COLUMBUS – During the first half of 2015, the travel and tourism industry continued on a positive trajectory, with all key performance indicators up over the same time frame in 2014. Additionally, a study confirmed that the number of travelers to Greater Columbus has grown. According to Longwoods International, a leading destination research firm, Columbus’ visitor volume grew from 37.7 million person trips in 2013 to 37.9 million in 2014, with a majority of the growth in overnight stays.
Experience Columbus’ and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission’s mid-year 2015 State of the Industry Report shows that hotel occupancy increased 2.5 percent, the average daily rate at Greater Columbus hotels grew 6.1 perecent, RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) rose 8.8 percent and bed tax collections were up 9.11 percent.
“Overall, Columbus is having a very strong year,” said Brian Ross, Experience Columbus president and CEO. “We’re converting more day trips to overnight stays, during which visitors spend three times more money in our community. This is in part a result of bringing more conventions to Columbus and effectively communicating to visitors all there is to see and do in our city so that it encourages them to extend their stay.”
During the second quarter of 2015, Columbus hosted a total of 215 conventions, sporting events and groups, including 11 city-wide events. The Southern Baptist Convention welcomed 9,000 visitors for their Annual Meeting; the Game Manufacturers Association brought in 11,500 attendees; Buckeye Country Superfest drew 50,000 concert-goers; USA Volleyball attracted 12,000 and Nations Ohio Baseball State Champions had 6,000 athletes and spectators.
“We had a national group return to Columbus this summer, which not only helped boost our industry production, but also was a great example of a client bringing their event back to our city because of the experiences and success they had the first time,” said Linda Logan, Greater Columbus Sports Commission executive director. “The USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships hosted a week-long event that filled our hotels and restaurants. We’re pleased that they’re already looking to come back because of record attendance and our Midwestern hospitality.”
Looking ahead, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission booked future business during the second quarter accounting for 108,968 room nights. Large groups include the American Contract Bridge League for 2020, the American Academy of Audiology’s 2019 AudiologyNOW!, Thirty-One Gifts’ 2016 Annual Convention and Ohio Township Association’s 2016 Winter Conference.
According to a Smith Travel Research Report, from January 1 to June 30 of 2015:
Columbus area hotels had an average occupancy rate of 64.2 percent, a 2.5 percent increase YTD.
- The average of 10 leading cities in Columbus’ competitive set over the same time period was 65 percent.
- The national average over the same time period was 69.1 percent.
The average daily rate (ADR) at Columbus area hotels was $99.51, a 6.1 percent increase YTD.
- The average of 10 leading cities in Columbus’ competitive set over the same time period was $103.96.
- The national average over the same time period was $120.60.
Revenue per available room (RevPAR) at Columbus area hotels averaged $63.90, an 8.8 percent increase YTD. (RevPAR is a hotel industry performance metric, which is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s ADR by its occupancy rate)
- The average of 10 leading cities in Columbus’ competitive set over the same time period was $67.78.
- The national average over the same time period was $83.37
As a result of the increase in daily rates, hotel/motel bed tax collections increased 9.11 percent YTD or $1.6 million as of June 30, with collections totaling $19 million, according to reports from the Office of City of Columbus Auditor Hugh J. Dorrian. 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.
Experience Columbus is the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region, dedicated to growing visitor spending that is generated by conventions, meetings, trade shows and leisure visitors. Annually, visitors make more than 37.9 million trips to Greater Columbus, generating $8.7 billion in economic impact and supporting more than 71,000 jobs. For more information, visit experiencecolumbus.com.