Dear TPID Participants:
The month we all have been preparing for has come and gone, but the effects of the U.S. Travel Association’s largest inbound travel trade show, IPW, will impact us for years. It has been an incredible journey working with all of you to bring IPW to San Antonio. I have seen the city come together on many occasions, but the level of collaboration I saw for IPW is unmatched. I extend my congratulations to everyone who had a hand in making this momentous occasion one for the record books.
Speaking of breaking records, the Texas heat topped historical highs for our region this summer, which has caused hotel bookings to be slower than in previous years. To increase demand, the Visit San Antonio Marketing Department shifted efforts to our target drive markets and increased summer campaign spending by 30%. I applaud the Marketing Department for their swift action to ensure our occupancy remains stable throughout the summer months. Here are the average local industry metrics for Q3.
As summer starts winding down, we still want to encourage travelers to visit San Antonio, and to drive more hotel bookings for end-of-summer stays, the Marketing Department will implement a final push in Q4 that will continue to focus on our regional markets.
For meetings and conventions, it is wonderful that groups are amazed by everything San Antonio has to offer. Recently, Infosys, a global technology corporation, visited San Antonio for the first time. They fell in love with the River Walk, the city’s rich history, culture, and diversity. They characterized San Antonio as a modern city with character, true identity, and real experiences. Our hotels were fantastic in showcasing their properties and amenities. This is another example of how we, as an industry, can achieve goals collaboratively, making an even greater impact on our city and community.
We have marked great milestones this fiscal year, and more achievements are on the horizon for our city. Be sure to continue utilizing the TPID Incentive Program. This allows us to attract more business and foster relationships. I look forward to seeing you at the Visit San Antonio Annual Meeting on November 8 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
TPID Board of Directors
Administration & Finance
FY2022 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 FY2022, assessments were budgeted at $7.3 million but closed the year at $9.9 million year-end. The increased assessments will be applied to the same service plan categories originally adopted with more than 90% dedicated to 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.
FY2023 Service Plan
In December 2022, the San Antonio City Council approved the FY2023 Service Plan, which was previously approved by the Tourism Public Improvement District Board. The 2023 Service Plan projects an estimated $10.25 million in estimated revenue assessments for the District in FY2023 and outlines a corresponding service plan for sales & marketing efforts to align with that projection for FY2023. 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 FY2023.
SATPID FY2023 – Service Plan/Budget (Oct 1, 2022 – Sep 30, 2023)
|Research and Administration||3%||$308K|
|Contingency Marketing/Sales Funds||2%||$205K|
Below is YTD industry data received from Smith Travel Research (STR) specific to June 2023 vs June 2022, as well as calendar year to date information (Jan-Jun 2023 vs Jan-Jun 2022) for primary comp cities plus Top 25 and Total United States. The industry continues to show positive signs of recovery through the second quarter of calendar 2023. Additionally, VSA and SATPIDC will continue to monitor industry performance as we progress through the summer and fall months of calendar year 2023.
Industry Data — Comp Cities Summary
June 2023 vs June 2022
|New Orleans, LA||58.2||-11.1||157.39||-7.9||91.66||-18.0||-15.1||3.5||-7.9|
|San Diego, CA||82.9||0.5||225.90||-0.2||187.27||0.3||0.3||0.0||0.5|
CYTD (Jan 2023-Jun 2023) vs CYTD (Jan 2022-Jun 2022)
|New Orleans, LA||63.3||-2.5||183.17||-0.4||115.90||-3.0||0.2||3.2||0.6|
|San Diego, CA||73.8||3.3||202.42||5.1||149.29||8.6||8.5||-0.1||3.2|
The third quarter of FY2023 proved to be a strong convention sales production quarter. By the end of June, our convention team had confirmed 184 events for the quarter, resulting in 103% (545 events) to goal for the first nine months of FY2023. June was the strongest month of the quarter for future room nights booked, with 86,867 rooms confirmed. June room night production more than doubled our strongest month in Q2, March, with 41,816 rooms confirmed. The team is now at 80% of the room night target for the year.
