The Numbers Are Strong, and the Future Looks Bright
Friday, November 19, 2021, 12pm by Dennis Edwards
The Wake County Board of Commissioners allocated $2.67 million of their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the GRCVB in late summer 2021, which was included in our 2021-2022 fiscal-year budget and business plan. These funds brought our budget back to nearly pre-COVID levels and put us in a position to ramp up our sales and marketing efforts in order for the destination to remain competitive.
- As a result, July-Oct. 2021, our Convention Sales and Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance teams have attended or hosted 60 trade shows, conferences or client events. This gives us the ability to meet and interact with hundreds of meeting planners and event organizers and promote Wake County for future conventions, meetings and sporting events.
- Public Relations and International Tourism staff have attended three major national and international media and tour operator events, and we have hosted 11 travel writers showcasing Wake County.
- We have also increased our advertising and social media presence in a number of areas focusing on the leisure, sports and convention markets.
Our efforts have proven to be extremely effective, and we are already seeing some incredible results...
From July through October, we have:
- Hosted 13 site inspections for future conventions and sporting events;
- Garnered 1,291,604 website sessions, up 84% over 2020 to-date;
- Completed 104 bookings, up 73% over 2020 to-date and representing 111,119 room-nights, up 48% from 2020 to-date;
- Generated 200 leads, a 100% increase over 2020 representing 163,181 room-nights, up 51% since last year;
- Serviced 72 meetings and sporting events, a whopping 300% increase over 2020;
- Earned 157 media placements, representing a 57% increase from 2020 to-date;
- Shown an increase of calendar year-to-date (YTD) hotel occupancy through Oct. 2021, up 26.2% over the prior YTD;
- Seen record lodging tax collections up 93.7% over the prior fiscal YTD;
- Registered prepared food and beverage tax collections up 36.8% over prior fiscal YTD.
With the assistance of the ARPA funds, we were able to bring back our Signature Event Development Pilot Program. Our first fund allocation went to help fund Dreamville Festival 2022, which allowed them to move this major festival to a two-day event, projected to attract over 40,000 attendees, generate 22,000 hotel room-nights and have a direct economic impact of over $5 million.
As you can see, tourism in Wake County is certainly on its way back to recovery, and the future looks bright.
Author: Dennis Edwards
Dennis Edwards is the president and CEO for the Greater Raleigh CVB. Serving as president and CEO since April 2007, his role is to sell and market Raleigh/Wake County as a tourist and meetings destination. An Iowa native, Edwards is a graduate from the University of Northern Iowa where he received a B.A. with a major in public relations. He and his wife, Cindy, have two boys, Bryce and Drake. Learn more