Tag Archives: arizona tourism

Royal Palms exterior

Royal Palms Debuts Brand New T. Cook’s

On September 9th, Royal Palms Resort and Spa re-opened the highly acclaimed T. Cook’s restaurant. Highlighting Executive Chef Paul McCabe’s creative interpretation of New American cooking, the Mediterranean-inspired design and architecture; the restaurant is introducing a new culinary and overall guest experience while remaining loyal to the treasured, timeless atmosphere guests have come to know and love.

The refreshed T. Cook’s design, led by Haley Balzano, founder and architect of Phoenix-based creative design team Bar Napkin Productions, emphasizes a more vibrant color scheme, authentic design elements, an interactive kitchen, the remodeled private dining room “Delos” and a glass-enclosed wine and tequila tasting room. New boldly-colored chairs surround rustic wooden tables adding depth and diversity to the new dining room, while iron chandeliers create a sense of intimacy and stimulate an experience of romance. Al fresco dining can also be discovered at T. Cook’s with intimate patios and nooks, including a new private dining element found within the property’s historic Orange Grove.

Simple yet polished, the new dining menus, created by Executive Chef Paul McCabe, honor classical techniques while utilizing locally-grown and sustainably raised foods whenever possible. Chef McCabe has established relationships with a wide range of local purveyors, farmers and artisans, including McClendon’s Select, Singh Farms, Noble Bread and Hayden Flour Mills.

“The menu is designed to be more social and approachable, while incorporating cooking techniques that reflect the evolving culinary scene in Phoenix and beyond,” says McCabe. “Our dishes are inspired by seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, with some of the freshest growing right in our backyard. T. Cook’s new edible gardens have been an ongoing project this summer that will have come to fruition in September. We’ll be handpicking everything from vegetables and citrus, to herbs and select seasonings.

Referencing the seasonal spirit of the Mediterranean, Chef McCabe also meticulously sources the richest of ingredients for fresh fish from the bountiful Basque Coast and Spanish ports, to sardines from the heart of Sicily. T. Cook’s culinary philosophy of magnifying the purity of fresh, seasonal ingredients is a celebration of its own treasured legacy. This respected tradition lives on at T. Cook’s with Chef McCabe at the helm.

Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, T. Cook’s new menus aim to be both approachable and intriguing. Breakfast and brunch offer a range of healthful dishes to more indulgent items.

Tourism Industry - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

CVB’s campaign highlights Scottsdale’s warm fall weather

Scottsdale residents can keep their summer shorts, flip flops and bikinis out for another three months. With the launch of the new fall marketing campaign, the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is encouraging visitors to do the same.

The bureau’s “Break the Rules” campaign, which runs from Aug. 16 through Oct. 15, plays on Scottsdale’s unique fall offerings and promotes an extended summer to visitors who may be feeling the chill of autumn at home. Six rules – that are meant to be broken on a Scottsdale vacation – are featured on ScottsdaleRules.com with a list of packages and coupons, as well as events during the fall season.

This promotion is the first of six seasonal marketing campaigns planned this year to push messaging around key time periods in order to strengthen destination awareness and exposure in Scottsdale’s primary feeder markets of Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Canada.

“Our seasonal campaigns will supplement our ‘Richly Sonoran’ brand campaign, giving us the opportunity to hook visitors with more specific and timely messages,” said Caroline Stoeckel, vice president of marketing at the bureau. “The fall campaign also will help us drive visitation around a need period for our tourism industry.”

The “Break the Rules” campaign is being promoted through email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, paid and organic social media promotion, and direct mail to Scottsdale’s U.S. feeder markets.

The Rules:

You Can Wear White After Labor Day: When it’s sunny and 80 degrees in the fall, the standard laws of fashion just don’t apply – so don’t put away that white bikini just yet.

Celebrate Happy Hour, Any Hour: It’s always 5 o’clock when you’re on vacation!
Play in The Mud: We desert dwellers aren’t afraid of a little dirt – especially when it’s in the form of a purifying mud mask.

Push the Speed Limit: No trip to the Wild West is complete without some serious adventure.

Sleep ‘til Noon: Let’s be honest; all that shopping, spa and nightlife can wear out even the most expert vacationers. So go ahead, turn off that alarm clock. We won’t judge.

It’s OK to Play More than 18 Holes: In case you didn’t know, Scottsdale is kind of a big deal in the golf world. And, hey, with more than 1,700 holes on 200+ area golf courses, we’ve earned our bragging rights.

CreeksideChairs

Magical Relaxation, 4-Diamond Fare at L’Auberge Sedona

From my 10th floor office window in Downtown Phoenix, I can literally see the summer heat. It’s there in the yellowing grass wrapping the building below; it’s eye level as it snakes over and swallows the Estrella Mountains in the western distance. I may be wrapped up below a vent of ridiculously icy air-conditioning, but out that window, I imagine the beach breeze scarved around my neck, streaming through my hair. I smell Flagstaff’s Ponderosa Pines and crisp mountain atmosphere. I think about rain. Obviously: I want to get out.

And it was in one of those moments when what you desire the most just happens that L’Auberge de Sedona came to mind. I love when whirlwind decisions emerge more beautiful than anything planned could have – like an impulse lipstick that leads to a lifetime of love – and here I was, on a random summer day, heading up to a place at least ten degrees cooler (it does make a difference!) and a million degrees more vacation-y than, well, my office.

I am welcomed by a smiling staff that ushers me into a homey lobby with fresh lemon/mint/blackberry ice water and a cool, intimate bar. Unlike many resort destinations, L’Auberge is about luxury AND intimacy – but though it’s mostly about luxury, the intimacy of every facet, from the pathways between each cabin that are lined with ivy arbors and white jasmine to the steamy outdoor vista suite showers, is never sacrificed. On my tour, where I spot apple trees reminiscent of the days the location was an apple orchard, I see cozy creek side cottages with wood-burning fireplaces, spa cottages with dual-jet showers and stately four-poster beds; deluxe vista suites and quaint residences with gas fireplaces, modern sitting rooms with LCD TVs and private cedar showers under the sky. I couldn’t see them, but pet-friendly garden cottages hide amongst the trees. The hotel’s original lodge (the lobby of which holds courtly wooden chandeliers over grand fireplaces) offers more family-friendly rooms and a front lawn with a southern view of those heavenly red rocks that plays scene to what I’m sure are the most devastatingly romantic weddings. After my jaunt, I’m almost late for a very important date: I am led to a small cabin with a single door that is labeled “Spa at L’Auberge de Sedona.”

L’Auberge Stretch massage time. Having been out of yoga for a couple of months, I chose this service specifically, but the spa offers an array of award-winning services, including but not limited to the following:

• Advanced Skin Renewal Facial
• Gentlemen’s Facial
• Desert Sage Sugar Scrub
• L’Auberge Stretch
• Deep Tissue Massage
• Reiki

There isn’t much to say about a massage at L’Auberge that I’m sure you haven’t already imagined (some words circle like relaxing, mind-blowing, etc.) After the delightful experience, I discovered my room, a generous Vista Suite at the top of the hill above the lobby.

A shower outdoors and a robe-enveloped porch nap later, it’s meal time by the bustling creek. Chef Rochelle Daniel greeted us warmly – she’s little, kind and packs a celebrated culinary prowess that precedes our introduction. Known among the hotel for unexpectedly changing the menu, the woman works ingeniously, serving us one course after another (7!) with fresh delicacies like watermelon with tuna and jalapenos, halibut with local vegetables and an Earl Grey chocolate torte. The resort’s resident blue heron lands on a rock in the creek for a photo opportunity, fluttering his slate-blue back feathers. He hops from one perch to another down the waterway until he’s satisfactorily impressed every creek side diner.

