Research/Results

MBACC’s First Six Months in 2019

Your Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has been busy promoting, protecting and improving business on the Grand Strand. Here’s a look at our year so far.

71 Chamber Academy Classes
We’ve hosted 71 free educational seminars so far this year on a variety of topics, including taxes, investments, networking 101, podcasting basics, marketing basics, and email organization. There’s 22 more already on the calendar for the second half of the year. Visit ChamberAcademy.com to see what’s on tap.

44 Ribbon-Cuttings
We’ve given our special ribbon-cutting scissors a workout with 44 ceremonies to celebrate new businesses or acknowledge major milestones. Make sure you are following us on Facebook to see pictures from each ceremony.

17 Business After Hours
We’ve partnered with 17 different member-investors to host Business After Hours giving all of our member employees the chance to explore different businesses and network with their peers. We’re trying to make networking easier for those with young children by adding family-friendly opportunities including the Business After Hours events at Rockin’ Jump and Broadway Grand Prix. And, we heard the pleas for women-only events in our most recent survey. Be on the lookout for a brand new event called Women & Wine Wednesdays launching this fall.

12 Trips to Columbia and 3 Trips to Washington, D.C.
We made 12 trips to Columbia and three to Washington D.C. to speak with legislators. Our trips to Columbia included giving three testimonies before the S.C. State House or Senate committees. We fought efforts to move the school start date protecting businesses ability to use high schoolers in their workforce the entire summer. We helped secure $2 million for deep water ocean outfalls.

9,163,585 Business Directory Referrals
The chamber’s online Business Directory continues to be a great resource for our member-investors. From Jan. 1-June 27, the directory generated a total of 9,163,585 referrals. Restaurants are searched most frequently, followed by medical services, coupons, organizations/clubs, contractors, entertainment, hotels, events, outdoor recreation and employment agencies.

46 Media Hostings and 3 Media Missions
The marketing team works hard every day to promote the Grand Strand. Through the end of May, Visit Myrtle Beach has hosted 46 different members of the media ranging from traditional publishers to influencers all who generate content about their time in Myrtle Beach. There also have been three media missions, where Visit Myrtle Beach representatives travel to meet with publishers to pitch story ideas about the Grand Strand. You’ll see results of the media hostings and media missions linked on MyrtleBeachAreaCVB.com.

723.9 Million Earned Media Impressions Valued at $72.9 Million
The Visit Myrtle Beach efforts to visit and host media members has had big results. Through the end of May, the earned media impressions hit 723.9 million, valued at $72.9 million. Think of it this way, earned media is, well, earned and not purchased. But, if you were to purchase the same amount of impressions in advertising, it would cost $72.9 million.

Moving 52-week average trend lines for lodging business performance metrics in Myrtle Beach area pre-recession and today

by Taylor Damonte, director of the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism, Coastal Carolina University, and Robert Salvino, director of the Grant Center for Real Estate and Economic Development, E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, Coastal Carolina University

If you missed the Grant Center’s 21st annual Economic Growth and Real Estate Summit on March 1, then we recommend you speak with anyone who was there about the invaluable insights they gained into such topics as capital costs and retail trends. Underlying much of the discussion was the question of where we stand with respect to the business cycle. While none of the experts at the event had a crystal ball, and nor do we, the question got us asking ourselves if a technical analysis of the Brittain Center’s data might provide any insights. The moving 52-week average rate of change for lodging business performance reflects the average direction and rate of change during the most recent year compared with the equivalent previous year. Each point on the graphs below reflects the 52-week average rate of change at a historic week in time. The slope of the lines reflects the rate of increase or decrease in the rate of change from week to week. The Brittain Center for Resort Tourism has been tracking the performance of a voluntary sample of nightly-rented hotels, condo-hotels and campsites located in the Myrtle Beach area since January 2003. In January 2006, the center also started tracking a stratified scientifically random sample of weekly-rented vacation properties (VRPs) in this area. The metrics being analyzed by the center are the 52-week average rate of change in average percent occupancy (APO), average daily rate (ADR), and average revenue per unit. Results for these two broad segments, the hotel, condo-hotel and campsite (HC-HC) segment, which consists of sleeping spaces rented on a nightly basis, and VRPs, which are sleeping units that are rented on a weekly basis, are graphed below. Calendar rental weeks are numbered one through 52 and are indicated on the horizontal axis of the graphs. Peaks and troughs in the 52-week average rate of change for each metric are labeled for ease of reading.

