LATEST UPDATE - FEBRUARY 11, 2021

Denver 5 Star Program

The City and County of Denver has approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to participate in the 5 Star Certification Program. The program allows certified businesses that implement safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines to expand operational capacity. Business sectors eligible to apply for the 5 Star program are: General Business, Personal Services, Indoor Events (venues for meetings, receptions, concerts, trade shows and other), Restaurants and Gyms. At this time, approved 5 Star certified businesses are allowed to operate at Level Yellow. Once 70% of Coloradans ages 70+ are vaccinated, approved 5 Star certified businesses will be allowed to operate at Level Blue capacities.

VISIT DENVER is proud to be partnering with the City, H2 Manufacturing, and many other stakeholders throughout our community to focus on safely reopening our local businesses while continuing to be dedicated to protecting public health. Learn more about Denver’s 5 Star Program here.

Colorado Convention Center Update

In mid-January, the State announced that the Colorado Convention Center (CCC) will no longer serve as an Alternate Care Site. The CCC was converted last April in response to the pandemic along with other sites around the state. The decommissioning process is now getting underway and the CCC will be turned over to the City and County of Denver in late March. Read more here.

We were glad the CCC was able to play an important and helpful community role when our meeting mandates prevented groups from using the facility and we will continue working closely with the State to create a pathway for bringing back our meeting and convention business in 2021.

The expansion of the CCC continues to forge ahead and serve as a really bright light in our recovery tunnel. Hensel Phelps and TVS Design have been conducting regular meetings with VISIT DENVER leadership and ASM Global. We have completed the schematic design and active construction will start in June 2021 with a completion date set for the end of 2023. As a reminder, the expansion will be adding an 80,000 square foot ballroom, 35,000 square feet of pre-function space and a 20,000 square foot outdoor terrace. VISIT DENVER has been getting input from our customer advisory board about the project as well. We are also working on a new video as part of our new convention marketing series that focuses on the expansion (more details below). Stay up to date on the expansion here.

New TID Board Member

Eric Walters, general manager of the Hilton Denver City Center, has been approved by Mayor Hancock as the newest member of the TID Board of Directors and his nomination now goes to Denver City Council for final approval. Eric will be replacing John Everett, general manager of the Westin Denver Downtown, who retired at the beginning of 2021. John’s contributions to our industry and to Denver are greatly appreciated and we thank him for his commitment to the TID Board.

TID Financials

As we shared in our TID update last fall, marketing and promotion efforts in 2021 will depend upon a healthy and safe recovery at the local, state, national and international levels in order for leisure and convention visitors to resume traveling. TID revenues are expected to be minimal after the funds collected are distributed in priority order to cover the TID’s obligation to the City and County of Denver for the Colorado Convention Center expansion ($3.45M annually). This year also marks the fourth year of the TID and 10% of TID revenue will be set aside for future convention center improvements. Therefore, it is projected that there will not be any marketing or promotional efforts from TID funding in 2021. As soon as revenues permit, the TID will resume its activities. The TID remains committed to its mission of increasing overnight demand by convention and meeting visitors as well as leisure visitors to Denver, especially in our low- and off-peak seasons, including major holidays and weekends.

VISIT DENVER Convention Marketing Campaign

After nearly a year of halted convention marketing efforts, VISIT DENVER has launched a new campaign showcasing the numerous and exciting infrastructure projects underway throughout the city. The “Coming Soon: Denver” campaign highlights Denver International Airport, National Western Center, Colorado Convention Center, 16th Street Mall, and new hotels and venues, in a fun movie trailer format to engage meeting planners and ensure Denver is top of mind.

Online Travel Agency Free Co-op Program

The VISIT DENVER-funded online travel agency (OTA) co-op campaign, which is free for all TID members to participate in, ran from July 1 – December 31, 2020 on Expedia and generated nearly 103,000 room nights and more than $13 million in revenue for our hotel partners.

In January 2021, VISIT DENVER expanded the program to include Priceline in addition to Expedia. In January, the programs collectively produced over 13,000 room nights and $1.6 million in gross bookings for our hotel partners.

World Cup 2026 Bid

Denver is one of 17 finalists in the United States to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026! Ten cities will be selected to host in the United States, joining cities in Mexico and Canada in the first multi-country bid. The World Cup is the most-watched sporting event in the world. For Denver, our metro region and the state, the World Cup is an exciting way to showcase our city to a global audience and to welcome soccer fans from all over the world to enjoy our many amenities. Our city and this region are excited to be considered because we have the experience, facilities and fan support to host the world in Denver. Learn more at denver2026.com and sign up to stay informed, get involved, or volunteer.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Richard Scharf, President & CEO at rscharf@visitdenver.com or Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.

PREVIOUS UPDATES - SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

Recent Board Meeting

 

The TID Board met recently to review 2020 pandemic impacts, discuss the status of TID programs, approve the TID 2021 annual plan as required by the City, and elect TID Board leadership.


2021 Board Members and Leadership 


At the Board meeting, it was determined to retain 2020 Board leadership for another year as our industry continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. The 2020-2021 TID Board leadership is:

  • Walter Isenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of Sage Hospitality
  • Greg Leonard, Chair-Elect, General Manager, Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center
  • Allen Paty, Secretary/Treasurer, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Denver

 

Additional members of the TID Board are: Tracy Blair, Director of Sales and Marketing, Sheraton Hotel Denver; Navin Dimond, President and CEO of Stonebridge Companies; John Everett, General Manager, Westin Denver Downtown; and, Laura Lojas, General Manager, The Westin Denver International Airport Hotel. Sincere thanks to the TID Board for their commitment to the Denver hotel industry!


