Tag Archives: scottsdale convention and visitors bureau

Photo illustration of model Celina Maas taken at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix by Shavon Rose, AZ Big Media.

Plastic surgeons, tourism industry build enhanced partnership

A nip here, a tuck there. A growing number of tourists are traveling to Scottsdale to go under the knife and recover in high-end resorts with top-notch treatment.

Cosmetic surgeons in Scottsdale are attracting patients from all over the United States by partnering with local hotels and resorts to upgrade the recovery experience. Accommodations are made prior to the surgery for guests to recuperate in a resort of their choice, with medical care nearby. Some surgeons say there is untapped potential to capitalize on this trend and create a lucrative partnership.

Doctors say people are traveling to Scottsdale to undergo cosmetic procedures ranging from breast augmentation to facial rejuvenation, with pricetage ranging from $3,000 to $30,000.

“I think Scottsdale is a destination point,” said Dr. Daniel Shapiro, M.D., FACS, of Shapiro Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Shapiro Skin Klinic. “I think it has a very cosmopolitan reputation and usually larger cities with that discretionary income tend to have reputations for things like plastic surgery. We’re selling a luxury. We are providing the best possible results for somebody, with the best possible experience.”

Shapiro has practiced plastic surgery in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley for more than 22 years. He estimates that as many as 40 percent of his patients are from out of town.

“I think a lot of people are very private about whatever they do (in regards to plastic surgery),” Shapiro said. “It’s a win-win all the way around if somebody can have some improvements and go back home and they just look better. It’s at their discretion whether they want people to know. I think that’s why a lot people go out of town and have plastic surgery done.”

Building the brand

Scottsdale hotels and resorts have seen an increase of 3.2 percent in room occupancy and in 8.8 percent increase in RevPAR (room revenue divided by rooms available), according to Megan Doyle, community affairs manager at the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Our resorts and hotels are wonderful places in Scottsdale for rest and relaxation,” Doyle said. “I can imagine that anybody recovering from any kind of surgery or simply just needing a vacation can definitely come to one of our resorts and rejuvenate.”

Here’s how Shapiro said the medical tourism industry works in the Valley: After the surgery is completed, the patient and family stay in the clinic’s recovery center for a couple days and are then transferred to a hotel or resort where they will stay for approximately a week to 10 days.
“Whether there is a package deal or not, usually the hotel will basically give revision rates based upon the length of stay,” Shapiro said.

The accommodations depend on what kind of surgery the guest underwent and what his or her needs are. The surgical clinic conducts research based on the patient’s criteria and circumstance. Some special services that are provided are transportation to and from the hotel and clinic, food delivery to hotel rooms, an itinerary for a spouse or significant others while the patient is recovering and an on-call nurse.

“The package varies in terms of what people are looking for,” Shapiro said. “We’re not a deal kind of practice. We’re more of a discriminating kind of taste in population practice. We get what people want and we help them achieve that.”

Working together

Dr. Pablo Prichard is the senior partner at Advanced Aesthetic Associates and has two in-house concierges who work in compliance with local hotels and resorts to schedule patients’ stays. Prichard offers a “fly-in program,” where all of the details are scheduled and calculated prior to the procedure.

“Once they have their consultations and decide to have surgery, they discuss the matters with the surgical concierge, who discusses their stay, hotel, food service, nursing service, and transportation,” Prichard said.

Financially, the clinic and resort work together to find a financial fit for the patient based on what he or she needs for a comfortable recovery.

“We do give the options for resorts that are close to us and in different price ranges,” said Jadie Peck, cosmetic concierge at Advanced Aesthetic Associates, “but we do have some deals with the resorts in the area that we give the options for. That way, they are not paying full-price for these resorts. They are nice. They have the complimentary breakfast and things like that so the patients don’t have to go out.”

Peck emphasizes that recovery will take the same amount of time regardless of where the patient stays, but location can aid in a comfortable convalescence.

“We do try and figure out resorts that are higher end so the clients that we have get more of an upscale feel to their surgery and their overall experience,” Peck said.

The business side

One of Shapiro’s recent out-of-state patients received a thigh lift and stayed at the Doubletree Resort in Scottsdale. The thigh lift surgery cost $17,200, an additional $3,230 went for the operation room and $1,598 for anesthesia. A two-night stay at the recovery center was $1,400 and each additional night at the Doubletree Resort in Scottsdale cost approximately $500 per night.

“One of the things they are saving is time and energy,” Shapiro said. “It’s stressful trying to accommodate all of those things. Some of the deals that hotels will bundle is based upon how many days you are going to stay. You can save hundreds of dollars per night as compared with booking it independently.”

This type of agreement is not unusual in the medical industry. The Mayo Clinic has a corporate room rate agreement with  Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch for special seasonal room rates, according to Ann Lane, senior director of public relations at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch.

