Pinellas County hotels scramble to keep up with tourism – Tampa, FL

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Clearwater, Florida – People around the world are heading to the white sands of Pinellas County, catching waves with hot water, cruising the beach and unmasking themselves in public.

“As of 2019, not 2020, community travel resumed in mid-March, when the numbers really jumped,” says Steve Hayes, President and CEO of Visit St. Pete Clearwater . did.

ABC Action News met Vespool, a tourist walking along Clearwater Beach. She and her husband visited Springdale, Arkansas for the first time in years.

“We probably come here every few years. We didn’t come here to COVID last year, but since then Governor Desantis has once again made the state a free state, making it the perfect place to come. It was, ”Pool said enthusiastically to the visor.

It seems that tens of thousands of people have the same idea.

Looking only at May, Hotel Pinellas generated slightly more guests and revenue this year than in 2019 before the pandemic.

  • May 2021
    • Occupancy: 77%
    • RevPAR (new revenue per available room): $ 139.32
  • May 2020
    • Occupancy: 43%
    • ADR: $ 112.48
    • RevPAR: $ 51.40
  • May 2019
    • Occupancy: 75%
    • RevPAR: $ 112.39

But in reality, hotels are struggling to catch up.

As I walked to several hotels around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, ABC Action News found that the front desk was inundated with more people than they could help. Suitcases were stacked in the hall and pushed as far as possible from behind the desk. The phone rang and the clerk replied, “Sorry, there is no room. “

“We’re probably 95% here, and it’s been going on for over a month, two months anyway,” exclaimed Mike Shippee. He manages the Pelican Point Resort on Clearwater Beach.

“It was really difficult because there was no help anywhere. I can’t find any help, ”he added.

By forgetting to check in early, these hotels have a hard time getting people to the room on time. I met a group of tourists from Chicago standing outside.

“I’m from the suburbs of Chicago and I’m staying at Pelican Point, but I haven’t booked a room yet,” Mike Lily said on check-in around 3pm.

He added that the group was still doing fine and were excited to be on the beach without a mask, they got it and would wait as long as needed.

However, anyone who has traveled anywhere these days will have noticed that the look and feel of a typical hotel stay is also quite different.

“If you ask, they’ll deliver a towel to your room, but you have to ask for it,” says Pool, who was staying at the Springhill Suites by the beach. Did. “If you ask, they will come and collect your garbage. They will clean your room, if you give them 24 hours notice in advance, register them as an agreement. “

Shippee said he was disappointed that he couldn’t live up to the reputation of getting people into the room quickly. He said this because he was in a hurry to clean the room himself.

“I almost ask for help, I say”, do you have any experience in housekeeping? You have been hired! And I’m going to give them the papers, so fill them all in “Please come back to date.” “Okay, thank you,” I said, and I will never hear from them or meet them again, “he explained.

In addition to housekeeping, two other sanctuary beach rentals at this location and Treasure Island lack reception, grounds, and maintenance staff, according to Sippy. No workers have appeared even after raising wages in positions that already offer benefits.

The owners are currently offering a $ 750 60-day login bonus that Shippee wants to make a difference.

However, alongside its listing on Indeed.com, there are over 1,300 similar hotels in the county, $ 4-5 above minimum wage, a login bonus, and we are currently recruiting.

When asked what would happen if even the incentives didn’t work, Visit St. Pete Clearwater president said if he knew the answer, he would likely be the highest paid consultant.

“I think part of that is that once people get back to work, they have to be attractive to bring them back into the industry. It’s exciting, ”Hayes suggested.

On June 26, the Florida Department of Economy (DEO) opportunity will end an additional $ 300 per week allowance under the federal weekly unemployment compensation program in an effort to get more people back to work.

WD spokesperson Andrew Nixon told ABC Action News in a statement:

“The ministry does not have data to support the reasons for the statewide labor shortage.

On May 12, 2021, the department launched the “Back to Work” initiative in Florida. This initiative aims to encourage Floridians to return to the workforce, help employers attract job seekers and continue to drive post-pandemic economic growth in the state. As part of WD’s “back to work” initiative, Florida will pay an additional $ 300 per week starting June 26, another important move Florida has taken to encourage Florida to return to work. Ends participation in the federal unemployment compensation program in the event of a pandemic. , 2021.

DEO also encourages citizens of Florida interested in a new career path or looking for a job and in need of assistance, to seek assistance from CareerSource Florida. CareerSource Florida can help job seekers explore new employment opportunities, provide workforce and job training skills, and provide career advancement assistance. “

Andrew G. Nixon, Press Secretary for the Florida Office of Economic Opportunity

When asked if they were ready for summer, Sippy replied, “Yes, as we plan to do. “

If you would like to apply for a position at Pelican Points, you can apply here. Indeed.com, Under Sansational Beach Rental’s Clearwater location. Indeed, hotels also have hundreds of other positions.

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