2020 Program Update


First quarter TID activity included continuation of the successful regional weekend marketing campaign but all TID-related marketing efforts were halted in March as a result of the pandemic and remain paused. In 2019 (the most current data available), the weekend campaign generated strong ad awareness with advertising having a positive impact on Denver’s image and future intent to travel according to third-party analysis by Longwoods International. The campaign resulted in an additional 440,000 visitors to Denver who spent more than $160 million, representing an ROI of $76 for every advertising dollar spent. Additionally, the campaign delivered $17.4 million in taxes including $12.7 million in local taxes and $4.7 million in state taxes, equating to an ROI of $8.25 in tax revenue for every advertising dollar spent (compared to the national average of $2-4). In 2020, the campaign has generated 14,122,584 ad impressions and the website (DenverWeekends.com) received 267,199 visits.


On the financial front, as a reminder the TID must first dedicate $3.45M annually to the City for the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center (CCC) plus a 1% administrative fee. Remaining funds then flow to VISIT DENVER for TID marketing efforts. In 2020, the TID projects a total loss of lodger’s tax revenue after obligations to the City are met and therefore does not anticipate receiving marketing or promotional revenue in 2020.


2021 Annual Plan 


At the recent TID Board meeting, board members reviewed and approved the 2021 TID annual plan. The plan has been submitted to the city for final approval by Denver City Council in the coming months. 


Marketing and promotion efforts in 2021 will depend upon a healthy and safe recovery at the local, state, national and international levels in order for leisure and convention visitors to resume traveling. Revenues are expected to be minimal after the funds collected are distributed in priority order as outlined above (1% collection fee, $3.45M center expansion). Also, January 1, 2021 marks the fourth year of the TID and 10% of TID revenue will be set aside for future convention center improvements. Therefore, at this time it is projected that there will not be any marketing or promotional efforts from TID funding in 2021. As soon as revenues permit, the TID will resume its activities. The TID remains committed to its mission of increasing overnight demand by convention and meeting visitors as well as leisure visitors to Denver, especially in our low- and off-peak seasons, including major holidays and weekends.


Colorado Convention Center Expansion


As you are aware, the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), has been serving as an Alternative Care Facility under lease by the State of Colorado. The state has recently renewed its contract through December 31, 2020 and has the option to renew the contract again through the first quarter of 2021. The CCC has not yet received any patients. As of early September, 591 center and non-center groups have cancelled, totaling a loss of 453,000+ attendees, and $918M in economic impact. So far, 156 groups have rebooked Denver which will generate 34,000+ attendees and $57M in economic impact.


There is good news! The CCC expansion project is on track and Hensel Phelps has been approved by Denver City Council as the design/build contractor. It is anticipated the expansion will begin in June 2021 and conclude in December 2023. The expansion puts Denver in a strong position as we look toward recovery!


VISIT DENVER Marketing Efforts


While VISIT DENVER’s budget has been severely impacted by the pandemic, the organization is marketing Denver to regional visitors. VISIT DENVER is committed to actively promoting the recovery of Denver’s tourism industry with a leisure-focused campaign to help make up for missing business and meeting travelers while gathering restrictions are in place. Here is a brief update on the performance of the first two months of our recovery campaign:

 

  • The “You Deserve Some Denver” summer campaign ran June 29 – September 7 (through Labor Day weekend). Markets included Colorado (excluding Denver metro), regional markets and Chicago
  • The campaign has delivered more than 57 million impressions across a wide mix of digital media, as well as an additional 4 million impressions via paid social media efforts and $2.8 million in PR value. Across all media, VISIT DENVER drove 280,000 visits to the You Deserve Some Denver website landing page
  • Occupancy is on the rise overall from a low of 8% in March 2020. Occupancy for Denver City & County in July was 38% (down from 88% in 2019) and 41% in August (down from 85% in 2019)
  • STR reports indicate that most demand is coming during the Thursday-Sunday time frame, with an extremely short booking window, with 37% of bookings coming on the same day as travel and 57% within six days


Looking ahead to the fall and winter…

 

  • The “You Deserve Some Denver” campaign continued without interruption after Labor Day with a renewed focus on safety and travel confidence, along with a wide variety of cultural and outdoor experiences. You can see the new video ad here. The city looks great!
  • VISIT DENVER will be promoting Denver Arts Week(end) to metro area residents and across the region for this year’s modified program, November 6-8 
  • A new Field Trip Denver program launched to encourage families to experience “stretch” travel season in Denver as so many families are working and schooling from home
  • VISIT DENVER is looking ahead to the Mile High Holiday promotions in order to bring business to the city from Thanksgiving to New Years and also working on efforts to attract ski travelers to spend some time in Denver


If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Richard Scharf, President & CEO at rscharf@visitdenver.com or Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.

December 18, 2019

TID Hotel Partner Meeting

Thank you to those who attended the TID Hotel Partner Meeting on November 19th. We were thrilled to have so many TID hotel representatives in attendance to learn about TID activities and for STR’s presentation of 3rd Quarter data and compression analysis. The presentations are available through these links: TID update, STR 3Q and Compression Analysis.

