Palm Springs businesses say summer tourism continues to grow

Palm Springs businesses say summer tourism continues to grow

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Many valley businesses used to close during those slow summer months but it seems that's no longer the norm. Palm Springs is no longer a quiet summer town.

Last week the New York Times even featured Palm Springs as a destination in demand, thanks in part to the Coachella Valley Music Festival.

But now that the famous fest is over and temperatures are spiking, tourism is still booming according to hotels and restaurants.

"Most hotels are now busy during the summer because of the changes in Palm Springs," said Doug Smith, who owns Sparrows Hotel on Palm Canyon Drive and is no stranger to the city's hospitality scene.

Sparrows opened last October and Smith expects a packed house throughout summer. He says the valley can be a steal compared to other places this time of year.

"Most hotels drop their rates during the summer. We haven't decided if we're going to do that because we're new and we're running pretty full at about 90% occupancy right now," Smith said.

The Hard Rock Hotel also expects to stay busy, especially on weekends. To entice weekday travel, it plans to promote special packages and events.

But how do the growing number of small businesses that remain open June through August stay afloat?  L'Atelier Cafe co-owner Raphael Farsy says social media is key.

"I have a Facebook page I promote and it helps us bring people. We post pictures of the daily dish," Farsy said.

Raphael and his wife, Charlotte, came from Paris to Palm Springs on their honeymoon two and a half years ago and decided to stay. They say they're the perfect example of why business continues to heat up in the summer: European tourists.

"We get so tired of the bad weather, it makes people moody, so I think european people like to travel and get heat once in a while," Charlotte said.

The Farsys say they saw a steady stream of clients last summer and forecast more of the same this year.
"Summer already began here three weeks ago and we notice we're pretty busy," Raphael said.

"Lots of people appreciate that we stay open and they still need places to go and have fun, have dinner or lunch. So there's a real business to be here in the summer," Charlotte said.

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