“Covid accelerated things for Jackson,” said Sadek Darwiche, the co-owner and general manager of Hotel Jackson downtown. The formerly slow months — October, November, April and May — saw a spike in visitation, nearly doubling prepandemic norms last October.
“Shoulder season, in 2022, might be gone in Florida, Hawaii and at the big national parks with many top destinations seeing double-digit hotel demand increases in January and February,” wrote Christie Hudson, a spokeswoman for Expedia Group, in an email, noting that many of these areas exceeded 2019 lodging figures.
Most hotels charge more when demand allows. For The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Fla., more visitors in the normally slow summer and mostly steady traffic otherwise pushed rates on average 10 percent above 2019 levels.
At Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in the Hamptons, the surge was more dramatic as urban exiles drove the off-season nearly to extinction, according to George Filopoulos, the owner of the resort. There, average nightly rates in the normally quiet month of December climbed from $368 in 2019 to $486 in 2020 and $524 this year.
One of the busiest hotel markets, according to STR, was the Florida Keys, where average daily rates grew from about $272 in 2019 to $380 in 2021 as of November, or nearly 40 percent.
“Mid-February last year, we saw a spike in demand and it has not stopped,” said Stacey Mitchell, the tourism council director for the Florida Keys.
Of course, many destinations have been working hard to shrink the off-season. Door County, for example, has a popular half-marathon in early May, and in 2021, it added a Christmas market in late November and early December to attract visitors at traditionally slower times.