After the stars emerge, we trudge up the hill to see the night sky through a telescope; the resort organizes star-gazing a few times a week with a local astronomer. Saturn is visible tonight, and the Milky Way casts her cloudy light upon us. It is late, and I’m impatient for that fluffy bed. Up the stairs to my private suite, I’m almost tempted to sleep on the porch under Saturn, but that bed is too tempting. After a magical day and an equally otherworldly meal to keep in the books, I’m pleasantly tired. Slipping into a bed softer than I could have expected, I’m asleep immediately, spoiled rotten and excited for the homemade scones that await us in the morning. A place to keep in mind? That goes without saying.

I cannot wait to alight at L’Auberge again.

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Larry Pobuda

Commercial Real Estate Veteran Larry Pobuda Joins Transwestern's Phoenix Team

 

Transwestern announced that commercial real estate veteran Lawrence (Larry) Pobuda has joined its Phoenix office, increasing its role in the leasing and sales of office buildings and providing in-depth expertise in development and investment.

As senior vice president, Pobuda serves institutional, corporate and private owners, as well as corporate users.

“It is exciting to make strategic expansions in our range of services with someone such as Larry,” said Transwestern Senior Vice President Bill Zurek. “His national relationships and experience in a variety of real estate disciplines will enhance our already strong capabilities.”

Pobuda arrives from Minneapolis where he co-founded Stewart Lawrence Group, a partnership involved in acquiring and developing commercial real estate assets. In Minneapolis, he provided advisory services to key clients including the University of Minnesota.

He also served as senior vice president and member of the five-person executive team at United Properties/NorthMarq, a 500-employee, full-service commercial real estate firm. Pobuda also served as the 2010 National Chair of NAIOP, the 15,000-member commercial real estate development association.

His recent role as NAIOP Chair also brings an additional national perspective to Transwestern’s Phoenix team. Pobuda will maintain his relationships in Minneapolis in order to facilitate connections between those clients and Transwestern’s Minneapolis office.

“I am delighted to join Transwestern’s Phoenix team, which offered me the rare opportunity to interface between the worlds of development, investment and brokerage,”  Pobuda said. “Phoenix is a wonderful community where I have felt at home even while I was based in Minneapolis. As the region’s economy continues to improve I look forward to helping grow Transwestern’s business.”

Pobuda’s activity in Minneapolis included tenant representation, project and facility management and lease administration. He served such high-profile clients as BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, Ecolab, UnitedHealth Group, Silicon Graphics and Macromedia.

Responsible for the leasing oversight of 1.8 MSF of Class A office space, Pobuda successfully closed more than 2 MSF of leases with an aggregate value of more than $420M for companies including GMAC/RFC, Bank of America, Weber Shandwick, Oracle, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, William Mercer and AON.

 

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Kiehl's Since 1851 Arrives in Scottsdale

The Store

Kiehl’s Since 1851, the venerable New York-based purveyor of fine quality skin and hair care preparations, opened its very first retail store in at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Kiehl’s is proud to offer visitors and the Scottsdale community the opportunity to discover the brand’s efficacious skin, hair and body care products, personalized customer service and 162-year-old heritage.

BB Cream_SPF 50“Scottsdale has long been on our wish list for a new store, and our new space at Scottsdale Fashion Square is the ideal location to fully introduce Kiehl’s to Arizona,” said Chris Salgardo, President, Kiehl’s USA. “Our new store allows us to bring Kiehl’s further into the Southwest and share our New York heritage with a whole new community. Each element of our new store, from the design of the fixtures explaining our skin, hair and body formulations, to the historical photographs, mementos and Kiehl’s icons, helps tell the extensive story of our unique company that began as an old-world apothecary at the corner of 13th Street and Third Avenue in New York’s East Village. From design, to customer service, to the high-performing natural ingredients that are the basis of our products, we did everything possible to bring a modern version of our original store to Scottsdale, and I look forward to introducing our new community to our skin care, our customer service and our story.”

Kiehl’s at Scottsdale Fashion Square mirrors the unique ambiance found in the company’s original New York Flagship, which began as a neighborhood apothecary in 1851. The new store brings a modern New York apothecary to Scottsdale, referencing the company’s original East Village roots and blending vintage and antique apothecary fixtures with a modern neon flare. The interior design advances Kiehl’s longtime commitment to the environment with the use of natural, sustainable materials and energy-efficient light fixtures, while enhancing the overall service experience for Kiehl’s patrons.

Kiehl’s at Scottsdale Fashion Square also utilizes natural, sustainable materials and energy efficient light fixtures – and encourages patrons to recycle Kiehl’s packaging with a specially designed recycling bin, promoted through Kiehl’s Recycle and Be Rewarded! program. The program offers customers the opportunity to return empty Kiehl’s jars, bottles and tubes to the store for recycling, in exchange for complimentary products.
Kiehl’s commitment to education through attentive service is accentuated through a dedicated personal consultation area. The enhanced space provides an opportunity for customer representatives and patrons to converse privately about products best suited for the customer’s individual needs. A separate men’s destination offers specialized educationActivatedSun_LotionSpray_SPF50 tailored to the specific concerns of male patrons.  All customers receive the kind of attentive service for which Kiehl’s is known around the world today. In addition, simple, no-frills packaging allows Kiehl’s to formulate its products with high quantities of the most efficacious natural ingredients available.

Generous sampling through Kiehl’s “try before you buy” program offers the complete Kiehl’s line of skin and hair care for men, women, children and babies with a generous offering of its traditional product samples. To assure its customers always find exactly what they need, Kiehl’s offers a 100% money back guarantee on all purchases, and guarantees that customers will see revitalized skin in 28 days or their money back.
Custom gifting 365 days a year allows customers to create personalized gifts year-round. A Kiehl’s Customer Representative will help the customer assemble a personalized, custom gift box, choosing items based on recipient, theme, ingredient or price, from any and all products in the store.

Design

  • A 6-ft table provides patrons a comfortable station for complimentary Healthy Skin Consultations by Kiehl’s Customer Representatives, which helps them determine the formulas best suited for their personal needs.
  • A  space for specialized shaving and grooming education and demonstrations is designed for men. Specially designed accents such as military-style lockers, black subway tile, and props to demonstrate the perfect shave, bring this relaxing stop to life for Kiehl’s male patrons.
  • Black Nero Marquina marble highlights the shop’s exterior façade, honoring the marble exterior of the original Kiehl’s New York Flagship.
  • Carrera marble tables, counters and trim provide a utilitarian, functional approach.
  • Natural, sustainable materials, such as tabletops made from paperstone, a waterproof material made from 100 % post-consumer recycled paper.
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting illuminates Kiehl’s products in an environmentally friendly way.
  • Reclaimed wood floors and exposed brick walls evoke the old-world quality of Kiehl’s East Village neighborhood.
  • A bronze and crystal chandelier is inspired by the crystal chandeliers that have adorned Kiehl’s Flagship store in NYC for years.
  • A custom-painted motorcycle, an icon of Kiehl’s heritage, will be on permanent display, evocative of the passions and adventurous spirit of Kiehl’s founding family.
  • Antique apothecary glassware and vintage props  reference the company’s early years as a neighborhood apothecary.
  • Vintage photographs and mementos – take customers on an exciting journey through Kiehl’s 162-year history.
  • Pop-art inspired graphics – the late Andy Warhol was a long-time Kiehl’s fan, purchasing Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion in bulk from the Flagship, and special graphics were created in his honor.

