Firefly covers hotels in Kent County

The Firefly Music Festival has been an annual success in selling rooms for Kent hotels and renting houses and rooms. | PHOTO COURTESY OF AEG PRESENT

DOVER – Even with the campgrounds surrounding the Dover Motor Speedway filled with campervans, tents and even pre-pitched tents for ‘glampers’, Kent County’s hotels and home rentals enjoyed a long weekend -end of rooms filled with the Firefly Music Festival.

Kent County Tourism Corporation chairman Pete Bradley said his organization for years acted as a go-between with Firefly producer AEG Presents to find hotel rooms for vendors, security and staff. support working on the four-day event. Just days before the event, he was still answering calls to find open venues.

“I heard the county is full, so now they [AEG Presents] will look further in the area for hotel rooms,” Bradley told DBT last week. “It’s a huge event for our hotels, which are just running the support groups on their own. It’s a huge economic driver for us. Overall, it puts us on the map, because when these visitors are here , they have to eat and they do their shopping.”

At this point, the Delaware Hotel and Lodging Association does not have room occupancy figures for the Firefly Music Festival weekend. But Axia Management’s Tom Kramedas told the Delaware Business Times that the four-day weekend fills the hotels the company owns in Dover.

“We had a relationship with Red Frog [Firefly producer until 2018] and AEG from the start,” Kramedas said. “We probably give 75% of our inventory to their staff, contractors, vendors and artists at our four properties in Dover through contract.”

The Dover hotel market doesn’t quite fill up the week leading up to the event, but Kramedas said it was usually full for event nights.

Axia Management has four hotels in Dover, as well as some in Middletown and Lewes. Axia hotels outside of Kent County aren’t experiencing the same business boom as Firefly, but some fans and AEG Presents staff are booking in Middletown, Kramedas added.

“Firefly was a great event, and it’s been very positive for our businesses over the years,” he said. “With the loss of a NASCAR race at Dover, Firefly was a great replacement. Hopefully he never leaves.

For Bally’s Dover Casino Resort, the Firefly Music Festival is a mixed event for its business. The resort has 500 rooms and is the largest hotel in the state, according to Delaware Business Times records.

“Firefly is a big weekend for Kent County. As a general rule, this tends to drive away our loyal regular casino customers who frequent Bally’s Dover Casino Resort, for the most part,” said Bally’s Dover Vice President and General Manager Nick Polcino. “We are seeing an increase in the number of cash customers in the hotel. We sell packages that last for the duration of the Festival. We also have daily rates that festival goers gravitate toward.

Meanwhile, home and room rental service Airbnb welcomed 3,000 arrivals to Dover during the 2021 Firefly Music Festival. The top ten cities where guests who stayed at Airbnbs came from included: New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Arlington, Trenton, Virginia Beach and Wilmington.

Airbnb Dover hosts earned more than $700,000 over the four-day weekend in 2021. In the last six months of this year, they earned more than $16 million, according to a spokesperson. Airbnb.

Even though the campgrounds are packed with festival-goers, Bradley noted that not everyone stays on site for the four days.

“Some go out and go to AMC movies, hike in our parks, go to restaurants, bars and breweries,” Bradley said. “It gives us the opportunity to showcase Kent County, and when participants get older and have to think about where to live, work and play, they can choose us.”

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