Rebound to more weddings and more elaborate events seen in upcoming bookings through next two years, properties report.
Resort properties in Southwest Florida reported to The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla. that their business for wedding ceremonies and receptions has picked up both in terms of number of events booked and the average revenue value of individual bookings, and that they expect this trend to now continue through 2013.
The Pink Shell Beach Resort and Spa, which has about a quarter mile of beachfront on Fort Myers Beach, has traditionally hosted anywhere from 120 to 150 weddings each year. But the resort saw a decline in bookings for weddings in 2009 and 2010 because of the dour economy and the threat of the BP Gulf oil spill during the hotel’s peak wedding season over the past year, Ellis Etter, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Boykin Management Services, which operates the Pink Shell, told The News-Press.
“The last couple of years we’ve seen smaller weddings and we’re beginning to see rebounding to larger weddings for 2012 and 2013,” Etter said. “This year we’ve had a few larger weddings, so that’s a good turnaround for us.”
Through the downturn, guests lists dwindled to anywhere from 30 to 70 guests, Etter added, but in recent months, the hotel has seen guest lists reach above the 100 mark.
Weddings account for the biggest chunk of the resort’s food and beverage revenue, with total food and beverage sales representing 21 percent of the resort’s revenue, and weddings make up about 50 percent of that, he added.
At South Seas Island Resort on Captiva, the wedding business is up 10 percent year-over-year with more than 100 weddings scheduled for this year, reported Pam Etsminger, the resort’s Marketing Manager.
The Visitor and Convention Bureau for Lee County reported that 12 percent of its online inquiries so far this year were wedding-related, representing a marked interest in destination weddings, reported Tamara Pigott, the Bureau’s Executive Director.
Ron Albeit, Vice President of Hospitality for The Marco Beach Ocean Resort, said while most people come to Florida from late December to April, the resort’s biggest wedding months are May and June.
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