Although businesses in the Lake Conroe area have struggled to deal with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, officials said the hotel and tourism industry has seen a mixed bag in the business.
Shannon Overby, executive director of the Conroe Visitors Bureau, said although the effects of the outbreak on the hospitality industry are “devastating,” the Conroe area has been fortunate and has not seen the worst effects.
“Some of the larger cities around the United States, a lot of their hotels are literally just closing their doors because they can’t afford to stay open,” Overby said. “And fortunately, that hasn’t happened in Conroe, except for one property.”
The local hotels were up in revenue in the early months of 2020 over what was projected, according to Overby. Although some hotels have only one or two rooms occupied, she said some properties have long-term construction contracts that put them at 80% occupancy.
“It’s still gonna take a hit. The hotel industry as a whole, the hotel occupancy tax the city gets to market for more visitors is gonna take a hit,” Overby said.
Many of those construction contracts are with projects such as Margaritaville, which Overby said is still slated to open in June. A statement from the resort to Community Impact Newspaper said the resort and its on-site restaurants and bars are still slated for its summer opening.
“We look forward to welcoming guests to the laid-back luxury of Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe-Houston this summer,” the statement said.
Overby said this mixed reaction is unique for Conroe, especially compared to The Woodlands, where the Howard Hughes Corp. suspended operations at three of its hotel locations—The Woodlands Resort, The Westin at The Woodlands and Embassy Suites by Hilton at Hughes Landing—on March 22 until further notice.