Tag Archives: Visit Phoenix

11-2014 Food Court-79

Sky Harbor renovations elevate travelers’ experience

Friends embrace. Families explore an art exhibition. Shoppers admire handcrafted wares and hungry travelers survey a myriad of local eateries before settling on a lunch destination.

This is the scene at the newly renovated Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s where about 85 percent of the airport travelers, more than 100,000 people a day, have their first encounter with Arizona — an encounter that will help shape their impression of the state and the Phoenix metro area.

“For many travelers, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the first experience they have of the Phoenix area, so our goal is to provide them with a world-class experience,” explains Heather Lissner, acting public information manager for the City of Phoenix Aviation Department.

Impact on tourism

The $590 million facelift is more than strategically placed art displays, designer walkways and vibrant southwest décor. Seamless transportation, sustainable design and streamlined customer service enhance the airport’s reputation and reflect upon the local tourism industry.   

“The recent additions to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, from the Sky Train to public art to the abundance of local restaurant options, have extended the unique qualities of the metro Phoenix area and created an improved visitor experience,” says Toni Smith, director of communications for the Tempe Tourism Office. “We’re lucky to have an airport that travelers want to see, which helps set us apart as a destination and encourages repeat visits.”

If travelers’ destinations are along the Valley Metro light rail line, the PHX Sky Train provides a seamless transition between the terminals and the 44th Street and Washington Street station. From there the light rail transports travelers east through Tempe and Mesa, or west into Phoenix.

Douglas MacKenzie, director of media relations for Visit Phoenix, appreciates the 15-minute trip from the airport to the downtown area. “Phoenix is primarily a fly-in market for both our leisure and meetings visitors so the airport is very important to our convention and leisure business.” Whether travelers are coming for a convention or mega event like the Superbowl, the transition from airport, to PHX Sky Train, to Metro light rail adds great value.

“It’s a wonderful plus for attendees. It’s the ease of convenience for our meeting delegates to get into downtown,” MacKenzie says. “It’s a perfect tourism factor in more people choosing Phoenix as a destination.”

Authentic Arizona dining

MacKenzie says a mix of eateries that includes delicious local choices can also encourage return visitors.

Two companies, HMSHost Corporation and SSP America, have orchestrated a blend of local, regional and national eateries with more than 40 establishments providing dining options from the fast food national brands to locally owned wine bars. Part of the strategy to provide authentic Arizona dining was to offer the best restaurants in the area and keep the street prices.

Among the eateries chosen to enhance Phoenix’s reputation as a foodie destination are Barrio Café, Cowboy Ciao, Sauce Pizza & Wine, Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles and Joe’s Real BBQ.

“What has truly happened is that the culinary offerings at Sky Harbor for the first time ever are probably some of the best in the nation,” says Tad Peelen, operating partner at Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert. “I think people who travel a good deal recognize the fact that it is not the preponderance of national chains.

“We are happy to have a Gilbert presence at the airport for the first time,” Peelen says. “We think the brand extension is fantastic. We like the fact that when people get off the airplane they see a logo of a place east of the airport and in many cases more of those people are staying east of the airport.

“They say they are America’s friendliest airport and I think this is an extension of that. It was a very passenger friendly thing to do to give so many independent really tasty options at the airport.”

MacKenzie agrees. “It’s a wonderful culinary entrance into the southwest. If people don’t have a chance to visit all of our local restaurants, it gives them a taste of what they’ve missed,” he says.

Memorable connection

Passengers with connecting flights also benefit from the new design and abundant shopping and dining.

Additional amenities include water bottle filling stations, strategically placed kiosks and a pet park. Airport navigators wearing purple jackets and “Ask Me” buttons answer questions and direct travelers needing assistance.

There is also an indoor walking trail with ample views of the area.  “It’s a little over a mile long,” Lissner says. “You can see Camelback Mountain, the Buttes at Papago Peak, the Sky Train bridge and South Mountain. At Terminal 3, the Phoenix Sky Train station has some very gorgeous views of downtown Phoenix as well as the airfield.”

Sustainably styled

The beauty of the project is supported by an environmentally conscious design. The first phase of the electric-powered PHX Sky Train construction received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council, while the Terminal 3 segment earned a LEED Silver designation.

The PHX Sky Train is part of the overall sustainability management plan that consists of investing in renewable energy, improving air quality, minimizing greenhouse gases, reducing waste and conserving water.

“We do strive for sustainability,” Lissner says, adding that the plan aligns with the City of Phoenix in terms of recycling and sustainability goals. “ We’re doing our part to help the environment.”

Continuing renovations

When renovations are complete, Terminal 3 will have a consolidated security checkpoint, additional ticket counters, new baggage carousels and expanded curb area. More shops and restaurants are included in the plan.

“I think Terminal 3 is going to be stunning,” says MacKenzie, who has seen the plan. “It’s going to be more open, with more windows and more restaurants. It will certainly enhance the service and experience of every traveler.”

