Number of visitors in paid lodging and room rates hit new marks for that month; Aloft Hotel opening later this month
In December 2015, the number of visitors to Sarasota County who stayed in paid lodging rose 0.8 percent over the December 2014 figure, Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, reported to the Sarasota County Commission late last week, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.
In a Jan. 29 email, Haley wrote that the tourists’ direct spending was $222,233,200, a 4.5-percent increase over the December 2014 number.
Additionally, lodging occupancy in the county grew by 0.3 percent to 69.1 percent, the highest December level ever, she pointed out.
The average room rate also climbed 2.8 percent year-over-year, to $173.02; yet again, that was the biggest such mark for December, she wrote.
Finally, Sarasota County’s growth in revenue per available room “was the highest in our competitive set for December,” she added.
In a related matter, Haley wrote that Visit Sarasota County had asked representatives of the county’s hospitality industry to look ahead for the next three months to gauge demand. As a result, she wrote, 88 percent of the respondents reported “that business will be the same or better than [it was during] last year’s record-breaking season.”
In one further note, Haley added that the new Aloft Hotel will open later this month in downtown Sarasota. “[It] will be a big hit judging from our recent hardhat tour.”