Denver Accolades

Denver continues to be on the tips of tongues throughout not just the U.S. but also the world!

 

Recent Board Meeting

The TID Board met recently to wrap up 2019 activities and look ahead to 2020. In November, the Denver City Council approved the TID’s 2020 Annual Plan. The 2020 TID budget will be $7 million and used to continue existing programs and fund new opportunities. Marketing and promotion efforts will focus on the major strategy areas below with the continued goal of increasing demand by convention and meeting visitors as well as leisure visitors to Denver, especially in our low- and off-peak seasons, including major holidays and weekends:

  1. Aggressive convention sales and marketing efforts
  2. Support for sports and major tourism events
  3. Leisure consumer tourism marketing
  4. Industry events that expose customer base and media to Denver
  5. Future events and legacy projects
  6. Workforce development and training

 

More details are provided below.

 

TID Programs Update

  • Mile High Tree: The Tourism Improvement District provided the funding for the Mile High Tree, Denver’s newest holiday attraction. The 110-foot-tall immersive art installation is located in Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and will be programmed through the end of January. This free, public attraction is drawing crowds every night of the week and garnering strong media exposure and social media engagement. The Mile High Tree is featured in the Mile High Holidays regional campaign that promotes the wide array of holiday light displays, shopping, exhibitions and performing arts throughout the city, with the goal of driving overnight visitors during this need period. Be sure to visit the Tree if you haven’t already done so and thank you for continuing to tell your guests about this unique Denver attraction!
  • Reclaim the Weekend campaign: This always-on year-round campaign continues to generate positive results for ad impressions and website page views. According to STR and VISIT DENVER data, the campaign is showing positive results in terms of driving new, incremental occupancy on weekends. Year-over-year, Central Business District hotels have seen increases in occupancy on Fridays and/or Saturdays for 71% of the weekends. Overall, Denver City and County hotels saw increased occupancy for 59% of the weekends.
  • MEET DENVER: Two MEET Denver events were held in 2019 which welcomed 161 non-citywide clients in total. To date, there are more than 160,000 tentative room nights representing $36M+ in economic impact. Mark your calendars for the next MEET Denver, May 6-8, 2020. More details will be shared in the coming months so that your property can participate in the hotel showcase. In the meantime, if you have any questions or want more information about MEET Denver, please contact Cahal Mowery at cmowery@visitdenver.com.
  • New 2020 Programs: In addition to continuing 2019 programs, The TID is excited to begin implementing new program ideas in 2020. First, meeting planner takeovers are being planned for Chicago and Washington, D.C. Second, the marketing team is seeking to implement a national need-period campaign to increase leisure travelers from long-haul/national markets during the need period of November-March. Lastly, a new health and wellness national campaign will be explored to target this vertical market closely associated with Denver’s brand.

 

Workforce Development Support

The TID supported several important workforce development programs in 2019 with non-profit and academic partners. The TID is committed to finding ways to help hotels recruit and retain employees. Most recently, the TID is supporting is a pilot program collaboration between University of Denver, Denver Rescue Mission and Denver Day Works to provide training to individuals experiencing homelessness. The program provides students with ServSafe® certification and provides them with skills to pursue stable employment in the tourism and hospitality industry.

As a reminder, the TID partnered with CU Denver’s CityCenter and produced an inventory of existing local programs relevant to our industry ranging from certifications to college degrees. We hope this is a valuable resource for employees and employers and we encourage you to share this with your staff and HR departments.

Lastly, if you aren’t a VISIT DENVER partner, or weren’t able to make the Annual Meeting in November, we encourage you to take a look at the annual report video highlighting the incredible work of our 66 passionate associates.

Have a great Holiday Season and if you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.

 


 

October 5, 2019

Recent Board Meeting

The TID Board met recently to elect board leadership for the upcoming year, discuss TID programs, and review the TID 2020 annual plan and budget as required by the City.

2020 Board Members and Leadership

At the Board meeting, new Board leadership was elected for the upcoming year. Many thanks to outgoing chairman Navin Dimond, President and CEO of Stonebridge Companies, who will continue to serve on the Board. We greatly appreciate Navin’s leadership of the TID over the past year! The 2019-2020 TID Board leadership is:

  • Walter Isenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of Sage Hospitality
  • Greg Leonard, Chair-Elect, General Manager, Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center
  • Allen Paty, Secretary/Treasurer, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Denver

Additional members of the TID Board are: Tracy Blair, Director of Sales and Marketing, Sheraton Hotel Denver; John Everett, General Manager, Westin Denver Downtown; and, Laura Lojas, General Manager, The Westin Denver International Airport Hotel.

2019 Budget Update

As a reminder, the TID must first dedicate $3.45M annually to the City for the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center (CCC) plus a 1% administrative fee. Remaining funds then flow to VISIT DENVER for marketing efforts, which is projected to total nearly $6 million in 2019. The TID is dedicating this revenue to the various programs outlined below.

The Colorado Convention Center expansion project is moving forward with a newly hired project manager, Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), who was approved by Denver City Council in July. The contractor and architect are anticipated to be hired in the first quarter of 2020 and then a timeline can be put in place for construction, roughly early 2021 through mid/late 2023.

TID Programs Update

VISIT DENVER has launched new and expanded marketing programs and activities with TID funding. This year is the first year of full implementation for programs that kicked off in 2018.

