EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS YEAR-END VISITOR INDUSTRY REPORT:
January 30, 2012
Central Ohio Visitor Industry Sees Growth in All Measures in 2011
Public Relations Manager
COLUMBUS, OH (January 30, 2012) – With an increased national profile, growing hotel package, top-ranked attractions and a reputation as a culinary travel destination – new conventions, conferences, meetings, sporting events and leisure travel bookings were up in 2011. Trends during 2011 show the hospitality community is in a strong recovery and moving in a positive direction for 2012. Experience Columbus helped host more than 600 meetings in 2011, some of which took years to attract, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the city.
Future business looks good as well. Through December 31, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission booked new business accounting for 395,418 room nights, an increase in production of 10.3% over 2010. Groups booked in the second half of 2011 include the Assemblies of God for 2014, with an expected attendance of 10,500; the Precision Machined Products Association, with an expected attendance of 3,000; and the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s State Football Championships for 2014 and 2015, with an expected attendance of 60,000 per year.
Additionally, information inquiries to Experience Columbus were up 3% over 2011 and visits to ExperienceColumbus.com are at their highest levels ever, with 2,927,562 visits in 2011.
“This information shows a rebound in the visitor industry in Central Ohio and that affects the economic health of the entire region, since the visitor industry represents 10% of the local economy,” said Paul Astleford, president and CEO of Experience Columbus. “Interest continues to peak in our number one nationally ranked attractions, emerging culinary scene and continued investment in the development of area hotels, public spaces, arts and entertainment.”
According to a Smith Travel Research Report, from January 1 through December 31 of 2011:
•Columbus area hotels had an average occupancy rate of 59.5%, up 5.6% YTD.
This compared to 13 leading cities in Columbus’ competitive set of cities is average.
This is 0.6% less than the national average.
•The average daily rate at Columbus area hotels was $81.42, up 3.2% YTD.
This is $7.63 less than the average daily rate of 13 leading cities in Columbus’ competitive set, ranking us last overall.
This is 19.0% less than the national average.
•Revenue per available room (RevPAR) at Columbus area hotels averaged $48.46, up 8.9% YTD.
*RevPAR is the industry standard by which hotels measure their profitability/fiscal success.
This is $8.28 less than the average RevPAR for 13 other cities in Columbus’ competitive set, ranking us tied for eighth overall.
This is 20.6% less than the national average.
As a result of the increase in occupancy, hotel/motel bed tax collections recovered as well, up 7.55% over 2010. According to reports from the Office of the City of Columbus’ Auditor Hugh J. Dorrian, visitors paid $30.7M in bed taxes in 2011. These funds support not only Experience Columbus, but also cultural and arts programs, social services, affordable housing programs and the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority.
Astleford went on to say, “We must aggressively sell, market and promote Columbus to compete on the national stage. Attracting larger, national meetings and retaining those that have grown with us over the years are our number one priority. With the Bicentennial upon us, we have an unprecedented platform to tell the Columbus story to the world. The potential for growth of the tourism and hospitality industry here in Central Ohio is huge.”
Experience Columbus is the destination sales and marketing organization for the Greater Columbus community. Formerly the Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau, Experience Columbus works with the Central Ohio community to create a competitive distinction for Columbus in the visitor marketplace, attracting leisure visitors, conventions, trade shows and meetings.
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