About Kiehl’s Since 1851: Kiehl’s was founded as an old-world apothecary in New York’s East Village neighborhood. After years as an ambitious apprentice, John Kiehl purchased the business and began operating under the Kiehl name, serving the burgeoning New York community with unique herbal remedies. In 1921, John Kiehl’s apprentice, Mr. Irving “Doc” Morse, purchased the business and expanded it to a full-service pharmacy, stocking medicines, tinctures, and the first Kiehl’s-branded products. Doc Morse, a pharmacist and herbologist, passed the business on to his son, Aaron, himself a chemist and avid motorcyclist and aviator. Aaron’s daughter, Jami, was raised at Kiehl’s amongst the “family” of employees, who together fostered a tradition of attentive, personalized service for every patron. Over the generations, the Morse family committed Kiehl’s to serving the community uniquely efficacious skin and hair formulations made with the finest natural ingredients in the apothecary tradition.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.  For more information about Kiehl’s, please visit www.kiehls.com.

sanctuarypool

Sanctuary Receives 2013 ‘Stars of the Industry’ Award

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, the country’s premier luxury resort, was recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) with a 2013 “Stars of the Industry” award during its Summer Summit in Denver, Colo. Sanctuary’s 2012 “Escape for GOOD” fundraiser, which raised $10 million benefiting Athletes for Hope and UGIVE, two nonprofits dedicated to inspiring and enabling voluntary service nationwide, was honored in the “Special Events, One-Time Only, Small-Property” category.

The invitation-only weekend event at Sanctuary, limited to 75 couples at a minimum donation of $50,000 each, offered once-in-a-lifetime experiences with sports industry celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Cris Collinsworth, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Muñoz, Paul O’Neill and Annika Sorenstam. Activities included tennis with Andre Agassi on Sanctuary’s championship tennis courts, a morning run through Paradise Valley with track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and a cook-off with culinary masters Todd English, Sanctuary’s own Executive Chef Beau MacMillan, and Phoenix’s Mark Tarbell. The weekend concluded with an extravagant private dinner for Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday.

Sanctuary’s scenic and tranquil atmosphere provided a perfect backdrop for discussions on social issues and education for America’s youth. The weekend sparked conversations that forged new partnerships between Google and the Gates Foundation, Andre Agassi and Unicef, as well as a new Sports for Development program in South Africa and Ethiopia.

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Q&A with HSMAI president

Penny Allphin, the national sales manager for the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott, is president of the Arizona Chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). She brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry — including positions with Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa, Carefree Resort & Villas, and Radisson Poco Diablo Resort — to her leadership role with HSMAI.
Az Business had the chance to talk with Allphin about her background and where she sees the hospitality industry growing in the future.

Az Business: What attracted you to the hospitality industry?
Penny Allphin: I have been in the hospitality industry since I was 17 years of age, so I would have to say I grew up in the industry.  There are never two days alike and there is never a dull moment – which keeps it exciting.

AB: What has been your biggest challenge in the hospitality industry?
PA: Right now it would be the economy; it has slowed down the group meetings and with Arizona being a destination and relies heavily on conventions, conferences and tourism – the industry has definitely felt the impact.

AB: What has been you most meaningful professional accomplishment?
PA: There has been so many; right now I would say becoming the president of HSMAI, being the face and the voice for an industry that I am passionate about.

AB: What is some about you that would surprise most people?
PA: I enjoy doing home improvement projects, not afraid to play with tools.

AB: How did you become involved in HSMAI Arizona?
PA: It was totally be accident. I was attending a function for tourism and Dick Degnan, HSMAI International Hall of Fame member, asked if I was going to the Chinese auction, that is the event of the year. I knew nothing about the event so he invited me and my colleague.  I have been involved ever since.

AB: What differentiates HSMAI from other tourism-related professional groups?
PA: The association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue.

AB: What are your goals as president of HSMAI Arizona?
PA: This year my theme is M.A.G.I.C. – “Making Another Great Industry Comeback.” We as sales and revenue professionals in Arizona need to be the best in the country, we need to put Arizona back on the map for meeting, conventions and conferences – we have slated amazing speakers and programs to educate and inspire to continue to sharpen our skills.

AB: What kind of legacy do you hope to leave after your term as president of HSMAI Arizona?
PA: Passionate.  She lives and leads passionately.

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Greater Phoenix CVB promotes 3 as part of reorganization effort

The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit organization that markets metropolitan Phoenix as a visitor and meeting destination, has promoted Michael Mooney to the position of Executive Vice President.

Mooney, who previously held the title of Chief Operating Officer, will continue to serve in that role. He joined the Greater Phoenix CVB in 1997. In the 16 years since, he has risen in rank and responsibility, from Director of Information Technology to Chief Financial Officer to his new position as the CVB’s No. 2 executive.

Prior to joining the Greater Phoenix CVB, Mooney served as the senior financial and technology officer for a private enterprise that operated in the tourism-related realms of aviation, hotel lodging, restaurants, ground transportation and golf in Arizona, Washington, Hawaii, California and Nevada. Immediately preceding that career path, Mooney developed computer software for the casino industry, specializing in timekeeping, slot accounting and guest tracking.

Born in New Jersey, Mooney has called Phoenix home since his high school days.

Mooney’s promotion follows two other recent reorganization moves at the Greater Phoenix CVB: Melissa Gogel was promoted to Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Tourism; and Scott Dunn was elevated to Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.

Gogel, who has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB since 2000, takes the supervisory reins of three departments: marketing (which is responsible for the CVB’s advertising, branding and website); communications (which coordinates media relations efforts); and tourism (which markets Phoenix to travel agencies and tour operators).

A native of Nashville, Gogel had previously served as Director of Marketing. She began her career at the CVB as an assistant in the Membership Department. Prior to coming to Phoenix she worked as a marketing analyst for Harold’s clothing stores in Norman, Okla.

Dunn, also a native Tennessean, has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB for six years, serving as Communication Manager and Associate Director of Communication. Before coming to Phoenix he spent 14 years in the journalism industry, working as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Utah, New Mexico and South Carolina.

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

Donna Masiulewicz, a native of Chicago, was named president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International for the 2012 – 2013 year.

Masiulewicz earned her BA from Northern Illinois University in Spanish Translation and International Marketing.  She began her career in the hospitality industry working in association meetings management and tenured in corporate meeting and event operations.  A move to Arizona in 2001 carried over her role in corporate meetings and introduced her to incentive travel programs.

As president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC, Masiulewicz manages programs and events in domestic and international destinations with delegations from 12-2500.
Over the years, Masiulewicz has earned several industry awards, including the Rising Star for MPI (both Chicago and Arizona chapters) and the MPI Special Commendation award in Arizona. Masiulewicz won the prestigious 2008-2009 AZMPI Planner of the Year.
She recently sat down with Arizona Business Magazine to talk about the state of the hospitality industry in Arizona.

Question: What motivated you to become a meeting and event producer?
Masiulewicz; I started working the association market as an internal meeting/registration coordinator for a national nursing council. I truly loved the job and all the facets of the meetings industry. Wanting to learn more, I moved to the corporate side of meetings and conferences, got involved in MPI and continued to grow, learn and focus on perfecting each event.

