How has the BP Oil Spill Affected Your Business

In what was supposed to be the best summer Panama City Beach has ever seen, tourism numbers were crushed in light of a dark, oily threat that loomed in the Gulf of Mexico, courtesy of British Petroleum.  BP operated the Deepwater Horizon oil platform that dynamically floated approximately 250 miles southeast of Houston, it blew up on April 20, 2010, causing what is being labeled as many as the greatest oil spill in the history of the United States.  From an ecological perspective, Louisiana was devastated.  Ecologically, Panama City Beach was fine, but economically and perceptually, we were devastated as well.

Over the next 12 weeks, we’re going to dig deep and talk about the myriad ways area businesses were affected, directly and indirectly, and discuss some of the ways they made it through, despite the troubling circumstances.  The goal is absolutely not to be a negative spin, but rather just a presentation of the facts and how real people were affected by something that really never even happened here.

Was your business affected?  We would like to talk to you and let you tell you story to our tens of thousands of readers, pictures and links to your website included. 😉

Please share your story by using the form below.

13 thoughts on “How has the BP Oil Spill Affected Your Business

  1. “Affected”, not “effected”. Although your use of the word “effect” is correct. For example: British Petroleum’s cavalier attitude toward safety on their rigs caused an atrocious accident, the effect of which was to damage the public perception of Gulf Coast area beaches. While Panama City Beach was not affected by the oil itself, many local businesses continue to see the effect of this disaster.


  2. As a single beachfront condo owner, we had high occupancy throughout the season and lost no weeks to the oil spill. However, a higher percentage of bookings were wait-and-see, last minute at reduced rates. Interest in fall bookings seems better than last year. In the end, it appears 2010 revenue will be higher than 2009.


  3. I believe Tony summed it up great…….
    I booked a private condo from an owner for (5) weeks, a supervisor came in April, my brother in July and my husband & I in Sept. (There were no oil problems at all) I am happy to report this. My brother is vacationing in PCB now at that condo & still no oil.
    We will be there for our last week on the 9th of October for the Seafood Festival and really do not see any problems upcoming. The beach was just as clean & beautiful as it is always. PCB is a wonderful vacationing place and we look forward to our vacations there each year.
    The lady who owns the condo did offer us a cut-rate IF the oil came on in but….. we did not accept that because I would have been there anyway picking up tar balls if they were on the beach….. This is how much I love PCB & I am a “Tennessean”.
    I will make note that at no time during these past stays did any of our friends or family notice any “lull” in vacationers, the restaurants were just as crowded & lines were present. If there was a slight down in vacationers it is due to the news casting reports that made people panic over the oil accident. The accident was further “West” of PCB up in Orange Beach past Pensacola as it was bad there.
    Thank you, Cathy/Tennessee


  4. I have two gulf front condos at Edgewater and was more affected by Edgewater Managements new rental contract than the BP oil spill.
    My room night were decent but my revenue has suffered. Year to Date, EBR Management is up year over year on both my units while my net has lagged.

    Goodbye EBR, Hello VRBO for 2011


  5. Don, we are pretty much in the same boat with our condo at Seychelles. Because of the way our Resort Quest contract is written we lost all our VRBO business this year due to extreme discounting by not only our other competition but by our own management company. The net result was both our occupancy and revenue were down.
    We really have no choice but to drop VRBO going forward as due to our rate structure and contract we cannot compete unless the rates stabilize. With the large discounts given this year due to the oil, I cannot see this happening for several years as the tourists will continue to expect to see these types of discounts before they book.


    1. My experience mirrors Gregg’s very closely. When I notice our bookings we’re almost non existence in June I quickly signed up to VRBO and although this did give my a much higher occupancy rate, I was forced to cut our rates significantly in order to complete, as all these enquiries seem to focus on was the rate. And unfortunately because I live in Vancouver, Canada, I’m still using our managment company at Boardwalk to ensure the reservation is done smoothly and that any issues are dealt with promptly. This adds another 15% to my cost and if that is added to the other costs I have to pay on behalf of the guests, such as a $90 cleaning and registration fee, I’m not overly competitive.

      I am however looking at making a BP claim.

      As to how business is in PCB, we when to a bar for a drink located on the water, and the waiter, who said he was a teacher in the fall, said this was the worst summer he’s ever seen in PCB. It’s funny cause I get conflicting information. I’m told how bad the summer is by people like him and by our property management company, and then when I talk to a realtor, he tells me air traffic is up 400%. So go figure.


  6. I always use VRBO to find condos that I want to rent or help other couples rent.
    I rented (5) weeks this year beginning in April & the last week ending in October. I was not given any discount due to “oil”. There was NO oil on Panama City Beaches that amounted to anything. I have friends at work who went several times during the summer and my brother went in July…. they found no oil. The owner I rented from did email me & say if the oil reached PCB and if we still wanted to vacation at the condo she would give us a reduced rate BUT, that never happened and I am faithful to PCB.
    I do know that renting off VRBO directly from the owner is far cheaper that going directly into the condo office and renting. YOU know they have to make their cut too. Be savvy……… go to VRBO when you vacation.