Q3’s sales production continues the trend of new and short-term business for San Antonio. Eighty-eight percent of events booked so far this year occurred in 2023, or will occur between now and the end of 2024, as well as 46% (or 253 events) of these future events are new to San Antonio. In addition, we placed 15 citywide events within our destination which puts the team at 76% to the annual goal of 50 citywide events. All event bookings year to date will have a future economic impact of $413.6M for San Antonio.
The 3rd quarter of FY2023 also saw the following travel and trade shows:
- Connect Spring Marketplace – Las Vegas, NV
- FIESTA Fam Trip – San Antonio, TX
- Midwest sales calls – Chicago, IL + Minneapolis, MN
- MPINCC Ace + Bay area sales calls – Oakland, CA
- CINCO DC Sales Mission – Washington, DC
- IPW – San Antonio, TX
- HelmsBriscoe Annual Business Conference – Denver, CO
- Client Advisory Board Meeting + Pride – San Antonio, TX
- MPI World Education Congress – Riviera Maya, MX
- PCMA EduCon – Montreal, CA
In closing, I would be remised if not to remind everyone that SATPID’s Individual Hotel Incentive Program is still in effect and going strong! We continue to receive applications from SATPID participating hotels, utilizing this resource for the first time. With funding still available, please continue to submit your qualifying applications. You can 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 1:46 in overall traveler city expenditures (fiscal year-to-date).
We are also happy to share that our accomplishments have exceeded expectations, surpassing our year-end goal of 55 million online engagements during this quarter – and still, one more quarter to go! In May, we achieved 68.1 million online engagements, demonstrating the tremendous enthusiasm and interest surrounding our city.
Our website activity remained strong in Q3 as well. As of the end of June, VisitSanAntonio.com has seen over 3.5 million users, 3.9 million sessions, and just under 7 million pageviews. On the River Walk side, our River Walk website saw over 855,000 users, 1 million sessions, and almost 4.6 million pageviews.
Achievements were also made this quarter on our social media channels. Year-to-date through June, the Visit San Antonio social channels and our River Walk social channels surpassed last year’s performance in multiple key metrics. Our dedication to delivering captivating content and fostering meaningful connections with our audience has resulted in significant growth in net audience, impressions, and engagements.
One of our major achievements was the successful revamping of our FY23 Summer Efforts. With a strategic focus on increasing visitation among our targeted personas in the Adults and Families segments, we launched a robust summer campaign that began in mid-April. This involved an investment of approximately $3.2M in media, making it our highest-ever investment and a 30% increase over the previous year. Our messaging centered around compelling calls to action such as “Plan Your Trip” and “Travel Now,” aimed at driving conversion and occupancy.
While we know this has been a very difficult summer for everyone and demand levels are not what you had thought, in reviewing the month end July STR Report, San Antonio ended July ranked #1 in overall occupancy (67.4%) as well as #1 in Transient occupancy. In fact, YOY Transient occupancy increased 2.4% vs. July 2022. San Antonio also ranked #1 in Transient occupancy for the first two weeks of August. This is comparing San Antonio to other major cities in Texas (Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth/Arlington and Houston).
In addition to our overarching summer campaign, we executed several targeted media campaigns that made a significant impact on driving awareness and engagement. Let’s explore some of the notable initiatives:
- Fiesta San Antonio
- We dedicated focused efforts to increasing visitation during our city’s iconic 11-day celebration, Fiesta San Antonio by implementing strategic media efforts in Texas and supporting the Ford Fiesta Mariachi Festival on our beloved River Walk. Social media and blog support played a crucial role in extending our reach and connecting with Fiesta enthusiasts.
