ORLANDO, Fla. – The white Lamborghini Huracan roared one more time in a parking lot at the Orlando International Airport before “Fast Rob” rolled it onto a flat-bed truck and drove it back to Miami.
Rob, the logistics manager at MPH Club Exotic Car Rentals, picked up the Lambo at MCO after a four-day rental. A customer flying in from New York ordered it to be delivered at the airport for when he landed.
“Just a regular Joe, he had it four days, $1,295 per day every day for four days,” Rob said.
MPH Club is based in Miami but Rob said the Orlando office is growing quickly and demand over the next few weeks is high.
“We blew up from there,” Rob said. “We just kept getting more cars, more clientele and sold out every weekend. Sold out. Sixty cars, in a pandemic: Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Bentley, Mclaren. We got it, it’s been rented.”
The biggest question he keeps getting from potential customers?
“They call and ask is Florida open,” Rob said. “People are coming, enjoying themselves because we’re kinda the only place that’s open.”
Tuesday afternoon, rental car counters Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Alamo and Budget inside the airport were jammed. Dozens of travelers lined up to pick up a car.
To keep up with demand for spring break and the upcoming summer travel season, the TSA is moving part-timers to full-time and hiring 15 more part-time agents, according to a TSA spokesperson.
And airlines continue to add flights every week.
It’s a far cry from a year ago when entire wings of the airport terminals were desolate, silent and looked abandoned.
Daryl Cronk, Visit Orlando senior director of market research, said a fraction of Americans are traveling this spring break compared to normal years, but 57% of those travelers are headed to Central Florida.
“It says that a recovery is getting started,” Cronk said. “I think there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of pent-up demand for people wanting to get out. Of those who want to travel, Orlando remains one of their top destinations.”
Cronk said spring break travel could restore hotel occupancy in Central Florida to December levels.
“Compared to last year (spring break) we were looking at 10-12% occupancy in early April,” Cronk said. “This year it’s anywhere from 50-60%, similar to the holidays and New Years. For perspective and the reason I’m cautious, we might normally see occupancies in the 80% range, so we’ve come a long way but still a long way to go.”
A full recovery isn’t expected until 2023 but Cronk said sooner is possible, based on the travel resurgence and increasing vaccine availability.
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