You'll probably all agree that food is really important. Have you considered how important food - dining, sharing a great meal with friends and family - is to visitors? Would it surprise you to know that culinary tourism is huge, and not just in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans? Travelers are very likely to select where they stay based, in part, on what culinary options are nearby.
We just completed our third Inlander Restaurant Week last month. This year there were more than 90 restaurants, 15 drink local partners and too many choices, right? Everyone needs to amplify the great culinary scene we have in our region so that it resonates with visitors. This is one of the reasons we wanted to launch a restaurant week. It was only a few years ago that, when you asked a local where the great places to eat were, the locals felt like we had a short list. That tide is changing and we thank
The Inlander and all of the restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries that were part of Inlander Restaurant Week.
Need more evidence of our dynamic culinary scene and that it's worthy of significant recognition and celebration? Here is a
link to the recent Wall Street Journal article that's a great shout out about our culinary scene; Spokane even made the headline! We also have a James Beard Foundation Best Chef in the Northwest nominee and semifinalist - Jeremy Hansen of
Santé. This is truly big news for the entire region to have a chef honored in this fashion. It puts our local chefs in the field with great chefs in other communities and arguably implies that there are more chefs to choose from in the Spokane region.
I hope this makes you hungry and thirsty. Even though Inlander Restaurant Week is over, keep referencing your guide or check out
our directory and continue to dine at our local restaurants. Visit our wineries, explore the
Inland Northwest Ale Trail and order beverages from our local distilleries. Take your time and enjoy all that our culinary scene has to offer. Cheers!
President & CEO
The Visit Spokane sales team continued to keep the momentum moving forward in the month of February. In a month with only 28 days and a few holidays, the team generated 26 leads representing 32,075 room nights. Last year during this same time period we generated 22 leads for a total of 25,997 lead room nights. The team exceeded the monthly lead goal by 160%! When it comes to definite group activity for the month, we did experience a dip in our numbers with only 915 rooms going definite in February. However, our definite room night conversion continues to trend at 204% above pace, year over year.
Prospecting for future business continued to be very strong in February with 22 bids being sent by the team. That puts the team at 210% year over year and 169% above the monthly goal.
The convention services team in February worked with 52 clients on details for their upcoming events. These groups had the services team send out 95 services referrals and eight services requests to our partners. The housing team processed 220 reservations that equate to 1,002 room nights in the month of February. Currently, the team is working with three organizations for their upcoming 2015 events in Spokane.
Strong month, strong teams and strong optimism as we continue to move forward!
Our website, VisitSpokane.com, is a trusted resource for visitors who are planning a trip to the Spokane region (and locals who want to be in the know!). Here is a breakdown of a few statistics:
Other notable stats:
- Visits to the main site are up 35% over this time last year. Total visits (main + mobile) have increased by 41%.
- Pageviews increased by 48% and bounce rate decreased by 1%.
- Organic traffic on the main site is up by 42%, while organic traffic increased by 195% on the mobile site. Total organic traffic is up by 55%.
- Organic entries to the Attractions page increased by 229%, by 931% on the Restaurant Week page, by 70% in the Restaurant section, by 21% in the Things to Do section and by 15% in the Hotels section.
- VisitSpokane.com ranked first on Google when visitors searched for "Spokane breweries," "Spokane entertainment," "Spokane nightlife," "Spokane shopping," "things to do in Spokane" and "things to do in Spokane Valley."
- VisitSpokane.com ranked first on Google, Bing and Yahoo when visitors searched for "Spokane events."
Below are links to a few articles that were recently published that highlight the Spokane region, as well as individual businesses:
Wall Street Journal:
6 Great Small Cities for Food Lovers
PCMA, Successful Meetings, Facilities Online and Meetings and Conventions all ran this press release
, announcing the completion of the Spokane Convention Center expansion.
It's important to re-establish state's tourism story
These articles are a result of Visit Spokane spreading the word about what's happening in the Spokane region with local and national media. Don't forget to share any news (fun, unique, or just generally "good stuff"), with our communications department,
Tim Robinson and Peyton Scheller.
Where in the World
Director of Sales Shannon Shannon and Director of National Accounts Scott Zellers were in Olympia, February 10-12, for a client lunch and sales calls. Joined by the
DoubleTree by Hilton Spokane City Center, Davenport Hotel Collection,
Red Lion Hotels and Northern Quest Resort & Casino, the team had 32 appointments.
