High demand drives up Grand Strand summer beach rental prices


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) — If you’re planning a Grand Strand vacation this summer, the time to book is now.

Hotels and apartments book up quickly and you’ll likely notice an increase in the amount you pay compared to last year.

According to the Myrtle Beach Area Lodging Metrics, the average rate for a hotel room this week is around $136, up 22% from the same time last year.

So what drives up price inflation or demand?

“It’s strictly the request,” said Ryan Swaim, general manager of Dunes Realty.

For over 50 years, the management of Dunes Realty has seen the Grand Strand become a vacation destination.

Swaim says the rental company has just had one of its best years.

“Last year, there wasn’t a property in our program that didn’t have its best year ever,” Swaim said.

Right now, rental occupancy is up nearly 68% year over year, while hotel stays are up nearly 14%.

Taylor Demonte, professor of tourism at CCU, says the Grand Strand is such a hot market that he doesn’t expect these price increases to have an impact on the number of people booking.

“Research I’ve done over the past 30 years shows that our market demand over the years has been inelastic,” Demonte said.

In 2019, the average cost of a hotel room in June July and August was $299.

Last year, the average rose to $308 per night.

“We increased our prices by about 10% this year at the start of the season and this year there are very few discounts because everything is already booked,” Swaim said.

The only major downside since the pandemic for Dunes has been finding people to help clean up their nearly 600 rental properties on departure day.

“We saw a big problem with people tracing last year,” Swaim said.

If you are still thinking of booking that summer reservation, now is the time.

“If you haven’t booked yet, book soon,” Swaim said.

Dunes Realty says condo owners are usually the ones who set these rental prices, but recommend a reasonable rate.

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