  • MEET DENVER: MEET (Meet, Experience, Enjoy, Tell) DENVER invites meeting planners who plan in-house hotel events and who are not familiar with Denver, have not been to Denver in 3+ years, and in many cases have never been to Denver, to experience the Mile High City and all it has to offer for meeting events. These customers often book meetings that will take place within 6 months to one year, making them positive short-term business for our hotel partners.
    • May 2019: In total, 73 meeting planners participated in the first of two MEET events scheduled for 2019. During the hotel showcase, 33 downtown hotels and 10 metro hotels participated. The event has already generated 2,227 definite room nights with approximately $1M in economic impact and 161,616 tentative room nights with approximately $35.9M in economic impact.
    • The next MEET Denver event will take place in October 2019. Approximately 60 meeting planners have registered to attend and 54 hotels are confirmed for the hotel showcase.
  • Weekend marketing: ​​The new “Reclaim the Weekend” marketing campaign launched in August 2018 and is designed to encourage short-term travel from regional visitors. Weekends have been identified by hotels as the days of the week that there is lower occupancies, making them a need timeframe. Year-to-date in 2019, the campaign has generated nearly 150 million ad impressions, the website (DenverWeekends.com) has had nearly 860,000 visits, and eighty-eight percent of website visitors are new users with 97% of testers giving the site a rating of 7-10 on a 10-point scale.
  • Chicago Takeover: Chicago is a top market for both leisure visitors and meeting clients. The goal of the ‘takeover’ activities in June was to provide experiential opportunities for both leisure and meeting audiences to be hands on with Denver’s brand. These activities generated the following returns:
    • Five billboard placements occurred in the downtown core along with 11 ‘head house’ rapid transit placements. These placements were an enhancement to the current leisure marketing efforts taking place in Chicago by VISIT DENVER’s marketing department. In total, these advertising efforts generated 31 million total impressions.
    • Sponsorship of the Taste of Randolph 75,000 person street festival delivered more than 10,000 touchpoints with consumers, including more than 1,500 surveys that were completed by festival-goers, with 85% of them indicating they are considering a trip to Denver.
    • Nine meetings business client events were attended by 140 people representing more than $530 million in booked and potential economic impact.
  • Events and festivals: The TID is investing in new and expanded events and festivals to keep Denver top of mind. In addition to support from the TID earlier this year for the UIAA World Cup and Barbegazi Winter Festival, Supercross at Mile High, and Day of Rock, the TID investigated events which could be developed or supported that would drive hotel overnights. The team conducted 35 interviews with Event Producers and cataloged nearly 80 events and researched other destinations for successful music, food and drink events and festivals that Denver might emulate. The decision was made to pursue enhanced holiday lights and accompanying marketing that will be in the need period of end of November through January beginning later this year. Final program details are being confirmed.
  • Client Concessions: To date in 2019, VISIT DENVER has booked or received verbal confirmations for seven bookings (citywide/single hotel) for future years through TID concessions. Collectively, these groups represent $54M in future economic impact resulting in nearly $4.3M in tax dollars for our City.

 

2020 Annual Plan and Budget

At the recent Board meeting, members reviewed the 2020 Annual Plan and budget as required by the City. TID marketing funds in 2020 are projected to be $7M. Marketing and promotion efforts in 2020 will focus on the major strategy areas below with the continued goal of increasing demand by convention and meeting visitors as well as leisure visitors to Denver, especially in our low- and off-peak seasons, including major holidays and weekends:

  1. Aggressive convention sales and marketing efforts
  2. Support for sports and major tourism events
  3. Leisure consumer tourism marketing
  4. Industry events that expose customer base and media to Denver
  5. Future events and legacy projects
  6. Workforce development and training

 

The TID intends to continue implementing each of the 2019 programs in 2020.  

Workforce Development Support

Like many other industries, the hospitality sector is experiencing difficulty recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce. This year, the TID supported the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association’s CHLA University, an initiative that provides training for all levels of current and prospective hotel employees. Additionally, the TID partnered with CU Denver’s CityCenter on a multi-phased workforce project.

  • CHLA University: The Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association has launched CHLA University, an initiative that provides training for all levels of employees in Colorado’s hotels. With recruitment and retention of high-quality, long-term employees at top of mind for hoteliers, CHLA University aims to:
    • Encourage people to enter the industry
    • Provide training to incumbent workers in an effort to encourage them to stay in the industry and seek promotion.

 

To date, 36 students have participated in CHLA University training courses including Certified Front Desk Representative, Certified Maintenance Employee, and Guest Service Gold. The Guest Service Gold program is being offered for residents of the Denver Rescue Mission’s Crossing facility. Training courses are taught by industry professionals and students receive certifications from the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Education Foundation. Tuition for these certifications has largely been underwritten by the TID. Additional courses are scheduled through the remainder of the year.

 

  • CU Denver CityCenter: CU Denver’s CityCenter seeks to build partnerships between diverse stakeholders in order to advance important community issues. The TID collaborated with CityCenter on a project to address workforce development in the Denver hospitality industry. The initial phase of the project produced an inventory of existing local programs relevant to our industry to understand the current state. We hope this will be a valuable resource for employees and employers! The second phase engaged hospitality stakeholders to discuss and identify gaps in currently available programs. The results of this work will help inform and identify opportunities for workforce development programs and support. And, in order to share personal stories about diverse careers in the hospitality industry, VISIT DENVER and CHLA produced this video.

