Dear TPID Participants:
Spring has sprung in San Antonio, and with it has come a remarkable rebound for the tourism and hospitality industry. Anecdotally and literally, there is evidence in every direction of a powerful rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, this should result in more Tourism Public Improvement District funds to complement Visit San Antonio’s efforts to market our destination.
Smith Travel Research reports that San Antonio hotels enjoyed nearly 73 percent occupancy in March, including 90 percent or more on some weekend dates in and around Spring Break. That overall occupancy was 12.3 percent ahead of the same month in 2021, and surpassed competitors such as Houston (64.3), Dallas (69.1), Fort Worth (71.9) and New Orleans (71.3).
We are similarly encouraged to see strong calendar year-to-date numbers, including 60.6 percent occupancy through the end of March, a 21.5 percent leap form the same period last year (49.9). Consider that our RevPAR, at $75.72, showed a hike of more than 73 percent, year over year.
The strong spring numbers come on the heels of news reports that hotels in the greater San Antonio market saw the best uptick in hotel room demand among all major metro areas in Texas in the final quarter of 2021. According to Source Strategies, hotels in our market booked 8 percent more room nights from October through December than during the same stretch in 2019.
There is still work to do, of course, and Visit San Antonio is not slowing down in its efforts to spotlight the destination. A new Marketing campaign will be unveiled in May, and all of you are gearing up for what most forecasts say will be a busy and productive summer of visitation to San Antonio.
This includes the meetings landscape, which is continuing to see improvement almost by the day.
Visit San Antonio reports that its Destination Sales team generated 277 meetings leads in March alone, surpassing the total from pre-pandemic 2019 by 58 percent. During the first six months of this fiscal year, VSA booked 234 meetings, including 183 in the year, for the year. Those gatherings will result in almost $184 million in economic impact, filling 242,650 room nights along the way.
The SATPID board is working closely with Visit San Antonio to ensure that we maximize all opportunities during this time. Please review the attached report for examples of some impactful gains.
Finally, I wanted to remind you that the SATPID Individual Hotel Incentive Program remains in action. Please continue to submit applications for up to $75,000 per participating SATPID property.
Visit San Antonio continues to focus on pushing for the return of our pre-pandemic convention and meetings numbers, and it is seeing an uptick in results You are making a strong difference, and we appreciate your partnership. We are all working to make a difference in this recovery, and please don’t hesitate to let your SATPID board know how it can help you succeed.
TPID Board of Directors
Administration & Finance
FY 2021 Service Plan Assessments
District Assessments are collected by properties and remitted to the City of San Antonio utilizing the same reporting process as Hotel Occupancy Tax. For FY 2021, assessments were budgeted at $5.48 mil but closed the year at $6.39 mil by year end. The increased assessments will be applied to the same service plan categories originally adopted with more than 90% dedicated for sales and marketing programs. This growth helps to demonstrate some of San Antonio’s strong leisure demand influenced in large part by TPID advertising and marketing activities.
FY 2022 Service Plan
In December 2021, the San Antonio City Council approved the FY 2022 Service Plan, which was previously approved by the Tourism Public Improvement District Board. The 2022 Service Plan projects an estimated $7.3 million in estimated revenue assessments for the District in FY 2022, and outlines a corresponding service plan for sales & marketing efforts to align with that projection for FY 2022. Visit San Antonio will work with the SATPID board to execute various strategies to best leverage these resources to help drive additional demand for the destination and properties within the District. The below referenced Service Plan below outlines the major budget parameters of the sales and marketing programming expected in FY 2022.
SATPID FY 2022 – Service Plan/Budget (Oct 1, 2021 – Sep 30, 2022)
|Research and Administration||3%||$219K|
|Contingency Marketing/Sales Funds||2%||$146K|
|TOTAL||100%||$ 7.30 mil|
Below is YTD industry data received from Smith Travel Research (STR) specific to March 2022 vs March 2021, as well as calendar year to date information (Jan – Mar 2022 vs Jan-Mar 2021) for primary comp cities plus Top 25 and Total United States. Although it is too early to state that we are back to pre-pandemic numbers, San Antonio performed well in comparison to other Texas and National Comp set destinations and finished above the average occupancy for U.S. and Top 25 destinations.
