BALANCE SHEET BLOG – HOLLYWOOD, FL


Quality Small Inns
September 24, 2006, 8:24 PM
Filed under: Beach, Neighborhoods

September 24, 2006

Quality Small Inns Endangered … and Why It Matters

Hollywood Beach’s small inns and motels — those charming 4-18 room inns that give a special character to our beach and provide a welcome alternative to the national chains — are losing ground to the big motels and hotels.  They may soon be a thing of the past unless Hollywood finds a way to address their future.

Many of Hollywood Beach’s small inn proprietors are allowing their properties to run down, just hoping and waiting for a windfall sale.

Others, however, have improved their properties and want to continue contributing uniqueness, quality and charm to the Hollywood beach scene.  These are the ones that need a special kind of help to stay in business. 

A recent panel discussion led by experts in the field presented findings that only establishments of 30 or more rooms could survive in this business climate.  Skyrocketing taxes and property insurance are the chief culprits:  out-of-control operating costs that cause even the best small inns to lose money.

Why does it matter to tax-paying residents whether these motels and inns survive?  Consider that they usually offer a more moderate room rate for our visiting friends and family.  They are the places that provide the character and neighborhood-based, family atmosphere we’ve tried so hard to keep on our beach in the face of ever more high-rise
establishments.

  They are part of Hollywood’s history — history that anchors our city and creates that family-friendly, casual, barefoot, tropical feel we love.

If they disappear completely, we will see instead more of the enclosed resorts and walled private residential buildings that are already replacing them at an alarming rate.

It is true the Beach CRA has no ability to change tax or insurance rates, but there are other types of assistance that the Beach CRA and the City could provide to help out.

Gary Isaacson, who owns a small inn on Hollywood North Beach, provides the following suggestions to our city and CRA, as possible approaches to offset the huge jump in taxes and insurance that is putting our small motels and inns out of business.

Do you have additional ideas?  Please write to the Balance Sheet and let us know your thoughts.

Short-Term Ideas

  • Help those motels and inns that plan to stay on the beach to qualify as Superior Small Lodgings (SSLs).  Several are already SSL members and we understand that the Beach CRA is now exploring with SSL whether it can establish Hollywood as a Superior Small Lodging Beach. SSL is a membership of inns and motels that are quality-controlled by an unannounced inspection each year.  They are graded yearly for their appearance, cleanliness and appointments.
  • Enforce the code.  Code enforcement focused on property maintenance and landscaping is probably the most critical service the City and CRA can provide.
  • For those establishments that qualify for SSL membership, offer help with ongoing service such as (a) a centralized booking system, (b) landscaping services, (c) rubbish removal, (d) housekeeping services, and (e) centralized purchasing.

Long-Term Ideas

 

  • Advocate for lower insurance rates for those small inns and motels that improve our beach neighborhoods.  Lobby at the state level. Engage a consultant to find the lowest insurance rates.
  • Advocate for decreased taxes for the small quality inns that improve our beach.  Engage a professional, who can write legislation and lobby the state, county, and city for a fairer tax appraisal.
  • Require deteriorated properties to pay higher taxes.  Develop a fair system of evaluation toward this goal.

We urge the City and CRA to move their sights beyond the mega-hotel-resorts, and consider innovative ways to help small quality lodgings on the beach survive.  The contribution that these small inns make to the special character of Hollywood Beach cannot be over-emphasized.

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