In my search to find something for this corner of our newsletter, I thought I'd encourage you all to help bring some more attention to Spokane's food tourism industry. According to the World Food Travel Association, destinations are often selected for their food and drink options and that trend is not just for New York, New Orleans, or other big cities. Visitors want to experience something about the destination through a dining or beverage experience, like our Cork District, Ale Trail, or selecting from our great destination restaurant choices.
An example of what a Spokane-area restaurant is doing that might bring more attention to the entire food scene here is Santé as they compete in an Instagram competition through the James Beard Foundation's Better Burger Project™. The Better Burger Project™ is a nationwide contest and challenge to make a "better burger" by blending ground meat with finely chopped, cultivated mushrooms to create a delicious, healthier, and more sustainable burger. Chef Jeremy L Hansen and his team at Santé will be serving their wagyu beef from Thompson River Ranch with a mixture of mushrooms each day and evening until July 31, 2015. The contest includes posting photos of the burgers on Instagram using the hashtag #betterburgerproject and the handle of the restaurant or chef.
Remember how you all voted repeatedly to get Spokane recognized as one of the best riverfront cities in the US? This is a similar opportunity to participate in a national voting program that will genuinely help get our food and drink scene on the map. This time it is Chef Hansen, one of our many talented restaurateurs, that needs all our support as he goes about the business of representing Spokane. This sounds pretty good to me. We all get to eat a great burger, post a photo to promote a local chef and restaurant in a national competition and amplify Spokane's great food and drink scene. Who will join in? See you at Santé. Follow this link for more details.
President & CEO
April was another strong month for the sales team. The team generated 27 leads representing 39,279 lead room nights. Last year during this same time period, 22 leads were generated for a total of 22,314 lead room nights. These results have the team exceeding the monthly lead goal by 196%! The definite group room night activity for the month was 2,773 guestrooms against a target of 5,500, putting the team at 50% of our definite goal for the month. The year-to-date team definite room night numbers continues to trend ahead of the same time in 2014 by 153%.
The convention services team assisted 58 clients on details for their upcoming events in April, which is up 148% year over year. During this same time period, they generated 94 services referrals and four service requests to our partners. The housing team had eight active housing groups live in the system, processing 292 reservations, generating 1,356 room nights. The housing team has 13 future groups confirmed that represent 18,430 future room nights.
In April, Spokane County hosted 21 groups who brought an estimated 61,712 attendees to our community.
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:
Visits to the main site are up 15% over last year while visits to the mobile site are up 72%. Total visits (main + mobile) have increased by 26%.
Pageviews increased by 8% and average time on site increased by 3%.
Organic traffic on the main site is up by 24%, while organic traffic increased by 109% on the mobile site. Total organic traffic is up by 36%.
Organic entries to the City of Spokane Events Calendar page increased by 19,711%, by 110% on the Attractions page, by 3,424% on the Family Fun page and by 72% on the Food & Drink page.
Other notable stats:
VisitSpokane.com ranked first on Google when users searched "Spokane attractions," "Spokane breweries," "Spokane deals," "Spokane Valley attractions," "Spokane wineries," "things to do in Spokane" and "things to do in Spokane Valley."
VisitSpokane.com ranked first on Google, Bing and Yahoo when users searched "Spokane events," "Spokane nightlife," "Spokane shopping," and "Spokane Valley events."
Where in the World
Convention Services & Housing Manager Ashley Reese traveled to Vancouver, B.C. for the Meetingmax Unconvention, April 13-15. The convention was an opportunity to connect with industry peers and discuss best practices for managing housing blocks.
Director of Operations Valeta Sweet, Marketing Manager Kaylen McRae, Content Manager Peter Dunau, Research and Database Administrator Marla Allen and Business Development Services Manager Brooklyn Gibson attended the Simpleview Summit in Tuscon, April 20-23. While there, the team learned about best practices for destination marketing organizations using Simpleview. Marla Allen also received the Thought Leader's Award while at the conference.
Senior Travel Counselor and Distribution Specialist Karen Montague and Visitor Engagement Specialist Melissa Skomer-Kafton traveled to Yakima, April 22-24, for the Associated Visitor Information Centers of Washington conference. This meeting was a great opportunity to discuss best practices for interacting with visitors with industry peers.
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:
Bloomsday Tradeshow: May 1-2
Lilac Parade: May 16
24 Hour Round the Clock Bike Ride: May 23-24
Farm Chicks: June 6-7
Hoopfest: June 26-28
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.
Empire Cold Storage/Frosty Ice
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
Red Lion Hotel at the Park - Spokane
The Historic Davenport Hotel
Eastern Washington University; Spokane Riverpoint Campus
Adventures in Advertising
Gus Johnson Ford
Holiday Inn Spokane Airport
McDonald's (North Division)
McDonald's Restaurant (3rd Ave)
McDonald's Restaurant (Havana St)
McDonald's Restaurant (Liberty Lake)
McDonald's Restaurant (Newport Hwy)
McDonald's Restaurant (North Argonne)
McDonald's Restaurant (North Monroe)
McDonald's Restaurant (North Monroe)
McDonald's Restaurant (North Sullivan)
McDonald's Restaurant (Sullivan Rd)
McDonald's Restaurant (West Wellesley)
DeCaro & Associates-Sherry Coleman
Finders Keepers II: Designer Dress Boutique
Rodeway Inn & Suites
O'Doherty's Irish Pub
Signs for Success
The Modern Theater Spokane
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
About Visit Spokane
Visit Spokane generates economic growth for Spokane County by successfully marketing the Spokane region as a preferred destination for conventions and leisure travelers from around the world. Visitors to Spokane County spent an estimated $893 million in 2014, providing jobs for nearly 10,000 residents in the region and generating $88.6 million in non-resident tax dollars collected in Spokane County.*
*Figures provided by Dean Runyan Associates report for the year ending 2014.