Industry Data — Comp Cities Summary
March 2022 vs March 2021
|New Orleans, LA||71.3||50.4||182.72||83.9||130.27||176.5||183.3||2.5||54.1|
|San Diego, CA||76.9||42.3||188.48||56.0||144.90||122.1||124.5||1.1||43.9|
CYTD (Jan 2022–March 2022) vs CYTD 2020 (Jan 2021–March 2021)
|New Orleans, LA||60.3||63.7||175.87||85.6||106.09||203.8||209.5||1.9||66.8|
|San Diego, CA||65.8||49.5||170.08||52.2||111.84||127.6||130.9||1.5||51.7|
Our 1st quarter momentum carried over into our 2nd quarter of fiscal year 2022, keeping both the Destination Sales & Experience Teams very busy. They helped to execute nine citywide conventions, conducted over 30 site visits, all while getting back on the road and attending several major industry events and tradeshows. Of note, we excitedly returned to Chicago for the first time since September 2019 for our annual Chicago Sales Mission which was a huge success!
- PCMA Convening Leaders – January 9 – 12, Las Vegas
- Attended this industry event where we networked with more than 2,100 attendees. We also hosted a reception for 100 customers with our Synchronicities partner, Baltimore.
- Southwest Showcase – January 26, Austin
- Annual tradeshow and networking event with our impactful Texas customers.
- MIC Colorado Education Conference & Tradeshow – March 1 – 2, Denver
- New tradeshow for Visit San Antonio, we connected with over 650 attendees and engaged with key Colorado customers.
- NYSAE MeetNY – March 2, New York City
- Over 350 people gathered for this one-day conference and participated in education sessions, a hosted buyer tradeshow, and networking reception.
- Chicago Sales Mission – March 8 – 10, Chicago
- Incredible week of sales calls and client engagements culminating with a dinner collaboration with Chef Elizabeth Johnson and Chef Rick Bayless. We were lucky enough to have many partners with us.
- SISO CEO Summit – March 21 – 24, St. Petersburg
- Visit San Antonio attended this convention of Independent Show Organizer CEOs and upper level executives. There we participated in various education sessions in regards to the For-Profit Tradeshow market. In addition we spent valuable networking time with these executives promoting San Antonio for this emerging market for our destination.
- Power of Purpose, Business Events Industry Week – National Harbor, March 23 – 25
- A new collaboration between PCMA, IAEE & DI. San Antonio participated in this inaugural event by attending IAEE Women’s Leadership Day, sponsoring a table and hosting key customers at the PCMA Visionary Awards and exhibiting at DI’s Destination Showcase tradeshow.
The 2nd quarter of FY 2022 continued to produce strong sales production, with the Destination Sales Team’s lead generation and booking efforts once again reaching pre-pandemic levels. The team booked 131 events for the quarter, resulting in the following metrics, year to date (through March):
- 234 Events (77% to FY Goal)
- 183 ITYFTY Events (140% to FY Goal)
- 1,211 Leads (75% to FY Goal)
- 28 Corporate Citywide Leads (155% to FY Goal)
- 242K Groom Rooms Booked (53% to FY Goal)
Visit San Antonio’s short-term focus and execution continues to impact the immediate future, with 44% of all events booked (103 Events) meeting in San Antonio for the first time and 94% of these bookings (215 Events) arriving within the next 48 months! In addition, we were able to confirm five (5) short term Henry B. González Convention Center bookings totaling over $32M in economic impact for San Antonio. Even with all this recent activity, the Destination Sales Team’s funnel remains robust with thirteen (13) Convention Center tentative opportunities with an estimated 13.7K total group room nights / 22.7K attendees for 2022 – 2024.
This strong production is the result of the efforts of the Visit San Antonio team, our hotel partners, and the continued support by the SATPID Board of Directors, which continue to ensure our destination has the resources necessary for an expedited economic recovery in the community. The Board recently approved a reallocation of funding allowing us in March, to re-launch the highly successful “Sí San Antonio Meetings Incentive Promotion.” Building on the success of our 2021 group incentive promotion, we are thrilled to announce some exciting new components to drive short-term group demand for our destination.
Similar to the first iteration of this promotion, qualified groups are able to take advantage of these incentives to help offset some of their costs for meeting in San Antonio:
- Between 250-500 total contracted room nights
- $3 per actualized room night
- Between 501-750 total contracted room nights
- $4 per actualized room night
- 751 or greater contracted room nights
- $5 per actualized room night
- For any group contracting the Henry B. González Convention Center for the 2022 dates outlined in this promotion will receive a 50% discount on Convention Center rental rates and discounted pricing for 2023 and beyond, based on availability.
- All qualifying groups are eligible for Visit San Antonio’s Fly-In On Us Promotion as well, offering a customized visit to experience San Antonio’s offerings.
A new addition to this group promotion and in an effort to drive additional short-term demand amongst Visit San Antonio’s third-party strategic partnerships, we will be offering a $2 per actualized room night* to:
- Martiz Global Events
- HPN Global
*This third-party incentive will be an internal promotion that will not be part of the online marketing efforts associated with the end-user incentive.