President & CEO Cheryl Kilday, Director of Communications & PR Tim Robinson, Shannon Shannon and Scott Zellers attended the Washington Tourism Alliance Tourism Summit in Olympia, February 12. The group heard from Tourism Summit speakers, Chris Thompson (Brand USA) and Todd Davidson (Travel Oregon), and met with legislators to gain support for a long-term funding mechanism for statewide tourism marketing.
Director of Leisure Sales Charlotte Finnegan traveled to Colorado Springs, February 9-13, for the Go West Summit. While there, Charlotte was able to meet with international tour operators to talk about how they can incorporate the Spokane region into their itineraries.
Director of Convention Services Amy Cabe attended the Association of Partners for Public Lands Convention and Trade Show in Atlanta, February 16-20. Amy was there to help promote attendance for the event, which is coming to Spokane, March 6-10, 2016.
On February 19, Director of Regional Accounts Kim Ritten attended MPI-CAC TechCon in Chicago. This meeting was an opportunity to learn about emerging technologies within the events industry, as well as network with meeting professionals.
Charlotte Finnegan visited two regional golf shows towards the end of February. Traveling to the Portland Golf Show, February 20-22, and the Seattle Golf Show, February 27-March 1, Charlotte had the opportunity to promote golf and leisure travel in the Spokane region.
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:
March 14: St. Patrick's Day Parade, Downtown Spokane
March 20-22: Pacific Northwest Qualifier, Spokane Convention Center
March 28-30: NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, Spokane Arena
April 11-12: Spokane Bike Swap
For more Ace updates, make sure you follow Ace on Twitter at @VisitSpokaneACE.
We always want to make sure Visit Spokane members get the most out of their membership. Have you looked at your business listing lately? If not, you may have an outdated photo or worse...no photo at all! Did you know that you can have as many photos as you want in your listing? Did you know that you can upload videos as well?
Our tip: look at your listing as if you were a visitor.
Would you want to visit your business based on the listing alone...because it was filled with such awesome content? If not, head to the
Partner Extranet and start updating. If you haven't visited the Partner Extranet in a while (we won't name any names), contact Brooklyn Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can walk you through the steps.
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
We are currently in need of a host location for the upcoming training on April 21, 9am-1pm.
If your venue is interested in hosting a training, please contact Melissa Skomer-Kafton at 509.321.9464 or email@example.com.
The Washington Future Business Leaders of America
(FBLA) State Business Leadership Conference will be in Spokane, April
15-17, and they need your help! A variety of opportunities are available, including judging, general volunteer roles and participating in the College, Career and Exhibitors Fair. If you are interested in helping out, click the below links to register:
College, Career and
Mark Your Calendar
National Tourism Week is May 2-10 and we have plenty of events lined up to celebrate! Stay tuned for more information on how you and your business can get involved.
2 Loons Distillery
Tinbender Craft Distillery
V du V Wines
Whitebox Café & Bakery
Certified Folder Display Service
Chuck E. Cheese
Red Lion Hotels Corporation
Red Lion River Inn - Spokane
Rockwood Clinic, P.S.
Golden Corral Buffet and Grill
Best Western PLUS Peppertree Liberty Lake Inn
City of Spokane
City of Spokane Valley
Republic Regional Visitors & Convention Bureau
City of Airway Heights
Colville Chamber of Commerce
EPIC at Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Haskins Steel Co, Inc
Impulse at Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Just American Desserts
Legends of Fire Cigars & Fine Spirits at Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Liquid at Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Safari Room Fresh Grill & Bar
The Dam Bar and Grill
The Lincoln Center
Hells Canyon Visitor Bureau
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell Convention Center
Iron Goat Brewing
ISS Facility Services
Liberty Lake Farmers' Market
MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub
Nectar Tasting Room
Northern Adventure Tours
Orlison Brewing Co.
Outdoor Sports Products
Pacific Tours NW
River City Brewing
Spokane Party Trolley
Spokane Realty Advisors
SpringHill Suites by Marriott
The Atrium Cafe
Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar (Downtown)
Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar (South Hill)
Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar (Spokane Valley)
Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar (Wandermere)