Springfield’s lodging industry broke records in 2016, the Convention & Visitors Bureau will announce during its annual meeting and awards banquet tonight.

Visitors spent more than $106 million at the city’s hotels in 2016, a 5.8 percent increase over the previous record in 2015. The number of hotel rooms rented topped out at 1.3 million, a 3.6 percent increase over 2015. The average hotel room rate increased to $81.37, up from $68.14 just five years ago.

This marks the third year in a row for record breaking statistics, said Tracy Kimberlin, president/CEO of the CVB.

“Springfield’s travel industry is headed in the right direction and more growth will come when Wonders of Wildlife opens,” Kimberlin said.

The CVB, a nonprofit marketing organization dedicated to improving the local economy through growth in travel and tourism, also highlighted some of its successful marketing programs in 2016.

Among them:

  • The CVB and Sports Commission booked 116 groups that will bring thousands to the city for future conventions and amateur sports events and have an estimated economic impact of $23.5 million on the local economy.
  • Visitors spent $87 in Springfield for every $1 spent on CVB advertising promoting Springfield as a travel destination.
  • The bureau’s website saw a record 1.14 million unique visitor sessions in 2016.
  • Public relations programs resulted in more than 250 stories about the city.
  • A campaign dubbed One Jet Jaunts targeting media in cities with direct flights to Springfield is receiving a gold Adrian Award next week from Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International.
  • The CVB produced a redesigned visitors guide that is receiving good reviews.
  • It’s Instagram account - LoveSpringfield - received first place in Best of 417 for local Instagram accounts to follow.
  • People watched online videos from the TrueTalk campaign more than 640,000 times. The campaign features a series of videos showcasing local business owners talking about what makes their business special and why they love living and working in Springfield.

CVB officials also will outline plans for the future, the most significant being advocating for improved meeting and sports facilities in order to remain competitive with other cities.

“Growth in meetings and conventions has not kept up with growth in other travel segments,” Kimberlin said. “We hope that will change with the addition of the meeting facilities currently under construction and our plans for a convention complex in Springfield.”