Cal Poly’s Open House event draws a huge crowd of accepted students, perspective students and their families into the San Luis Obispo area.
San Luis Obispo Police Department Lieutenant Bill Proll said in regards to complaints from locals about the crowds, it’s hard to differentiate between Open House weekend and another college weekend in San Luis Obispo. Locals complain about Cal Poly-related events, including Week of Welcome and Open House, because of the partying, traffic and number of people.
However, it seems the effect a huge crowd of students and their families have on San Luis Obispo’s economy outweighs any complaints of disturbance.
“When any entity at Cal Poly has a big event on campus that attracts out of town people, it always benefits (the town),” Thursday Night Promotions event coordinator from the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association Diana Cotta said.
The weekly farmers’ market holds two Open House activities: the tractor pull and the club preview on Broad Street. These advertised events, as well as the popular farmers’ market itself, draw many families and students downtown on Thursday night. Cotta said there is a hope on Thursday night that people will enjoy the market, but also partake in dinner and shopping, which helps the economy.
“Things at Cal Poly are an extra positive shot in the arm,” Cotta said.
California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) shift leader Evan Nelson said Open House weekend stands out as a weekend that brings in profits; there are a lot more reservations for big parties. With the larger amount of families to feed, CPK brings on a larger staff and more cooks.
While downtown restaurants are making profits, so are hotels. There are 38 hotels within the city limits, which equates to a little more than 2,000 rooms. All of these rooms are sold out, according to the director of marketing at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Lindsey Miller.
“It doesn’t just impact our city here, but neighboring cities as well,” tourism manager of the city of San Luis Obispo Molly Cano said. “If San Luis Obispo is sold out, folks look outside of the city to find lodging.”
The Courtyard by Marriott in San Luis Obispo sales manager Michael Adams said Open House weekend absolutely benefits their hotel. On the weekend of Open House, the Courtyard by Marriott is sold out, with their rates increasing.
“We sell out earlier than usual,” Adams said. “The whole city is sold out.”
Apple Farm Inn sales and marketing director Kim Wykoff said the hotel will be at 100 percent occupancy during Open House. Apple Farm Inn does not offer any discounts over Open House weekend, hoping to increase profits.
Cano emphasized that what is so important to the economy about Open House weekend is it also involves the families of students. The families are able to see the destination as not just a place for their child to go to school, but also a place to vacation.
“Restaurants and hotels showcase what San Luis Obispo is and its unique destination,” Cano said. “They help in making the decision to go to the university. It impacts us for the next four or five years because parents want to come and vacation.”
Open House weekend has an affect lasting more than two days.
“From our perspective, hotels value so much and so does the city that we are a sponsor of the event,” Cano said. “We find a lot of value in it and appreciate it.”