Talking dollars and cents doesn’t faze Elaine Michaud, International Sales/Convention Services Manager for the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and VisitorsBureau. Even if they’re Canadian and American dollars and cents.
“I get questions all the time why other destinations offer dollars at par,” says Michaud. But she contends that the Myrtle Beach area’s off-season rates, plus the cost of shopping and gas in the south, more than make up for the exchange rate.
“You can get an oceanfront room in December for as little as US $45,” she says. ‘In Florida, where it’s not a lot warmer – maybe 10 to 15 degrees [Fahrenheit] – you’d add $100 to that because it’s high season there. Yet Florida is only 500 miles away, and it’s the same ocean.”
Michaud’s $45 estimate isn’t a pipedream. In fact, rates are even lower in January.
The $145 Michaud quotes for an oceanfront room in Florida would buy accommodation for three couples in a three-bedroom condo at Grand Shores Oceanfront Resort in Myrtle Beach.
“Because the Canadian dollar has been flirting with par for a while now,” says Kimberly Hartley, the Canadian Account Manager for the Myrtle Beach Area CVB, “Canadians are getting a lot more for their dollar. Plus they are going to a destination that is affordable, accessible and has great value for price.”
Myrtle Beach Area CVBThe calendar has a huge influence on accommodation rates. For example, at Dayton House, a well-maintained but older oceanfront hotel in central Myrtle Beach, an ocean view efficiency unit renting for $45 a night in December jumps to $200 during July/August and the monthly rental November to February can run as low as $840. Monthly rentals can mean substantial savings, particularly in low and shoulder seasons. For example Palmetto Vacation Rentals quotes a four-bedroom condo that rents for $2,700 weekly in the high season is $1,600 per week in the spring and fall and $1,600 per month in winter. A four bedroom three bath Golf Villa at Kingston Plantation that rents for $3,520 a week in high season typically would rent for $1,700 a month September through December.
More than 425 hotels/motels and condos/cottages are listed on www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/STAY.
Myrtle Beach Area CVBGolf is one of the Myrtle Beach area’s biggest draws along with the 100 kilometres of beaches, at least for Canadians. But remember, golf rates don’t move in lock step with accommodation rates. When golf rates are down, hotel rates are up, and vice versa.
There are two peak periods for golf. One starts the second week of September and runs through November. The second is March through April. Golf is cheapest in December and January and May through August. At Myrtlewood, for example, the walk-in rate for 18 holes of golf, including cart, is $69 to $79 September through November, $44 December and January, $84 mid-March to the end of April and $54 in summer.
Most larger hotels offer a wide range of golf packages and a choice of dozens of courses.
Myrtle Beach Area CVBA great place to find deals and discounts is the Myrtle Beach Area Visitor Guide, which is free to visitors and has eight pages of coupons ranging from $1 to $10 off admissions and ride passes at attractions like Banana Boat Express, The Children’s Museum of South Carolina, Family Kingdom Amusement Park and other attractions and live entertainment.
Restaurant offers include a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrees or $4 off an adult seafood buffet during certain hours. There are 1,700 full-service restaurants in the area so look for early-bird specials.
Ninety-four per cent of the more than 14 million who visit the Myrtle Beach area annually come by car. Even if you fly in, “you have to have wheels when you get here,” says another tourism official. But for bopping up and down the main drag, Ocean Boulevard, there’s an alternative to driving. The Coast RTA, the area’s public bus service runs every 30 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight year-round, and charges an average $2 per trip. The Coast RTA stops at most major visitor spots and also has routes up and down hotels on the popular Ocean Boulevard. For the latest updates on pricing, schedules and routes, visit coastrta.com
For more information, visit www.VisitMyrtleBeach.ca