Hilton El Conquistador Resort in Tucson, Photo by Ashley Guttuso
If you know Tucson, you know extreme heat. A typical summer day can bring temperatures near 110 degrees, and the Tucson nighttime is like a warm spring afternoon.
For those who can’t stand the high temperatures, summer is the time to leave Arizona for a few months and find cooler temperatures before returning again in the fall.
With the University of Arizona students on summer break and the snowbirds gone for the season, small businesses and the hospitality industry see a directly correlated drop in business and profitability.
“With so many students going home during the summer and other people leaving, and the advent of hot weather, it doesn’t promote business. Between May and August there’s a depressing factor there,” said Michael Varney, CEO and President of Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Small businesses prepare months in advance to make up for business that will be lost in the slow months of summer. “The heat keeps people inside, and the businesses don’t see the same traffic,” said Varney.
The typically busy commercial area of downtown Tucson along Fourth Avenue features sales events like the “Mayhem on 4th Avenue” event promoted by the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association set to take place starting today.
“Spontaneous Sales and Savings” are promised to shoppers who bring their business to 4th Avenue shops starting at the beginning of the slowest season.
“You can absolutely see the difference in this place once summer hits,” said Faith Flynn, a resident of the downtown area.
Flynn said the lull in traffic makes for a much more quiet neighborhood, but perhaps too quiet for what businesses would like.
“Living here you get to know a lot of the local businesses like the shops and small Bed and Breakfasts, and you can tell a world of difference in the summer with how much slower it gets. But it’s always been that way, people get hot and leave,” said Flynn.
For hotels, it’s especially difficult to attract travelers and fill hotel rooms. The usually flourishing hotels and resorts quiet down, and golfers head elsewhere.
World-renowned for its luxury hotels and resorts, golf courses, and spas, Tucson attracts millions of visitors a year to the state of Arizona. According to the Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau statistics, Tucson has 4 million visitors per year, bringing in nearly $2.398 billion in direct travel spending.
The typical high season of travel in the Southwestern state falls between September and May, just after the heat dies and right before it’s scorching hot.
“This summer our resort has a family oriented summer program for the whole family called Edu-tainment. It runs May through September,” said Longpre Executive Coordinator at Tucson’s El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort.
“As far as summer goes we set up a summer events program which we actually just finalized for this summer. We have designated activities for guests such as star gazing at night, tequila tasting in our restaurant, and educational science activities for the kids” she said.
Summer hotel deals and activities make last minute mini vacations with the whole family possible. “We do it ever year so a lot of guests come back each summer just for the weekend fun,” said Longpre.
Aside from accommodating family audiences, the hotel keeps occupancy up by booking larger group events and conferences.
“We know the summer months will always slow down, so we have ways we prepare for it,” said Jessica Longpre.
Longpre explained that during the hotel’s busiest part of the year the hotel is either accommodating a fully booked resort or booked with conventions and conferences. Most visitors in the summer months tend to be local travelers looking for summer getaway deals for family trips, or people from around the world traveling for business conferences.
Many hotels are featuring family oriented hotel summer specials like JW MarriottStarr Pass’s Family Fling and Swing, Hacienda Del Sol’s Summer Pamper Package, and Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa’s Teacher’s Break and Student and Grad special packages.
As temperatures in the desert start to rise, hotel rates will drop to attract last minute vacation goers.
“For me, Tucson is a little getaway during the summer from Scottsdale,” said Kereth Holdsworth, a Scottsdale resident who takes advantage of Tucson’s summer resort deals.
“I usually stay at the Westin La Paloma with friends for a weekend in June or July because I know I can’t find a better deal during the year,” she said.
Holdsworth, 25, says Tucson is an ideal vacation spot during the summer because it’s both close and inexpensive for her and friends, without sacrificing quality at a luxury resort.
For more information on how you can plan a Tucson summer getaway, visit Tucson’s Travel and Visitor’s website.