Q: What are your duties and focus as president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC?
M: I am an independent senior meeting planner who is proficient in operations management for conferences, events and incentive programs. I manage all facets of program logistics including on-line registration support team, housing, custom program itinerary, ancillary meetings/activities, food/beverage selection, implementation, budget management, client relations, on-site execution and production, accounting and financial reconciliation.

Q: How did you become involved in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI?
M: I joined the Chicago chapter of MPI in 1997 and served on several committees; also receiving the Rising Star award in 2001. I transferred my membership to the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter when I moved in 2001. I was going to sit back and take it all in, but quickly jumped onto two committees. Over the next few years, I served on several committees including host and hospitality, membership, holiday party, special events/fundraising, and education forum. I joined the board of directors as director of special events/ fundraising in 2006-2007 and served as vice president of finance for a year before becoming president-elect in 2011-2012.

Q: How have some of the political and social issues — SB1070 and the lesbian couple being asked to leave a downtown Phoenix hotel restaurant — impacted the meeting and events industry in Arizona?
M: While we continue to be sensitive to the special interests of all our clients, we have a responsibility to remain focused on the task at hand which is the organization and execution of the best event we can produce. At times this may entail distancing that task from any group’s social or political views. While some may protest such an approach, the resultant neutrality assures both the organizers and the clients a well-run event without the distractions of any alternate agendas.

Q: What are your goals as president of the chapter?
M: My theme for the year is “Meeting Momentum.” We have the energy and resources laid in the foundation for the hospitality industry and it’s up to us as the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter to keep the movement and mobility in motion by doing four things:
* Offering top notch education to our membership.
* Encouraging members to live MPI and share the message throughout the industry and beyond.
* Paving the path for our future leaders.
* Having fun with networking events and helping others via our community outreach efforts.

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Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.

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Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, knows his industry is big business.

“If Arizona’s tourism industry were a publicly traded entity,” he says, “it would be the third-largest company in the state—just behind Avnet and Freeport-McMoran, and just ahead of US Airways and PetSmart.”

Despite the economic downturn and the hit that the state’s tourism industry has taken because of human rights concerns, the numbers back up Moore’s statement. According to a study released this year by Dean Runyan Associates:
* Total direct travel spending in Arizona was $18.3 billion in 2011. Travel spending increased by 5.4 percent in current dollars compared with 2010.
* The tourism industry employs 157,700 people in Arizona. Combined with secondary employment that is generated through this direct travel spending, total job generation for Arizona is nearly 300,000. Tourism-related employment increased in 2011 by 1.7 percent – an addition of 2,700 jobs. This is the first increase in employment since 2006.
* The re-spending of travel-related revenues by businesses and employees supported 136,000 additional jobs outside of the travel industry, with earnings of $5.4 billion.
* The biggest economic boost came from conferences, conventions and business travel, which accounted for more than $6 billion in spending, or the equivalent economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl every month.

“Conventions and meetings are essential to Phoenix’s economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says. “Their attendees stay in our hotels, go shopping at our local businesses and eat in our restaurants, which generates revenue and creates jobs.”

In many ways, experts says, conventions and meetings are a key indicator of the state’s ongoing economic recovery.

“Our industry is in a unique position in that our economic recovery has a direct effect on the recovery of the country as a whole,” says Donna Masiulewicz, president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “For most organizations, the first step in such a rebuilding phase is to regroup, reorganize and set out plans for the future. What better place to accomplish these things than at a company-wide event or convention? That means, in essence, that when we are hired to set up these events we are not only helping our own industry get back on financial track but we are serving as a conduit for other organizations to do so as well.”

The gross domestic product of Arizona’s travel industry was $7.3 billion in 2011, according to the Runyan study, making it the state’s top export-oriented industry, ranking above microelectronics, aerospace, and mining.

A big chunk of that revenue comes from meetings and conventions, which account for about two-thirds of the total revenue at Phoenix hotels and resorts, according to Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“That’s higher than the national average,” MacKenzie says, “because our destination holds great appeal as a meeting destination.”

MacKenzie is quick to point out that when a big event like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game or the Super Bowl comes to Arizona, the public hears about the economic impact it has on the community because those events get a lot of media attention. But people often don’t realize that big conventions similarly bring thousands—and in some cases tens of thousands —of visitors to Phoenix on a regular basis.

“When a large convention comes to the Phoenix Convention Center, it’s like entire small town moving into downtown for a week,” says Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And each one of these temporary ‘residents’ directly puts dollars into the economy and generates tax revenue. By a very conservative industry estimate, each convention attendee who comes here spends more than $1,500.”

Meetings not only play a critical role in Scottsdale’s $3 billion tourism industry, according to Kelli Blubaum, vice president of Convention Sales & Services at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, they are economic catalysts that extend beyond the singular event.

“Meetings and events not only help fill thousands of resort and hotel room nights each year, but also provide an opportunity to introduce new visitors and business decision makers to the area,’ she says. “These events often lead to repeat visitors and even economic development opportunities for the city.”

Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane says that meetings and conventions sometimes open the attracting new industry to Arizona.

“Sometimes, people who get a taste for Scottsdale end up buying a home here, or even moving a business here,” Lane says. “In fact, (convention-goers) may represent larger groups and businesses who may ultimately do more business in Scottsdale based on an initial stay here.”

MacKenzie says Arizona’s robust meeting and convention industry brings people into the state who might not otherwise be exposed to the benefits of doing business in Arizona.

“Many conventions and corporate meetings deliver to our doorstep the very manufacturing and knowledge industries economic developers want to attract to the city,” MacKenzie says.

And while meetings and conventions represent about one-third of the tourism revenue in Tucson, city officials have used their success as an attraction in the meetings industry to attract more revenue in the future.

“Many of Tucson’s larger resorts and hotels rely exclusively on group business to maintain occupancy and revenue throughout the year,” says Graeme Hughes, director of convention sales for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are also very successful in converting meetings attendees into leisure visitors.”

Since 2008 and 2009 — the low point for Arizona tourism in the wake of the economic downturn — tourism-related tax revenue has risen across the state and as much as 60 percent in some regions of Arizona.

“The hospitality industry is a primary driver of the Arizona economy,” says Andy Ernst, regional vice president of Robert Half International, a professional staffing and consulting service. “We anticipate that Arizona will continue to experience healthy growth in the coming years as hotel occupancy continues to rise, and business comes back to the state.”

With a bright financial outlook for the meeting and convention industry nationally, experts expect Arizona to ride the momentum.
“At this point, Arizona is positioned to follow the national trend,” Hughes says. “As the economy improves, travel increases. Organizations will soon be willing to reinvest in the positive outcomes that meetings and conventions provide.”

The groups that met at the Phoenix Convention Center in 2011 accounted for more than 240,000 attendees and $350 million in estimated direct spending, according the MacKenzie. That surpassed the previous year’s direct-spend total by nearly $10 million, and it reflects the drawing power of the renovated and expanded convention center and additions to downtown, including CityScape.

“However, that’s a performance that likely will not be repeated soon,” MacKenzie says. “The number of convention attendees we’ve booked for 2012 is down 20 percent compared with 2011.”

