2015-2016 Annual Report

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau's Annual Report updates you on the Bureau's progress toward increasing the area’s visitor and convention business. Review 2015-2016 progress reports here for sales, services, marketing, communications, sports marketing and administration/technology.

Letter from Chairman Thomas "Skip" Hill

Dear Valued Wake County Hospitality Partner,

Over the past year, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has been hard at work doing what it does best--being a leader in enhancing the county's visitor-related economic growth and development. As the following report will show, the Greater Raleigh CVB has proven that the travel sector is a significant economic driver for our area by creating hospitality industry jobs and bringing new revenue into the economy through leisure and business travel, conventions, festivals, sporting events and special events.

In 2015 we welcomed 15.1 million visitors to Wake County and collected a record $2.3 billion in direct visitor spending, generating more than $219 million in state and local tax revenues. Tourism also means jobs... visitation now supports the employment of over 24,400 workers with a payroll of $656+ million.

Wake County also set records across all key performance indicators, including an average hotel occupancy rate of 70 percent and an average daily rate of $96.48. Lodging tax collections totaled $23.3 million, and prepared food and beverage collections rose 7.9 percent in 2015-2016, amounting to $26.08 million. Those are impressive figures especially when added to the 19-to-1 return on investment--from the inter-local tax dollars invested into the GRCVB to the $131.7 million in estimated direct economic impact from GRCVB-assisted conventions, meetings and sporting events.

None of these numbers could have been achieved without Denny Edwards and his staff at the CVB. Each of our CVB departments: sales, services, communications, marketing and sports marketing exceeded their goals, and through hard work and innovative ideas, they positively impacted Raleigh and Wake County's reputation on a national level as a premier leisure and meeting destination. This group of 28 passionate people should be applauded for the work they do each and every day to promote Raleigh/Wake County as one of the best places in the nation for leisure, business and sporting events.

Speaking of passionate people, there is no doubt that you saw the focus on the area's smart, savvy, passionate-minded residents who make up the destination brand fabric of Raleigh, N.C., highlighted throughout all aspects of Bureau marketing last year. This "Rooted in Raleigh"-themed campaign of spotlighting residents, like William Lewis of PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, or Chef Ashley Christensen of AC Restaurants, to help tell the tourism story of the Raleigh area was an award-winning initiative. The destination brand strategy, focusing on passionate people and their tourism stories, will continue for the foreseeable future through video, social media, PR storytelling and on-site promotions; you can read more about specific examples in the 2016-2017 Business Plan.

As a testament to the quality of work that the Bureau's employees produce, the CVB has won numerous industry awards including Successful Meetings' Pinnacle Award and a Gold Service Award from Meetings & Conventions magazine (to name just a few) and the Reader's Choice Award from SportsEvents magazine for the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention some of the highlights of the year--the NCAA Men's Basketball 1st and 2nd Rounds, with an estimated economic impact of $4.2 million; the Society of American Travel Writers Eastern Chapter Conference, which brought 100 travel writers to experience Raleigh/Wake County for five days; and the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass week, which successfully navigated the challenges of transitioning from an outdoor festival to an indoor one (due to weather) in every inch of the Raleigh Convention Center.

I have no doubt that 2016-2017 will be another year of continued success. On behalf of the Board of Directors on which I continue to serve, I would like to thank the Wake County Board of Commissioners, Raleigh City Council, Centennial Authority, Raleigh Convention Center, The Conference Table, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Advisory Board, area town officials and all local hospitality sector and allied businesses for their continued support of the Greater Raleigh CVB's mission.


2015‒2016 Chairman, GRCVB Board of Directors
Vice President & Division Manager, Highwoods Properties