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I’d like to start this message with our gratitude to you. Thank you for continuing to persevere and work to help our city’s tourism industry thrive in what we know has been an incredibly challenging and stressful time. The omicron surge has put yet another strain on our industry, but your endless efforts and perseverance have keep our industry moving forward and future focused.
As challenging as this time has been, though, we have plenty of good news to share and celebrate. Our occupancy rates were higher than the national average throughout the holiday season, our sales team has been hard at work around the country encouraging meeting and event planners to come to our city, and travelers have even more opportunity to visit with new non-stop flights to Albuquerque. We share all this and more in this issue of Industry Insider.
As always, thank you for your continued partnership.
President & CEO
ASM Global, the Albuquerque Convention Center’s management company, named Ray Roa as General Manager in December. Ray joins us from Fresno, Calif., where he was Director of Sales and Marketing for the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center. We look forward to working with Ray in bringing world-class events to our city!
As we welcome Ray, we also say farewell to José García after his 18 years of successful service in the meetings and conventions industry in Albuquerque. José accepted the position of President & CEO at Destination El Paso, and will be missed greatly here in our industry.
We want to take a moment to thank José for his dedication to the meetings, convention and tourism industry in Albuquerque and wish him great success in his new role.
The proposed Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District (ATMD) will be a game changer for our city’s accommodations and hospitality industry. By adding a 2% assessment to the guest checkout folio at approximately 150 lodging properties located within the District, the ATMD will provide a vital new source of dedicated funding to market Albuquerque as a destination. Albuquerque can add this 2% assessment and still stay below the national average for guest check-out fees.
This investment in marketing is necessary as Albuquerque competes against destinations that have much larger marketing budgets to attract leisure travelers, sports tourism along with meetings and conventions. The ATMD will result in more visitors, higher occupancy levels at lodging properties, and greater economic prosperity for businesses in the hospitality industry and for our city as a whole.
A majority of the lodging properties located within the District’s boundaries have signed a petition to form the Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District enabling the process to move forward to City Council. At its Jan. 19 meeting, the Albuquerque City Council appointed a five-person planning group, referred the petition to the planning group, and directed the group to prepare a District Plan to implement the ATMD.
The group will present the District Plan at a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 22. The City Clerk is in the process of notifying lodging properties located within the District boundaries about the public hearing. Visit Albuquerque encourages you to learn more about the ATMD and the transformational effect it will have on tourism in our city. Contact Tania Armenta at email@example.com for information.
Although down from peak performance over the summer and fall, Albuquerque hotels saw solid numbers during the last two weeks of 2021, a period that included the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Hotel occupancy rates in Albuquerque outperformed the national averages both weeks.
Average Albuquerque hotel occupancy for the week that included Christmas (Dec. 19-25) was 47.9%, compared to the average U.S. hotel occupancy rate of 44.3%.
The average Albuquerque hotel occupancy rate for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) was 58.9%, compared to the U.S. hotel occupancy rate of 54.3%.
The percentage of hotel rooms occupied in Albuquerque on New Year’s Eve nearly matched the national rate: 61.9% locally vs. 62.0% nationally.
While we know the tourism landscape will continue to remain highly competitive and is continuing to change in the face of the evolving pandemic, we are happy to see these improved occupancy rates for the 2021 holiday season.
These increases in overnight stays in Albuquerque can be attributed to a combination of vaccine availability, pent-up demand for travel, a boost in tourism marketing funds from the City and all of our collective and continued efforts to market the city as a world-class destination.
Fresno State took the win at the 16th Annual PUBG MOBILE New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, playing against UTEP. The game was played at University Stadium and was aired to fans across the country on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
The 2021 NM Bowl generated an estimated $3.6 million of direct spending in Albuquerque. The game was attended by approximately 16,400 people.
Drawing visitors to the city from the competing teams’ home states and other football fans from around the region, Visit Albuquerque was present at the game, providing Official Albuquerque Visitors Guides and a fun photo opportunity. With the stadium as visitors’ backdrop, Visit ABQ staff helped to commemorate visits to the New Mexico Bowl with a photo inside the life-size Albuquerque picture frame, free of charge.
