Business over last week’s Fourth of July celebration was better than it has been locally since before the recession, according to industry officials.
Part of this can be attributed to July 4 falling on a Friday, a general willingness to spend more during stronger financial times, or both — depending on the source.
“The number of people here having the time of their lives was the best holiday period I’ve seen in many years,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, adding. “It was a very strong weekend for the entire town.”
Many hotels reported 100 percent occupancy over the holiday weekend, and rooms are expected to refill quickly for the upcoming celebrity golf tournament.
Dan McHale, general manager at Inn by the Lake, said business last week was similar to that of the “old” days. People are willing to spend more on a “good, quality” experience again, and it shows in the number of room bookings.
“We have forecasted to be back where we were five years ago,” he said.
Meanwhile, restaurants have kept busy trying to feed the masses.
Bear Beach Café reported it was “packed” all weekend with a standard wait time of about 45 minutes. The restaurant conducted about 600 transactions on July 4 alone, and it sold about three times the usual amount of beer, manager Mike Nalder said.
“It’s our biggest weekend of the year,” he said, “and it didn’t let us down.”
Edgewood Tahoe also reported “massive crowds” on its premises during the holiday.
The company hosted two public events, including a sold-out Beach Party that drew in about 700 people. The event had sold-out a month in advance.
The golf course and restaurant also remained busy throughout the holiday weekend, said Bryan Davis, marketing manger for Edgewood Companies.
“We had a successful weekend,” he said. “A lot of it is attributed, of course, to the Fourth falling on a Friday.”
Looking forward, business and community leaders expect tourism and visitation to remain strong in the area. Chaplin said it will continue next week with arrival of the celebrity golf tournament.
“I think that is a great turnaround for us,” she said, “and hopefully that continues into the winter.”