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Febrauary 23, 2015 - News at Visit Spokane


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Visit Spokane Today!
Tim Robinson
Director of Communications & PR
509.742.9373, 509.993.9824
Peyton Scheller
Communications Manager
President's Perspective

Cheryl-Headshot-use-thisIt is hard to believe that Washington has been without a statewide tourism effort for almost four years. It has sure made our job harder here at Visit Spokane.  Gone are the days when a representative from Washington preceded us at tour and travel trade shows. We now must begin our timed appointments with an overview of Washington in order to promote Spokane, and that is just one example.

During the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) Tourism Summit, we heard from Chris Thompson, CEO of Brand USA, and how Brand USA promoted wine in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. When the promotion led to an international culinary travel show, it only included Oregon and Northern California because Washington lacked the funds to participate.  This is just one example of missed international opportunities.  

Spokane and Washington state as a whole continue to attract visitors, but there is serious concern that we may be losing market share. We are surrounded by states and provinces that are marketing to visitors and Washington's voice is silent. The WTA is sponsoring critical legislation to establish a sustainable funding mechanism for an industry led and industry governed statewide tourism program. Please consider writing or calling your legislator, asking them to support HB1938 and SB5916.  A loss of market share can impact all of us.

Another speaker at the Tourism Summit, Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon, explained that when Washington closed the tourism office, an important partner was lost. He continued on to say that we (Washington) used to be engaged in inspiring people to travel.  Without that voice to generate travel, fewer people are finding the communities within our state.

Let's make this our year and help to get a statewide tourism program funded!

Cheryl Kilday
President & CEO

Sales Update

The sales team in the month of January busted out of the gates at a full gallop! In the first 31 days of the new year, the team generated 33 leads representing 36,841 room nights. Last year during this same time period, we generated 23 leads for a total of 16,477 lead room nights. That is a 234% increase! 

The story gets even better when it comes to definite room nights. The team confirmed eight groups representing 4,497 room nights.  If you look back at the definite room nights in January 2014, the team confirmed zero convention group rooms and booked 234 room nights in group tour.

Prospecting for future business was very strong in January with 22 bids being sent by the team versus six being sent in January 2014. As we all know, a picture is worth a 1,000 words, but an actual site visit to the community is priceless. In January, the team had seven groups visit, in January 2014 that number was zero.

Our Convention Services team has been just as busy working with 35 clients on details for their upcoming events. These groups had the services team send out 120 services referrals and five services requests to our partners. The housing team processed 448 reservations, which equated to 1,862 room nights in the month of January. Currently, the team is working with six organizations for their upcoming 2015 events in the Spokane region.

The past year of prospecting and the ongoing marketing efforts of the whole team are reflections of this past month's outstanding results.

Website Update

Our website,, is a trusted resource for visitors who are planning a trip to the Spokane region. Here is a breakdown of a few statistics:
  • Visits to the main site are up 8% over this time last year. Total visits (main + mobile) have increased by 14%.
  • Pageviews increased by 28% and bounce rate decreased by 8%.
  • Organic traffic on the main site is up by 18%, while organic traffic increased by 5,963% on the mobile site. Total organic traffic is up by 42%.
  • Organic entries to the restaurant pages have increased by 105%, by 23% on the hotel pages, by 278% on the attractions page, by 273% on the nightlife page and by 94% in the blog section.
Other notable stats:
  • ranks first on Google when visitors search "Spokane attractions," "Spokane breweries," "Spokane entertainment," "Spokane events," "Spokane nightlife," "things to do in Spokane" and "things to do in Spokane Valley."
  • ranks first on Google, Bing and Yahoo when visitors search "Spokane shopping."
In summary, visitors are searching for information about the Spokane region, and they're going to to find it! Make sure to update your business listing, submit your events to our events calendar and contact us if you are looking for more opportunities to be showcased on our website.

Where in the World
Director of Convention Services Amy Cabe and Convention Services Manager Ashley Reese were in Chicago, January 9-11, attending the Event Services Professionals Association (ESPA) Annual Conference. While there, they learned about best practices in convention services, new meeting trends and networked with other professionals in the convention services industry.
Director of National Accounts Lisa McHaffie traveled to St. Louis, January 9-13, for the American Bus Association (ABA) conference. Lisa had appointments with 25 tour and travel operators who are considering planning trips to the Spokane region.
Regional Directors of National Accounts Kim Ritten and Karen Staples attended the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) - Convening Leaders Conference, January 11-15. This was a great opportunity for Kim and Karen to network with other industry professionals and meeting planners.

