If We Promote It, Will They Come?


By Stacy Lloyd, Class 28
Lloyd Media Group

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.   The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership. 

If you’re going to talk about the economy and tourism, you can’t ask for a better venue than the Phoenician’s J&G Steakhouse.

During last week’s Dining with Friends Alumni Event, we enjoyed both gorgeous views overlooking the Valley and a delicious three-course meal. Let’s just say the potato gratin had me (and everyone else at the table) at the first bite.

Tourism is a top employer in Scottsdale. But will it remain that way? Will tourists continue to spend money visiting Scottsdale?

Our featured speaker, Rachel Sacco, President and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (SCVB) addressed those questions and shared how Scottsdale’s tourism industry has rebounded since the 2008 economic crisis.

“In 2007, we were flying high,” Sacco said. “Then the recession hit; and hit hard; taking out everything. Now in 2013, we’re still struggling to come back. We’re slowing making our way back up.”

She described how SCVB took control of its destiny; namely through encouraging the passage of Proposition 200’s higher bed tax. Bed tax is collected by Scottsdale resorts and hotels and passed along to the city and SCVB.

One half of this bed-tax revenue is allocated for tourism-related capital projects, special events and some even goes to the general fund to support resident services.

Some of those tourism-related projects include expansion of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at West World, the Desert Discovery Center and the Scottsdale Museum of the West.

Passage of Proposition 200 also provided the SCVB with dedicated annual funding for the first time in its history. SCVB receives 50 percent of the bed tax revenue. This money is earmarked for SCVB to market Scottsdale as a world-class vacation and meeting destination location.

Sacco said one way SCVB does that is by promoting Scottsdale as a warm-weather destination for folks in cold-weather markets.

SCVB is planning a similar campaign like it did last year. It wrapped York City subway trains with giant images showing off Scottsdale’s enviable tourism assets: the Sonoran Desert, the Old West heritage, spas and golf. Each wrap has a web address so riders can learn more about Scottsdale.

Another SCVB plan is to showcasing Scottsdale to people in Chicago, Denver and Canada via Weather.com, boasting our high temperatures and sunshine.

Folks at the Grove, a luxury shopping mall in Los Angeles are also on SCVB’s list. Every day thousands of affluent consumers will see beautiful images of Scottsdale and hopefully be enticed to select our city for their next vacation.

Of course, it isn’t certain if these measures will work. I will say, if I was freezing in below zero temps and saw an ad for sunny Scottsdale; that alone would make me hop a plane for Arizona.

What do you think? Will these promotion efforts work? Is the upswing in Scottsdale tourism here to stay?



Filed under Alumni, Community

5 responses to “If We Promote It, Will They Come?

  1. I think the Arizona weather can sell itself – I suppose everyone in the States knows that Az has one of the warmest climates on Earth. The Ads will certainly help bring the city to the forefront of peoples minds, however, what is going to seal the deal? Golfing? Cactus? Perhaps the SCVB’s efforts might be more effective if they give potential travelers a fun reason to come and stay. Why not visit California? They also have great weather and the beach and world class shopping. I love Scottsdale – that’s why I’m here, but I didn’t come here for the golfing or the cactus.

  2. Lois Kinsella

    Stacy, this is a great summary of the evening (loved those potatoes!), and I admit it was a real learning experience for me to understand how important the ‘bed tax’ is in supporting the vitality of our community. I recently purchased a home and was surprised at how quickly homes sold, with many of them purchased by out of town buyers. Each new buyer brings their network of friends and family, and so that circle of influence extends. I’ve enjoyed a steady stream of visitors since January, many of them seeing the Scottsdale area for the first time. It was great to hear how SCVB is promoting Scottsdale in other cities, however I wonder what they could do for ‘stay-cationers’, those of us who live here but like to enjoy these great locations and resorts as well? What are your favorite places to show new visitors to the area?

  3. Hi Stacy… your blog points make me think about a multiple of things but my thoughts primarily fall into the concept of “What if we do nothing”. From targeting projects to spend the “bed tax” money, to the marketing of this beautiful state and city…. you have to be proactive to stay ahead of the competition. Scottsdale, in particular, is viewed as a high quality destination, as it should be. I have been here since 1990 and it was participation in the Fiesta Bowl that sold me. The people in power are doing a great job of balancing the task at hand with great things ahead for our cities and state.

  4. drshebesta

    Stacy – this is a wonderful commentary of the play by play activity that occurred on Alumni Night recently. I think the marketing ideas that Rachel and the SCVB shared are clever, fun, and outside of the box. It appears that the city’s assets are being showcased in an effective manner. Time will tell, but we need to continue to be creative as things are constantly evolving and people’s attention is being drawn in all sorts of directions. I am proud to live, work, and play in this city.

  5. Gretchen Caraway

    Great event and great speaker! Thank you, Stacy, for this great blog! So enjoyed being there with you.

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