To the extent that lodging demand in the Myrtle Beach area results from leisure travel rather than from business travel, area-wide lodging occupancy and the associated revenue per available room (RevPAR) is believed to result primarily from discretionary spending. As such, the rate of change in RevPAR in the Myrtle Beach area may be thought of as one leading indicator of the business cycle. Consequently, the fact that the center’s estimate of the 52-week average moving rate of change in RevPAR fell to below zero at the end of Spring 2018 for the first time since August 2010 is interesting. Going back to the period prior to when the great recession is now known to have transpired, readers will want to note that in September 2005, the 52-week average rate of change for the center’s measure of APO fell to -2.2 percent. However, at that time the average rate of change in average daily rate (ADR) was still up 2.5 percent, leaving the rate of change in RevPAR at that time barely-positive. The rate of change in APO, ADR, and RevPAR rebounded during the following year and peaked by September 2006. Economic historians may recall that the Dow Industrial Average did not peak until July 2007. By that time, the rate of change in APO for the center’s sample of HC-HC properties had already dropped to negative 2 percent, and when it did the rate of change in ADR also became negative, dropping 2.5 percent below its long term average rate of change, which brought RevPAR into negative territory as well. While the moving average rate of change in APO for the center’s sample bottomed in March 2009, about the same time that the Dow bottomed, ADR, a measure of price, was sticky, holding on for an additional nine months before bottoming. As mentioned above, the moving average rate of change in RevPAR did not turn positive again until August 2010. Moving the discussion to current day, during the period May 2015 to February 2019, the rate of change in APO has ranged from 3.7 percent to -3.4 percent. However, during most of that period, until February 2018, the rate of change in ADR, being sticky, remained above 4 percent, so the rate of change in RevPAR remained positive. It wasn’t until May 2018 that the rate of change in RevPAR fell to below zero. The rate of change in APO rebounded during Summer 2018, lifting RevPAR once again. Nevertheless, by the end of September 2018, the moving average rate of change in RevPAR for the center’s voluntary sample of HC-HC properties was again negative. Of course, the beginning of this period of negative performance does coincide with the timing of Hurricane Florence. However, again we point out that as recently as May 2018 the moving average rate of change in RevPAR had already been negative for a short period of time. For a more fine grained analysis of lodging performance during the Hurricane Florence time frame, readers may want to look at our report in the November 2018 issue of the Grand Strander.

As mentioned above, the center began tracking performance for VRPs in January 2006. Peaks and troughs in the moving average rate of change for that segment are labeled below as well. The long-term 52-week average rate of change in APO for the Brittain Center’s scientifically random sample of Horry County VRPs (217 units weekly) has been 0.4 percent. Generally speaking, the business performance graphs for VRPs suggest a higher level of momentum than do the HC-HC business performance graphs, leading to higher peaks, and lower troughs in the trend lines. The rate of change for APO for the VRPs seems slower to respond to changes in the rate and direction of change in ADR and vice versus, than does the rate of change for these metrics in the HC-HC segment.

To summarize, the long-term 52-week moving average rate of change for the center’s sample of weekly-rented VRPs has been 3.6 percent. This metric current stands at -0.8 percent. The long-term 52-week average rate of change in RevPAR for the center’s sample of nightly rented HC-HCs since January 2006 has been nearly 2.5 percent. This metric currently stands at -1.9 percent, though it has been rising since the end of 2018. It should also be noted that though the long term average rate of change in APO for the center’s sample of HC-HCs since 2006 has been zero, this does not mean that there has not been a dramatic increase in demand for visitation in the area. In fact, the opposite is true. This can be seen in both hospitality fee and accommodations tax collections, and in the tourist population data tracked by D.K. Shifflet and Associates. For example, the Shifflet results indicate that the number of tourists visiting the area has grown from 14.6 million in 2006 to 19.6 million in 2017, an increase of more than 34 percent. With APO remaining constant, this suggests that there has been a roughly equivalent increase in the supply of lodging inventory during that time. This increase in inventory has been successfully absorbed into the local market, and along with it has come the associated direct, indirect and induced  growth  in jobs.

No one can say where the business cycle will take us in a year’s time, though the center’s current analysis of the 52-week moving average rate of change in the RevPAR of its sample of nightly-rented HC-HCs in the Myrtle Beach area does suggest at least one reason that some people may ask the question. If you would like to explore how you could participate in the center’s research and gain access to its current segment-level 52-week moving average results at any time, and to its weekly forecasts going out as far as six weeks into the future, please contact Taylor Damonte, tdamonte@coastal.edu, at Coastal Carolina University.