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Wall Street Journal – For Resorts, Deep Freeze Proved Balmy

Wall Street Journal – For Resorts, Deep Freeze Proved Balmy
By Craig karmin

January 13, 2014

While frigid temperatures battered airlines, retailers and other businesses this month, the chill left at least one industry basking in an upturn: warm-weather resorts.

The cold snap resulted in a larger-than-expected spike in bookings for resorts from the Caribbean to Southern California, hotel managers and executives say.

The winter months typically are high season for many balmy resorts, which attract droves from Northeastern and Midwestern states. But demand this month has been higher than usual thanks to the deep freeze that plunged temperatures into the teens or lower in unlikely places such as Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn., tourism-industry executives say.

Some hotels are taking advantage of the increased demand to boost prices. The Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, Calif., says that its 70% occupancy rate for January is nearly 10 percentage points better than what the hotel usually does for the month. That has allowed the 167-room hotel to boost room rates approximately 10% to as much as $700 a night, says general manager Joanna Bear.