Fourth of July may not mean fireworks for Park City lodging
June 26, 2015
While the town will likely swell with visitors July 4, that doesn’t necessarily mean the lodging industry will be bustling any more than usual.
Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said more leisure tourists come to town for the holiday, but that merely cancels out what is lost in business meeting and convention travel, which is what fills hotel rooms in the summer.
"Lots of people don’t want to have conventions or conferences leading right up to a holiday because people like to do family things," Malone said. "So it does cost us in that way. But hopefully we make it up with the leisure travel."
It does help, however, when the Fourth of July lands on a weekend, such as this year. Travelers are more likely to take a holiday vacation for the weekend then they are during the middle of the week, Malone said. That trend seems to be holding true this year, with lodging reservations through the holiday week up 3 percent compared to last year, which was also solid because July 4 fell on a Friday.
It’s not a huge spike, but Malone said the numbers are strong enough to indicate the town will be bustling.
"It’ll be a busy time, because weekends are busier anyway," Malone said. "Then you add the fact of people coming up for the parade and activities like that, or to just recreate in the mountains."
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Malone said travelers from about a 600-mile radius typically visit Park City for the Fourth of July, with many flocking from California or Arizona. But plenty of Utahns from the Salt Lake Valley also come to town.
The hot weather helps. Warm temperatures work against Park City in the winter, melting the slopes and skiers’ desire to come to town. But summer heat waves are a welcome sight.
"When weather like this gets hot, we get more and more people out of the valley that come up here to escape the heat and spend the weekends," Malone said. "If this is a precursor, this first part of July, then I think it bodes well for us for a good summer."
July 4 isn’t necessarily a huge opportunity for the lodging industry, but many local merchants rely on it to jump start summer sales.
Linda Dugins, who with her husband owns the Main Street souvenir shops Dugins West and Dugins West Too, said items fly off her shelves during the holiday.
"It’s usually the kick-off to our summer business," she said. "I think it’s one of the best Park City summer traditions that we have. It brings a lot of people to Main Street — locals, people from the valley and out-of-towners. And if it’s a glorious, warm day, we sell a lot of sunscreen and sunglasses. If it’s cool or rainy or snowy, as has happened in the past, we sell a lot of umbrellas and sweatshirts."
She added that seeing the town full again is encouraging after a long shoulder season.
"It seems like once July 4 comes, Park City is in full swing again," Dugins said. "That makes us all happy."