dewey beach

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - An analysis of data provided by the Rehoboth Beach Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce shows a downward trend in people booking hotel rooms in those two beach communities since COVID-19.

In the two Memorial Day Weekends prior to the pandemic, 2018 and 2019, hotel occupancy was 3,381 and 3,265 respectively. 

COVID was still an in issue in 2021, but the restrictions were beginning to loosen. 3,147 rooms were booked during Memorial Day Weekend that year.

In 2022 there were 3,281. 3,132 were reported last year. It was the lowest total in over a decade. That was backed up by what businesses and the Chamber of Commerce was seeing.

Alec Burris, the general manager of Hotel Rehoboth, says he's seen fewer guests, likely due to cost-saving measures.

"We're seeing shorter lengths of stay; more like weekend getaways or summer getaways for three or four days, rather than staying the full week," explained Burris.

When it comes to booking numbers, Garth Huffman, the general manager of The Bellmoor Inn and Spa, says his hotel is doing just fine, but they are experiencing a different problem.

"The difficulties we face here are housing for our staff, and we're becoming more reliant on J1s, but there's not good J1 housing in the city of Rehoboth," said Huffman. 

Carol Everhart, the president and CEO of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, says the future of these communities relies on visitors.

"Small businesses, as you know, are struggling, so the more visitation we have walking the streets, whether you're an eatery or retail, it's critical," said Everhart.

Everhart says that while the decrease is not severe, it is something that needs to be monitored. For tracking purposes, Memorial Day Weekend begins Friday May 24.