DESTINATION CLEVELAND REPORTS HIGHEST VISITOR NUMBER ON RECORD
CUYAHOGA COUNTY WELCOMED 17.6 MILLION BUSINESS AND LEISURE TRAVELERS IN 2015
By Jennifer Kramer
CLEVELAND (Sept. 30, 2016) - Destination Cleveland's recently released 2015 Convention & Leisure Metrics Report, a combination of industry statistics and the convention and visitors bureau's own performance metrics, reveals a 3.7 percent1 increase in visitors to Cuyahoga County in 2015 over 2014. Having welcomed 17.6 million business and leisure travelers, the county logged the highest number of visitors on record according to the 2015 Visitor Volume study. Additionally Cleveland's rate of visitor growth has outpaced the U.S. growth rate since 2011, according to Tourism Economics2.
Metrics more specific to the Cuyahoga County travel and tourism industry's total economic impact note a consistent year-over-year rise for the past five years to a high of $8.1 billion in 2015. The industry also supported more than 65,800 jobs in Cuyahoga County, representing 8.1 percent of the county's total jobs and accounted for more than $1 billion in sales tax3.
"Growth in nearly every metric we report shows that more people are motivated each year to visit and discover more about Cleveland for themselves," said David Gilbert, president and CEO, Destination Cleveland. "Research shows that continued short-term gains in travel and tourism are the foundation for broader economic success as many of those who move to a new city often had a favorable visitor experience first."
CLEVELAND HOTEL PERFORMANCE
In addition to reporting visitor volume growth, the metrics report also states that more than 5 million hotel rooms were sold in 2015, representing a significant increase of 5.2 percent over the previous year and the largest increase in rooms sold in the past five years. While hotel inventory expanded by 2.1 percent throughout the Greater Cleveland area, an increase in demand outpaced the increase in supply, boosting hotel occupancy by 1.9 percent. Nationally, hotel occupancy only grew by 1.2 percent.
Also noteworthy, Downtown Cleveland saw significant growth in overnight stays with the number of rooms sold growing by 10.4 percent.
Meeting and Conventions Sales
Increases in visitors, hotel rooms sold, and economic impact can be attributed, in part, to Destination Cleveland's efforts to enhance and promote the Cleveland visitor experience for both leisure and business travelers.
In 2015, the organization's meetings and conventions sales team generated 634 convention leads, demonstrating a more than 13 percent increase over 2014. By collaborating with the sales team at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and the local hotel community, the team secured several meetings with significant attendance or attendees who offer potential to attract future meetings, including Content Marketing World, Experient-Envision and Health Physics Society Annual Meeting.
Marketing and Communications
In 2015, the marketing and communications efforts executed to support the Cleveland brand, which was launched in March 2014, resulted in the following:
- 109 million impressions garnered by 11 fully integrated advertising campaigns in up to seven markets;
- A significant 18 percent increase over 2014 in page views of Destination Cleveland's website (www.thisiscleveland.com), the largest increase in five years;
- 25 percent growth in unique visitors to the organization's website;
- 1.6 billion impressions in earned media locally, nationally and among meeting planners - a 70 percent increase over 2014;
- Earned media coverage in higher-reach outlets such as The New York Times, Thrillist and Travel & Leisure; and
- #ThisisCLE social media posts that garnered more than 700 million impressions in 2015, a 160 percent increase over 2014. The posts reached 147 million people.
Destination Development and Community Affairs (DDCA)
The organization's DDCA team continued to collaborate with community and industry stakeholders on several projects aimed at strengthening the region as a destination and enhancing the visitor experience. At the end of 2015, 27 new pedestrian wayfinding signs were installed as part of the team's connectivity and wayfinding initiative. In addition, more than 400 frontline staff successfully completed the 2015 CLE Travelbackers program which was redesigned with new benefits for participants including less time away from work, lower costs and RNC-related content.
The complete 2015 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 more than 17 million visitors annually. For more information, visit ThisisCleveland.com.
1 Percentage increase is a reflection of exact visitor volume figures versus rounded figures provided in the corresponding metrics report. Exact visitor volume for 2014 is 16.93 and 17.56 for 2015.
2 Metrics were obtained from Cuyahoga County's 2015 Visitor Volume study produced by D.K. Shifflet as well as the 2015 Tourism Economic Report which is a study published by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics and a world leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis.
3 2011-2015 State of Ohio and Cuyahoga County Bi-annual Economic Impact Study