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Hotel Valley Ho, ZuZu

Hotel Valley Ho's New Year’s Eve Bash

There is no doubt that when you visit the Hotel Valley Ho, whether it be for lunch, a special occasion or hotel stay, you are in for a real treat and unique experience. I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely Kristin Heggli, PR and communications manager for the Hotel Valley Ho. Heggli shared the details for their upcoming New Year’s celebration, and how you can ring in the New Year in style.

Tell me about the end of the year at the Hotel Valley Ho.

ZuZu is open Christmas Day! Diners can order off the regular menus, and we’ll also have a few holiday specials like the herb-crusted prime rib and egg nog crème brulee. We’ve also got a great, retro-themed New Year’s Eve party at ZuZu.

What sets your New Year’s event apart from other in the Valley?

This is the only event of the year where our staff is dressed 1950s style, and we encourage guests to wear their best vintage threads, too. It’s so fun to see everyone dress to the period and have a swell time! Also, the rooftop champagne toast is quite special; it’s atop our seven-story tower.

What can guests expect when they choose to spend New Year’s Eve at the Hotel Valley Ho?

DJ Mr. P-Body will be spinning in the lounge, and we’ll also have a four-course dinner paired with Belvedere vodka and champagne from Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot. Those who reserve a seat at dinner will be invited to a champagne toast on the rooftop at midnight.

How would you describe the overall experience?

The moment guests arrive, they’ll feel transported to the 1950s. It’ll be an evening of splendid cuisine, champagne, dancing and celebration.

Are there various dining options and price points for the evening?

Yes; guests can reserve a seat for the four-course dinner in the restaurant, or order off the lounge menu and dine in the lounge. The 6:30 p.m. dinner seating is $100, and the 9:30 p.m. seating is $135 (plus tax and gratuity). We recommend early reservations as this event sells out every year.

Tell me about the highlight of the evening.

The dinner is definitely the highlight! For the first course, diners can choose crispy oysters, cheese tortellini, or shrimp + lobster cocktail. The second course is a choice of crab bisque or kale salad; the third course is a choice of tender beef short rib, herb roasted loin of veal, or blackened ahi; and for dessert, it’s either pear financier or chocolate crème brulee. It’s a wonderful menu with a lot of options. The first three courses are paired with champagne, and dessert is paired with a Belvedere lemon basil martini.

Don’t miss this sophisticated and one-of-a-kind evening this New Year’s Eve! Log on to its website or call the number below to reserve your place today. See you there!

Hotel Valley Ho’s New Year’s Eve Bash

When: Monday, December 31, 2012; dining: 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.;
live entertainment: 7 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale
Reserve: (480) 248-2000
Online: hotelvalleyho.com

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