As students cleaned their rooms to prepare for Family Weekend, businesses in the New Haven area made preparations too.
Last Friday, the families of hundreds of Yale students arrived in New Haven by plane, train and car to join their relatives after more than a month of classes. Hotels were fully booked with steep prices, and restaurants staffed additional employees for one of their busiest weekends.
“It’s a totally different clientele,” said Coco Glickman, The Study at Yale’s front-office manager. “Everyone is a parent.”
To snatch a room, families who stayed at The Study over the weekend reserved rooms as soon as their students were offered admission to Yale, Glickman said. The Study also treated these families with additional complimentary snacks in the hotel’s lobby.
At the New Haven Hotel, all rooms for Family Weekend were booked by July, according to the Trevor Callender, the hotel’s front-office manager. Rates for a standard room nearly doubled in price from the traditional rate of $199, Callender added.
Some campus visitors choose not to spend the night in New Haven and instead commute for a day. During her first year on campus, Julia Zhuang ’17 said her parents came from New York for a day during Family Weekend. Instead of participating in the organized campus events, they visited the Yale University Art Gallery. And instead of eating at a popular restaurant, they went to one that didn’t have a lengthy wait time.
If family members are nearby, within driving or train distance, some of them will attend multiple Family Weekends, Zhuang said. She added that if relatives live farther away and have to fly, some only attend Family Weekend during their student’s first year. More than 30.7 percent of the Class of 2020 is from the Northeast, according to Yale Admissions’ class profile.
With more potential customers in town, restaurants expanded their operation. At Rubamba, a restaurant on High Street that serves Colombian and Venezuelan arepas, Mexican tacos and other Latin American cuisine, management asked servers and cooks to work additional hours, said Ernesto Garcia, the owner and chef.
Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant, a Middle Eastern eatery on Howe Street, also schedules more staff during Family Weekend, according to Yasmean Chater, a waitress at Mamoun’s.
Although smaller businesses took extra steps to accommodate the greater demand, some larger businesses made no changes to their operations. For example, American Airlines, the sole flight provider at Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport, created no additional flights for the weekend according to American Airlines spokeswoman Linda Brock.
Compared to other Yale-hosted events, Family Weekend is one of busiest for local businesses. At Rubamba, Family Weekend is second only to Commencement in terms of increased demand, Garcia said. Hotel capacity is also entirely full during move-in day, The Game, Commencement and alumni reunions, Callender said.
At The Study, the lobby’s atmospheres during Family Weekend and Move-In Weekend significantly differ, according to Glickman. Move-In Weekend brings in teary goodbyes, while Family Weekend is more celebratory, he said.
Before 2009, Family Weekend was termed Parents’ Weekend.