March 18, 2013

Hotels So-So Season May Yet be a Sellout as 60,000 Head for Hotels, Spend More Than $200 Million

MIAMI BEACH — Sam Lasko of Lasko Tours fame is preparing to serve more than 1,800 guests at the coveted Fontainebleau Hotel. Paul Glasser, who operates the Passover program at the Biltmore in Scottsdale said he was a sell-out “primarily because the majority of his clientele are loyal repeat customers.” Glasser’s near-1000 guests will be part of an estimated 60,000 Americans and Canadians who will spend some part of the upcoming Passover holiday (eve of March 25 – April 2nd) at resorts and hotels, spending well over $200 million. 

At the Sheraton Maui, some 800 guests will be celebrating the holiday of freedom. What was only a few weeks ago a “so-so” season, is in fact, turning into a sell-out for many. A veteran industry expert noted that an early Passover is usually good “for places like Miami Beach.” He added, “When it’s still cold up North, we see many more people here as opposed to when Passover falls in mid or later in April.” That may be, but some hotels were still advertising as late as this week hoping to attract latecomers. Some programs routinely fill up in the last two weeks.

In addition to the hotel programs, many Americans will travel to programs in Europe. Although not as popular as Sukkot, may Americans spend their Passovers in Israeli hotels. Jay Buchsbaum of Kedem, says that the Passover are increasingly demanding not only better foods but also upscale wines. “They no longer are solidified with the Kiddush and sweet wines; they want cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cognac ands champagne as well as good lacquers.” Buchsbaum also said that another growing trend is to spend Passover in rented homes in vacation spots, and to order in the meals, or in some cases, hire a chef.