In a sign of rapidly improving business on Route 66 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rockwood Motor Court in Springfield, Missouri, is reporting a spectacular rise in overnight bookings from a year ago.
How spectacular? How about an 895% increase?
Phyllis Ferguson reopened the historic motel at 2200 W. College St. (aka Route 66) in January 2020 — just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic started to get serious in the U.S.
KOLR-TV in Springfield reports:
“It was pretty destructive to business,” Ferguson said. “Travel just dried up on Route 66 as it did throughout the country.”
But some people still had to travel and they chose to drive instead of fly.
“We had people who stopped in because they didn’t have to get in an elevator with strangers, didn’t have to walk down a long hallway in a hotel that was filled with air they were concerned might have been contaminated,” Ferguson said. “That brought us some business for which we were very thankful.”
As things open back up during the summer travel season, lots of tourists are making reservations now.
“People are really wanting to get out and see the country and just get out of their houses and get out of their own backyards and look at their bigger backyard and that’s Route 66,” Ferguson said.
Here’s the video of the report:
The surge in business matches what I’ve heard from motels in Tucumcari — that people are eager to take driving vacations this year, and a good portion of them will be on Route 66.
And the increase is business is without the European travelers, which make up a sizable portion of Route 66 travel. The U.S. hasn’t yet opened travel to Europe but is expected to do so soon.
I do not expect most Route 66 businesses to report nearly a 900% increase in business. The Rockwood Motor Court, built in 1929, is experiencing that because it reopened right about the time the pandemic began. Expectations of a low level of business were further depressed by the situation.
(Image of the Rockwood Motor Court in Springfield, Missouri, via Facebook)