 

Year-End Meeting

This has been an exciting year of fully implementing TID programs! We will be holding a year-end meeting for all TID hotel partners in the fourth quarter to re-cap 2019, look toward 2020, and to network with industry partners as we celebrate a successful year. Look for an invitation soon with additional details.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.

 

 


 

UPDATE - April 25, 2019

TID Board Meeting

The TID recently held its first quarter board meeting. We are excited that 2019 will be the first full year of implementation of the TID and we look forward to utilizing TID resources to fund new and expanded programs. Below you will find more details regarding the 2019 TID budget, programs underway and the TID’s support for workforce development efforts that will benefit our industry.

TID Budget

As a reminder, the TID must first dedicate $3.45M annually to the City for the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center (CCC). Remaining funds then flow to VISIT DENVER for marketing efforts, which is projected to total $6 million in 2019. Details regarding specific TID programs utilizing these new TID resources are outlined below.

TID Programs

VISIT DENVER has launched new marketing programs and activities with TID funding. This year is the first year of full implementation for programs that kicked off in 2018.

  • Buyer education trip: The TID sponsored the first successful Buyer Education Trip (called BETTER Denver) last fall. The focus were buyers that plan in-house events and who were not familiar with Denver, had not been to Denver in 3+ years, and in many cases had never been to Denver. Of the 33 planners who attended, VISIT DENVER has received 25 leads, representing 18,000+ room nights, and $14+ million in economic impact. In total, these planners represent $35 million in potential economic impact. It is also likely that some of these planners are sending RFPs directly to hotels so the ROI is probably even more significant. To date, we have booked nearly 1,500 total room nights worth more than $2M in economic impact. The post-event survey showed that 45% of buyers would “Definitely” book Denver after experiencing the city, while the other 55% were “More Likely” to book Denver. This further proves that if we take the opportunity to bring planners to our city, they are exponentially more likely to bring their business to Denver.

For these reasons, the TID is excited to expand the program to two events in 2019, in May and October. Renamed MEET Denver (Meet, Experience, Enjoy, Tell), the May event has more than 70 meeting planners confirmed to attend. Corporate, Association, SMERF, and 3rd Party Planners with in-house groups, defined as 950 peak room nights or less, were identified. The focus of this audience are planners that are not familiar with Denver’s recent hospitality infrastructure growth, or in some cases, have never been to Denver before. There is an opportunity for all hotels in the TID to participate and showcase their property. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Tiffany Eck, Associate Director of Convention Services, at teck@visitdenver.com.

  • Weekend marketing: The “Reclaim the Weekend” campaign was activated in August 2018 utilizing multiple media, including print, radio, digital, video, and eblasts, to promote Denver’s wide variety of exciting events often unique to the region. The goal is to inspire short-term travel, a maximum of six weeks from the time visitors decide to come and their actual travel, a short planning cycle that is supported by research. These efforts will promote overnight stays in TID hotels.

The campaign and accompanying website, DenverWeekends.com, provides on-going promotion of Denver’s appeal on a rolling basis. Target markets include statewide (excluding metro Denver) as well as short-haul markets in Albuquerque, Cheyenne, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Kansas City and Wichita. The creative look of the campaign has been updated based on initial consumer feedback and the media plan has been refined to match the new creative including the addition of cinema advertising. A study conducted by Longwoods International in early 2019 shows that the weekend campaign, in conjunction with other campaigns that VISIT DENVER had in the market during 3rd and 4th quarter last year, produced a strong return on investment (ROI):

  • Positive impact on Denver’s overall appeal as a vacation destination
  • Created more than 350,000 planned trips
  • Created more than 275,000 trips that would not have occurred otherwise without the advertising
  • Generated $101 million in incremental visitor expenditures
  • Yielded $10.7 million in local and state taxes
  • This translates into an ROI of $40 in visitor expenditures and $4.28 in taxes ($3.12 local, $1.16 state) for every $1 invested in advertising

In addition, occupancy rates for Denver and the Central Business District (CBD) on Friday and Saturday nights August-December show increases in both markets year-over-year (YOY).

 

TID Update Graphs April 2019

  • Events and festivals: The TID is investing in new and expanded events and festivals to keep Denver top of mind for both leisure and convention visitors.
    • UIAA World Cup and Barbegazi Winter Festival – Denver hosted the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation’s (UIAA) Ice Climbing World Cup in Civic Center Park in February. The event was the largest ice climbing audience ever with over 22,000 people in attendance! The TID supported the inaugural companion Barbegazi Winter Festival, a free weekend long event featuring axe throwing, ice maze, fat tire biking course, food trucks, ice bar, music and more. These events occurred at a typically low occupancy time of year and based on research conducted 22% of attendees were from outside of Denver and 10% stayed in commercial lodging. Check out the event video here.
    • Supercross – Broncos Stadium at Mile High hosted Denver’s first Supercross Series event in April. Preliminary research indicates that more than 8,700 tickets were sold out of state and more than 8,600 additional tickets were sold outside of the Denver metro area. In total, the event attracted more than 50,000 Supercross fans, placing the Denver event in the top two host cities.
    • Day of Rock – Denver Day of Rock is a free, one-day music festival along the 16th Street Mall taking place over Memorial Day weekend. The TID is sponsoring Day of Rock this year to welcome visitors to Denver during this holiday weekend and kickoff to summer.
    • Chicago takeover – In mid-June, VISIT DENVER will be conducting a ‘takeover’ in Chicago, which is a top market for leisure visitors and meeting clients. Media efforts will include billboards located throughout the downtown core and transit advertising near planner offices. Client events will focus on amenities and activities near key office buildings. In addition, VISIT DENVER will be a sponsor at two high profile festivals - the Taste of Randolph and Country Lake Shake - with an experiential on-site presence as well as hosting meeting planner clients.
    • Winter Festival – VISIT DENVER investigated events which could be developed or supported that would drive hotel overnights. The team conducted 35 interviews with Event Producers and cataloged nearly 80 events and researched other destinations for successful music, food and drink events/festivals that Denver might emulate. The decision was made to pursue a festival that would be in the need period of end of November through New Year’s Eve, starting in 2019. More details to come!

