Plenty of Empty Rooms at Local Inns, Owner Says

Click above to hear Fig Street Inn Bed & Breakfast owner Donna Kohler address the Cape Charles Planning Commission.

Cape Charles Wave

November 12, 2013

Perceptions that Bed and Breakfasts in Cape Charles are doing a booming business are not accurate, Fig Street Inn owner Donna Kohler told the Cape Charles Planning Commission November 5. The reality is that occupancy last year averaged 28 percent among the five B&Bs in town, she said.

Kohler addressed the Planning Commission after the Wave reported October 3 that Commissioners wanted more motels on Route 13.  Commissioner Joan Natali said, “I’d love to see two or three hotels out on Route 13. The occupancy of our hotels has been consistently full. The reason is we have become a wedding destination.”

Not so, refuted Kohler. Even in August the occupancy rate was only 53 percent. “There is the idea that we need more rooms because we’re becoming a wedding destination and we need places for these guests to stay. Speaking only for my bed and breakfast, wedding guests aren’t staying at my inn . . . they make up under 10 percent of my business,” she said.

Kohler noted there are “multiple weddings” on any given weekend. “We know that the guests are coming, but we also know that they’re not choosing to stay in town.

“Is it appropriate for the Town to be concerned about a market that is basically a pass-through?” Kohler asked. “They’re here for one reason only – a wedding – and they are literally in and out in less than 24 hours.

“There is not enough demand for the inventory that already exists,” Kohler said. “If there were, I would think that the Hotel Cape Charles would be open year-‘round.

“You might want to say that we’re a summer destination and we need places for people to stay in the summer months,” Kohler continued. “That is not necessarily true. For August 2013, my inn had an occupancy rate of only 46 percent – far below what anyone would expect of a peak season. [Read more…]


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