents and business owners.”