- Inaugural Provecho Fundraising Campaign
- Marketing worked to support the inaugural Provecho Fundraising Campaign, benefiting the San Antonio Hospitality Foundation by developing a dedicated landing page and a comprehensive media plan targeting San Antonio foodies and benefactors.
- River Walk’s Rio Magazine Campaign
- To enhance awareness of Rio Magazine, our dedicated publication highlighting the vibrant River Walk, we executed an optimized media effort in Texas markets. This campaign helped generate interest and encouraged visitors to explore the myriad attractions and experiences available along the River Walk.
- Summer Occupancy Campaign
- With a specific focus on conversion and occupancy, we executed a targeted media effort from May through August. By strategically targeting Texas and nearby touch states, we are maximizing our reach and enticing potential visitors to choose San Antonio as their summer destination.
- Visit San Antonio’s Ecommerce Campaign
- To boost online ticket sales for attractions, we implemented a comprehensive media plan across Texas and select touch states from April through June driving traffic to our Tickets page.
- Black Heritage Showcase
- Keeping in line with our commitment to celebrating our city’s diversity and heritage, we revamped our Black Heritage page. With the help of Deborah Omowale Jarmon and the San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum, the page showcases the Soul of San Antonio experiences and highlights the vibrant sites, sounds, and annual events that pay tribute to the significant contributions of the black community.
- Juneteenth Campaign
- Our Juneteenth Campaign focused on driving awareness and visitation to Juneteenth celebrations in San Antonio. Through targeted social media, blog posts, and a comprehensive media plan in key Texas markets, we generated excitement and engagement surrounding this significant cultural event.
- Pride Campaign:
- Similarly, our Pride Campaign celebrated our city’s inclusive spirit and supported Pride events throughout the month. The highlight of our efforts was the successful execution of the 2nd Annual Pride River Parade. With targeted media coverage in San Antonio and surrounding counties, we amplified visibility and encouraged participation, fostering a sense of pride and unity among the community.
- Virtual Field Trip Campaign
- Another noteworthy initiative was our Virtual Field Trip Campaign to increase awareness of the Virtual Field Trip program. This educational initiative showcases the diverse learning experiences that San Antonio offers for children of all ages. Throughout May and June, we implemented targeted media efforts in the Rio Grande Valley, Houston, and Dallas, successfully reaching our target audience and highlighting the educational aspects of our city.
- Annular Eclipse Campaign
- Lastly, we implemented the Annular Eclipse Campaign, specifically tailored to Texas and touch state markets, as well as solar eclipse enthusiasts. With a dedicated landing page featuring special offers and planned activities for this celestial event, we captured the interest and excitement surrounding the annular eclipse.
Throughout the quarter, our team achieved significant milestones and implemented various initiatives to enhance our marketing efforts and elevate the overall visitor experience. Here are some additional key updates:
- Visitor Guide Launch: We successfully launched our 2023-2024 digital Official Visitor’s Guide, providing comprehensive and engaging information to visitors about the attractions, events, and experiences San Antonio has to offer.
- Website Redesign: We are currently working on a comprehensive website redesign. This initiative aims to enhance user experience, optimize functionality, and ensure our online presence aligns with evolving industry standards and visitor expectations.
- Digital Asset Management Content Audit: To streamline our marketing efforts and ensure proper usage of images and videos across various platforms, we conducted a thorough content audit of our Digital Asset Management system. This enables us to curate and leverage visual assets effectively in our overall marketing campaigns and initiatives.
- Email Marketing Optimization: We implemented a new email marketing tool to enhance our targeted efforts enabling us to better tailor and design content for our audiences.
- Addition of Self-Guided Tours: We recently added self-guided tour options to our website. This interactive feature provides a more flexible and customizable experience for visitors, allowing them to explore San Antonio at their own pace and according to their interests.
- Rio Magazine Cover Redesign: With the aim of elevating the branding and stature of our city’s top attraction, we redesigned the cover of Rio Magazine. This refreshed look enhances the magazine’s visual appeal and reinforces its position as the leading publication for showcasing the best of San Antonio’s iconic River Walk.
