Monday, February 7, 2022

"Visit Tucson" Reports: Oro Valley Hotel Occupancy At 55%...And Revenues Up About 16%

Visit Tucson delivered 26,500 room nights to Oro Valley hotels in 2021
In 2021, the regional marketing organization, Visit Tucson, brought “47 booking some 25,000 room nights” to Oro Valley’s hotels for groups. This according to Felipe Garcia, the organization’s new President/CEO. Garcia addressed his remarks to the Oro Valley Town Council at the February 2 Council meeting. It was the annual update to the Council on what Visit Tucson has done for the community. According to Garcia, sports tourism brought in an additional 13 bookings and almost 3,500 room nights.

Oro Valley hotel occupancy at 55%...and revenues up about 16%
Garcia compared 2019 and 2021 hotel occupancy rates for the last quarter of each year. Hotels in Oro Valley were just a bit over half filled in both quarters but the average hotel rate skyrocket from $118 to $146 per room. “That it's more money coming to the community.” By our calculations, total revenue would be up about 16%.  Garcia concluded that “Consumers are coming back to the community and realizing that it's a great place.”

Garcia believes that Oro Valley is a very attractive community because of its open space. People coming here from lockdown location simply enjoy all we have to offer: Hiking, bicycling, or simply walking in the great outdoors.

Visit Tucson has been actively marketing Oro Valley
The organization brought 28 event planners to town last fall. They met with Mayor Winfield. “When we bring them to the community, they see what is here.. and look at the mountains … it's very very easy sale for us,” according to Garcia. “In April, we will bring a group of journalists and clients from Canada to Oro Valley … will be going around the community eating in restaurants. I will be selling to them while they're here in our community.”  The Visit Tucson web site has an Oro Valley page.

$410,000 Funding from bed tax revenues
According to Town Manager Mary Jacobs: “We currently utilize Visit Tucson as our primary marketing group.” The 2021-22 budget includes $250,000 for Visit Tucson. That cost increased when the town annexed the Westward Look Resort. Visit Tucson has been receiving 50% of Westward Look’s bed taxes through an agreement with Pima County. So, the total in the budget, post Westward Look Annexation, for Visit Tucson is $410,000. (Source)

All funds come from the town’s bed tax revenues of 6%.

Lack of hotel responsiveness is a big challenge
It seems odd that the hotels that benefit from the efforts of the Town and Visit Tucson to increase hotel occupancy are unresponsive to opportunities that are presented to them. According to Garcia, hotel responsiveness to opportunities is a problem. “One of the biggest challenges we have is a lack of staffing in hotels. Many hotels are relying on a regional salesperson so we have to go and tell them they have pay attention to us here in Southern Arizona.”

Garcia is enthusiastic about 2022
Garcia noted that organizations are just now returning to offsite events. Much of the travel to date has been by individuals. He wants Oro Valley to “keep doing what you're doing. Keep building a very strong community that is unique.” While Oro Valley is doing that, Visit Tucson plans to complete updating its website; and to focus on social media as a way to get the word out about our community and about Southern Arizona in general. With that in mind, he requested that anyone who has decent pictures of the town please send it to him so that he can include them in presentations and on the website.
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About Visit Tucson
Visit Tucson is a regional marketing organization, with a goal of promoting tourism in Southern Arizona. It is a non profit organization. It is funded by three jurisdictions: The City of Tucson ($5million), Pima County ($2.2 million) and Oro Valley ($410,000). Marana and Sahuarita are not participants and provide no funding. (Source)  Private-sector revenue adds $277,450 in Visit Tucson’s 2021-22 [$7.9 million] fiscal year budget. "While the Town of Oro Valley contributes a set amount each year, Pima County and City of Tucson contribute a percentage of bed tax collections."  Council Member Josh Nicolson is the Oro Valley Town Council liaison to Visit Tucson.

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