The largest vacation rental company at the Lake of the Ozarks was facing potential layoffs around April 30 due to coronavirus restrictions. Since the state reopened in May, the business has done an about face. Russell Burdette with Your Lake Vacation tells Missourinet the phones have been ringing off the hook.
“Traditionally, June is not a very busy month compared to July because kids are still getting out of school,” he says. “So usually Memorial Day weekend, we usually fill up maybe 50-60% max. This is the first Memorial Day weekend that we’ve ever sold out in 35 years. And normally this time of year, we would have, out of 100 properties, we’d have at least 20 or 30 sitting there empty.”
The local population is about 5,000. Burdette says over Memorial Day weekend, that figure swelled to about 500,000 people.
He says the company’s customers have been tired of being stuck at home during the pandemic.
“The big three things that we heard that were going to benefit us was that people weren’t going to fly like they did before, they were looking for a drive to destination, they wanted a private home or condominium where they could stay apart from other people and then they wanted a place where they could do things outdoors. We heard that right at the end of April,” he says. “We said ‘Wow. When our state opens up, we are primed to succeed.’”
The company has also experienced a boost in business since international news showing crowded area pool parties over the Memorial Day weekend. Burdette says some people now know the vacation spot exists.
“Even if they don’t come now, they’ve probably marked that they’re going to look at us in the future. Because they’re like ‘Oh, we didn’t know there was a lake that was 100 miles long right smack dab in the middle of the United States and that you can actually rent a home or condo right on the water,’” he says.
Weekends in July are booked but you might be able to snatch up a good deal on a Monday through Thursday rental. August still has some openings.
He expects to blow 2019 sales out of the water within the next month.
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