How Scottsdale became the hottest destination for bachelorette parties
A party on pedals with the girls has become an all too familiar sight in Old Town Scottsdale. A 14-seat bike piloted by a driver filled with women celebrating an upcoming nuptial.
“The bachelorette parties have really helped grow our business. I would say during the spring season, we’re probably doing 150 bachelorette parties a week or so at least, out of about 200 groups. So, I say bring ‘em on. We like having them here," said Robert Mayer, president and founder of Arizona Party Bike, those bars on wheels that carouse around Old Town. “They’re here to have fun. They most likely want to consume alcohol. They want to be seen. They want to get out there. Afterwards, they're gonna go out to dinner, they’re gonna go to a club.”
And they’re gonna need some help arranging all that fun. That’s where Casey Hohman comes in.
“We’re the No. 1 bachelorette party planning website in Scottsdale. Through our website, you can book a number of services, like kitchen stockings, the party bike, ATV tours, VIP nightlife, really everything. We try and create a one-stop shop for everything they need," Hohman said.
Hohman is a former tech executive who founded Scottsdale Bachelorette back in 2018.
“I saw all the bachelorettes coming and I thought well I’m local and I have a lot of great friends that are women and I could probably make that planning experience a lot less stressful and a lot better than if they tried to do it on their own," he said.
He then quit his day job when business took off.
“This year we’re on track to do about a thousand decor setups. So each week, like last week we had our most setups ever, which was about 40 groups that had booked us. And our website itself is getting about 20,000 to 25,000 visitors per month," Hohman said.
Why has Scottsdale become this headquarters for bachelorette parties?
“I think it’s a combination of the weather, and also how much Scottsdale has progressed over the past couple of years in terms of all the amazing nightlife and restaurants,” Hohman said.
And there’s another major reason, says Mayer. “The bachelorette contingent was kind of growing over the years, by 2018 and 2019 it was really starting to take shape. But after COVID, it really started getting crazy.”
That’s because Arizona and Scottsdale did not have the type of COVID-19 restrictions in place like other destinations such as Las Vegas and Nevada.
The Bach app, which calls itself the top bachelorette party planning platform for groups, says Scottsdale is now a top destination in for these festive gatherings, second only to Nashville.
Mike Petrakis is CEO of the Bach app. He says they’ve helped arrange over 11,000 bachelorette parties alone in Scottsdale this year.
“Scottsdale is our No. 2 location in our marketplace. We have 22 cities. Nashville has traditionally been the big winner throughout the 2010s era. Scottsdale 2020 and beyond — really over the last two years, has created a name for itself,” Petrakis said.
Sarah Sprague is the Bach app’s chief operating officer. She explains the reasons, besides COVID-19, that Scottsdale has become so popular.
“People love a desert moment. So, the backdrop is beautiful and it can serve every type of people. You want to party, there are the day parties in Old Town. You want a spa day, there are the spas, you want to do outdoors stuff, you can go to the desert. You can mix and match an itinerary for all types of parties and get all the pieces you want, and most importantly, you can have great photos,” said Sprague.
And that adds up. According to their research, the average bachelorette party group will spend over $10,000, bringing potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in extra revenue to the area each year.
Hohman says like it or not, Scottsdale has changed.
“Way back when Scottsdale first started becoming a destination for people, it was a lot of retirees, people coming down from the north, snowbirds getting away and I think a lot of families brought their grandkids, brought younger people and started to realize this was a really great place to have a good time.”
Mayer, who has a government background and helped change the law to allow party bikes in Arizona, says the demographics show that change.
“If you look at the data, the No. 1 group that comes here is empty nesters, that’s about 20%. The No. 2 group is young professionals that make between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. It’s this bifurcated demographic of people who are visiting here, living and working here. You see that in our politics. You see that geographically," Mayer said.
And you see it everyday in Old Town Scottsdale as party bikes roam the streets transforming the West’s most western town into the West’s most bachelorette friendly town.