The partnership started with clinics reaching out to the hotels and resorts in Scottsdale, due to the needs of their patients undergoing surgery and wanting to stay for an extended vacation to recover.

“(Clinics) started talking to hotels and resorts because we had out-of-town patients coming in,” Peck said. “We started talking to the hotels and working with them to get a mutual agreement going because we did have patients asking for that and we did it in order to accommodate the patients.”

Shapiro and Prichard both agree that it is a collaborative effort between the clinics and resorts to make a patient’s stay exactly what he or she wants and to recover successfully.

“Collaborative efforts with hotels is important, because a hotel can co-market a surgeon and the surgeon can co-market the hotel on their various websites,” Prichard said. “Co-marketing on a lot of different fronts helps with patients being aware that this is a possibility in that they don’t have to be restricted in one part of the country. They do have wide opportunities to go anywhere they want.”

The increase in the medical tourism industry shows great opportunity for the surgical facilities and resorts in Arizona to work together.

“I think it would be nice if the City of Scottsdale or the Chamber of Commerce would somehow get together with professional organizations and plastic surgeons and have a meet and greet with them and come up with an idea of how they can help each other in terms of public relations, package deals and any kind of incentives,” Shapiro said. “It is not only the traveling and lodging patients are paying for, there is money to spend in recreational activities, such as golfing and shopping. It’s good for business all the way around.”

City of Scottsdale charges into tangential tourism effects of 2015 Super Bowl and Phoenix Open. Pictured: Ornate flood control dike in Scottsdale. 123RF.com, Copyright: DesertSolitaire

Scottsdale prepares for the Super Bowl effect

Although the City of Scottsdale is not the host of the 2015 Super Bowl, there are many events that will attract visitors during their stay for the major sporting event.

“Scottsdale’s entertainment district is without a doubt a pull for Super Bowl visitors who are looking to celebrate at bars and clubs,” said Megan Doyle, Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau community affairs manager. “That said, it’s only a fraction of what attracts visitors to Scottsdale.”

The nice weather in Scottsdale will encourage visitors to participate in outdoor activities such as Jeep tours or hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, said Doyle. With the Waste Management Phoenix Open running from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1 at TPC Scottsdale, coinciding with the Super Bowl, it will be a busy time for Scottsdale. The city will even be the host of the ESPN Fan Fest the week leading up to the game.

“It’s Scottsdale―people just for some reason enjoy coming to our city, for whatever it may be,” said Mariah Schultz, head of operations for Signature Flight at Scottsdale Airport.

When the Super Bowl was last in the Valley in 2008, Doyle said Scottsdale-area hotel occupancy reached 93.8 percent. According to the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, many hotels have already been sold out for months, and several others have just limited availability during that week.

In 2012, the Waste Management Phoenix Open brought 150,000 to Scottsdale alone. Because this event will be overlapping with the Super Bowl, which is expected to bring 100,000 people to the area, Doyle said that they are expecting a tremendous increase in visitation this time around.

Although the Super Bowl takes place in Glendale, the Scottsdale Airport is a popular location for travelers to fly into during the event.

“For Super Bowl weekend in 2008―Tuesday through Thursday, we experienced about a 54% increase in airport operations when compared to that weekend the year before in 2007,” said Sarah Ferrara, aviation planning and outreach coordinator for the Scottsdale Airport. “We expect a similar increase in operations for this year’s Super Bowl weekend.”

In order to combat airport traffic and help make the process smoother for travelers, two of the fixed-based operators at the Scottsdale Airport will be taking reservations for departures from the airport from 5 p.m. Super Bowl Feb. 1 and 2, according to the Scottsdale Airport Operations Plan.

In order to accommodate some of the visitor traffic, not only during the Super Bowl but also during the season with heavy tourism, the city will be providing a hospitality trolley for the second year in a row. This trolley, called the Day Tripper, will run along Scottsdale Road between Scottsdale Fashion Square and the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, according to Holly Walter, transportation public information officer for the City of Scottsdale.

Walter said Scottsdale has a highly advanced Traffic Management Center that allows for the management of the road conditions during events like the Super Bowl. They are able to control traffic via cameras, control signals and adjust their timing and more. This will help combat traffic surrounding events like the ESPN Fan Fest that will be taking place in the downtown Scottsdale area.

“As a result, police officers don’t have to spend their time directing traffic―they can handle other public safety duties while working special events,” Walter said. “We plan to have the TMC staffed 24/7 for the two week period surrounding the Super Bowl.”

In order to ease traffic congestion and improve safety within designated areas of the downtown area, Walter said the city council would be considering a transportation safety zone ordinance drafted by members of the police department, transportation, City Manager’s Office and City Attorney’s Office. This will likely be considered by the city council in November or December.

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