Visit Albuquerque has sponsored the New Mexico Bowl every year since it was formed in 2006, taking advantage of the national media exposure to shine a spotlight on the city as a top tourism destination. Millions of people tune in to the game live each year on ESPN-TV and ESPN Radio. Visit Albuquerque continued its sponsorship in 2021 for the 16th annual PUBG MOBILE New Mexico Bowl. The sponsorship package included many promotional opportunities including commercials broadcasted during the game to ESPN’s national audience and commercials on ESPN Radio. In addition, signage for Albuquerque was visible on the field and in the stands throughout the game, and footage of Albuquerque aired during game breaks, when the game announcers highlighted the city’s beauty and attractions.
Visit Albuquerque also made it easy for fans planning their trip to Albuquerque for the game, highlighting affordable deals and hotel packages and information on things to do in the city during the weekend of the game.
The Albuquerque International Sunport welcomed American Airlines’ inaugural daily nonstop flight from Austin to Albuquerque on Jan. 4. This marks the second daily service and third airline offering direct flights between Albuquerque and Austin.
“This added service from American Airlines is a direct response to the continued return of the demand for travel. Austin has been one of the focus cities for our nationwide Fly Direct campaign, and this announcement is a testament to its success,” Richard McCurley, Interim Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque, said in a KOB story upon the initial announcement of the flight.
Under a new program designed to tackle workforce shortages, New Mexico businesses in the hospitality industry can apply for partial reimbursement of expenses associated with training new or recently promoted employees. The program, which is being administered by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and the New Mexico Tourism Department, will cover up to 16 weeks of training for up to 10 workers per business location.
To be eligible, businesses must be in the hospitality industry in New Mexico and the positions must pay at least $12.50 per hour, tipped or non-tipped. The positions can be full-time (32 to 40 hours per week) or part-time (20 to 31 hours per week). Total reimbursement amounts range from $816 to $4,480 per employee over the 16-week period. Reimbursement amounts are prorated if the employee does not remain in the position for the full 16 weeks:
|Position Type||Max. Reimbursement Amount for 16 Weeks|
|Full-time eligible employee, non-tipped||$4,480|
|Part-time eligible employee, non-tipped||$2,240|
|Full-time eligible employee, tipped||$1,632|
|Part-time eligible employee, tipped||$816|
Businesses interested in applying should call 800-303-3599 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Have the following information ready when you call:
Visit Ready NM for full details about the program and information about how to apply.
The City of Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency is requesting input from the public on the initial draft of its Rail Trail Framework Plan.
The trail is planned as a 1-mile walking and biking thoroughfare that will run along the existing railroad corridor and connect the Rail Yards to the eastern part of Downtown, providing access to retail businesses, restaurants and other establishments. It is designed to provide pedestrians and bicyclists with a shaded, safe rail crossing protected from car traffic. Art and attractions such as pop-up vendors will be integrated along its route.
Construction on the trail’s first section, the Marquette Crossing, will begin in Winter 2022. It will connect the east and west sides of the rail corridor.
To review the plan and provide feedback, visit cabq.gov/railtrail. Comments will be taken through Jan. 31, 2022.
The Visit Albuquerque Sales team has been hard at work to ensure a strong, successful return of meetings and conventions to our city.
Last month, Visit Albuquerque Senior National Sales Manager Misty Jester led a site visit with the Professional Fraternity Association (PFA) and four Albuquerque hotels. This site visit resulted from Misty and Kristin McGrath giving a presentation to the PFA Board at the September 2021 Annual Convention that was held in Dallas, and Albuquerque consequently won the bid for 2023 against two other cities.
Misty Jester and Kristin McGrath also attended the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders event Jan. 9-12. They attended educational sessions and spoke with meeting planners from all over the United States at numerous networking opportunities, sharing the best about Albuquerque and making important and long-lasting connections in the industry.
