LUBBOCK, TX – When the winter explosion hit Texas, local hotels prepared for the worst, expecting reservations left and right to be canceled. Many were. But later in the week some hotels were surprised when the locals checked in – all because of the same winter storm.
“2020. The worst year ever in the hotel industry, and then 2021 really wasn’t any better. Then there is an ice storm, ”said Rob Meyer, owner and operator of the Arbor Inn & Suites and the Arbor Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock.
Meyer emphasized that the hotel business has been hit by the pandemic for almost a year. Just as the hotel owner caught his breath, winter came to Texas and business froze again.
“You think you get a little momentum, and then something stops it,” Meyer said.
To his surprise, some Lubbock residents checked in during the storm and needed warmth and water.
“The trip was reduced to a minimum [during the storm] … But we picked up a lot of overnight stays for people whose pipes are frozen, ”said Meyer.
Meyer said his hotels booked about a dozen rooms to people whose houses had no water, and he pointed out that there were many customers he wasn’t expecting, especially given last year’s loss.
His hotels also received calls from people in West Texas and the South Plains, including Abilene and Seminole, looking for a place of power. Meyer said his hotels only lost power for a few minutes earlier this week during the rolling blackouts in Lubbock.
That small surge in business may have helped its hotels weather the storm, but Meyer hopes the industry will improve in the spring.
“It’s just another domino falling and all we can do is pick up those pieces and move on,” Meyer said.