Demand for independent rentals in P.R. back to pre-María levels
Lodging demand on the island during the first quarter of 2019 is on par with levels reported during the same quarter in 2017, 14 months post-hurricane Maria, signaling an “unprecedented pace of recovery” for a destination, Destination Marketing Organization Discover Puerto Rico announced.
Total demand for independent rentals is up 72% from first quarter 2017 levels, underscoring a large growth in visitors, according to the current STR Monthly Trend Report, which the DMO cited.
Forecast for the rest of the year looks promising as the remainder of 2019 is booking 24.1% higher than 2018 level, according to TravelClick Demand360, cited by Discover Puerto Rico.
This is expected to continue to rise as the average booking to arrival window is approximately 2.5 months, DMO officials said.
“Puerto Rico is looking more and more like a historic comeback story, and I’m proud to see the Island’s travel and tourism industry play a starring role,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Discover Puerto Rico has proven that a destination’s marketing arm is an indispensable component of a successful turnaround.”
“We learned a great deal from our tourism counterparts in other destinations who have faced adversity, and that helped focus our efforts. We gleaned insights and historical data related to perception, and closely observed how media handled recovery coverage. We optimized our plans to ensure strong results.” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.
Since its inception in July 2018, Discover Puerto Rico set a short-term goal to drive a “record pace” for recovery and reach pre-Maria levels by the hurricane’s two-year anniversary.
“The DMO was established to put the destination and economy first, by ensuring consistency and best-in-class marketing strategies to increase business and leisure visitation,” said Dean.
“This is an exciting time for Puerto Rico’s visitor economy, and it’s rewarding to see early success. However, this is just the first step — our ultimate objective is to put the transformative power of travel to work in Puerto Rico by doubling the size of the visitor economy, benefiting the Island’s residents and businesses,” he added.
Please, be careful with numbers. It is NOT 14 months since Hurricane Maria. Instead, it is 18 months thru March 2019 or 19 months thru April 2019. Recovery in the sunshine island is SLOW. Perhaps, an in-depth analysis by the DMO would be a welcome contribution on what Puerto Rico needs to do if it is going to be READY for future disasters. READINESS is not something that has been discussed in our economic disaster. Time to pay attention.