MacKenzie attributes the decline to the recession, a 30 percent cut to the CVB’s budget, the removal of half of our Prop 302 marketing funds, and client backlash from Arizona’s role in the immigration debate, and the “A.I.G. effect,” the tendency of corporations to cut down on lavish expenditures and luxuries in areas like travel and meetings to avoid appearing wasteful in times of economic downturn. The A.I.G. effect became a reality because of the negative publicity generated by some practices of the insurance giant A.I.G.

“Keep in mind: This year’s and next year’s conventions were booked from 2008 to 2010, during the depths of the recession and during the first year of the immigration debate,” MacKenzie says. “The typical booking window for citywide conventions is two to five years out—i.e., a group usually selects the site of its 2012 convention by 2010.”

Despite some challenges, experts agree that the long-term appeal of Arizona should allow the state’s convention and meeting industry to fluorish.

“We’re seeing an increase in business from third-party planners, and the corporate segment is strengthening as well,” Blubaum points out. “Plus, healthcare continues to be a strong segment. Canada also is a growing market for Scottsdale, which is why we are increasing our efforts to drive additional meetings business from key Canadian cities.”

Ski Flap

Snowbowl will open Thursday

A northern Arizona ski resort that got nearly three feet of snow from recent storms is opening this week.

Skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes Thursday at the Arizona Snowbowl. Another ski area, Sunrise Park Resort near Greer, plans to open a day earlier.

A winter storm moving into the state late Tuesday into Wednesday morning could bring even more snow to the resorts.

Officials at the Snowbowl say they’ll supplement the natural snow between storms by using newly installed snowmaking equipment.

Lynn_Whitehead

Greater Phoenix CVB Names New Director Of National Accounts

Greater Phoenix CVB Names New Director Of National Accounts

The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau increases its sales staff with the addition of Lynn Whitehead.

Lynn Whitehead is the new Director of National Accounts. Based in Baltimore, Whitehead will spearhead the Greater Phoenix CVB’s citywide accounts with 1,001+ rooms on peak night originating in the Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland region.

Whitehead previously served as the Director of National Accounts with the San Diego Convention Center, where she was responsible for the sales of more than 11,000 downtown hotel rooms and 2.6 million square feet of convention space for primary association accounts in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Her professional career includes her SDCC tenure of 17 years as well as experience with Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company. She also directed the national sales effort for Radisson Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in the Washington, D.C. area.

Whitehead began her career in hotel sales in Atlanta after graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Va.

Whitehead is a member of ASAE, IAEE, and PCMA, and currently serves as Co-Chair for the Capital Chapter of PCMA’s Emerging Professionals Committee and on the PCMA’s Faculty Task Force at a national level.

For more information about Greater Phoenix CVB, visit Greater Phoenix CVB’s website at visitphoenix.com

british airways

British Airways Adds Additional Flight Between Phoenix And London

British Airways announced that the nonstop service between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and London Heathrow Airport will increase from six to seven days per week beginning December 5, 2012.

“This is great news for Phoenix and our entire region,” Mayor Greg Stanton said. “Intercontinental flights are huge contributors to the success of our Phoenix airport system, our city’s economy and our region’s overall economic future. Building upon the $33 billion the airport pumps into our economy each year, this new flight is a boost that shows how our economy continues to improve.”

This community has seen an economic benefit from the nonstop British Airways flight since it first arrived in Phoenix on July 1, 1996. Adding the seventh day of service is estimated to bring the total economic impact of this flight to $100 million per year.

“International air service development is a focus for us at the city of Phoenix because it’s good for jobs, business and our overall economic development,” said Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who serves on the Downtown Aviation Economy and Education subcommittee.

Airports compete for air service and Phoenix city manager David Cavazos is keenly aware of how important flights are to the vitality of the city and the State. “My goal is to continue to gain additional international routes, while ensuring that this British Airways flight remains successful,” he said.

This European service is important not only to the business community, but to the tourism industry as well. Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, said, “International visitors tend to stay longer to explore the state and more flight options from London will give travelers from the UK and Europe additional opportunities to visit Arizona.”

For more information on British Airways, visit British Airways’ website at britishairways.com.

Phoenix Convention Center

Conventional Wisdom – Catering To Phoenix Visitors

Debbie Cotton has gone from helping people travel around Phoenix to trying to convince people to travel to Phoenix.

Cotton, the former director of the Phoenix Public Transit Department, is about six months into her role as director for the Phoenix Convention Center.

“The biggest difference for me is that each day is very different,” says Cotton, who replaced John Chan, who became community and economic development director for the City of Phoenix. “Each customer of the Convention Center has their own set of individual needs, so we have to come in here and reinvent ourselves every day so that we can fulfill our clients’ needs.”

Catering to convention-goers’ needs are more important than ever. To compound the hit that the economic downturn placed on the convention industry, Arizona’s tough stance on illegal immigration has put the state in a negative light in some decision-makers’ eyes, and an incident where a lesbian couple was asked to leave a downtown restaurant ignited a social media firestorm.

“People are very aware of some of the social unrest we’ve had in the community,” Cotton says. “That is one of the things that people have questions about when we talk with them about coming to Phoenix.”

If you look at the numbers, the controversies don’t seem to have an impact on tourism’s bottom line. A report from Dean Runyan Associates shows that gross sales at state hotels have increased more than 12 percent since 2010, and travel spending in Arizona has increased 7.9 percent since 2009. Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 — the strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in recent history — into law in 2010.

“In the next five years, we will have 900,000 delegates come through the Convention Center doors with an economic impact of $1.3 billion,” Cotton says. “That is a slight increase from the previous five years.”

A $600 million expansion project that tripled the size of the Convention Center and was completed in 2009 has raised the profile of both the center and the convention industry in Phoenix. In 2010, the Convention Center received the Inner Circle Award from Association Meetings Magazine, which ranked the facility as one of the 15 best Convention Centers in the nation for service excellence. And in April, the Phoenix Convention Center was ranked seventh among the best U.S. convention centers by Business Review USA.

“The addition of ASU and CityScape have given downtown more vibrancy and a youthful exuberance that has really made a difference for visitors,” Cotton says. “People want to play and have fun here. We need more of that.”

To get the Convention Center to the next level, Cotton and her staff plan to launch a redesigned website and use social media — Twitter and Facebook — to engage their customers and increase their speed to market.

“One of the things that we’ve found creates a more dynamic experience for visitors are the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors,” Cotton says of the orange-shirt-wearing, information-wielding walking concierges of downtown. “We want to get them more involved on the front end so that we differentiate ourselves from other communities. Once we get them here, we know they will come back.”

To help fill some of the vacancies the Convention Center has on the books, Cotton instituted a sales training program that will complement the comprehensive guest experience training that the staff has undergone since the center was expanded.

“We have been so busy over the last few years with our growth, that we didn’t have time to slow down and focus on some of the finer details,” Cotton says. “Now that things have slowed down and our expansion is complete, we have more time to incorporate training, build leads and close deals. Now it’s time for us to become the best of the best.”

For more information on the Phoenix Convention Center, visit the Phoenix Convention Center’s website at phoenix.gov/phxpccd.html.

convention center

Phoenix Convention Center Cracks National Top 10 List

It is perhaps fitting that a convention center inspired by one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World has been selected by a national business magazine as one of the seven best convention centers in the United States.

The Phoenix Convention Center comes in at No. 7 on a list of the “Top Ten U.S. Convention Centers” in the April issue of Business Review USA.

