ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (FOX 13) - Labor Day weekend is here and it's usually one of the busiest for businesses along the Gulf Coast in Pinellas County. But this weekend, the threat of Dorian is scaring people away.
The three-day holiday weekend is usually the big finale of summer, packing St. Pete Beach.
A group of about 40 friends from Plant City told FOX 13 News the threat of a hurricane wasn’t enough to make them ditch their plans.
“We come every year, we’ve been coming for 20-years, we’ve got a whole group, it’s really awesome,” said Roy Peterson. “And we’re like who cares about a hurricane, we’re coming to the Bon-Aire.”
But not everyone is as carefree. The Bon-Aire Resort and others in St. Pete Beach say Dorian is causing a wave of cancellations.
“Ended up to be about 20% so far that have canceled, which is more then what we’d like,” Bon-Aire Resort Manager Andrew Denault said. “But from what I’ve heard up and down the beach it’s actually less than a lot of the people.”
About a mile up the beach, the TradeWinds Island Resorts expected to be fully booked for the holiday. Now it’s a Labor Day letdown.
“We’re probably running now less than 20% occupancy,” TradeWinds Island Resorts President Keith Overton said. “So virtually everybody that was booked for the hotel has canceled or checked out.”
Those empty rooms aren’t the only financial hit the business will take. No guests means no one spending money on food, drinks, and water sports during their stay.
“For every dollar in room revenue we generate, we generate about another dollar in all other spent, so if we lose $300,000 in room revenue that really means we’ve lost $600,000 in total revenue,” Overton explained.
After Labor Day, it’s the slow season for the beach businesses, so every dollar counts.
Back at the Bon-Aire, not everyone thought traveling to the Sunshine State was a good call.
“I have friends from Louisville who I do the Kentucky Derby with every year, and Thomasville, Georgia, and they bailed cuz of weather,” Peterson said.
Many of the hotels said they are being flexible with guests who decide to cancel.
Hurricane Dorian preparations by county:
- Citrus County
- DeSoto County
- Hardee County
- Hernando County
- Highlands County
- Hillsborough County
- Manatee County
- Pasco County
- Pinellas County
- Polk County
- Sarasota County
- Sumter County