GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It should be a busy weekend for those in the hotel and lodging business on the Coast. Starting Friday, families and friends will be filling up their cars and heading out of town for the holiday weekend. Hotels are seeing quite an increase in visitors on this last weekend of summer.
Every day, guests can check in at Gulfport's Courtyard Marriott at 3 p.m., but some guests just can't wait to arrive, so they come a little early so they can get settled in. The hotel staff is always ready.
"Pillow turned, pillows fluffed, sheets turned and over turned and put back on. We're very excited about the weekend," Assistant Food and Beverage Director Jacqueline Ware said.
Hotel employees are excited, because this is the first Labor Day weekend the hotel will be open since its recent renovation, and they're expecting high occupancy numbers.
"We're expecting a crowd of at least 96 to 100 people coming in today. Tomorrow, we're actually overbooked and Sunday as well," Ware said.
Henry Gotierrez traveled to the Gulf Coast from Sugarland, TX, for this holiday weekend.
"My brother lives in Tennessee and we met half way. Instead of him going 1,000 miles, he drove 500 and I drove 500, and this is where we wound up," Gotierrez explained.
Gotierrez says it's not his first trip to the Coast, but it's been about 15 years since his last visit. This weekend, he plans to do a lot.
"The beach, the eating. All kind of different stuff. They have four golf courses real close, and we're going to go play this weekend," Gotierrez said.
Ware, who's been in the hotel business for seven years, says it's all about the guests and their happiness. Whatever she and her staff can do so visitors enjoy themselves, they're up for the challenge.
"Every day is a new day. It's a fresh start. My general manager always says let's do a 360. Yesterday is over. It's a new day. Let's make sure every guest that we encounter is happy, happy, happy," Ware said.
While the Courtyard in Gulfport is expecting a high number of visitors, Mississippi's Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Director Linda Hornsby said there's still plenty of lodging available around the Coast.