The article ranks the “best of the best” among the nation’s “modern, immense and historically rich convention centers.” Its assessment of the Phoenix Convention Center states:

Downtown Phoenix’s convention center is a true multi-functional space. It hosts everything from national and regional conventions to consumer events and theatrical productions, and has attracted increasing amounts of tourism and financial support to the city since it opened in 1972. A recent expansion tripled the center’s size and further enhanced its regional aesthetics.

Five years and $650 million in the making, the expanded Phoenix Convention Center welcomed its first meeting groups in January 2009. Its architecture—dramatic angles, towering glass, earthy stone—is inspired by the colors and textures of the Grand Canyon, and its nearly 900,000 square feet of flexible exhibition and meeting space can accommodate more than 80 percent of the conventions in the U.S.

Since the debut of the fully expanded center, it has hosted nearly 800,000 delegates and generated more than $1 billion in direct spending for Phoenix’s regional economy.

The new convention center’s presence has helped the city host the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend, and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Large conventions that have met at the center include the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting and Exhibits, the VFW Annual National Convention, the U.S. Green Building Council Annual Conference and Expo, the Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks Annual Meeting, and the General Council of the Assemblies of God.

“The new convention center has been a game changer for Phoenix in the truest sense,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Its size has allowed us to pursue business we simply couldn’t accommodate before, and its beauty and practicality have made that business want to come back.”

Included within the Phoenix Convention Center’s striking environs are three ballrooms (two at street level), 99 meeting rooms, an IACC-certified Executive Conference Center and $3.2 million worth of public art.

Thoughtful touches include air-conditioned loading bays, exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, an adjoining performance hall that seats 2,400, and outdoor meeting areas that capitalize on Phoenix’s sunny weather. The convention center’s catering staff can feed 360 people every eight minutes, and its bright and airy food court features five themed eateries.

The article in Business Review USA’s digital issue includes a video that highlights the Phoenix Convention Center’s green features. The campus’ newest buildings were designed with energy efficiency in mind, and its sustainability program encompasses recycling, solar power and water harvesting. The convention center’s commitment to environmental sensibility helped the conference center earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

mesa - new ceo and president

Mesa CVB Names New CEO

The Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau (Mesa CVB) along with their board of directors has named Marc Garcia president and chief executive officer. The announcement comes after a six-month absence in the position following the passing of Robert Brinton last October.

“We welcome Mr. Garcia to Mesa and are excited to have him lead us into the next era of tourism,” said Gary Levine, board chair for the Mesa CVB. “His leadership style and knowledge of the Greater Phoenix marketplace are in line with our vision for tourism growth as our community works to further Mesa’s reputation as a leading destination in the Southwest.”

Garcia comes to Mesa after serving 15 years at the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. Garcia most recently held the position of vice president of visitor marketing and community development where he oversaw the Travel Industry Sales, Convention Services & Housing, Government Affairs and Sports Sales departments. During Garcia’s tenure he helped lead the Phoenix bureau’s sales and service efforts for high-profile national events including Super Bowl XLII, NBA All-Star Weekend 2009, WrestleMania XXVI and 2011 MLB All Star Summer. Garcia also served as the former executive director of the Greater Phoenix Multi-Cultural and Arts Foundation within the bureau. Garcia was a key leader in the advocacy effort that led to the expansion of the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center and most recently he booked more than 67,000 room nights for youth/amateur sports events in the last fiscal year.

“Mr. Garcia has a proven track record of performance all developed within Phoenix’s regional tourism sector,” said City of Mesa Economic Development Director William Jabjiniak. “We are confident Marc is the right choice for Mesa as we continue our efforts to build an in-demand destination through key projects.”

Mesa is setting a fast pace as the leading destination marketing entity in the East Valley with continued growth taking place at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, new higher education developments within the city’s downtown core, and signature visitor products about to take hold including the Metro light rail expansion and the Chicago Cubs stadium development. Garcia is a graduate of Pitzer College with a bachelor’s of arts degree in political studies. Garcia, an Arizona native, will begin his employment at the Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau on June 11.

You can find out more about the Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau at mesachamberofcommerce.org.

La Casa Vieja

Monti’s La Casa Vieja Reports 10% Increase In Business

More evidence the economy is turning around: Monti’s La Casa Vieja Restaurant is reporting a 10 percent year-to-date increase in business.

Tempe’s oldest restaurant attributes the increase to innovative marketing, increased tourism and a strong Spring Training season, anchored by the Anaheim Angels.

“In the last few months we have just seen a huge influx of people coming into the restaurant,” said Michael Monti, owner of Monti’s La Casa Vieja.  “It’s inspirational to see things coming back and to know that our economy is really recovering.”

Monti says his restaurant, which sits at the corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado is not only seeing an increase in number of customers coming in, but also in what people are spending. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the historic restaurant annually.

“Our customers and families are spending more money,” said Monti.  “We’re also seeing businesses spend more money.  Companies are hosting more dinners and booking more banquets.”

Further excitement is on the horizon as the Hayden Flour Mill, which sits adjacent to Monti’s La Casa Vieja, prepares to open to public this spring for tours.

“For the past few months crews have been working hard renovating the ground floor of the Hayden Flour Mill, and we are so excited that visitors will soon be able to enjoy this historic landmark,” said Monti.

For more information on Monti’s La Casa Vieja, visit Monti’s website at montis.com.

AZ Wine & Dine

AZ Wine & Dine Makes Use Of Forks, Corks [PHOTOS]

The mission of first-ever AZ Wine & Dine on April 12 at Scottsdale Quarter, which took the place of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association’s long-running culinary event Forks & Corks, was to highlight the distinct variety of culinary outlets at Arizona hotels, resorts and restaurants while offering a variety of wines and craft beers designed to satisfy any palette.

Judging by the more than 750 guests who enjoyed tantalizing tastes from the renowned chefs at the Four Seasons Troon North, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Montelucia, Arizona Grand Resort and many more, as well as the sumptuous sips provided by Hensley, Young’s Market Company and others, it was a mission well-accomplished.

And then some.

While the final numbers are still being tallied, organizers estimate that the event raised about $20,000 to support the Arizona tourism industry.

Arizona tourism’s impact, by the numbers:

  • 36.9 Million: Number of domestic and international overnight visitors who experienced Arizona as a travel destination.
  • $48 Million: Amount of direct traveler spending being contributed to our state’s economy every single day.
  • $2.5 Billion: Amount of local, state and federal tax revenues generated as a result of direct traveler spending.
  • $1,040: Tax revenue generated by the tourism industry lessens the tax burden by $1,040 for every Arizona household.
  • No. 1: Where the travel and tourism industry ranks among Arizona’s export-oriented industries.

According to guest feedback, among the biggest and brightest highlights of the event:

  • Live music, which was provided by The Shining Star Band
  • Silent auction, which offered amazing vacation packages from the state’s top resorts, restaurants and spas
  • “Foodie” food, including short ribs from Westin Kierland, Kobe sliders from the Phoenician, and cioppino from the Montelucia
  • Libation innovations, including Moet Champagne from Narcisse, flaming coffee drinks from La Hacienda, and sangria from New Age Winery

Based on the event’s overwhelming success, plans are already underway for next year.

For more information about AZ Wine & Dine, please visit azwineanddine.com.


AZ Wine & Dine

Photos: Cory Bergquist

 

Experience AZ Digital Issue

Experience AZ: Spring-Summer 2012

The Ultimate 300 Things To Do

Michael Gossie, Managing Editor
The 2012 issue of Experience AZ is out! But this year, we have not only one magazine — but two. That’s right; Experience AZ is now a bi-annual magazine — because we know you can’t quite possibly fit every place to see, eat and play in Arizona in just one issue.

