Weather impacts on the travel and tourism industry

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Spring is here, which means vacation season is upon us. You may notice that the roads are a little busier, the restaurants more crowded, and hotels fully booked. It’s this busy time of year in southern Kentucky that makes up for the lull in activity during the winter, and helps boost the local economy.

“We don’t forecast very great revenue around the November, December, or January months,” says Telia Butler, Director of Sales at the Courtyard Marriott in Bowling Green. “And you know severe Winter weather can wreak havoc on hotels.”

While Bowling Green has numerous tourist attractions in its own right, sometimes the local impact is simply on quick stops from town to town.

Butler says, “We see a really big hike around spring break from the northern states like Indiana, Michigan, Illinois as they’re all coming down I-65 on their way to Florida, then they hit us again on the way back when they’re going home.”

That is the ideal situation, but as we all know, mother nature has a mind of her own. Should rain, for example, cancel a large softball tournament, that would wreak havoc on the local economy because, as Beth Noeffsinger explains, if they’re not staying, they’re not spending.

“A lot of these people are coming in the day before, they might be staying until the day after the event ends. So you could go from a situation where someone is staying in town for three or four days, to, if they know the weather forecast looks rotten enough in advance, they might go ahead and cancel.”

Cancellations mean travelers aren’t shopping in local stores, eating in area restaurants, or filling up on gas before leaving Bowling Green. For the hotel industry in particular, the cancellation of a large event in Bowling Green could mean the loss of thousands of dollars.

“If they forecast rain all weekend and they cancel an entire tournament, then all those rooms are lost,” explains Butler. “But if they’re forecasting a little bit of rain, maybe, and those people come and they just postpone it for a day or so, then it’s good news because they’re stuck here and they have to stay here.”

Should weather impact, delay, or cancel local events across the Bowling Green-area, Noeffsinger suggests that visitors check in with the Convention and Visitors Bureau in person, by calling, or online. Their website can be found here, and you can check them out on Facebook and Twitter as well.