- San Antonio’s Metaverse Content Production: We finalized the content production for San Antonio’s Metaverse, a cutting-edge digital experience scheduled for an early August launch. This innovative initiative will offer visitors a virtual exploration of our city’s unique attractions and hidden gems, further expanding our reach and engaging a broader audience.
- Successful Co-op Campaigns: We successfully collaborated with key partners including The DoSeum, San Antonio CityPASS, and Marriott Bonvoy on Co-op campaigns. These joint marketing efforts allowed us to leverage each other’s strengths and reach new audiences, amplifying the visibility and appeal of San Antonio.
- Phase 2 of Agency of Record RFP: We completed Phase 2 of the Agency of Record Request for Proposal process. The results of this evaluation will be announced in early August.
- IPW Support: Our marketing team provided invaluable support to IPW’s core team in developing key assets for the conference. This included the creation of an engaging IPW microsite, impactful email campaigns, branding and signage for both the city and conference, informative articles, out-of-home and digital advertising, as well as compelling videos for San Antonio’s main booth, lobby activations, attendance building, public relations, press brunch, and key presentations. These collaborative efforts ensured a seamless and impactful presence for San Antonio at this significant industry event.
In addition to the previous key updates, the Visit San Antonio marketing team also worked to promote San Antonio’s robust Arts & Culture scene. Here are the latest accomplishments and ongoing efforts:
- Successful Launch of Google Arts & Culture San Antonio Project: We effectively launched the Google Arts & Culture San Antonio project, which garnered widespread attention and exposure for our city. The launch event, held at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, featured notable speakers including Congressman Joaquin Castro, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and our CEO & President, Marc Anderson. The project’s launch week showcased San Antonio on the coveted Google Search page, significantly amplifying our city’s global exposure.
- Support for Key City Efforts through Social Media and Blogging: We continue to extend our support to key initiatives and events in the city through our social media channels and blog.
- Q3 Arts & Culture Blogs to Check Out
- CineFestival Returns to San Antonio this July
- Embracing San Antonio’s Rich Cultural Heritage and History
- A Guide to Texas Experiences in San Antonio
- Your Guide to San Antonio Pride
- Why San Antonio is the Live Music Hot Spot of Texas
- Where to Celebrate Juneteenth in San Antonio
- Explore El Camino de San Antonio Missions
- Explore the Asian Festival in Downtown San Antonio
- Celebrate “Pueblos del Maiz” in San Antonio
- Let’s Fiesta! Your Guide to Fiesta San Antonio 2023
- Discover the Colorful Cultures and Traditions of Fiesta
- Q3 Arts & Culture Blogs to Check Out
- Inclusion of Arts and Culture in Summer Videos: Our most recent videos developed over the summer prominently feature arts and culture. The Summer Kids and Summer Non-Kids videos showcase our commitment to celebrating the vibrant arts and cultural landscape of San Antonio.
Meetings & Conventions
As part of our partnership and content sponsorship with PCMA, two articles have recently been published. Click here to read the article: “Charming San Antonio Is Bursting With New Restaurants, Hotels and Experiences.” Click here to read the article: “Discover the Booming Business Community that awaits in San Antonio.”
In addition, as part of a content marketing media buy with Meetings Today, another article was published focusing about San Antonio’s many new developments. Click here to read the article: “San Antonio Builds on Its Historic Charms With Major New Developments.”
Our Client Advisory Board met in early June. We had very productive discussions about our current marketing campaign and our destination as a premier meeting location. As always, these meetings provided us with valuable feedback and insights.
Our marketing team updated and refreshed our trade digital ads which began appearing in August.
Our ongoing paid and organic media continues to utilize a mix of channels and focus on both long-term and short-term bookings, as well as some key geographical markets and vertical/industry markets.
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