Eventually, Terminal 2 will be closed and those airlines will move to Terminal 3, Lissner says. The project is scheduled to be complete by 2020. The approximately $590 million price tag is being paid by airport revenues generated through parking, tenant and concession fees. Local tax dollars are not used to support the airport, which has an annual economic impact reported to be nearly $29 billion.

Lissner says the changes are essential to quality travel.

“We pride ourselves on being America’s friendliest airport,” Lissner says. “We’re really looking to provide travelers with a world-class experience that is more efficient, more pleasant and something they can really enjoy so we can really welcome them to the state of Arizona.”

Giant Host Committee Visit Phoenix Football Unveiled in Downtown Phoenix

Cornerstone of Super Bowl Central unveiled

Giant Football Unveiled Mayor Greg Stanton SpeaksWith 83 days until the kick-off of Super Bowl XLIX, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and Visit Phoenix today are unveiling a super-sized football mounted in Downtown Phoenix, which will serve as the cornerstone for Super Bowl Central. Towering more than 20 feet high, it measures more than 32 feet around, and weighs in excess of 7,000 pounds.

“This massive installation for Super Bowl XLIX stands for the fun and lasting memories in store for fans, and for the heightened profile and lasting benefits for Arizona as we welcome our third Super Bowl in 19 years,” said Jay Parry, President and CEO of the Arizona Super bowl Host Committee.

Located at the northwest corner of Washington Street and Central Avenue, the enormous football made of 7,000 pounds of steel, as well as wood and foam, is 2,000 percent larger than a regulation football.

“Super Bowl Central is a postcard from downtown Phoenix to the world,” said Win Holden, chair of Visit Phoenix. “This super-sized football not only marks the epicenter of downtown Phoenix’s fan experience, but it’s destined to star in scores of selfies and social-media posts.”

Fans are invited to take their photos in front of the newly installed giant football and share them on social media using #SB49.

Super Bowl Central will be a free, family-friendly, football-themed fan campus featuring street-level merchants and restaurants, local food trucks, beer and wine gardens, a concert stage, network broadcast stages and a nightly fireworks show. The 12-block area in downtown Phoenix will be the hub of fan activities for Super Bowl XLIX from Wednesday, January 28 through Sunday, February 1, 2015.

Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix; Andrea Streat, director of meetings and events for the American Alliance of Museums; Alyssa Kolat, conference manager for the International Association of Fire Chiefs; and James Jessie, senior vice president of sales at Visit Phoenix.

Visit Phoenix spearheads sales blitz in D.C.

Commuters hailing a cab or waiting for public transit in Washington, D.C. this month are likely to get a glimpse of iconic Phoenix imagery before their trip commences.

Visit Phoenix (CVB) is blitzing the D.C. area with a transit-based advertising buy that includes mini-billboards atop taxis and digital posters in transit stations. The ads showcase Visit Phoenix’s “This is Phoenix” ad campaign, which is built around dramatic photography of Greater Phoenix outdoor activity in the Sonoran Desert.

The ad blitz coincides with a sales mission in the Washington D.C. area by Visit Phoenix, the Phoenix Convention Center, and nine of the city’s largest hotels and resorts. The convention sales mission delegation will meet with professional associations and national trade unions, hundreds of which are headquartered in and around the nation’s capital.

Visit Phoenix staff just completed its fiscal year with a 30% increase in Phoenix Convention Center future year bookings and a strong rebound in resort/hotel leads and bookings. Continuing this momentum, the Phoenix convention sales delegation will meet with more than 250 DC convention planners and association executives through sales appointments, reception-trade shows, and a meeting planner forum during its three-day sales mission.

“Washington is a hotbed for meetings and conventions, and our sales team maintains a strategic presence there with in-market offices and annual events,” said Melissa Gogel, vice president of marketing, communications and tourism for Visit Phoenix. “To support those sales efforts, we’re placing our new ‘This is Phoenix’ ads in some high-traffic transit locations. The goal is to increase the exposure of the Visit Phoenix brand in one of our most important markets, and to do it at a time when our sales team is saturating the market with face-to-face calls.”

The delegation of sales professionals from Phoenix will host four events during the next three days, with one event each in Washington, Alexandria, VA and Chevy Chase, MD.

Phoenix was ranked No. 10 in the list of the “Top 50 U.S. Cities for Conventions in 2013,” according to Cvent, a technology company that connects event planners with more than 200,000 venues in destinations across the United States. Phoenix earned its top-10 destination based on its weather, its air-travel accessibility, its spectrum of meeting-friendly hotels and resorts, and its newly expanded convention center.

“The Phoenix Convention Center was expanded with big association groups in mind,” Gogel said. “It has the space and sophistication to host the biggest of them, or to host smaller ones concurrently. Our focus is to keep the convention center, the hotels and resorts, and the destination as a whole at the top of mind for meeting planners in D.C. and beyond.”