  • Incentives: The TID has a program that offers convention center discounts, as well as financial incentives to large, qualifying convention center business, primarily in need time periods. To date, the TID has successfully booked 12 groups, which includes eight conventions that represent $120 million in future economic impact and nearly 80,000 total future room nights. In addition, four sporting events have been confirmed.

 

Workforce Development Support

The TID Board recognizes the significant importance of building a strong pipeline of talent as well as retaining employees to best serve our businesses and guests. As a result, the TID is supporting several workforce development programs specifically focused on our industry:

  • CHLA University: The Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association has launched CHLA University, an initiative that will provide training for all levels of employees in Colorado’s hotels. With recruitment and retention of high-quality, long-term employees at top of mind for hoteliers, CHLA University aims to:
    • Encourage people to enter the industry
    • Provide training to incumbent workers in an effort to encourage them to stay in the industry and seek promotion.

Training courses are taught by industry professionals and students receive certifications from the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Education Foundation. Tuition for these certifications has largely been underwritten by a grant that CHLA has secured and support from the Denver Tourism Improvement District (TID). More information about upcoming classes will be shared soon.

  • CU Denver, CityCenter: CU Denver’s CityCenter seeks to build partnerships between diverse stakeholders in order to advance important community issues. The TID is collaborating with CityCenter on a project to address workforce development in the Denver hospitality industry. The initial phase of the project will inventory existing local programs relevant to our industry to understand the current state. The second phase will engage hospitality stakeholders to discuss and identify gaps in currently available programs. This results of this work will help inform and identify opportunities for workforce development programs and support.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.

 


 

 

UPDATE - November 7, 2018

TID Board meeting

The TID Board met recently to elect board leadership for the upcoming year, discuss new programs that are being launched with TID funding, and review the TID annual plan and budget as required by the City.

TID 2019 Board Members and Leadership

The TID welcomed new Board members Laura Lojas, general manager at The Westin Denver International Airport Hotel and Tracy Blair, director of sales and marketing at the Sheraton Hotel Denver. Laura and Tracy have both been confirmed by the Denver City Council and Mayor Hancock to serve three-year terms, expiring in August 2021. Welcome Laura and Tracy!

Also at the Board meeting, new Board leadership was elected for the coming year. Many thanks to outgoing president Bill Ninivaggi, former GM of the Hilton Denver City Center. We greatly appreciate Bill’s leadership of the TID during the first year of creation and implementation! The 2018-2019 TID Board leadership is:

  • Navin Dimond, Board President, President and CEO of Stonebridge Companies
  • Walter Isenberg, President-elect, President and CEO of Sage Hospitality
  • Greg Leonard, Secretary/Treasurer, General Manager at Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center

 

TID Financial Update

Below is the year-to-date (YTD) overview of the TID budget.  The TID must first dedicate $3.45M annually to the City for the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center (CCC). Remaining funds then flow to VISIT DENVER for marketing efforts. Now that the annual obligation to the City has been met, the TID will generate significant marketing resources in the remainder of the year.  Because this is the first year of implementation of the TID, the Board has chosen to be conservative with expenses while also creating a reserve fund.

YTD TID collection less admin fee and convention center expansion payment (Jan.-Aug. 2018) $2,582,000
Anticipated collection less admin fee and convention center expansion payment (Sep-Dec. 2018) $3,175,000
Total 2018 TID Marketing/Program Revenue $5,757,000
**Total 2018 anticipated cash collection $4,507,000
Anticipated 2018 marketing/program expenses $2,157,000
Anticipated 2018 prepaid expenses $200,000
Anticipated 2018 cash reserve $2,150,000
** November & December revenue (estimated $1.25M will be collected/received in January & February 2019)  

2019 Annual Plan and Budget

As required by the creation ordinance that established the TID, the TID is required to submit an annual plan and budget to the Denver Department of Finance and for City Council approval. The TID Board has reviewed and approved the annual plan and budget, which was submitted to the City on September 26th. City Council will review the plan in October and approval is anticipated in November. The final, approved annual plan will then be shared with all TID partners.

The new programs developed for deployment in the third and fourth quarters of 2018 are anticipated to be expanded into full-year programming in 2019. In addition, marketing and promotion efforts will focus on the major strategy areas below with the continued goal of increasing demand by convention and meeting visitors as well as leisure visitors to Denver, especially in our down or off-peak seasons, including major holidays and weekends:

  1. Aggressive convention sales and marketing efforts
  2. Sports and major tourism/festival events driving weekend business
  3. Leisure consumer tourism, including domestic and international
  4. Industry events that would expose planners and media to Denver

An additional marketing and program service being explored is support for workforce development and training programs. Like many other industries, the hospitality sector is experiencing difficulty recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce. Without a robust and skilled workforce, the hospitality sector will be unable to provide services to attract visitors and meetings to the City.