In this Spring-Summer 2012 issue, you’ll find the “Ultimate 300 Things To Do” in nearly every nook and cranny of Arizona; from the Peaks of Northern Arizona to the cacti-spotted desert of Southern Arizona, we’ve covered it all.

Not only will you find events taking place during the spring and summer months throughout the state, we’ve also added the top 5’s in varying categories, including the top 5 steakhouses, Northern day trips, trail riding tours, accommodations, museums, night life and much more.

Michael Gossie, Editor in Chief

Michael Gossie, Editor in Chief

 

Experience AZ: Spring-Summer 2012:
The Ultimate 300 Things To Do

Flagstaff, Scottsdale CVB - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Flagstaff And Scottsdale CVB See Solid Returns On Investment

Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Scottsdale CVB see dividends from marketing dollars spent

The old saying, “You have to spend money to make money” is especially true in the case of Arizona tourism. Two cases in point are the Flagstaff and Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs). They can quantifiably demonstrate that investing in tourism creates a return.

“We’ve always done a good job of marketing Scottsdale,” said Rachel Sacco, president and CEO of the Scottsdale CVB. “We know it’s the right message because visitors are responding.”

The Scottsdale CVB’s 2010-11 annual budget is $9.7 million and generates $31 in economic impact for every $1 invested in the organization. The Flagstaff CVB has a budget of $1.5 million and helps spur an economic impact of $501 million for the region.

Much of the funding for tourism marketing comes from visitors themselves.

In March 2010, Scottsdale voters passed a 2 percent increase in the city’s bed tax, bringing it to 5 percent. This, combined with an increase in occupancy, led to a 79 percent jump in bed-tax collections from 2009-10 to 2010-11. Half of the new monies support capital projects and special events; the other half supports marketing efforts.

In Flagstaff, the CVB is a division of the city and is fully funded by a portion of the 2 percent “BBB” tax, which stands for “bed, board and booze,” or hotels, restaurants and bars. It generates roughly $5.2 million, and the CVB gets 30 percent of that. The city council allocated an additional $250,000 in marketing dollars to the CVB from March to June 2009 from the city’s Economic Incentive Fund. Flagstaff CVB director Heather Ainardi said that investment helped Flagstaff see a slight bump in April and May of 2009 and prevent big tourism losses in the long run.

“When the rest of the state had double digit declines (in tourism indicators),” Ainardi said, “we were only having minor 2 to 3 percent drops.”

Average daily rates from hotel bookings and revenues per available room were up in 2011 in both Flagstaff and Scottsdale. Occupancy also was up in Scottsdale. And independent studies showed 91 percent of all people who received a Scottsdale visitors guide either made a booking or visited Scottsdale within the next year. Sacco attributes the high number to target marketing.

First, they pinpoint areas that have always had a high interest in Scottsdale: chilly places such as Canada, Minnesota, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and parts of the East Coast.
Second, they invest in knowing their customers: What do they read? Which activities do they like?

“We won’t send someone who’s interested in art a message about sports” and vice-versa, Sacco said. “We know what messages resonate with them.”

As one result of this targeting, sports bookings have increased 160 percent, she added. Groups and meetings contribute $64.8 million in economic impact.

The Scottsdale CVB should see their budget increase further this coming year to $10.5 million, which hopefully will mean even more of an uptick in tourists.

“The less ability we have to communicate to visitors why they should come here, the less revenue that is brought in,” Sacco said.

For more information about the Flagstaff CVB or the Scottsdale CVB, visit the following links:

flagstaffarizona.org
scottsdalecvb.com

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

Tourism Industry - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona Tourism Industry Has A Billion-Dollar Impact On Economy

Economic engine: Arizona tourism industry packs an economic punch of $17.7 billion yearly

Tourism is one of the largest industries in Arizona, but it isn’t just about hotels and golf courses.

Its direct economic impact of $17.7 billion has helped keep the state afloat during some of its darkest economic days, and the ripple effect is even greater. Those dollars spill over to a host of businesses, from the farmers who supply produce to the hotel restaurants to the car dealers who sell vehicles to the banquet servers. They also help keep our police officers and firefighters on the streets, thanks to tax revenues.

“That trickle-down money does affect everyone who is a citizen of Arizona, to some degree,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

And the money keeps coming, thanks to nearly 37 million overnight visitors annually.

“It’s so important to recognize the tourism industry is always here,” Henry said. “Even in recessionary times, people are still traveling.”

Tourism spending was up 7.9 percent in Arizona from 2009 to 2010 and has increased 25 percent since 2000. Overall, it’s still down 7 percent from its heyday of 2007, but most other indicators are moving in the right direction: Tax revenues, occupancy rates and demand are all up from 2009.

“It’s not that we don’t feel the effects of the recession,” Henry said, “but we’re still in the game.”

While the state has lost 11 percent of its tourism jobs since its high of about 173,400 in 2007, the industry still brings in $48 million a day. Tourism is the number one export industry in Arizona.

One way that benefits every resident directly is when the tax bills come. Taxes from tourism generate $1.3 billion in local and state revenue, which pays for everything from public safety to parks to libraries.

“When you look at the taxes generated, (tourism) saves every Arizona resident $1,000,” Henry said. Her agency, which was created in 1975, is responsible for marketing the state as a whole with multiple programs: advertising, public relations, community outreach, trade and media, and digital and social media, to all domestic and international visitors.
“(Travelers) have a lot of choices, so it’s important your destination stays in top of mind,” Henry said.

Part of the money for tourism outreach comes from tribal gaming. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, tribal gaming revenues contributed $5.5 million to the state’s Tourism Fund. That comes from the $79 million total they deposited to the state, with another 12 percent of their annual revenue of almost $1.7 billion going to cities, towns and counties.

In addition, said Melody Hudson, public relations manager for Gila River Gaming Enterprises, “We have a deep and wide reach as far as our philanthropic activities, too.”

Tourism weaves through the fabric of our economy in ways that aren’t always obvious. Jesse Thompson, director of sales and marketing for the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, gave a list of local businesses that the hotel supports. Zuzu, its on-site restaurant, gets a good deal of its ingredients from local purveyors such as Red Bird Farms, McClendon Farms, Duncan Farms, Crave Artisan Ice Cream and Hickman Family Farms. Audio-visual contractors, limo and taxi drivers, independent conference planners, beverage distributors, decorators, and even the company that launders their linens – sheets, towels, tablecloths, spa robes – would all be affected if business dropped.

However, Thompson is proud that revenues at the 230-room Hotel Valley Ho increased 21 percent in 2011 over 2010, and he expects an 8 percent bump from 2011 to 2012. None of the 240 to 250 employees has been laid off in six years, despite the downturn. He attributes the increase in going after more group bookings.

Another way tourism boosts Arizona’s entire economy is by making the state not only an appealing place to visit, but to live. People might come to see auto shows, sporting events or festivals and decide to make a permanent move.

“People who visit Arizona often fall in love with Arizona and plot ways they can come to work here or bring their businesses,” said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “It’s a gateway opportunity to sell the state of Arizona.”

Because the business community recognizes the importance of both visitors and tourists who become permanent residents, they work to bring major events such as the Super Bowl to the state. Hamer calls it a “showcase for our state.” In addition, the Super Bowl generated $500 million in economic impact in 2008. He expects the number to be at least that much when the Super Bowl returns to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale in 2015.

