The economic vitality of our region is a puzzle with many pieces – emerging and traditional business sectors, housing, education and workforce development, to name a few. In the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing this column on factors that impact our local economy and share some of the exciting developments benefiting Northern Arizona.
This week, we look at one of our bedrock economic sectors – tourism.
The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau’s recently released FY2016 Annual Report shows that the CVB had another banner year of promoting our region to the world, which brings added revenue into our communities.
The report indicates growth along most metrics, in some cases breaking last year’s all-time high records.
Let’s start with RevPAR. For the uninitiated, RevPAR stands for revenue per available room, a performance standard that considers the total number of hotel rooms available, average daily rates (ADR) and occupancy rates. In FY2016, ADR jumped to $93.85 from $87.15 and occupancy levels also ticked up, resulting in a record-breaking RevPAR of $70.92. In fact, in the past three years, RevPAR in Flagstaff has grown a whopping 21 percent.
How is the CVB helping generate these numbers? By developing creative, highly diverse marketing efforts then using available research to direct these messages to those with a high propensity to visit Flagstaff.
Work in the past fiscal year included:
- More than 200 print or banner ads, including one that appeared on the huge screen outside the Good Morning America studio in New York City;
- A web, digital and social media presence that showed phenomenal growth in FY2016 (24 percent increase in Facebook likes, 17 percent more Twitter followers, 168 percent more video views on YouTube);
- Events like the year-long campaign to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Route 66, and the second year of the massive “Flagstaff Cool Zone” display in the Phoenix area;
- Work on international visitation through trade shows, familiarization tours and meetings with tour operators from 18 countries;
- Promoting Flagstaff as a destination for meetings and conventions, which resulted in more than 3,000 booked hotel room nights in FY2016.
Although CVB Director Trace Ward noted that tourism industry authorities predict a more conservative 2017, his department still sees strong opportunities for growth, particularly in the international market. As he noted in the CVB annual report: “We believe that it is Flagstaff’s time to shine.”
You can see the entire report – which is a highly entertaining read, with great imagery and use of infographics – here.