Brenna Moore/Visit Albuquerque Office
Announces record-breaking industry statistics and new board members
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – (Aug. 28, 2018) – During its Annual Meeting held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque this afternoon, Visit Albuquerque celebrated one of the strongest years of marketing Albuquerque as a visitor, convention and sports destination in its 38-year history, announcing an all-time high for employment in the tourism industry, the most citywide meeting and event bookings occurring in a single year and record-breaking lodgers’ tax collections, which topped $13 million for fiscal year 2018—a 7.3 percent increase over FY17.
Visit Albuquerque President & CEO Tania Armenta and Board of Directors Chair Cynthia Stanley welcomed more than 325 tourism and business professionals to the event to hear remarks from Mayor Tim Keller, City Council President Ken Sanchez and Visit Albuquerque leadership.
“Tourism is a core component of our economic development and is what’s been lifting up ABQ over the last several years,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Albuquerque is home to unmatched natural beauty, one-of-a-kind New Mexican cuisine, a fascinating cultural history and is a city that is unique on a level that very few other cities in America can compete with—that’s our competitive advantage. Visit Albuquerque works to share all of those things that make our city special, and that’s why I’m so optimistic in regards to the work they’re doing, and excited for what’s to come.”
“Travel and tourism is big business for Albuquerque, and continues to be a very bright spot for the city,” said Tania Armenta, President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. “The successes and data touted today underline what a vital economic engine travel and tourism is for the Albuquerque area, and we look forward to working together to build on this positive momentum as we move into the next fiscal year.”
Today’s program reported increases in hotel performance, with hotel occupancy up 2.3 percent and average daily rate up 2 percent calendar year-to-date through July 2018, according to STR (formerly known as Smith Travel Research). In regards to passenger traffic at the Albuquerque International Sunport, there has been a 13.2 percent increase of all passengers January through June year-over-year (calendar year to-date).
Visit Albuquerque also saw successes through marketing efforts for FY18. The organization’s PR team was involved with over 1,450 articles about the city with the potential to reach over 2.3 billion people and an estimated publicity value of over $9 million. Visit ABQ’s social media efforts continue to pay off with an increased following of 9.4 percent over FY17 across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Additional key visitor data for FY18 include:
- An increase in overall bookings, due in part to the success of the new Albuquerque Regional Sports Complex.
- 55 citywide meeting and events were secured, the highest number ever, and of which 23 were new citywide bookings, meaning they hadn’t occurred in Albuquerque within the last three years.
- 221,228 total room nights were booked for the future, an increase of 3.3 percent over FY17. These bookings also account for the second-highest year in estimated direct spending.
- 347 total conventions/meetings and sporting events were booked, up 7.4 percent from FY17.
- Group tour rooms nights were up 13 percent from the previous fiscal year.
- Visit Albuquerque’s Albuquerque Concierge Excellence (ACE) training program has seen more than 1,000 participants since the program’s inception in 2009.
Armenta and Stanley also touted the overall success of the travel and tourism industry in Albuquerque, as well as its role as one of the strongest contributors to the city’s economy. As one of the largest private industries in the city, the tourism industry in Albuquerque:
- Generates more than $2 billion annually
- Employs over 43,000 people in Albuquerque, the highest employment ever for the leisure and hospitality industry
- Brings approximately 6.2 million visitors to the city each year, which generates about $69 million in local taxes
In addition to highlighting a very successful FY18, Visit Albuquerque also announced plans for the future during the Annual Meeting, including stronger collaborations with the City, the hospitality community and the organization’s more than 700 partners. A shared goal of the Visit Albuquerque sales and marketing teams is to increase Albuquerque’s presence within key markets. For FY19, the organization is expanding its leisure advertising markets and will now be in nine cities across the region—Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, El Paso, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Denver.
Additional marketing efforts for FY19 include:
- Advertising via Connected TV (now in about 70 percent of homes across the country) for the first time ever
- An increased focus on key messaging, including:
- Albuquerque’s distinct neighborhoods, with content featuring recommendations and tips from notable locals.
- Cuisine: our amazing food and dining experiences, and beer, wine, coffee and chocolate.
- Live music: as featured at our spectacular outdoor events, and in unique venues all across Albuquerque.
The meeting program also included voting on new board leadership and members. Jim Gay, Regional Director for New Mexico Sports & Wellness, was named Board Chair for FY19 and Adrian Montoya, General Manager, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town was elected to his first term in the Hospitality/Accommodations category. (Please reach out to the media contact for the full list of the Board of Directors.)
In addition, the program included recognizing Visit Albuquerque volunteers—a base of over 90 individuals serving at the organization’s Visitor Information Centers, trade conferences and local events. Two long-standing volunteers were highlighted during the program: Del Dickinson for 22 years and Marge Rico for 20 years of service.
Armenta closed by thanking attendees, adding that none of these successes would be possible without the support of the community and the industry. She emphasized the importance of the new and tried and true experiences they provide to the visitor, along with the continued private and public investment in the city. Albuquerque is a premium and authentic destination, and Visit Albuquerque looks forward to an exciting and even stronger fiscal year ahead.
About Visit Albuquerque
The mission of Visit Albuquerque is to stimulate economic growth by marketing Albuquerque as a visitor and convention destination. For more information, go to www.VisitABQ.org, www.Facebook.com/VisitABQ or www.Twitter.com/VisitABQ.