  7. There is a downside to VRBO, it’s not always “peaches and roses”. Two main disadvantages exist:
    A, You are dealing long distance so if there is an issue with your condo, you have to go back to the owner, not the management office.
    B, In many cases the VRBO owners are not using their condo as a second home, cash flow, any cash flow is their main concern, and there is no one checking to be sure the unit is what you expect in terms of the overall condition as little if anything is put back into it.
    I agree with Cathy, generally you can get a better price as some owners are desperate for cash flow but with this lower price comes a higher risk of disappointment. If price is your main concern, VRBO is the route you need to go. Over 50% of our requests this year were “spam mails” where the person copied and pasted the same request over and over not even reading the description or looking at the pictures. The sheer volume of the spam this year made our mind up not to continue with VRBO next year. In 2009 we did very well with VRBO but this year seemed to be dominated by sharks smelling the blood.


  8. I appreciate everyone’s comments and will certainly take them under advisement. I am local to PCB so I’m able to keep a pretty close eye on my property. My last experience with VRBO was in 2007/8 when I rented out a unit at Calypso. My unit stayed rented. period. I ended up selling the unit later that summer but my decision had nothing to do with my vrbo rental experience. I have no doubt that my unit would have been cash flow positive if I’d kept it.
    I am local to PCB so I’m able to keep a pretty close eye on my property.
    Edgewater has always done a great job keeping ‘heads in beds’ but the revenues have not been flowing down to my bottom line.


  9. I have sat here and paid close attention to the comments. Yes we were fine as far as the oil being seen on the beaches. I myself thought I was going to really come back this summer. I had 4 contracts pending when we had the oil spill with all 4 cancelling on me. My phone is not ringing at all. I got a call last night and the oil was not mentioned, that was good, just hope now that they come back to buy. But, I will have to say that the oil spill highly affected me with my real estate. I feel the media had a large part in this also.


  10. I will comment back on what Gregg wrote above, no VRBO nor any other rental site will be all “Peaches” all the time as nothing in life is 100% good all the time.
    But, for me I will choose to stick with VRBO when finding my rentals for the simple fact that out of the last five years in using them I have only encountered (1) bad experience. I really to this day do not understand how that happened as the condo we rented was in “Gulf Crest” Thomas Drive. We had stayed there for years when we needed a 2 br unit & found each year unit in wonderful shape. I guess it falls back on the old saying: One bad apple spoils the batch.
    Well, I am pleased to say this bad apple rented did not spoil me from VRBO.
    I will say this again…… I rented 5 weeks this year off VRBO from the same owner. I was offered a reduced rate (IF) the oil came ashore & my family, friends still wanted to come down.
    We never hesitated……. we were coming down oil or not!
    As it turned out the oil did not ruin your wonderful beaches of Panama & all worked out wonderfully.
    Now, what I will point out again: In my opinion only I still believe the News Media should step up to take blame for making vacationers (Panic) about coming to PCB. I would also like to point out that if these vacationers were keeping in contact with the owners they were renting from they could have found out there was no need to panic & or cancel vacations.
    Some may have canceled due to this but, we have had people come there in April/July/September & there were so many vacationers there they had to wait in lines to eat at local restaurants. My husband & I were there Sept. 11-19 & say rather large crowds. We are returning Oct. 9th for our last week & hope it’s as good as the other week.
    As far as VRBO goes I will continue to use them. They are reliable, easy to use and a trustworthy site. Gregg, you speak of “spam” mail, on VRBO you can go into each page look at the condo check the pricing and write an email to the owner. Then, if you find another you also wish to write it will bring up your “master” email so you can send it to another person for their pricing on their unit. I do use one standard email and send it to several owners to see who will give my family the “best” vacation deal. I might add that sometimes the rates are very different than what the owner has listed there & they customize it to your family’s needs. This is a very convenient website and I have refereed many to it. Like I mentioned…. there are good/bad in everything and with all people. We just have to “weed” it out.
    Have a good one! Cathy


  11. And not to beat a “dead horse”:
    August Bed Tax numbers continue to slide, down 14.7% from 2009. Thank you BP and the media playing up the oil spill.


  12. I own PCPartyRentals. The oil spill completely shut down our beach weddings and receptions. No bride wanted to take a chance of making wedding plans this spring if oil was possibly going to ruin her day. Bp or GCCF has yet to respond to our claim that was first submitted in June and again on August 25th. We cannot continue with compensation. GCCF will not return calls or provide any information as to why they have not moved past ‘reviewing our claim’.

    Any info or suggestion on ways to get GCCF attention would be greatly appreciated!


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