To qualify for the incentives, meetings and events must total 250 or more room nights during specified need-time dates and be booked through a Visit San Antonio sales representative with contracts executed by June 30, 2022. Need-time dates are listed on the promotion webpage and subject to change.
Lastly, I would be remiss if not to remind everyone that SATPID’s Individual Hotel Incentive Program is still in effect and going strong! With funding still available, please continue to submit applications for up to $75K per participating SATPID property. You can now access your balance in real time on the partner Extranet and you will also receive monthly emails with your balance.
Every TPID dollar spent in digital advertising produced a ROI of 1:48 in overall traveler city expenditures (fiscal year-to-date).
A New Addition to the Visit San Antonio Marketing Team – The Visit San Antonio marketing team recently welcomed a new Director of Marketing – Sue De Lopez. Sue joins Visit San Antonio with over 25 years of marketing and advertising experience across multiple categories in the US and Internationally. Her professional experience includes Dentsu, WPP and Publicis. Among many of her accomplishments, she was awarded “The Lion That Roared” Award from Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi for her inspirational leadership and expertise in accounts stewardship. She is eager to bring her expertise to Visit San Antonio and bring the world to San Antonio.
Visit San Antonio assisted in promotions of DreamWeek, the annual city-wide summit built on exchanging ideas on universal issues facing our multi-cultural communities. As part of these efforts, DreamWeek was featured on the Visit San Antonio homepage and was part of organic social efforts as well as digital efforts than ran from January 7-30, 2022 resulting in over 1 million impressions and over 3,500 web sessions on the Visit San Antonio DreamWeek event page.
Spring arrived and Visit San Antonio’s Spring efforts enticing visitors to experience all that San Antonio has to offer were out in full force. We are committed to reaching 1.2 million potential visitors in both regional and national markets.
In addition, we supported marketing and promotional efforts of the following events:
- San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo – Held February 10-27 at the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum fairgrounds and featured world-class rodeo, concert entertainment and livestock expositions.
- Valero Texas Open – Celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2022 and welcomed some of the best golfers in the world, as well as spectators, to San Antonio.
- Fiesta San Antonio – The legendary 11-day Fiesta was back in full swing this year, complete with events that we have missed over the past two years.
- L’Étape San Antonio by Tour de France – L’Étape took place in San Antonio for the first time on April 10 and included a cycling course designed by experienced Tour de France experts. With opportunities to race, ride, spectate, or volunteer, this event was enjoyed by people visiting from all over, and will return again next April!
We had a strong kick-off to Spring on our social media channels! In March we had solid growth on all outlets with Instagram showing the greatest surge at a 29% increase in followers over February’s count. Visit San Antonio channels also saw a rise in engagements on all channels – nearly double the amount of engagements that transpired in February. Visit San Antonio also leads in audience growth, post volume, overall engagements, and engagements per post against our competitors in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.
Increase in growth was not limited to just our American channels. Our Mexican regional social channels saw an increase in growth in engagement on both Facebook and Instagram. We have restarted our Canadian regional channels and look forward to sharing insights on these outlets in the near future.
On the River Walk social front, March was a fantastic month as well. River Walk social channels experienced a 114% jump in audience and an increase in 110% in engagements on all channels over February. Additionally, social coverage over the St. Patrick’s events on the River Walk spurred an increase in Instagram Story saves.
Online engagement is strong as well. VisitSanAntonio.com continues to prove to be an invaluable tool for reaching visitors. In March, we surpassed 440,000 web sessions and more than 883,102 pageviews with almost 85% of our website traffic being new users over returning visitors. Overall, Visit San Antonio surpassed 4.3 million online engagements (OLE) in March and we are currently up 6% over our YTD projections. We look forward to continued strong numbers as we head into the summer months.
We are working to fill the gap this Spring. During the holidays, leisure marketing had the opportunity to help fill in gaps that come from the decrease of convention business. Occupancy data helped identify need dates during the holiday period and extra media buys were secured through Expedia.com and its owned brands (Travelocity, Hotels.com, Orbitz and Expedia), to help spur a reaction from potential travelers during those need dates. The result was that 1,758 room nights were secured through the effort with a 21:1 ROI, only in the month of December. This same effort is being done for this Springtime period, to help close existing gaps in occupancy.
Summer is right around the corner and we can’t wait to unveil our new marketing campaign! Stay tuned for the next report…
TPID Board of Directors
ABH Hospitality Management
The San Antonio
Hotel & Lodging Association
The Crockett Hotel
Marriott Rivercenter & Riverwalk
Hilton San Antonio Airport
San Antonio Riverwalk
Visit San Antonio
Phoenix Hospitality Group