18 Feb 2021
‘Unprecedented’. I found myself laughing at the overuse of the word Unprecedented this year. As a father, small business owner, local Outer Banker and American, 2020 has been one heck of a roller coaster. When the uncertainties of the pandemic were front and center in early March, we knew that changes would be coming. What we didn't anticipate, was that access to the Outer Banks would be closed to all visitors and non-resident property owners for nearly 2 months. During this time, we would refund over a million dollars, temporarily furlough almost fifty employees and lock the doors to our rental offices. There were many things at stake including the future of the business, the livelihood of our employees and the security of our client’s investments. As a young leader, It was the toughest test of my career. There was a silver lining though…
The Outer Banks has always been a place where people come to distance themselves from their daily routines. A place to slow down and simplify. A destination organically positioned to provide as much privacy and security as you want. Combine that natural isolation with a private vacation rental home and you have the perfect solution for a safe vacation with who you want, how you want. A perfect storm for social-distancing.
When the bridges opened in mid-May, travelers flocked from drive-to destinations from all over the East Coast. What usually looks like a ten week incline to full occupancy took place in two weeks and stayed this way through October. Outer Banks businesses rallied to welcome visitors while adhering to state regulations. Things were different (Unprecedented) – restaurants transitioned to take-out only models, lodging businesses like ours had to enhance cleaning and face to face interaction protocols and certain main attractions never opened. Despite this, the southern hospitality you know and expect shined, but with a little less smiles and a lot more masks. Somehow, we emerged with what looks to be the best year in the history of the area.
I’m certain that 2021 will be a similar but different type of year. I’ll probably still be virtually home-schooling, focusing on the safety of my staff and doing my version of social distancing. Things might not ever be exactly the same. But, we’ll be here, taking it one day at a time, hoping for the best while preparing for the unknown. Ready with open arms to welcome you back to the Outer Banks.
- Jason Ward, General Manager
As mentioned in this snippet from our 2021 Outer Banks Vacation Guide, we are very excited to be able to Welcome you back to the Beach! For assistance in finding your perfect vacation rental, please request your free copy of our 2021 Vacation Guide HERE.