By Denise Ortuno Neil

Living in the Coachella Valley is different from most places. The one strong distinction is our seasonal business aspect. Since I can remember, business, especially the business of hospitality, has always been at the mercy of our deserts “Season”. With the holidays slightly behind us, we are now entering the busiest time of year in the Coachella Valley….our “Season” is upon us.

It has been a fact for the Coachella Valley since Palm Springs became a hot spot for vacationers about a century ago. The driving force behind our “Season” is based on the weather. Our extreme summer heat, followed by almost perfect winter temperatures dictate the ebb and flow of visitors to our valley, hence also gaging the business as well….more people, more business, less people…well, you get the picture.

The good news is that “Season” has extended its timeline in the past 15 years or so, no longer beckoning to traditional summer vs. winter protocol. I recall growing up in the Coachella Valley when summer not only meant scorching heat, but a mass exodus of visitors, and locals alike. Back then, (we’re talking 80’s and 90’s) you could cross Hwy 111 at a snail’s pace with absolutely no fear of getting hit by a car. Or, here’s another one….you could roll a bowling ball down any given street in the CV and not hit a thing. Basically, when summer came, everyone left.

But that is no longer the case anymore. Thankfully, the deserts “Season” has morphed into something new….but yet has retained its obvious traditions. Summer no longer means desolate streets, empty stores or restaurants. There is a whole new influx of visitors that actually enjoy our desert heat. It really makes sense, as hotel and resort prices are heavily discounted, and almost every restaurant offers tantalizing deals or a perpetual Happy Hour. It has changed for the better that is for sure.

The “Season” is like a bit of a roller-coaster….let’s take a ride. It goes something like this. We will start with summer and work our way to current time. Summer however harsh, still breeds its own cliental, lots of families, Europeans and those looking for a great deal to get-a-way.

After summer hits Labor Day weekend, which traditionally would kick off the seasons “Season”. It doesn’t really do it anymore, it’s more like a false start, but many businesses that were closed for the summer do reopen, so I suppose it does start “Season” in a way. In October, the desert will see business picking up through Halloween. By Thanksgiving things are starting to pick up at a steady pace, but wait…there’s a winkle. After turkey day, many of those visiting leave the CV to go back home for the upcoming holidays….making “Season” dwindle once again.

When Christmas rolls around, restaurants and retail stores gear up for a busy week between Christmas and New Year’s. But with all of that, “Season” has yet to hit.

It is in the month of January when our build up finally lets loose and we fall into full “Season” mode. It usually happens a week before the Bob Hope Classic, now better known as the Humana Challenge. After that, it is high season happy, happy times from there until Memorial Day, sometimes maybe earlier if the heat gets prematurely hotter than hot.

We are now at that “Season” threshold, when businesses in the desert make the bulk of their money and people from around the world flock to our beautiful desert oasis for amazing weather, spectacular events, and everything that makes the Coachella Valley so inviting. It is what the desert area has always been about and keeps us a float year in and year out. It is what makes us so very unique. So let’s get our busy on and get ready for a fantastically prosperous “Season”….it is here.