Tourism is back and thriving |
Kerrville tourism is back and thriving.
Julie Davis, president of the Kerrville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, hosted Kerrville town officials at an annual update luncheon last week, offering positive details from Dean Runyan Associates’ 2021 report, showing a dramatic increase of local tourism that even obscures pre-COVID numbers.
According to Davis, Kerrville’s travel-related jobs are back to 2020 levels at 1,040, while earnings from those same jobs are up 9% to a total of $31.4 million.
“The really good number is that sales tax revenue is $3.4 million here locally, which is a 34% increase from 2020, but a 22% increase from 2019, c is so exciting,” Davis said. “It clearly shows that the improving trend in our economy is there.”
She said direct travel expenditures amounted to $89.9 million, an increase of 34% from 2020 and 17% from 2019.
Hospitality business tax recoveries exceeded $1.6 million. This number is directly related to hotel and motel stays and is a tax collected at the time of stay. This number has also increased dramatically over the previous two years, reaching 36% in 2020 and 13% before the COVID-19 pandemic.
HOT collections are important because this money goes directly into the coffers of the town of Kerrville and is reinvested in the community.
“So far this year in May, we’re up 14% for 2022,” Davis said.
Davis said the increase can be directly attributed to marketing and planning efforts by CVB’s staff and board.
She said that in 2021, the Kerrville CVB completed a two-year strategic plan, created virtual tours for digital marketing, produced an “Explore Kerrville Guide”, developed and launched four new Explore Kerrville videos and updated photography for CVB advertising, brochures and website. .
Davis said local attractions were highlighted in video tours and marketed on CVB’s website and social media.
“We are in the final stages of production on our Explore Kerrville guide, which is very exciting,” Davis said. “This is a brand new visitor guide for Kerrville. I hope to have it in my hands within the next 30 days and start sharing it with everyone.
Looking to the future, Davis said CVB’s board has implemented a strategic plan to capitalize on successes and find areas to improve Kerrville’s outreach.
“Our board has met three times with an animator from Austin,” Davis said. “There have been a lot of conversations about the things we can change…what works and what doesn’t. The facilitator also interviewed 10 community members and stakeholders. »
Davis said community members interviewed included government officials, private industry leaders and representatives of area attractions.
“We took all of this information and aggregated it and set our goals for the next two years on what we want to improve and change,” Davis said.
She said the exercise led to the decision to improve brand awareness by creating rich media banners, videos and print ads; educate consumers about the brand and drive traffic to the CVB website through native stories and social media; and generate conversions on Internet search engines.
Through all the research and information gathering, Davis said specific details of Kerrville visitors had been obtained, saying CVB staff could identify who was currently coming, how long they were staying and where from. they came.
According to Davis data, 85% of tourists travel to Kerrville from elsewhere in Texas, while 56% of those visitors return to the area from 150 miles away.
Visitors to Kerrville are generally between the ages of 45 and 64, and each visit lasts an average of three days.
She said of the tourists who visited last year from out of state, they came primarily from California, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Louisiana.
Davis said the proposed budget for CVB is $1,075,000, of which 22% is for staff, 10% for the physical visitor center and the bulk of funds for promotion and advertising sales at $732,925.
She said the proposed budget includes an increase that is attributed to inflation and costs associated with additional promotion.