Tracy Kimberlin, President/CEO of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
As expected, the most recent hotel statistics paint a dismal picture of the city’s hospitality industry.
Here are the statistics from Smith Travel Research for March 22-28 compared to the same period last year:
- Occupancy - Down 63.2% to 25.5%
- Average Daily Rate - Down 27.9% to $64.11
- Revenue Per Available Room - Down 73.5% to $16.34
- Room Demand (Occupied Rooms) - Down 61.8% to 11,015
- Room Revenue - Down 72.4% to $706,200
For March 1-28:
- Occupancy - Down 37.9% to 44.2%
- Average Daily Rate - Down 11.4% to $80.22
- Revenue Per Available Room - Down 45.0% to $35.45
- Room Demand (Occupied Rooms) - Down 35.5% to 76,388
- Room Revenue - Down 42.8% to $6,127,866
The month-to-date decrease in room sales alone through March 28 was $4,583,811. The decrease will widen the last three days of the month and April numbers will be worse.
Sales tax decreases just from room sales also are significant and, as we all know, visitors spend additional money in the community when they are here.
- Total County Sales Tax (1.75%) - Loss of $80,217
- Total City Sales Tax (2.125%) - Loss of $97,406
- Total Room Tax (5.0%) - Loss of $229,191
The total loss of taxes from the drop in visitor spending is at least double the amounts shown above and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the tax losses will be even greater in April.
Even worse, hundreds of people employed in the Springfield area’s leisure and hospitality industry have been furloughed or laid off, further devastating the economy and creating hardship for families and individuals. And, sadly, people are sick and some are dying. My heart goes out to them as they struggle economically and emotionally with the fallout of the pandemic.
The good news is eventually this will come to an end and when it does, there will be a greater awareness of the importance of travel and tourism in Springfield, across the country and around the world. Tourism is an economic driver and I hope policymakers will keep that in mind in the future as we strive to develop infrastructure and policies that support the industry.
It’s up to destination marketing organizations like the Convention & Visitors Bureau along with business owners and people employed within the industry to make sure our voices are heard locally, statewide and nationally when it comes to future decisions about funding and other resources that will help the tourism industry recover from this tragedy and grow in the future.
Our first priority, though, is to keep people from getting sick by following social distancing practices, proper hand washing, etc. We must also help businesses return to being profitable and put people back to work as soon as possible. The CVB staff is working hard to develop marketing strategies that will do that and we welcome your input. If you have marketing ideas you want to suggest, contact Sean Dixon, marketing director, at email@example.com.
While we’re working on recovery strategies, we need your help in getting a handle on just how many people have been affected and how businesses are faring. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey below. Your answers are confidential and we appreciate your help.
Hang in there, everyone. We will get through this.