Karen also attended the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Reception on January 12, which Visit Spokane co-sponsored with the Convention Industry Council.

Lisa also attended the National Tour Association (NTA) conference in New Orleans, January 17-22. While there, Lisa met with 25 tour and travel operators who are looking at the Spokane region as a future trip possibility.

Director of National Accounts Sonja Hughes attended the Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA) Emerge conference in Birmingham, Alabama, January 26-30. Sonja had 18 appointments with meeting planners who are considering the Spokane region for a future meeting or convention.

ACE Team Training

Become a member of the Inland Northwest ACE Team! An initiative of Visit Spokane to propel our hospitality industry forward, this four hour training includes a two hour interactive classroom session and a two hour experiential bus tour. Participants will learn about Spokane history, our region's attractions and more. Register for upcoming classes here.

We are currently in need of host locations for the following upcoming meetings:

March 24 - 1-5pm
April 21 - 9am-1pm
May 14 - 1-5pm

If your venue is interested in hosting one of the trainings, please contact Melissa Skomer-Kafton at 509.321.9464 or

Recent Articles
Below are links to a few articles that were recently published that highlight the Spokane region, as well as individual businesses:

Northwest Meetings & Events: Spokane Transformed into a World-Class Meeting Destination

The Spokesman-Review:
Mac 'n' Cheese, Please

Alaska Airlines Magazine: Spokane

These articles are a result of members sharing new, unique and exciting information about their business. Don't forget to share any "good news" with our communications department, Tim Robinson and Peyton Scheller.

Where in the World is Ace?
Ace, our mobile visitor information rig, and our Visitor Engagement Specialist, Melissa Skomer-Kafton, are back on the road meeting visitors at regional events! Here is where Ace has been recently, and where Ace will be going next:

Feb 13-14: NAfME Conference, Spokane Convention Center

Feb 20-21: Spokane Golf Show, Spokane Convention Center

March 5-7: Hardwood Classic, State 1B and 2B Basketball Tournament, Spokane Arena

March 14: St Patrick's Day Parade, downtown Spokane

March 20-22: Pacific Northwest Qualifier Volleyball Tournament, Spokane Convention Center

For Ace updates, follow Ace on Twitter at @VisitSpokaneACE.

New Partners

National Lentil Festival
Out There Monthly Magazine
Outback Steakhouse
Anthony's Beach Café
La Quinta Inn & Suites North Spokane

Member Anniversaries - January

20+ Years
Apple Tree Inn
Auntie's Bookstore
Avista Utilities
Fidelity Associates Insurance and Financial Services
Flour Mill
Gonzaga University-Campus Services
Hampton Inn Spokane Airport
Hill's Resort
Inland Northwest Bank
Journal of Business
KHQ, Inc
Kiemle & Hagood Company
Lawton Printing
Lilac Bloomsday Association
Mirabeau Park Hotel & Convention Center
Mustard Seed
Rosauers Supermarkets
Spokane Association of REALTORS
Super 8
The Onion Bar & Grill - Downtown
The Onion Bar & Grill - North
The Spokesman-Review
U.S. Bank of Spokane
Umpqua Bank
Washington Trust Bank
Whitworth University

15-19 Years
Best Western PLUS Peppertree Airport Inn
Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruises, Inc.

10-14 Years
INB Performing Arts Center
Oxford Suites Spokane Valley

1-4 Years
Pinot's Palette
ROW Adventure Center
Spokane Indians Baseball Club
About Visit Spokane

Visit Spokane generates economic growth for Spokane County by successfully marketing the Spokane Region as the destination for conventions and leisure travelers from around the world. The proof is in: Visitors to Spokane County spent an estimated $877 million in 2013, providing jobs for nearly 9,620 residents in the region and generating $62 million in non-resident tax dollars collected in Spokane County.*

*Figures provided by Dean Runyan Associates report for the year ending 2013.

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