Hotels in the U.S. and Mexico have seen more booked rooms in some cases and boosts in F&B from on-property events and celebrations held around Halloween and Day of the Dead.
GLOBAL REPORT—Guests, locals and vacationers are getting involved with Halloween events at hotels across the United States and in Day of the Dead celebrations at hotels in Mexico, resulting in a bit of a boost in business around these holidays, sources said.
La Colección Resorts by Fiesta Americana, which has 12 properties in Mexico, all host two days of activities for guests and locals that include traditional Day of the Dead altar decorating and a parade to showcase costumes of the celebration, said Laura Stringel, director of sales—direct channels, reputation and community management at La Colección Resorts by Fiesta Americana.
Special food-and-beverage options are a part of the celebration, too, she said.
“(The resorts have a) lavish dinner and lunch banquets boasting quintessential holiday treats such as pan de muerto and, of course, adorning the resorts with the vibrant Cempasúchil flower that truly (embodies) the spirit of the celebration,” she added.
Locals join in for Day of the Dead
La Coleccón properties also see many people join in for the celebrations, even if they aren’t reserving a room, Stringel said. The number of guests staying for the celebrations depends on the year, she said.
“Hotel occupancies tend to vary according to each destination,” she said. “However, usually if the holiday falls near a weekend, the occupancies are closer to 100%. For example, this year, Live Aqua Boutique Resort Playa Del Carmen will be at 100% occupancy on (2 November).”
Since the events are open to locals, Stringel said properties see a boost in F&B sales. She added that the celebrations are a great way for hotel guests to experience Mexican culture.
“La Coleccón Resorts by Fiesta Americana highly treasures traditions as we strive to expose our guests to the amazing Mexican culture,” she said. “Our Day of the Dead celebrations are an amazing opportunity for our guests to experience one of Mexico’s most important holidays.”
The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, has amenities such as complimentary bowling, a game room, a movie theater and ice skating, which makes it an attractive destination for families, said Shawn Goodway, GM at the Whiteface Lodge.
The hotel also goes all out on Halloween and is booked every year.
“We sell out for Halloween each year and offer consistent annual activities guests have come to expect, such as trick or treating, games, scary decorations and Halloween movies in the theater,” Goodway said. “Some parents make a point of coming to the lodge every year so that kids can enjoy the Halloween fun.”
The Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in Newbury Township, Ohio, is said to be haunted by Lemuel Punderson and his wife, Sybal, who settled on what is now the lodge in the early 1800s.
Employees and guests have reported hearing footsteps in the hallways, noticing flickering lights and hearing pounding on doors, and the Punderson Manor State Park Lodge hosts tours every year to tell those interested about the haunted history of the hotel, said Michael Liedtke, GM at the lodge.
Liedtke said the hotel doesn’t see a huge bump in business around Halloween, but people do request to stay in room 231 on Halloween night, which is said to be haunted.
The ghost tours are accompanied by a wine and cheese hour for the adult tours and a pizza party for the family tours. While these are included in the price of the ticket for the tour, Liedtke said many guests stick around for more refreshments or come ahead of the tour for dinner, which has led to a bit of a boost in F&B at the property.
Ghost hunters have also visited the property to check out reported haunted happenings, Liedtke said, but he said they book them for times when there are typically less guests staying at the hotel.
The Merchant in Salem, Massachusetts—which has rich history dating back to the 1692 witch trials—is almost fully booked from June through December, but Jennifer Rein, GM at The Merchant, said guests who reserve rooms for October reserve their rooms much further in advance.
Hotel employees haven’t reported any haunted vibes in the hotel, but according to The Merchant’s website, local legend says a few innocent people who were accused of being witches and were killed might roam the halls of the hotel.
“We honor the rich history of the house and the land that it is on,” she said. “The haunted stories most likely come from the fact that this location was the homestead of the wicked Sheriff Corwin during the 1692 witch hysteria, we have had no such experiences. Our guests feel completely at home in a warm and laid back environment, filled with good energy.”