Visitors Bureau Exceeds Booking Goal

Despite a 10 percent decline in U.S. hotel occupancy, as reported by Smith Travel Research, the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau exceeded its goal of booking 100,000 future room nights for the fiscal year ending on June 30.
In dollars, the 100,000-plus room nights translates into a little more than $95 million in revenue; a huge boost for the regional economy.
Tulsa’s new attractions, renovated spaces, popular venues and a reviving downtown helped the CVB attract conferences, meetings and business and leisure travelers to secure 100,879 room nights for the 2009 fiscal year.
The CVB works to sell Tulsa to meeting and conference planners, corporate events managers and recreational travelers as part of Tulsa’s hospitality industry. When the economy is sluggish and people are facing hard times, one of the first money-saving strategies is to cut back on travel, whether it’s for business or pleasure.
Thus, when the Tulsa CVB set a goal of booking 100,000 room nights last year, it was a lofty goal.
“We try to adjust our goals each year based on outside factors like the economy and specific market trends,” said Amy Huntley, director of sales and marketing for the CVB. “But it’s very difficult to predict what people’s travel plans will look like and how competitive the market will be in a year.”
Because of the weak economy and tourism numbers declining across the nation, first-tier cities, like Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles, not typically in competition with Tulsa for conventions and meetings became major competitors. That, coupled with a weak economy, had CVBs across the nation struggling to attract visitors to their areas.
“This was an incredibly difficult year, with delayed construction and completion of the Tulsa Convention Center, bad economy and staffing shortages. Thanks to the great work of our staff, our hospitality partners and our region’s citizens we were able to be successful,” said Suzann Stewart, executive director of the CVB. “We’re not where we want to be but with their continued commitment we can continue to market Tulsa as a destination location.”
Tourism plays a major role in the health of our economy, said Stewart.
“About $1.4 billion are spent in this region from out-of-town guests each year helping to support 25,000 jobs. It’s vital we continue to tell the traveling public about the revitalization and development efforts being seen across the region in order to compete with other destination locations.”



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