DESTINATION CLEVELAND REPORTS FIVE-YEAR HIGH IN NUMBER OF VISITORS
CUYAHOGA COUNTY WELCOMED 16.9 MILLION BUSINESS AND LEISURE TRAVELERS IN 2014
CLEVELAND (August 7, 2015) - Destination Cleveland's recently-released 2014 Convention & Leisure Metrics Report, a combination of industry statistics and the convention and visitors bureau's own performance metrics, reveals a significant increase in the number of visitors to Cuyahoga County, the highest the figure has been over the last five years. The number of visitors to Greater Cleveland grew by more than 4.5 percent from 16.2 million visitors in 2013 to 16.9 million visitors in 2014 according to the 2014 Tourism Economic Report.1
The Metrics Report also shows an increase of 1.8 percent over the previous year in the number of hotel rooms sold. Hotel inventory expanded by 2.7 percent throughout the Greater Cleveland area as a result of the opening of several new properties, including the Westin Cleveland Downtown and the Metropolitan Hotel at The 9. Due to this increase in hotel inventory, Cleveland experienced a slight decline in hotel occupancy, an expected occurrence as the number of rooms available grew significantly within the past year to meet the anticipated long-term growth in the number of leisure and business visitors to the region.
"The year-over-year increase we have seen in Cuyahoga County's tourism industry comes as no surprise as the revitalization of the region continues," said David Gilbert, president and CEO, Destination Cleveland. "The national and international recognition that Cleveland has received over the last year as a leisure and business destination is reflected in these numbers, and we expect continued growth as the conversation about Cleveland changes across the country and around the world."
The increase in tourism is partially attributed to the organization's new destination brand that launched in March 2014 and was designed to change the perception of Cleveland on a national and international platform. Demonstrating the region's mixture of sophistication and grit, the effort consisted of national/regional media outreach, a newly designed website, a strong social media push and a resident-focused campaign, #ThisisCLE.
Results of the 2014 brand launch initiative included:
• 63 million impressions garnered by a fully-integrated advertising campaign which included the organization's first television commercial in nearly a decade;
• A significant 13 percent increase over 2013 in page views of Destination Cleveland's website (www.thisiscleveland.com), the largest increase in five years;
• 21 percent growth in unique visitors to the organization's website; and
• More than 900 million impressions in earned media locally, nationally and among meeting planners, and a 68 percent increase over 2013 in the number of hosted writers.
To encourage the exploration of Downtown and empower visitors to easily navigate the city, the insight and feedback collected by the organization's Destination Development and Community Affairs (DDCA) team during the 2014 trial installation of four prototype pedestrian wayfinding signs has since been incorporated into the sign design and content. An additional 60 signs are currently being installed throughout the city with a completion date of late 2015.
"Enhancing the visitor experience means ensuring that our visitors have the tools and confidence they need to get around the city," Gilbert said. "With the help of our new wayfinding system, we can enrich each visitor's experience as they make their way from one attraction to another. We're excited to see the installation begin."
The complete 2014 Convention & Leisure Metrics Report can be found online here.
ABOUT DESTINATION CLEVELAND: Destination Cleveland is Cleveland's convention and visitors bureau. This private non-profit organization's mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes nearly 17 million visitors annually. For more information, visit ThisisCleveland.com.
1The 2014 Tourism Economic Report is a study published by Tourism Economics, which is a division of Oxford Economics, a world leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis.
Jennifer Kramer, Destination Cleveland