LODGING TAX PROJECTED TO INCREASE OVER 2018 BY AT LEAST 5%
- Despite a softening in domestic leisure and business travel, and the remodeling of Two Rivers Convention Center, CMU’s ballrooms, and the closure of significant meeting space at a local property, lodging tax collections for 2019 are expected to exceed the original 4.1% projected increase over 2018.
- Total collections for October 2019 business was 7.4% HIGHER compared to October of prior year.
- Total collections received year-to-date, from the original 3% through October 2019 business, is 5.4% HIGHER compared to the same ten-month period last year.
DATA & ADVERTISING
- With the additional resources allocated to Visit GJ from the voter-passing of an additional 3% lodging tax (of which Visit GJ receives 1.25%) in 2018, we have implemented new and innovative technologies to provide data-based analysis to guide the department’s destination marketing strategy.
- Developed a Tableau-based data platform to aggregate and visualize insights to make better strategic marketing decisions.
- Created performance dashboards to monitor the reach and sentiment of Visit GJ social media using social listening technology.
- Used an innovative tamper-proof Blockchain-based solution to monitor and prevent digital ad waste and fraud.
- Adapted location intelligence advertising technology for use within the destination marketing industry to measure arrivals in Grand Junction tied to ad campaigns utilizing anonymized data.
- Leveraged a new self-service advertising solution to lower the cost and improve the effectiveness of digital ads.
Redesign of the Official Grand Junction Visitor Guide and community-wide Mailing of the Guide
- Redesigned the visitor guide into a magazine-style publication featuring resident photography, stories and quotes. The guide was mailed to all Mesa County businesses and households (excluding DeBeque and towns on the Grand Mesa). A stamped postcard featuring photos taken by local residents was included in each of the mailed guides, encouraging residents to mail it to someone who has not visited Grand Junction before. All 50 states received a GJ postcard through this campaign.
- In the last 12 months, 3,435 people ordered a guide to be mailed to them and 3,072 downloaded the digital guide.
2019 Official Colorado State Vacation Guide (OSVG) Grand Junction insert.
- Secured exclusive rights to a standalone marketing piece that is bubble wrapped on top of every Colorado State Vacation Guide which is mailed globally. The insert provides GJ an opportunity to stand out from all the other statewide destinations in Colorado.
Created an award-winning Grand Junction journal to inspire BLM Decision Makers
- Visit GJ created a journal filled with photos, three-dimensional objects, and other inspirational items highlighting the Grand Junction area. The journal created inspiration and shared our lifestyle, with the goal of motivating BLM staff to move to GJ.
- Selected DestinationThink! to facilitate the creation of a destination brand positioning, platform, and creative rollout for Grand Junction. DestinationThink! is one of the premier branding agencies in the world.
- While the formal branding process will begin in early 2020, two branding activations were launched. “Tickets of Good Cheer” were issued to randomly selected cars with expired parking meters over the holiday season. Instead of paying the typical citation fee, the “fee” from the ticket was a request for residents and visitors to consider emailing Visit GJ about what makes Grand Junction unique or special. The second activation was ornament stations at City Hall and the Visitor Center where residents and guests can decorate a wooden ornament and hang it on the trees to share what differentiating characteristics GJ offers compared to other destinations.
- Stakeholder eNews – covers what the Visit GJ team is working on, partnerships with the community, marketing initiatives, and how stakeholders can get involved.
- Marketing eNews – a consumer communication sharing what events and visitor activities are upcoming in the area.
- Public Relations Partner (PR) eNews – highlights topics and stories that Visit GJ and the Colorado Tourism Office are pitching to journalists and media, and how businesses can participate.
Downtown Market on Main
- For the second year in a row, Visit Grand Junction was present every week at the Downtown Market on Main, in the mobile Visitor Center, to network with the community, and share information with guests. Staff hosted a “Fun Zone” which included games of giant Jenga, Connect-4, corn hole, ladder toss, and local treats to encourage interaction with those who pass by.
Colorado Tourism Office
- Achieved multiple partnerships with the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), including two grants (National Park Loop and Southwest Colorado Region Mountains & Mesas), Co-op Partnership with Official State Vacation Guide, CTO Department Director Interview Committee, Governor’s Tourism Conference speaker, Regional Branding Committee, Marketing Committee, Winter Task Force Committee, and Agency of Record & Creative Agency RFP Committee.
- Hired and trained 22 Visitor Center volunteers in 2019
- Launched the blog page on the site in May and published over 85 blogs since. In that time, blogs have generated nearly 40,000 pageviews which have an average time on page of two minutes and 30 seconds.
- Historically, October, November and December exhibit decreases in website traffic. In 2019, website traffic remained consistent due to improved content management and paid social promotion.
- Implemented a user-generated content platform providing photo galleries on VisitGrandJunction.com. The homepage gallery has over 32,000 views since May and maintained an engagement rate of over 60%.
- Advertised calendar photo entries to the community, which generated over 800 photos for the city calendar.
- Hosted 13 media trips, which resulted in over 25 press articles that promote Grand Junction and local partners, achieving a total PR advertising value of over $140,000.
- Grew Instagram by over 6,000 followers, maintained an engagement rate of over 5%. (Industry standard is in 2019 is 1.73%)
- Grew Facebook by over 2,000 followers, maintaining an engagement rate of over 6.5%. (Industry standard in 2019 is .13%)
- Eighteen events formally partnered with VisitGJ as part of the Event Destination Partnership Program.
- Marketed events which received, due to Visit GJ’s partnership, over 14,500 event responses on Facebook, with over 185K people reached through Event Listing marketing.
- Partnered with local businesses to create Wine Week 2019, expanding an annual event impact to businesses throughout the Grand Junction area. By partnering with a social media influencer, the campaign reached over 123K people, with nearly 4,000 engagements on social media (likes, comments, shares, clicks).
- Visit Grand Junction launched the Knowland Program, providing hotels and venues in Grand Junction access to the industry’s largest database of actualized events. Hotels can use Knowland’s actionable insights to help find and attract group business to Grand Junction, and in return increase revenue and optimize profits.