HOTEL PROVIDES NEW SERVICE: GOLDFISH COMPANION
A hotel in Springfield, Mo., now offers an additional up-“scale” complimentary service for its guests. Upon arrival, just ask for Chip, Flipper, Sparkle or Blondie.
At John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts’ University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, guests can choose to have a live goldfish in their room during their stay, based on availability. These quiet, colorful pets come in a decorative bowl, adding to guestroom ambiance.
“Our complimentary goldfish service has proven to be extremely popular, especially for people missing their pets,” said Robert Henley, general manager at the hotel. “Guests comment that they find the goldfish calming, even entertaining.”
The new program is one of many being implemented at the hotel in the heart of downtown Springfield. Others include:
· Adding locally grown food items to restaurant and banquet menus
· Serving locally produced beers in the bar
· Placing locally made chocolates on guest pillows during turn-down service
· Offering interactive breaks, such as cupcake and barbecue sauce making sessions, for convention attendees
· Providing cooking demonstrations by the hotel’s chefs at a local farmers’ market
· Sponsoring the Springfield Regional Arts Council’s (SRAC) Corporate Art Program to support the local arts community and displaying local art in the hotel’s atrium
· Participating in the city’s monthly First Friday Art Walk
· Offering Happy Hour Live each Wednesday with drink and appetizer specials, live music and samples of local foods
Travel packages are also among the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center’s new offerings, including the Urban Escape, Fun Zone Getaway, Romantic Getaway, Dinner and a Movie, and Pet Friendly Package, complete with pet treats and turn-down service for the pet’s bed.
As for the goldfish, the little companion is a worry-free experience for guests. Hotel staff delivers the fish to the room, as well as feeds and cares for it. All the guest has to do is enjoy the company.
Learn more about University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center at www.upspringfield.com. Learn more about Springfield at www.SpringfieldAdventures.com or call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-678-8767.
COLORADO AND DENVER SEE RECORD-BREAKING TOURISM GROWTH IN 2011
Colorado and Denver set new records for visitation and spending in 2011, according to a profile of Colorado and Denver visitors by research firm Longwoods International commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office and VISIT DENVER.
Colorado welcomed 57.9 million visitors in 2011, the most ever in the state’s history. Although total visitation increased less than one percent, total domestic spending reached a record $10.76 billion, a healthy six percent increase over 2010. Day trips to the state also increased by 10 percent in 2011 and spending by that group rose by four percent.
Perhaps most importantly, Colorado saw its market share for the extremely valuable marketable leisure trip segment increase to a record 14.3 million visits, representing four percent growth over 2010. With marketable visits flat on a national level, Colorado moved into 16th place overall among the 50 states, from 17th place in 2010.
Marketable trips, defined as travel that is influenced by marketing efforts and are not comprised of visitors who are visiting friends or relatives or business travelers, are considered an important measurement, as they are an indication of the success and effectiveness of the state’s marketing efforts. Spending on marketable leisure trips rose to $5.3 billion in 2011, a five percent increase over 2010.
Colorado continued to lead all states in the competitive overnight ski travel market, garnering 18.6 percent of all trips in 2011. Colorado also maintained its ninth-place ranking in outdoor recreation, with backpacking, hiking, camping and national park visitation noted as the top outdoor recreation activities.
“We were extremely excited about the 2011 report, particularly with the gains in the marketable leisure segment, which confirms that we’re using our tourism funding effectively and with great success. It also underscores the importance of properly funding our state’s tourism product, as there is a clear connection between increased marketing funds and increased visitor spending,” said Al White, director of the Colorado Tourism Office.
The Mile High City also registered its best tourism year ever in 2011, setting new records for the number of overnight visitors and the amount of money they spent, according to the 2011 to Longwoods International report. The study showed that Denver welcomed a record 13.2 million overnight visitors in 2011, a 4 percent increase over the 12.7 million who visited the city in 2010.
Overnight visitors to Denver in 2011 also spent a record $3.3 billion, 10 percent more than in 2010. Leading the increase in visitor spending was a 17 percent jump in business travelers to Denver and a 4 percent increase in marketable visitors – visitors who could travel anywhere, but chose to visit Denver. Both business travelers and marketable visitors spent more money per day in Denver than visitors who are staying with friends and relatives. Marketable visitors spent $114 a day in Denver, almost three times the $43 per day spent by a typical visitor staying with friends and relatives. Business travelers are a close second, spending $107 a day.
“We were particularly pleased to see that for the seventh straight year, Denver saw an increase in marketable visitors, which gave us a record-breaking tourism year,” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. Scharf said the report shows a clear correlation between money spent on tourism marketing and the money spent by visitors. “When you spend more on tourism marketing it increases high-end tourism. With more money spent by tourists, it allows us to collect even more tax dollars,” Scharf said. He noted that in 2011, the city also had a record Denver lodger’s tax collection of $55.6 million.
Some other trends from the Denver study:
• Denver outpaced national travel trends with marketable visitors increasing by 4 percent in Denver versus 1 percent nationally and business travelers increasing 17 percent in Denver versus 3 percent nationally.
• In addition to 13.2 million overnight visitors, Denver hosted 7.8 million people on daytrips, 7 percent more than in 2010. Most of the day trips (80 percent) originated in-state. Denver day trippers spent $421 million, 23 percent more than in 2010.
TRAVELERS TO MISSOURI WELCOMED AT NEW CENTER
Just in time for the peak of the summer travel season, the Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) has opened a new Official Missouri Welcome Center in northwest Missouri, on southbound I-29, near Rock Port. The new facilities replace the former building, which dated to the 1930s.
Officials with MDT joined those from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. June 27 at the Rock Port Welcome Center; the public and the media also attended.
“The new, modern facilities offer a comfortable resting point, assisting our travelers as they explore familiar and new treasures in Missouri,” said Beverly King, supervisor of the Rock Port Welcome Center. “We highlight local and state-wide lodging, attractions, dining options, state parks and historic sites, museums and hidden treasures off the beaten path to help travelers find enjoyable activities throughout Missouri. We are here to provide a welcome and to offer suggestions of how they might enjoy their journey.”
In addition to information highlighting Missouri’s tourism assets, the center includes an expanded parking area, picnic sites, a play area for children, and restroom facilities.
“Our welcome centers and staff play an important role contributing to Missouri’s economy,” said Katie Steele Danner, director of Missouri Division of Tourism. “Last year, Missouri welcomed more than 36 million visitors. Research shows travelers who stopped in at one of our welcome centers spent more time and more money in Missouri than they had originally planned. This concierge service is helpful to our guests, and our staff offers relevant travel suggestions.”
During the opening ceremonies, the city of Rock Port was recognized for its contribution to the facility. MoDOT officials rededicated the center in honor of Senator Hardin Cox and unveiled a Blue Star Memorial Highway bronze marker.
The Division of Tourism operates six additional Official Welcome Centers: Joplin, beside I-44; Kansas City, on I-70; Hayti, beside I-55; Eagleville, along I-35; Hannibal, on Route 61; and St. Louis, off of I-270 North.
About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri dedicated to marketing Missouri as a premier travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri to what it is today, an $11.2 billion industry supporting more than 279,000 jobs and generating $627 million in state taxes in Fiscal Year 2011. For every dollar spent on marketing Missouri as a travel destination in FY11, $57.76 was returned in visitor expenditures. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to www.VisitMO.com.