Major events boost image and drive visitation

COLUMBUS – Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission have released their first quarter 2018 State of the Industry Report. From January to March 2018, the average daily rate at Greater Columbus hotels grew 1.8 percent, RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increased 1.7 percent and hotel occupancy was flat. Bed tax collections remained steady year to date.

According to the Smith Travel Research Report, from January 1 to March 31, 2018:



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

"The first quarter of this year was highlighted by two major events that put Columbus in the national and international spotlight: The Arnold Sports Festival 30th Anniversary and the NCAA Women's Final Four," said Brian Ross, Experience Columbus president and CEO. "These events not only drove visitors to Columbus and generated direct visitor spend, but also boosted our image as a destination for large meetings, conventions, trade shows and sporting events. We're truly appreciative and proud of how the community collaborated to warmly welcome the hundreds of thousands of visitors who came to our city."

During the first quarter of 2018, Columbus hosted a total of 151 conventions, trade shows and sporting events, including six citywide events, those with 1,000 hotel rooms or more on peak night. The Reading Recovery Council of North America welcomed 2,100 attendees to its 2018 Annual Conference; the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s 2018 Ohio Educational Technology conference brought in 7,000 attendees; the NCAA Women’s Final Four drew 80,000; and the Arnold Sports Festival & Fitness Weekend attracted 200,000 attendees during its 30th anniversary.

“Hosting the NCAA Women’s Final Four was a remarkable event for our community that is being considered as one of the best ever,” said Linda Logan, Greater Columbus Sports Commission executive director. “We also our proud of hosting the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Annual Convention in conjunction with the Women’s Final Four, along with the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships and U.S. Soccer’s SheBelieves Cup.”

Looking ahead, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission booked future business accounting for 97,012 room nights. Future conventions and sporting events include the Thirty-One Gifts 2019 Annual Convention and the USA Volleyball 2019 Adult Open National Championships and Annual Meeting.

Year-to-date through March 31, hotel/motel bed tax collections totaled more than $8.5 million, according to reports from the Office of the City of Columbus’ Auditor Megan Kilgore. 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 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 and supporting nearly 75,000 jobs. For more information, visit