How Tourism Impacts Hotels and Airbnb Rentals in Virginia Beach Oceanfront

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — People are looking to get away for the summer, and they’re heading to Virginia Beach, which is big news for local hotels and Airbnb rentals.

“We take [the Oceanfront] for granted because it’s, you know, right here. When you see these people come in who’ve never seen the ocean, who’ve never walked in it, who’ve never tasted the salt water on their lips, it’s really, really nice to see,” said said John Zirkle, president of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association and General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton.

Zirkle said tourism is the reason rooms at the resort are already booked for the summer.

Every year Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy at Old Dominion University looks at the hotel industry in Virginia and Hampton Roads. The report found that “recently released monthly data from STR, a global company that provides insights into the hospitality industry, shows that hotel revenues in Hampton Roads in the first four months of 2022 are 19% higher than levels seen in the first four months of 2019. The Hampton Roads hospitality industry, with the exception of the Miami and Tampa markets, also continues to outperform the nation’s top 25 markets in hotel revenue growth and revenue per available room.

The prices of almost everything are also rising across the board.

“We have seen the cost of everything [go up]linens from the bedroom to the governess [and] those who clean your room. Everything went up in price,” Zirkle said.

Data collected by ODU indicates that, as it found, “the average daily rate (ADR) paid for hotel rooms through April was $108, an increase of 1.3 % compared to 2019. However, Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), a hospitality industry healthcare industry standard, fell to $60 and was 4% lower than 2019.”

From hotels to restaurants, all money spent by tourists goes directly to Virginia Beach and everyone who lives there.

According to Zirkle, here are some highlights of the projects/events the Virginia Beach TIP Fund is/was responsible for over the past 30 years:

  • Expansion of the Museum of Marine Sciences ($31,684,000)
  • Sandler Center for the Performing Arts ($46,700,000)
  • Convention Center ($193,500,000)
  • Construction of Rudee Inlet Seawall at 58e St and a continuous dune of 58e St at 89e street ($44,821,704)
  • Public Beach Access Improvements (Including Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay) ($416,364)
  • 25e St and Pacific Avenue parking lot ($2,056,000)
  • Gateway Connection for Rudee Loop ($14,360,155)
  • Go. Beach Amphitheater Economic Development Partnership and Lake Ridge Golf Course ($17,009,269)
  • Sports Center ($68,561,047)
  • Aquarium parking increase ($3,000,000)
  • Parking in the resort area ($11,125,000)
  • Beach Sand Replenishment ($14,083,001)
  • 17e St Phase 1 Improvements ($26,000,000)
  • Seal exhibit ($500,000)
  • Boardwalk Arts Festival – MOCA – Since 1996
  • Christmas Lights – Since 1997
  • Beach Street USA Entertainment
  • Neptune Festival – Since 2011
  • Something in the water festival
  • Virginia Symphony
  • rock ‘n’ roll half marathon
  • American Music Festival

Between hotels and motels are also other accommodation options for visitors.

“Our Airbnb notifications started buzzing months ago,” said Virginia Beach resident LeAnne.

LeAnne was born and raised in Virginia Beach, and said Oceanfront reservations have been a big financial boost for her family.

“I know sometimes locals are like, ‘Oh, the tourists are coming to town,’ but for so many people here at the beach, it’s such an opportunity. Remember, when you do Airbnb rentals, you support these small family businesses,” she said.

The possibility of having visitors from out of town also lasts for more than three and a half months.

“We noticed a big difference in how long people get off,” she said. “The season is getting longer, which is really cool.”

It is also the first year since the start of the pandemic that J-1 students have returned to work. Classification J-1 (Exchange Visitors) is permitted for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, to conduct research, to consult, to demonstrate special skills, to receive training or to receive higher medical education or training.

“We’re probably still going to be around 1,000 J-1 students coming in to help supplement the staff we have and deal with the staffing shortages,” Zirkle said.

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