VISIT DENVER and the TID Board will closely track progress on these initiatives to measure their effectiveness. VISIT DENVER will use a multitude of tactics to determine the success of all TID-related projects. These best practices will align with the particular project and will include – but will not be limited to – sales tracking and ROI studies, advertising research, interactive metrics, customer feedback surveys, consumer research and more.

TID Programs Update

VISIT DENVER has recently launched new programs and activities with TID funding:

  • Buyer education trip: In September, the TID supported a “Better Denver” Buyer Education Trip (BET) for 33 meeting planners whose meetings collectively represent more than $35 million in economic impact. These are business meetings that take place in hotel meeting space rather than the Colorado Convention Center (CCC). Corporate and association meeting planners with groups of 950 or less were invited and have been identified as groups that met in Denver three years ago or longer without another future definite confirmed, have recently selected another destination over Denver, and those that meet in lower occupancy need-months of November-March. There was an opportunity for all hotels in the TID to participate and showcase their property and the specific area in which the hotel resides. Lastly, VISIT DENVER created a video of the TID neighborhoods for a presentation during BETTER Denver; this is designed to be a legacy resource from the event and we are currently breaking up the video into clips of the singular TID neighborhoods.

 

  • Weekend marketing: Another exciting, new program is the year-round weekend marketing campaign called “Reclaim the Weekend”, which launched in August and is designed to encourage short-term travel from regional visitors. The campaign uses TID funds to encourage short-term visits by regional visitors in Colorado and adjacent states and serves as a complement to VISIT DENVER’s existing regional campaigns. Regional visitors have shown a propensity to visit Denver year-round, as it is the largest city in a 600-mile radius. This campaign encourages them to come more frequently, stay longer and visit at different, and especially off-peak, times of the year. Offerings will include all activities taking place in the TID submarkets that might attract visitation to Denver from the region.

Denver’s perennial events calendar is booming with cultural exhibitions, performing arts, food and beverage events, sports, live music events and more, creating clear and compelling reasons to visit the city on any given weekend. Using multiple media, including weekly videos, the campaign promotes Denver’s wide variety of exciting events (often unique to the region) to inspire short-term travel, a maximum of six weeks from the time visitors decide to come and their actual travel,  a short planning cycle that is supported by research. These efforts will promote overnight stays in TID hotels, and VISIT DENVER’s tourism team will be regularly reaching out to them to get good rates and incentives.

The campaign and accompanying website, DenverWeekends.com, uses a complex mix of timing to promote events on a rolling basis and events will drop off once they occur. The campaign also uses certain media to promote the next calendar month for people who need a little more time to plan and to give them a heads up on what’s coming.

As of today, this effort as received over 30 million impressions!  In addition to media placement by a third-party advertising firm, VISIT DENVER’s marketing team supports the campaign via an extensive social campaign, constant updates to the website with new events and monthly press releases from the PR team. A third party has been engaged to support the campaign with paid search marketing. Additionally, VISIT DENVER has conducted research to learn more about the motivations of regional visitors, and will be conducting creative testing later in the fall.

  • Events and festivals:  A contractor has been hired to review need periods and existing events, interview event producers, and develop an analysis grid to evaluate the tourism potential of existing events. In addition, new event ideas will be explored. The research will inform a strategy and recommend metrics to use in determining future event development and/or support.

 

  • Discounts and incentives: Cities continue to offer convention center discounts, as well as financial incentives, in order to book large citywide business. In the first six months of 2018, VISIT DENVER has booked six groups through TID incentives, representing $35M in future economic impact which would result in nearly $3M in tax dollars for our City. Additionally, due to the number of options now available to meeting decision makers, rotation cycles of host cities have lengthened. Typically a small, medium and large citywide convention could rotate every four to six years and now the industry is seeing rotation cycles as long as 10+ years, due to the number of options. Therefore, Denver must compete on a less frequent basis for the opportunity to host these lucrative conventions. At the same time, the growing competition from “mega-hotels” (facilities so large that the entire meeting can be held in one hotel, eliminating the need for a convention center) is increasingly impacting all major convention cities.  One of the big misconceptions that is being publicized is that the convention center only hosts large groups.  This is NOT the model of success for any center in the country including Chicago, Orlando and Vegas.  Centers are most successful hosting small to mid-size groups that maximize space utilization and attendee visits.  Groups of this size are currently utilizing the Colorado Convention Center and Denver hotels, and this business will now be at risk.

 

The TID Board has also approved a new incentive program for large single hotel business that can consume room nights comparable to a small/medium size convention. This program will incentivize weekend stays and groups meeting over need periods including holidays. Incentives will be offered to the meeting client, not to the hotels directly.

Colorado Convention Center Expansion Update  

Five firms responded to the contractor RFQ for the CCC expansion project and three have been selected to move forward to the RFP process. The goal is to have the contractor selected by the end of the year, approved by City Council in mid-December, and have a construction timeline in the first half of 2019 to begin selling the new space.

