Super Bowl visitors in Arizona seek small town hotels to avoid high prices
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. - How far away would you stay to find a cheap hotel room for the Super Bowl? 20 miles? 40? How about 60?
Towns on the outskirts of the Valley are seeing sold out hotels as people try to save money to see the game. Towns like Gila Bend.
Gila Bend says it's the place where solar panels outnumber the people, but the next few days will test that as Super Bowl visitors head south for better prices.
"I'm excited for the Super Bowl, to be honest. Patrick Mahomes is my guy," Mit Rohit with the Palms Inn said.
But, he doesn't care who root for if you stay at the Palms Inn.
"I have one of the Eagles fans staying here Thursday to Tuesday this week," he said.
In Gila Bend, a town less with than 2,000 people is 61 miles south of State Farm Stadium in Glendale. Of the town's four motels, rooms are essentially sold out.
"This weekend itself will help me pay my next month bills for sure," Rohit said.
At the Palms Inn, they renovated last year and Rohit says football fans have been calling non-stop to escape Valley prices.
"I definitely increased my rates because why not? We had to take the benefit out of it and help me get through a couple days, you know," Rohit said.
The town says the economic impact on a small place like this will be huge.
"You're looking at transient occupancy taxes from the hotels. If they're raising their rates, were going to see more tax coming in here. Tax revenue. They'll eat at restaurants, the dollars will trickle down, the servers are going to get more tips, spend more money in town. There will be indirect revenue from them spending time in town," said Scott Swanson, Gila Bend Town Councilmember.
He hopes it leads to more visitors in the future.
"Once they come down here and see the charm of a small community, like the museum we have here and some of the archeological areas we have out here. From the indigenous people and everything, we have a lot to offer if you're looking for that kind of relaxation," Swanson said.
Rohit is charging $250 a night for a two-bed room Super Bowl weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, he only had a couple beds left, but only if visitors are staying just Sunday night.
"If you're flying in Sunday morning, you better come call me," he said.
Gila Bend isn't just a truck stop, and they hope to prove that this week as all eyes are on Arizona.
Some hotels in Phoenix and around Glendale are going for hundreds of dollars a night, and some are over $1,000 a night.
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