Hotel tax revenues in Orange County, Florida shattered another record in May, for the fourth consecutive record-setting month.
Record receipts for the tourist development tax (TDT) were driven by higher hotel occupancy, reported at 70.5% and by the higher cost of a hotel room, which averaged $144.73 for the month, according to figures provided by Visit Orlando.
The strong demand for Orlando hotel rooms the past few months is attributed to MegaCon, which drew a record crowd of 140,000 for the annual weekend event celebrating characters from comic books, TV shows, movies, and streaming platforms like Netflix and Tik Tok. Orange County also benefitted from a busy Memorial Day weekend.
"While we are seeing an increase in traveler concern over travel prices and gasoline prices, in particular, we are not seeing an immediate effect on travel plans for Orlando," Casandra Matej, Visit Orland’s president and CEO said.
"Generally, when gas prices spike, which traditionally occurs during the summer months, we do not see a significant impact on hotel bookings. Consumers still travel but travel differently – stay closer to home, adjust length of stay, adjust accommodation level, spend less on entertainment and dining," Matej added. All those things could have an impact on future hotel-tax revenues.
The more revenue generated by the TDT, the higher the likelihood that hotel property tax assessments will increase.
Hotel assessments in Florida were lowered in 2021 to reflect the downturn caused by COVID. At the very least we expect those downward adjustments to be removed for tax year 2022. Additional increases are more than likely due to higher occupancies and average daily rates.