Hurricane Dorian provides welcome windfall for Daytona area mainland hotels, thanks to influx of evacuees, visiting utility work crews.

DAYTONA BEACH — While Hurricane Dorian hurt business for beachside hotels, some of their counterparts on the mainland reported upticks in room bookings from evacuees as well as visiting crews from Florida Power & Light and others in town to handle the anticipated deluge of orders for repair work related to the storm.

"We were sold out every night starting Sunday through Wednesday," said Marisol Moreno, director of sales for the 107-room Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel at 200 Fentress Blvd., one block north of Daytona International Speedway.

"Most of the evacuees were locals from beachside as well as from the south," said Moreno on Thursday. "We had a few storm workers as well."

"This was our first hurricane," she said of the extended-stay hotel which opened late last year.

Nancy Guran, director of sales for both the Fairfield Inn & Suites and The Daytona Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel at One Daytona, said both hotels were sold out Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.

"We were full with evacuees, (visiting national) press and some FPL (crews)," said Guran of the 105-room Fairfield and 144-room The Daytona.

"It is always a pleasure to be of assistance in people's times of need," she said. "Our staff did a great job taking care of folks, making sure they had access to food and beverage."

Mickey Melendez, general manager of The Daytona, said that the guests staying at his hotel included television film crews from Fox News, CNN, CBS and NBC, with CNN doing a live remote report from the terrace of the hotel overlooking One Daytona's Victory Circle and Daytona International Speedway.

"It was a fun time," he said.

While Labor Day weekend typically results in beachside hotels filling up with visitors in town for the final weekend of the summer tourist season, neither the Home2 Suites, Fairfield Inn or The Daytona hotels expected to be sold out for the three-day holiday weekend, confirmed Moreno and Guran.

The Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Palm Coast near Interstate 95 expected to be sold out Saturday night, but saw a number of tourists cancel their stays because of the impending hurricane, said General Manager Marc Richardson.

On the other hand, the 121-room hotel wound up filling most of those vacancies with evacuees from Flagler Beach, as well as Ormond Beach and Daytona, as well as Florida Power & Light work crews, he said.

That resulted in a sold-out night on Tuesday, he said, adding that the hotel restaurant also saw an increase in business from locals because so many area eateries had closed.

"All in all, I think it was a wash," he said.

For Richardson, who became general manager in February following the retirement of the Hilton Garden Inn's longtime GM Tom Grimes, this was his first hurricane.

Richardson, who originally hails from Michigan, was on vacation with his family in Bozeman, Montana, but cut his trip short to fly back on Monday morning because of Hurricane Dorian.

"Tuesday night I spent at the hotel," Richardson said, adding that for the most part "it was uneventful."

"We had the power blink off and on around 10 p.m., for about two to three seconds, and that was it," he said. "We were anticipating it to be far worse."

"The evacuees left as soon as it was possible for them to go check on their homes," he said, adding that he expected the last of the visiting utility crew workers to be gone by Friday.

The Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Coast only had minor damage from the storm: a couple of leaks in the roof, said Richardson.

"Thank God, the storm was not as strong as expected," he said.