South by Southwest’s Impact on San Marcos

By Austi Bryant
News Reporter

According to Ben Loftsgaarden, a Greyhill blog Advisor, 2016 SXSW included “13 days of industry conferences, a 4-day trade show, 8 exhibitions, a 6-night music festival featuring more than 2,200 bands, and a 9-day film festival with more than 460 screenings.” It’s no surprise how this attraction lured in nearly 343,800 participants, making the economic impact of South by Southwest that Austin, Texas is widely known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Concerts and festivals hit the city year round, bringing people together from all over the country. One of the largest and most influential events of the year is South by Southwest (SXSW) which takes place every March, and with it comes numerous economic benefits for the Austinites and surrounding areas alike.

South by Southwest is held in Austin, Texas every year. Photo by Austi Bryant.
South by Southwest is held in Austin, Texas every year. Photo by Austi Bryant.

For San Marcos, hotels like the La Quinta Inn report that they too are positively affected by the festival. They receive more people during that time because of their lower rates than the Austin hotels, as well as their higher available vacancy. Due to more reservations, they are able to raise their general nightly-rate of 139 dollars to about 199-300 dollars.

“It is definitely a good thing. It brings in so much business.” Olga Montemayor, a La Quinta employee says.

In contrast, popular bars and restaurants around town, like Taproom and Root Cellar Café, say that they have a decrease in the amount of customers since many people around the area are spending their days in Austin. With this, it’s common for San Marcos to have waves of new people stop in and out of town during the festival time, but overall the hustle and bustle of the city actually slows down.

“From an economic development standpoint, it does impact us positively,” said Ashley Gossen, the Director of Marketing and Communications of the Greater San Marcos Partnership. With this, we hope that the festival will remain a huge hit for many years to come.

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