A majority of Corpus Christi’s roughly 10,000 hotel rooms were sold out Tuesday morning, but some rooms in the city are still available.
One-third of AEP Texas customers in Corpus Christi — 50,000 people — were without power Tuesday morning.
And prices are still in the normal market range, said Brett Oetting, pesident/CEO of Visit Corpus Christi.
Oetting and his wife checked into a Corpus Christi hotel room on Monday afternoon and extended their stay another night on Tuesday.
“The hoteliers have been hurting for a year now. And so this is not the way any hotelier probably hoped that they would fill their hotel rooms,” Oetting said. “But this has been good for some of the hoteliers to get some increased business because of weather.”
Oetting said the best way to find a hotel room is to use a travel website, such as Expedia, to find the room you want. Next, you should call the hotel directly to reserve the room and not book it online.
A search on Priceline and Expedia’s websites showed Tuesday afternoon that hotel rooms were still available at average prices in Corpus Christi.
RGB Hospitality owns or manages more than 15 hotels across the Coastal Bend, accounting for about 2,000 rooms in the market.
Ajit David, partner with the group, said their hotels are at about 95 percent occupancy. The other five percent has been reserved for his staff members. About 85 percent of his guests are local residents.
“Our average rate has not changed in the light of this storm,” David said. “Majority of the guests at our hotels are residents of our community, friends, neighbors, emergency staff, etc.”
David’s hotel prices are ranging from roughly $99 to $149.
Three of David’s hotels were without power Tuesday, and most of them do not have generators. There’s still a handful of guests at these hotels, but those guests chose to stay, David said. Others were transferred to his hotels with power.
“It’s quite a risk, given the uncertainties, because the hotels that do have power, they could lose it, too,” David said. “So far the ones that have had power have have stayed that way.”
Oetting started in his position roughly a year ago, and moved to Corpus Christi from Topeka, Kansas. In the northern and Midwestern states, it’s customary for business to increase during inclement weather at hotels and restaurants, he said.
“That doesn’t really happen down here in South Texas,” he said. “But for a couple days, it has. So it has given them some unexpected business for a couple days.”
Last week, the city’s average hotel occupancy rate was nearly 55 percent, Oetting said.
“Even including this bad weather going back for the last month and a half, Corpus Christi has been ahead of last year and hotel occupancy,” Oetting said. “And that is when the rest of the country in the state are down still because of COVID about 30 percent.”
The city of Corpus Christi issued a boil water notice Tuesday, following a major water main break, adding to the complications of a sweeping winter storm that brought below-freezing temperatures and power outages.
David’s group stocked up on water bottles for hotel guests before the freeze.
“This event is not meant for us to to get rich,” he said. “We went out of our way to make sure that some of these accommodations are ready, because we were anticipating a power outage for a while now.”
The hospitality group anticipates power should be restored at their few hotels without it by noon Wednesday.
“We’re just hoping that the worst of the storm is behind us,” he said.
Kathryn Cargo follows business openings and developments while reporting on impacts of the city government’s decisions.See our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe.