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Last month marked our 39th Annual Meeting and one of the strongest years in our organization’s history. We are thrilled to report an all-time high for local employment in the tourism industry, the most citywide meetings and events occurring in a single year, and a new record for lodgers’ tax collections, topping $14.4 million for the fiscal year—a 10.8% increase over FY18. I encourage you to read on for all the details.
We’d like to extend a big thanks to all of you, as these record-breaking numbers would not be possible without the collaboration of the hospitality industry as a whole in this city! With FY19 behind us, we are eager to jump into even bigger goals in 2020. We know that even with this positive momentum, Albuquerque has significant additional capacity for success.
Summer is coming to an end and we’re heading into the fall season—and that means cooler weather, spicier food, and countless reasons to travel to Albuquerque. We’re all gearing up for Balloon Fiesta and all of the great tourism benefits the world-renowned event brings. We wish everyone a successful Fiesta and fall travel season.
Just in time for this busy season, we are thrilled to share the incredible Albuquerque feature story in the New York Times’ 36 Hours travel column.
We are also in the midst of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and National Native American Heritage Month is right around the corner. In Albuquerque, we take pride in our community as a melting pot of cultures and a place of rich diversity year-round. We’re eager to celebrate the cultures that make this city exceptional during these special months, and we hope you’ll join us in inviting visitors to experience our rich cultural diversity.
As always, thank you for your continued partnership.
President & CEO
You are encouraged to attend our upcoming Partner Orientation, where the staff of the Development Department will guide you through our website and provide you with valuable information on the many benefits you receive with your partnership. The Orientation is an excellent tool for new Partners and a great refresher for long-time Partners. Although complimentary, you must register in advance as space is limited. Please call 505-222-4307 or email PartnerEvents@VisitABQ.org.
Orientations take place the third Wednesday of the month. The next orientation will be held:
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Visit Albuquerque Office
20 First Plaza NW, Suite 601
9:30 am - 11:00 am
We invite you to join us at our upcoming ACE class. ACE explores things to see and do in the Albuquerque area as well as tips on how to enrich your customer service skills. This is an excellent class for all positions in your organization. Each student will receive a complimentary Experience Pass that allows them and a guest to enjoy over 20 destinations in the Albuquerque area - a value of over $800. The cost to attend the class is $25 per student. To register call 505-908-8178 or email TKHTrainingabq@gmail.com.
If you are interested in hosting a private class for your business, contact Trish for the details.
The next ACE opportunity is:
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Comfort Inn and Suites Downtown
411 McKnight Ave. NW
Registration Begins: 8:45 am/Class Begins: 9:00 am
Continental breakfast with coffee and water will be served.
During our Annual Meeting held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque on August 29, we celebrated one of the organization’s strongest years of marketing Albuquerque as a premier visitor, convention and sports destination. The organization announced an all-time high for local employment in the tourism industry, the most citywide meetings and events occurring in a single year, and a new record for lodgers’ tax collections, topping $14.4 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019—a 10.8% increase over FY18.
Visit Albuquerque welcomed nearly 300 tourism and business professionals to the event where we heard remarks from City of Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, City Councilor Isaac Benton and Visit Albuquerque leadership.
In addition to highlighting the successes of the past year, Visit Albuquerque also celebrated recent achievements and announced plans for the future. For a full recap on future plans and announcements at the event, please see the press release here.
In addition, the program included recognizing Visit Albuquerque volunteers—a base of over 90 individuals who serve at the organization’s Visitor Information Centers, trade conferences and local events. Two long-standing volunteers were highlighted during the program: Pat Wittman for 19 years and Tom Grasser for 17 years of service.
The meeting closed with Tania Armenta, Visit Albuquerque President and CEO, thanking attendees and emphasizing the real impact the tourism industry has on Albuquerque, adding that none of these successes would be possible without the support of the community and the industry. “Our city is a premium and authentic destination, and Visit Albuquerque looks forward to an exciting and even stronger year ahead,” said Armenta.
At the Annual Meeting on August 29, we were proud to highlight the overall success of the travel and tourism industry in Albuquerque, as well as its role as a leading contributor to the city’s economy. As one of the largest private industries in the city, the tourism industry in Albuquerque:
Increases were reported in overall hotel performance, with hotel occupancy up 5.8% and average daily rate up 5.9% calendar year-to-date through June 2019, according to STR (formerly known as Smith Travel Research). The Albuquerque International Sunport welcomed over 5.4 million visitors in FY19, a 2.9% increase over FY18.
Visit Albuquerque also saw successes through dedicated marketing efforts over the past fiscal year. The organization’s PR team generated over 1,220 positive articles about the city with the potential to reach more than 1.7 billion people and an estimated publicity value of over $3.7 million. Visit ABQ’s digital and social media efforts continue to pay off with an increased Instagram following of 55% and a 16.3% increase in web traffic to VisitABQ.org. Visit Albuquerque’s advertising campaigns generated nearly 85 million impressions across seven different channels.
Additional key visitor data for FY19 included successes in bookings and service:
The Annual Meeting program also included election of new Board leadership and members. Cainan Harris, general manager of Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, was named Board Chair for FY20 and Jim Gay, regional director of New Mexico Sports & Wellness; Steve Grant, owner of the Downtown Historic Bed & Breakfast; and Damen Kompanowski, general manager of Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown, were all elected to a second term.
We give great thanks to Jim Gay for the past year of leadership as the Board Chair. As we bid farewell to Jim, we were also excited to see him pass the gavel on to Cainan Harris, our Board Chair for FY20. We are all eager to work with Cainan in his new role this year.
Destination Analysts, a market research firm, has conducted annual research surveys of meeting planners since 2017, with 500 surveys completed in May 2019. As a part of their 2019 research, Destination Analysts interviewed 12 meeting planners about their impressions of Albuquerque as a host city. These meeting planners’ knowledge of Albuquerque ranged from “never set foot there” to “I love it and recommend it to my clients.”
Visit Albuquerque has pulled together a list of three key lessons the Albuquerque meetings and conventions industry should take away from this recent research:
Lesson #1: Comps May Vary
Lesson #2: Capitalize on Attendee Intrigue
Lesson #3: Let’s Talk About Airlift
Kristin McGrath, Visit Albuquerque’s Vice President of Sales, Services & Sports, recently returned from London, England, where she had been invited by Destinations International to instruct a course during the European Cities Management Summer School. One of her sessions during the course covered the RFP process in the United States. Visit Albuquerque is honored to have had a member of our leadership be selected to instruct this course by Destinations International. We are proud to have such a highly regarded sales and thought leader in the industry representing Visit Albuquerque.
Misty Jester, Visit Albuquerque’s Senior National Sales Manager, represented Visit Albuquerque at the Professional Fraternity Association (PFA) Annual Convention this month in Alexandria, Va. PFA members include more than 30 fraternity and sorority organizations, all of whom plan meetings and events.
Visit Albuquerque exhibited at IMEX America in Las Vegas, Nev., September 10-12, 2019. Exhibiting at this event gave our sales team the opportunity to meet with thousands of qualified buyers from all industry sectors, at one of the largest meetings markets in the world. We shared our booth space with Tourism Santa Fe, and extend a big 'thank you' to the New Mexico Tourism Department for their generous marketing sponsorship. This partnership provided our booth with cohesive signage under the New Mexico True brand umbrella, elevating our presence at this important show.
Balloon Fiesta is increasing its public safety and security protocols this year. Click here for specifics about the 2019 Public Safety Measures.
To help communicate the addition of metal detectors and expanded bag checks Balloon Fiesta has created a helpful flyer that can be displayed for visitors and guests.
The New Mexico Tourism Department is hiring a Commerce Analyst. The purpose of this position is to monitor and report economic trends specific to New Mexico's tourism industry and assist in conducting research on tourism business development, collecting and analyzing data on emerging tourism industry opportunities, and develop forecasts to assist the tourism industry in advocating for business development.
To learn more and/or apply for this job click here.
A free listing on our website, VisitABQ.org, is one of the valuable benefits you receive as a Visit Albuquerque partner. Your listing can include a 100-word description of your business, up to 10 photos and a video, a link to your website and social media pages, a map showing your location, links to your TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews, and more. Travelers use our website listings to plan their trip to Albuquerque and get ideas about where to stay and what to do, so make sure your listing is up to date and shows your business in the best light. To update your listing, click on the “Partners” area of VisitABQ.org and then on “Manage Your Account.” If you need assistance, contact Janice Pomeroy at Pomeroy@VisitABQ.org.
The Official Albuquerque Visitors Guide is designed to inspire people who are planning to visit our beautiful city as well as those who have already made the trip and are looking for ideas about where to eat, shop and spend their time while they are here.
With 250,000 copies printed annually, these guides are distributed through mail to those who request a copy, as well as at local businesses and Visitor Information Centers. The guide also is distributed at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and an interactive version of the guide is posted on the Visit Albuquerque website.
Being included in the Visitors Guide increases your exposure to the millions of visitors who travel to Albuquerque annually!
Did you know—A recent survey conducted by Destination Analysts confirmed that:
Partners in most business categories receive a listing in the Visitors Guide as a benefit of the partnership. Partners are also entitled to a yearly allotment of Visitors Guides. If you run out of guides throughout the year, call 505-222-4307 and schedule an appointment to pick up more.
Ad Sales: If you are interested in advertising in this annual publication, contact Mary Brown, 505-222-4310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listing Update Forms for the 2020 Visitors Guide were mailed August 23, 2019, to partners that qualify. If you have not yet returned your form, there is still time. Please contact Janice Pomeroy at Pomeroy@VisitABQ.org if you have any questions or need another copy of your form.
Balloon Fiesta is right around the corner, and we want to include you in any continuing promotional efforts. If you are offering a Balloon Fiesta/Fall package or hotel deal, we want to know about it and share it! Packages and deals created around an event or a season are a great way to encourage stays at your hotel. Balloon Fiesta and the surrounding fall events create a great opportunity to do just that.
Submit a package to have your offer promoted on our webpage, which is highly ranked on search engines and receives an average of 140,000 unique visitors per month.
Here at Visit Albuquerque, we’re always developing new marketing initiatives and we want to talk about you! With the fall season beginning, we’re collecting as much information as possible so we can share what’s new in Albuquerque this season and the rest of 2019.
Do you have an upcoming anniversary? Did you just remodel? New name? New tour? New feature? New photos or videos? New concept? New specialty dish? Have you moved, or are you about to? Grand opening? Send anything and everything to Media@VisitABQ.org.
Check out VisitABQ.org/GoodNews for this season's biggest stories about ABQ.
» Albuquerque Journal - ABQ Tourism Has One of Best Years in 4 Decades
» The New York Times - 36 Hours in Albuquerque
» Travel Channel - 10 Things to Do in Albuquerque
» Family Vacation Critic - 12 Best Fall Family Festivals in the U.S. 2019
» Pursuits with Enterprise - New Mexico Casts an Enchanting Spell on a Road Trip Adventure
The New Mexico Tourism Department brought home the first-ever Brand USA Video Storytelling Award for their video series “New Mexico True Stories,” rising above all other participating states to win the award. Congratulations, New Mexico!
Last month, Rainbow Ryders acquired Float Balloon Tours, based in Phoenix. Visit Albuquerque congratulates the company on continuing to expand its presence in the Southwest!
Congratulations to Hotel Andaluz, Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, and Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino on their making the “best of the West” list published by Meetings Today. These top-rated hotels are receiving much deserved recognition as some of the best hotels and resorts for meetings in North America.
Congratulations to Papa Felipe’s New Mexican Restaurant, winner of the 2019 Albuquerque Journal Readers’ Choice Award for the Best New Mexican Restaurant in Albuquerque!
Congratulations to Steel Bender Brewyard, the People’s Choice Winner in the Edible New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown for the Los Ranchos Four-Chile Burger!
A big major expansion including a new third-floor sports bar is coming to Sandia Resort & Casino. Congratulations on the growth!
Congratulations to Red Door Brewing on their new downtown taproom location! The brewery is partnering with local food truck, Kamikaze Kitchen, serving a full menu at the new location.
Isleta Casino & Resort recently celebrated the grand opening of Fatburger, Panda Express, and an all-new Chile Ristra restaurant. Congratulations on the new additions!
Congratulations to New Mexico Escape Room on securing the number 6 spot in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for best escape rooms around the country!