The hospitality industry in Volusia County seemed to continue booming in August, despite the reopening of schools across the nation.
Bed tax collections in Volusia were up 53.67% in August from August 2020 and up 56.34% from August 2019. It was the first time collections were above $1 million in August and the seventh straight month at that level.
But it may have been just as much caused by inflation as it was by tourists and conventions. In the Halifax area, which accounts for more than three-fourths of the county hospitality industry, room occupancy increased 16.5% to 57.8%, compared to 49.6% in August 2020.
While that’s a nice bump in room rentals, for many hotels an ideal occupancy rate is between 70% and 95%, although the sweet spot depends on the number of rooms, location, type of hotel, target guests and more, according to Hotel Tech Report.
So, where did the big jump in bed taxes come from? The Daytona Beach Hotel Average Daily Rate increased 31% to $142.47, compared to $108.76 in August 2020, according to the Daytona Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, based on Smith Travel Research.
That doesn’t mean the hospitality industry hasn’t been doing well. In July in the Halifax area, occupancy was at 80.4%, compared to 57.5% in July 2020, and increased 33% to 76.1% in June, compared to 57.2% in June 2020.
September probably was similar to August, but so far October is looking good with businesses reporting Biketoberfest was a success and now, with pandemic travel restrictions relaxed, many of our usual Canadian visitors will be able to come back in November.
Commercial real estate activity remained hot in Volusia. Recent transactions included a Minnesota firm buying the medical office building at 929 N. Spring Garden Ave. in DeLand for $4.6 million and the Royal Oaks Professional Center at 200 Treemonte Drive in Orange City for $4.35 million. Meritage Homes bought the residential site next to the LPGA International Club House in Daytona Beach for $4.378 million.
Lockhart Management Group bought part of Tymber Creek Village at LPGA Blvd. and Tournament Drive in Daytona Beach for $2.55 million, presumably for a mini-storage center. DR Horton bought a big chunk of Halifax Plantation's latest phase for $1.65 million. Port Orange real estate broker Constantine Christoforakis bought about 50 acres of land north of Pioneer Trail and west of Airport Road in New Smyrna Beach for $1.345 million.
A Boca Raton land trust bought Flamingo Motel, 1915 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach, for $770,000. Owners of Surgical Direct in DeLand bought an outparcel at West Volusia Towne Centre in Orange City for $550,000.
Plans for four significant projects either surfaced or progressed recently. The Framework Group is seeking rezoning from the city as part of the Burgoyne Village plan for apartments with a clubhouse, pool and parking structure at the southwest corner of North Beach Street and Michigan Avenue in Daytona Beach. It will mean razing more than 10 buildings.
A developer has submitted plans to the St. Johns River Water Management District for the Villa Nova project with 13 buildings and 90 townhouses on 7.3 acres on Herbert Street, behind the Circle K on Nova Road in Port Orange. It also will have a recreational facility.
Also in Port Orange, the Galbreath family is seeking to expand Catfish Commons at the southeast corner of Ridgewood and Dunlawton avenues with a multi-tenant building with a drive-thru restaurant, a three-story mixed-use building south of the La Cantina Cocina and a 20-slip marina parking along Halifax Drive.
Plans submitted to the water district for Pelham Square with 114 single-family houses, 60 townhouses and 7.49 acres of commercial space near the planned Sunrail Station in DeLand.
On a final note, passenger traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport slowed in September with the end of seasonal flights to Dallas-Fort Worth and Philadelphia. There were 43,258 travelers passing through the county-operated airport in September, but traffic was still up sharply from 25,539 in pandemic impacted September 2020.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 24 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org (no hyphens) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.