Smokies cabin rentals staying booked despite pandemic

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — The pandemic with all its restrictions has not affected cabin rentals in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, where business is booming.

From mid-March until the end of April, bookings were canceled because of COVID-19. Then on April 28 all that changed.

There is little time to relax for Ronda Farley. Her days are very busy. She’s a reservation agent for Stony Brook Cabins. It’s a rental business that manages more than 50 mountainside cabins.

“Business is booming, it’s been a great year,” Stony Brook Cabins owner and operator Pam Hill said. “We thought the COVID was going to knock us flat. Instead, it has boosted business across the board.”

As Hill navigates the reservation calendar, she says most weekends are booked through the end of November.

Back in mid-March, and most of April, cabins sat empty because of the lockdown. Then it was lifted.

“April 26 they opened the flood gates. The phones started ringing, they have not stopped since and the people started coming,” Hill said. “They wanted to get out and go on vacation. … I think it’s because of the fact they can self-quarantine. They can be in their own cabin, just their own family.”

Donna Dalling and Tommy Holland from Detroit are able to kick back and relax in their mountainside cabin.

“It’s God’s country. This is, as you look out,” Dalling said. “I mean, this is, this is beautiful, peaceful.”

Their choice was easy, it would be no crowded hotel for them.

“We didn’t want to be around anybody, so that’s one of the reasons we are here,” Holland said.

Normally in September, vacation cabin rentals historically slow down, but this fall is expected to be unlike any other.

“This is going to be our biggest year ever. In spite of, or because of, or throughout COVID,
already. And it’s only September,” Hill said. “The numbers are on the book. The money is in the bank for this to be our biggest year ever. It has to have a lot to do with COVID.”

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