Visit Albuquerque Associate Director of Sales Larry Atchison participated in CONNECT DC 2021 from Dec. 1-3 in Washington, D.C. Larry conducted 25 in-person appointments at the reverse trade show over a two-day period. There was a wide range of planners in attendance including representatives from association management companies, medical associations, third-party meeting and site selection planners and associations representing multiple markets.
On Dec. 14, Visit Albuquerque Senior National Sales Manager Tabitha Stallworth exhibited at the Association Forum’s Holiday Showcase in Chicago. Holiday Showcase attendees included Chicago-area association executives such as meeting planners and executive directors. Additionally, Tabitha hosted Caffeinate & Connect breakfasts on Dec. 14 and 15 for future and current clients.
By sharing your Albuquerque travel experience as part of the Travel + Leisure 2022 World’s Best Awards, you will be entered into a giveaway for a chance to win a dream trip for two worth $15,000! It’s simple to participate in the survey and enter the contest:
Create a new account for the 2022 survey and answer a few questions about yourself.
To share your favorite ABQ travel experience, when asked about your travels over the past three years, select United States as the Region, New Mexico as the State, and then choose Cities as the Category.
From there you will be able to select Albuquerque and comment on attributes such as food, culture and friendliness.
Hotel Chaco and Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa are also finalists within the Hotels category, and you can share your experiences at these properties by choosing “Hotels” in the Category selection.
Be sure to vote by Monday, Feb. 28, for your chance to win, and please share the survey link with your colleagues, friends and family!
Every business has something that makes it stand out, something that sets it apart from all the other businesses in the area. We like to think of it as a fingerprint, something that only you’ve got to offer your visitors. Because it’s unique to you, highlight and celebrate it to drive your business forward. Destination Travel Network (DTN) outlines how exactly to embrace what makes you unique in its article here.
2022 is in full swing, and we want to include you in our promotional efforts throughout the year. Every year, Visit Albuquerque publishes a printed coupon booklet that is distributed at a wide variety of events, conventions and conferences.
With this submission, your coupon will also be included on your VisitABQ.org business listing and on our highly visited coupons and deals webpage.
Including a coupon on our website and in our printed booklet is a great way to introduce your business to new visitors and drive increased business throughout 2022. There is no charge for our Partners to include a coupon.
Visit Albuquerque’s ABQ365 Events Calendar offers a great opportunity to promote your events! The one-stop, all-ABQ encompassing calendar features primarily arts, entertainment and culture-focused events, appealing to both locals and visitors.
Event listings offer a great opportunity for additional exposure and promotion, and can help keep your business top-of-mind – for free!
Click here to get started.
We want to help you share your new initiatives. If you are offering a new type of service or concept, a new product, or have anything else exciting or new going on, we want to hear about it! Send anything and everything to Media@VisitABQ.org.
A big congratulations to Visit Albuquerque Board Chair Heather Arnold on being named a 2022 Women of Influence by Albuquerque Business First. The Women of Influence awards honor women who are passionate, ambitious and motivated to make both their industries and communities the best they can be. Through her dedication to the small business community and passion for the tourism industry, Heather is very deserving of this honor.
Congratulations to the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden on their recent ranking of one of the country’s 10 best Botanical Garden Holiday Light Displays in USA Today’s 10Best! Our very own River of Lights was voted No. 10 on the list. See the full article here.
Congratulations to Luna and Luz on a recent feature piece in the Albuquerque Journal. On Saturday, Jan. 15, the Journal published “New ABQ lifestyle shop aims to offer Old Town appeal to locals.” Read the whole story here.
Partnering with Visit Albuquerque to provide the Official Map of Albuquerque since 2016
Put your business on the map!
Reserve your space now! Call 505-750-0076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling local breweries, entertainment and restaurant businesses to participate in a digital passport program developed to help local businesses with no cost to participate. The Unbelievable Pass will be the premier deals pass for Albuquerque and the perfect cure for cabin fever.
Email email@example.com for more information.
Visit Albuquerque’s Partners help support our mission to market the city as a top-choice destination for leisure travel, meetings and sporting events. Our thanks to the following Partners that recently joined or renewed their partnership with Visit Albuquerque. We appreciate your commitment to making Albuquerque a great place to live and to visit!