The business community also supports sports tourism in general, including spring training baseball, college football bowl games, the baseball All-Star game in July 2011, the NBA All-Star game in 2009, and amateur events such as marathons, triathlons, bicycle tours and student sports meets. And it pushed for the 2008 expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center, now one of the top 20 such venues in the nation.

“Our convention business is an important part of our tourism economic engine,” Hamer said.

Unlike other industries such as manufacturing and technology, Hamer said, much of the tourism industry can’t be automated or outsourced. And thanks to the state’s natural and man-made attractions, it appears to be an industry that’s sustainable.

“Arizona as a whole relied so much on construction,” said Heather Ainardi, director of the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau, “and in the next 10 years, tourism is going to be one of the drivers of Arizona’s economy.”

Arizona tourism industry: Economic impact of major winter Valley events

College football bowl games
(Fiesta Bowl, BCS national title game and Insight Bowl)

Economic impact: $354.6 million in 2010-11
2010-11 attendance: nearly 200,000 at all three games

P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Economic impact: $59 million
2011 attendance: about 30,000 runners

Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show

Economic impact: $52-58 million
2011 attendance: about 250,000

Cactus League baseball

Economic impact: $360 million
2011 attendance: More than 1.47 million

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Economic impact: $180 million (estimated from 2008, when attendance was 538,356)
2011 attendance: 365,062 (event impacted due to weather)

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

 

Steve Moore, GPCVB, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Q&A Steve Moore, President & CEO of Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau

Steve Moore
President and CEO
Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau

What is the outlook of tourism in Arizona and the Valley as you see it?

Tourism is a $17 billion industry here, and it is strong enough to have absorbed some body blows over the past couple of years. The recession hurt. The “AIG effect” hurt. Backlash from SB 1070 hurt. People are still worried about the economy, and large groups are still a little trigger shy.

But we are seeing a few positive signs. Business travel is inching upward. Room rates are rising a little. In Phoenix, the metric we use to assess the financial performance of our hotels indicated improvement in 2010 versus 2009. So far this year, the BCS Championship Game gave the Valley’s hotels a boost in January, spring training provided its annual injection of visitors in March, and the MLB All-Star Week is going to be a huge asset for us in July. But the outlook is not as rosy as it’s been painted in some media accounts. We still have a lot of ground to make up.

How is the Greater Phoenix CVB performing in this environment, and how would you define the CVB’s role in the local economy?

In fiscal year 2010, our sales staff booked over 400,000 future delegates into the convention center and hotels across the Valley. These delegates will spend over $525 million when they get here — that’s direct spending, and it doesn’t include what the family and friends who accompany them will spend. If you were to look at the CVB’s future bookings in terms of corporate portfolio, that “portfolio” would be valued at $2.4 billion. That’s how much direct spending is attached to the future delegates we’ve booked, and that’s the price you could expect to get for the CVB if it were “sold.” Of course, we’re not for sale — we’re a nonprofit. But I think the analogy helps people get their heads around how vital the visitors industry is to the local economy.

What obstacles are currently facing the visitors industry, and what are some future challenges for the Greater Phoenix CVB?

The economy’s signs of recovery give us reason for optimism — but that optimism has to be tempered with a measure of caution. Group business may gradually climb back to pre-recession levels, but spending probably will rise at a slower rate. In that way, this recovery will somewhat mirror the industry’s post-9/11 recovery, albeit with a more gradual climb out of the bottom, because the recession affected all industries, not just ours.

Also, as the cost of oil continues to rise, so does the cost of air travel. Airlines have gradually decreased their capacities, switching to smaller planes and fewer flights. This can increase the cost of air travel and inflate travel times, both of which factor into a business’ decision about where to hold a meeting or convention. It’s something we play close attention to because Phoenix is a fly-in destination. Another challenge for us arose this past September, when the GSA recommended that federal agencies substitute teleconferencing and webcasts for face-to-face meetings whenever possible. Suppliers will likely follow suit, and that’s not good for our industry.

Within the CVB itself, one of our greatest challenges is budgetary. The formula funding we created back in 1998 will yield a million dollars less for us in the next fiscal year than it did in this fiscal year. We have lost four sales people this year, and we have not been able to replace them. We also lost half of our Prop 302 funds to the Legislature, which hinders our ability to market the destination to a national and international audience.

Has the Greater Phoenix CVB seen improvements since the passing of SB 1070? How so?

It’s been about a year since SB 1070 was passed, and in that time we’ve lost six definite conventions. We’ve lost only two since last July, when (federal) Judge (Susan) Bolton’s ruling blocked some of the bill’s most controversial provisions. Our sales team spent a lot of time and energy holding onto some of our large conventions and rebooking others. It’s the pipeline we are most concerned about, and at the close of the calendar year, our booking pace had slowed by 36 percent over last year’s pace — and last year was a recession year.

The fact that 19 other states have introduced immigration bills similar to SB 1070 has taken a little of the heat off us. It’s hard to quantify how much convention business we aren’t even getting considered for due to concerns over the bills. We do know that large, diverse associations are more risk averse than smaller, corporate meetings. Those smaller meetings have started to return to the Valley.

How will the All-Star Game and the MLB FanFest at the Phoenix Convention Center impact Phoenix’s economy and tourism?

The All-Star Game and the events surrounding it — the Home Run Derby, the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, and FanFest at the convention center — are expected to inject $67 million of direct spending into Arizona’s economy. This estimate does not include local production expenses by national and international broadcast media, nor does it take into account hospitality expenditures by sponsors for receptions, parties and banquets.

The fact that All-Star Week arrives in town during summer, our traditional low season, magnifies its economic benefit to the community and provides us a grand-scale opportunity to show leisure travelers and meeting groups that visiting Phoenix in summertime is fun. And it’s the latest in a growing list of mega sporting events whose presence here proves that large and diverse groups and events are welcome and successful in Arizona.

What are your thoughts on the Arizona Office of Tourism’s “In One Word — Arizona” marketing campaign that launched in November?

Well, using just one word is economical, and that’s a good thing. Seriously, though, it’s a beautiful campaign that dramatically captures the beauty of our state. The existence of such a campaign is absolutely essential. Tourism is a $17 billion asset for Arizona. That asset must be trumpeted; that asset must be leveraged; that asset must be cared for. We all know AOT has been devastated by state budget cuts. If there’s one word that should be applied to AOT’s funding, that word is “restoration.”

What are your thoughts on the new Westin Phoenix Downtown and the rest of the downtown hotels and how they can potentially attract more tourists and business travelers?

Westin is a trusted brand, and the new hotel is a wonderful addition to downtown. Many of the conventions we book at the CVB are what we call “citywide conventions.” What that means is, they are big enough so that their attendees and their families spread out to multiple hotels. With the addition of the Westin, there are now more than 2,700 guest rooms within walking distance of the convention center. And more are on the way: A boutique Kimpton hotel — another trusted brand — is scheduled to open in CityScape early next year. So we’ll have the Sheraton, the Hyatt, the Wyndham, the Westin and the Kimpton right in the city’s core, all near the convention center, all near stops for the light rail, all near CityScape. For years we tended to talk about downtown in the future tense — as in, “It’s going to be great.” Downtown is now all about the present tense. It is great, and the catalyst to making it that way was the visitors industry.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011