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Reeling from coronavirus, Central Florida hotels offer some 'pretty great deals'

By Trevor Fraser, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Fashion Daily News

"What we've found that people care about first is safety," Waltrip said. "Will it be safe for my family? Then they want to know it's fun, because you don't want to go on vacation and not have fun."

Programs such as Westgate's or at other properties that have encouraged working from hotels are aimed at getting in customers on the weekdays when occupancy rates used to be buoyed by conventions and other travel. The Orange County Convention Center largely has been closed since March, with an estimated $1.22 billion in economic impact, according to officials there.

Another difference that has popped up is Florida resident discounts being given to travelers from Alabama and Georgia. Burns said up to 93% of visitors to Central Florida are driving in from around the state or its neighbors, as airline travel continues to flag. She believes the price drops have been part of the attraction.

"They've discounted heavily," she said. "It's pretty cool that you can stay at one of the major Disney or theme park hotels for a fraction of what you would have paid last year."

Ultimately, all the packages are ways to entice people into thinking about Orlando as they get ready to travel again.

"We didn't use to have to beg for that, but we do now," Burns said.

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