60ºF

Local families turned away from staying at area hotels

Potential guest told most locals 'really destroy the place'

photo

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Amanda Talamo and her girls wanted an early start for the beach.

"We decided to rent a hotel Saturday night, because we were going to spend the day on Sunday at the beach," Talamo said.

They pulled up to the Best Western Plus International Speedway Hotel.

[WEB EXTRA: American Hotel & Lodging Association]

Talamo described what happened next.

"They ask for my license and debit card, which I gave them, and immediately, as soon as she saw my license and my address, that I was a Volusia County resident, she told me she could not rent to me because I lived here," she said.

"We were really upset, you know? Its almost like discrimination. 'Because we live here you're not going to rent to me?' She said, 'I'm sorry, it's corporate decision.'"

Jim, a local business owner who doesn't want to be identified, had a similar experience at Hampton Inn Daytona Beach Shores Hotel.

"As I was explaining to him my address and stuff he stopped me short and said, 'We don't normally rent to locals,' and before I could ask why he said, 'But I'll just put in (a) reservation that you are having AC work done in your house.' I said, 'Why don't you rent to locals?' He said, 'Most locals will come in and really destroy the place.'"

Local 6 News went to check out what happens when a local person tries to rent a room. Local 6's Loren Korn, a Volusia County resident, first went to Hampton Inn Daytona Beach Shores Hotel. Korn was offered a room on the spot.

But when she went to Best Western Plus International Speedway Hotel, she was turned away once the clerk saw her license and Korn was told they "don't rent to locals."

Even though it may seem wrong and unfair, it is legal.

Florida Law (Statute 509.092) says hotels can refuse accommodations to a person who is objectionable or undesirable to the operator, but such refusal may not be based upon race, creed, color, sex, physical disability or national origin.

Both Talamo and Jim said the hotels told them they adopted the policy because they want to keep out parties, drugs and prostitution.

"I lived 15 years in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and every hotel there gave locals discounts," Jim said. "That's a tourist place just like Daytona Beach."

"The people that live in this community that work and pay taxes every once in a while, we want to get away for a weekend, too," Talamo said.

Local 6 contacted both hotels. Both said that turning away local residents is not their policy and the owner of the Best Western said they will be retraining their front desk.