Southwest Florida beach businesses are recovering from money lost due to red tide and fish kills. Now some hotels on Fort Myers Beach are going all-out to bring visitors back with some tempting deals for Labor Day weekend.
"Sunday and Monday night, they can stay with us in our Gulf-front rooms for $69 a night," said Melissa Schneider, marketing director for Lani Kai Island Resort.
"Everyone on the beach has been affected by (red tide,) and that's why we're hoping that by offering this really great deal, it'll help spur things back up in the community," she added.
It was just a few weeks ago that red tide - and lots of dead fish - made breathing a real problem at the beach. The Junkanoo restaurant had to close early one afternoon because employees and customers were coughing.
Now that conditions are improving, some beach bar and restaurant customers are helping to ease the pain for servers by paying them tips that equal the amount on their bill.
"They've been offering that as a tip, and even more than that," Schneider said. "I know that our servers and wait staff highly appreciate it."
The Silver Sands Resort is also reducing their rates for the holiday weekend, but so far the response has been mixed.
"We've had everything from 'I'm canceling' to 'I saw your deal, I'm going to book,'" said Silver Sands owner Andrea Carriere. "But we've been over to the beach, and it's absolutely beautiful."
Local band Shore Patrol had a performance on Fort Myers Beach canceled in August, but are scheduled to perform Saturday night at Pincher's. Lead singer Chris Day hopes the holiday weekend is the start of better fortunes for local musicians - and the businesses that hire them.
"Local businesses support live music, but when something like this (red tide) happens, they're cutting back, and it really affects everyone downstream," he said.
Lani Kai will have the band A200 playing in the resort's Club Ohana nightclub Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. They will also have a reggae band performing during the daytime on Saturday and Sunday.