The roaring of motorcycle engines along the South Strand might be a little louder at this year's Harley Rally. According to Coastal Carolina University's weekly occupancy survey, hotel bookings are up 30% compared to this same weekend last year.
One resort manager said she couldn't be happier with that news. "I see this year we have at least 50% more bikes in house than years prior," explained Michele Grzelak, resort manager at Inlet Sports Lodge.
Grzelak added that the lodge has seen more than triple the amount of bikers stay compared to this same weekend last year. But how do you explain the increase? It depends on who you ask.
"I think this year another real influence was the weather, having such a long winter I think more people are ready to get out and go," Grzelak explained.
But biker Ken Mahoney thinks otherwise. He thinks it all comes down to two things: dollars and cents. "You can rent a beach house and split it and compared to what you can get in the northeast, there's no contest. No contest," Mahoney explained.
One thing Grzelak did point out is she's seeing the number of days bikers stay decrease from last year. But, she said the sheer volume of them is definitely making up for it.
There are more than 100,000 hotel rooms in Horry County and roughly another 10,000 in Georgetown County.