Tourism officials are looking for new visitors domestically
From Dolores Quintana
Santa Monica’s tourism industry can take two years to fully recover as the city looks domestically rather than internationally to attract new visitors.
“Recovery and Forecast research shows that tourism is growing slowly but surely, and that the road to recovery will come with known and unknown challenges,” said Misti Kerns, president and CEO of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT .). ).
During SMTT’s annual filing, which was held practically last month, officials said that on Memorial Day, Santa Monica hotels saw their highest occupancy rate since 2019, when it hit 90.5 percent, but more growth is needed .
“Midweek business is still required to stabilize occupancy and conference business and international recreational needs must return before that can happen, so a full recovery is not expected before 2023-2024,” said a press release by SMTT.
In order to regain its share of the tourism market, SMTT has pursued a “drive market” strategy. Instead of waiting for the market to recover on its own, they try to bring tourists back by anticipating the market and those tourists’ needs through market research and careful application of the research.
Part of SMTT’s new strategy is to look domestically rather than internationally to attract new tourists. Santa Monica’s tourism industry was comprised of 51 percent international visitors in 2019, down to 24.9 percent in 2020.
“While increasing international visitor numbers remains the primary objective, a steady recovery in tourism in 2021 is now focused on a market strategy with reach in California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Florida,” said SMTT.
At the annual summit, Lauren Schlau, President of Lauren Schlau Consulting, presented a travel outlook for Santa Monica and trends that are affecting national and international tourism. According to Schlau, the domestic visitor trend for Santa Monica will continue through 2022, while the proportion of international visitors should increase starting this month when the US reports more countries to visit.
With a view to 2022, Schlau forecast rising per capita and total expenditure, which is still well below 2019 but above 2021.
“Assumptions for 2022 include increasing demand with more international and business travel; Room prices will continue to rise above inflation; and no new offering in 2022 and beyond, although many hotels are being renovated, repositioned, and products and services improved – this can lead to some shift in guests and higher room rates at peak times, ”said SMTT.