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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 5 years ago

Area rooms were booked weeks, decades in advance of Speedweek

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Beachside hotels in Ormond Beach rely on the Speedweek for sustainability, the same as they rely on Bike Week.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

When NASCAR sets up in Daytona Beach for two weeks every February, it brings with it a legion of fans, many of whom book local hotel and resort rooms weeks, months and, in some cases, decades in advance.

As a result, many local hotels were at near-capacity before fans even arrived to the area, a revenue spike many of those businesses rely on to carry them through the year's slower seasons.

“It was good this year,” said Vinnie Rivera, front office manager at the Coral Beach Resort, 711 S. Atlantic Ave. “It was probably a little better this year than last year. It just seemed busier.”

Rivera's resort sees a lot of fans traveling from nearby states, like Georgia, he said. But it also gets a good portion of its Speedweek business from Canadian travelers.

Symphony Beach Club, at 453 S. Atlantic Ave, also gets most of its business from northern race fans.

“I get more guests here that are from farther up north,” said manager Carmen Zambrana. “They come and they stay longer than the (Daytona) 500.”

Zambrana said her guests, from places like Canada, Ohio and New York, often stay anywhere from a week to two months. But Bike Week usually attracts more people to her hotel than Speedweek.

While the Coral Beach Resort, Rivera said, had less than 10 rooms available a month before Speedweek and was fully booked before the event, certain area timeshares have rooms reserved years in advance.

Christine Maselli, the resort manager at the Outrigger Beach Club, said the rooms for Speedweek are purchased, sometimes, 30 years in advance, so fans can assure themselves a place to stay.

But Maselli noted that those fans are having a more difficult time guaranteeing they’ll have the room when NASCAR is actually in town.

“For the past three years, (Speedweek) has moved,” she said. “And it has affected the timeshares. It kind of put a hurt on the people who owned (those) two weeks."

Those people will now need to tack on an extra week, she added, to ensure they don't miss the fun.

This year, the Daytona 500 was held Feb. 23, a week after it was in 2010; in 2011, it was Feb. 20, then Feb. 27 in 2012. That creates problems for her clients, Maselli said, although most end up purchasing the additional time.

She sees that same dedication from people to retain rooms for Bike Week, as well.

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