Michigan’s new law requiring all state schools to open after Labor Day is providing everything its supporters said it would in spite of a weak state economy, according to Steve Yencich, president and CEO of the Michigan Hotel, Motel & Resort Association (MHMRA).
And it’s a safe bet that these preliminary findings apply equally to the RV park and campground business in Michigan, which actively supported the revised school schedule.
MHMRA asked members to participate in a statewide survey comparing occupancy levels in the last two weeks of August this year to that same time last year. And while it didn’t include RV parks and campgrounds, the results are nevertheless telling:
* 53% of the hotels had higher or much higher occupancy levels in the last two weeks of August
* 29% reported status quo occupancy levels
* 62% felt the new law had a beneficial impact on their property’s occupancy in late August
“Approximately 70% of state tourism comes from in-state residents,” said Yencich. “That makes these results especially impressive because summer travel by Michigan residents was likely suppressed by a weakened state economy and high gas prices. Hotel occupancy is a good barometer of overall tourism outcomes. These results are good news for golf courses, restaurants and all segments of a diverse tourism industry.”
Tourism, Michigan’s second largest industry, contributes more than $2.4 billion annually in federal, state and local tax receipts.
Of the survey respondents, 48% managed resort properties, 27% were rural and 25% were urban property managers.
The new law also led to marked increases in hotel occupancy over Labor Day weekend, as 43% of the surveyed properties had higher or much higher occupancy levels over the holiday weekend. “Apparently increased availability of family vacation time leading up to the holiday prompted more people to extend their stay on into Labor Day weekend,” said Yencich. “Michigan’s post-Labor Day school law was a real boost for families, tourism and our state’s economy.”