Local tourism economy flourishes as bed tax collections hit all-time high

COLUMBUS – The local tourism economy thrived in 2017. Bed tax collections hit a new record at $46.8 million; the Greater Columbus Convention Center completed a $140 million renovation and expansion; and new attractions opened, including the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery at COSI.

Today, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission released their year-end 2017 State of the Industry Report.

According to reports from the Office of City of Columbus Auditor Megan Kilgore, hotel/motel bed tax collections increased 5.25 percent YTD or $2.3 million as of Dec. 31, with collections totaling $46.8 million. 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.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017, the STR shows Greater Columbus hotel occupancy slightly decreased, while average daily rate and RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increased over the same time period in 2016.



% change

Average in competitive set





Average Daily Rate









* RevPAR is a hotel industry performance metric, which is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s ADR by its occupancy rate

“We had a very productive 2017, which has paved the way for a strong outlook in 2018,” said Brian Ross, Experience Columbus president and CEO. “This year, we anticipate welcoming 28 large citywide conventions to Columbus in 2018, a 17 percent increase over 2017. These groups include annual business such as the Arnold Sports Festival, AmericanHort and Thirty-One Gifts, as well as new business from the National Urban League, American Psychiatric Nurses Association and American Dental Hygienists Association.”

During the fourth quarter of 2017, Columbus hosted a total of 149 conventions, sporting events and groups, including five citywide events, those with 1,000 room nights or more on peak. Girl Scouts of the USA welcomed 10,000 attendees to the 2017 National Council Session/54th Convention; the Ohio School Boards Association brought 9,500 to the 2017 Annual Capital Conference & Trade Show; and the Ohio High School Athletic Association welcomed over 6,000 athletes and fans to the 2017 Boys and Girls State Cross Country Championships.

“The Greater Columbus Sports Commission celebrated its 15th anniversary with our most successful year ever in generating hotel room nights and fifth consecutive year of record growth,” said Linda Logan, Greater Columbus Sports Commission executive director. “Landing 12 future NCAA championship events for 2019-2022 and hosting the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship, NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship, USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships, all while working on the NCAA Women’s Final Four made 2017 a landmark year for our sports community. We look forward to working towards another year of significant growth in 2018.”

Looking ahead, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission booked future business during the fourth quarter accounting for 180,555 room nights. Citywide groups include the National Collegiate Athletic Association 2018 Women’s Final Four, National Guard Association of the United States, USA Volleyball, Avon Products and the American Society of Association Executives.


Experience Columbus is the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region, dedicated to growing visitor spending and enhancing the visitor experience. In 2016, Columbus was ranked “Highest in Visitor Satisfaction in the Midwest” by J.D. Power in the 2016 Destination Experience Satisfaction StudySM.  Annually, visitors make more than 39.9 million trips to Greater Columbus for conventions, tradeshows, sporting events and leisure visits, spending $6.4 billion generating $9.7 billion in economic impact and supporting nearly 75,000 jobs. For more information, visit experiencecolumbus.com.