Visit Phoenix Brings Hope to the Local Visitor Industry Through a Record Year of Future Bookings Despite Pandemic
Communities across the globe have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but Visit Phoenix’s efforts are bringing hope and optimism to Greater Phoenix.
For the fiscal year 2019-2020 that ended June 30, Visit Phoenix reached record production of more than 575,000 future meeting and convention delegates booked into future years, with an estimated direct visitor spend of more than $630 million. These delegates are individuals who will travel here for business purposes, utilizing the Phoenix Convention Center as well as the Phoenix-area hotels and resorts. Greater Phoenix’s economy relies on visitor tax dollars to fund government general fund budgets, which support the livelihoods of our community.
“Prior to Covid-19, the Visit Phoenix and Phoenix Convention Center sales teams were projected to have another highly successful year. But handling cancellations while simultaneously closing future meetings business during a global pandemic posed challenges never seen across our industry,” said Lorne Edwards, Senior Vice President of Sales & Services at Visit Phoenix. “The sales team knew that our hotel partners and the community at-large needed our extra effort at this crucial time, and I’m very proud of the team for going above and beyond by creating win-win solutions for our clients and our hospitality community.”
Visit Phoenix achieved record production of more than 311,000 Convention Center delegates and more than 209,000 convention and meeting delegates utilizing area resorts and hotels. The latter represents the second-best production year in the non-convention center meetings segment. In addition to these new business production numbers, Visit Phoenix led the effort among the downtown Phoenix hotels, the Phoenix Convention Center, Downtown Phoenix Inc., the Mayor’s office and other partners to collaborate on Covid-19 impacted groups, successfully moving 19 programs with an estimated 55,000 delegates into future years while also uncovering new business opportunities.
“Visit Phoenix’s approach of refocusing their efforts to uncover new business has been a huge help. Many of our recent leads are coming from the team at the CVB,” said Jon Erickson, Director of Sales & Marketing of the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. “Today, more than ever, it is important to know that we are in this together.”
For the non-downtown hotel properties, Visit Phoenix embedded its in-house resort sales team into many area hotels and resorts as a layer of support when those properties suffered and were forced to furlough or lay off sales staff. In some instances, the Visit Phoenix staff became points of contact for properties that temporarily closed their doors. This remains a key, ongoing strategy of the Visit Phoenix sales team to spur the destination’s overall recovery effort.
“That we have achieved such production speaks volumes about the Visit Phoenix staff, the convention center team, our hotel partners, as well as the overall appeal of Phoenix as a meetings destination” said Steve Moore, President & CEO at Visit Phoenix. “We understood that 86% of our clients were still employed and working and we were fortunate to be in a position where we could capitalize on this opportunity. The continued investment by the City of Phoenix and private-sector travel and lodging companies into our destination has certainly worked to the community’s collective advantage. Our citizens depend on revenue from visitors and it is our passion to bring future hope and solutions to those we serve: our community.”