Year-End Meeting

This has been an exciting year as we launched the TID and developed new programs to drive increased demand for all sub-markets in Denver! We will be holding a year-end meeting for all TID hotel partners on Tuesday, December 4th from 10am-12noon to re-cap 2018, look toward 2019, and to network with industry partners as we celebrate a successful year. Look for an invitation soon with additional details.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.


 

 

UPDATE - July 12, 2018

TID Update Session

Many thanks to the more than 30 TID partners who attended our update session on April 17. Richard Scharf, president, and CEO of VISIT DENVER, along with several senior staff provided updates on the great work VISIT DENVER already does on behalf of our industry and ways in which the TID resources will be utilized going forward to enhance these efforts and create new programs. See below for more details about how TID funds will be used to support the Colorado Convention Center expansion and strategies that will be launched to drive new group and leisure demand to Denver.

TID Board meeting

The TID Board met recently and endorsed $2.1M in new programs to be launched this year to drive new demand for TID hotels. Leveraging TID funds, VISIT DENVER will be launching a new, “always-on” weekend marketing campaign designed to encourage short-term travel from regional visitors. Given the explosive growth of Denver’s event calendar, whether from cultural exhibitions, performing arts, food and drink events, sports or concerts, it is clear that there are compelling reasons to visit the city on any given weekend. Regional visitors have already shown a propensity to visit and this campaign will encourage them to come more frequently, stay longer and visit at different times of the year. This campaign will complement our existing regional campaigns. Offerings will include any and all activities taking place in the TID submarkets that might attract visitation from the region. 

In addition, there will be a meeting planner buyer education trip for meeting planners who book small hotel meetings in September. All TID hotels will be given the opportunity to participate. Lastly, VISIT DENVER will be developing a new event and festival strategy to allow VISIT DENVER and the TID to prioritize, support and pursue events and festivals that increase tourism, especially during need periods. Using a structured, data-driven approach, VISIT DENVER will evaluate events based on their potential for growth, alignment with the Denver brand, appeal to visitors and timing, to ensure that we are focusing on those times of year that have capacity. If you have ideas or recommendations, please email Justin Bresler, VP of Marketing, at jbresler@visitdenver.com.

Colorado Convention Center Expansion Update  

VISIT DENVER recently went on the road to DC and Chicago to convene with meeting planners and obtain their input on the design and functionality of the new convention center expansion space. In addition, the staff and design team of Fentress architects met with national clients to get their input on the initial design concepts. Additional trips were taken to Anaheim and San Francisco to look at new, comparable convention center spaces. In total, the team met with over 100 clients. In the next few weeks, the RFQ will be released to solicit contractor qualifications which eventually will lead to a start and completion date.

TID Hotel Supply

The hotel landscape in Denver and across the metro region is changing quickly as more supply continues to be built. The following charts detail these changes in various ways.

The below chart offers a broad picture of the hotel market in Denver and the metro area as a whole. While Denver hotels make up a significant number of active and under construction hotels and rooms, there is also tremendous supply growth in the metro region outside of Denver. As a reminder, hotels in the TID are those with 50 or more rooms and located within the boundaries of the City and County of Denver. Non-TID hotels are those with less than 50 rooms and/or outside of the City and County of Denver.

Denver - Metro

# of Hotels

# of Rooms

Active

 

 

Denver-TID

110

22,398

Denver Non-TID

18

572

Subtotal Denver

128

22,970

Non-Denver

230

26,191

Subtotal Active

358

49,161

Construction*

 

 

Denver - Construction

23

3,144

Denver Metro - Construction

42

6,107

Subtotal Construction

65

9,251

GRAND TOTAL

423

58,412

 

As you are all well aware, Denver’s hotel market continues to grow with new supply. In the chart below, you will see the number of hotels and rooms that are currently online and under construction in the City and County of Denver.

Denver - City & County

# of Hotels

# of Rooms

TID - Active

110

22,398

TID - Construction

23

3,144

Subtotal TID

133

25,542

Non-TID

18

572

Total Denver

151

26,114

 

Within the TID, the below chart breaks down by submarket where active and under construction hotels are located. As the TID focuses on increasing demand, it is helpful to have a better sense of where the current and new supply are located.

Denver - TID by Tract

# Active
Hotels

# Active
Rooms

Construction
Hotel # *

Construction
Rooms #*

Total
Hotel #

Total
Rooms #

Downtown

46

11,205

7

1,310

53

12,515

Cherry Creek

8

1,333

1

201

9

1,534

Stapleton/North

17

3,524

1

100

18

3,624

Airport

32

4,501

13

1,433

45

5,934

Tech Center

7

1,835

1

100

8

1,935

Total

110

22,398

23

3,144

133

25,542

 

*Construction = Hotels under constructions or planned to start construction in the next 12 months.

Denver Hotel Performance

Below, each submarket within the TID is tracked to show year-over-year occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR. While occupancy is slightly down to level in most submarkets, the Stapleton/North Denver region is showing strong growth. ADR shows a similar flat comparison with a slight uptick for Stapleton/North and more significant growth for the Airport region. Lastly, for RevPAR, Stapleton/North and Airport showed strong gains to date.
 

Denver Hotel Performance Graphic

Colorado Convention Center Performance

The Colorado Convention Center (CCC) is showing strong metrics through the first 5 months of 2018 versus the same time period last year:

Category

2018.May
YTD

2017.May
YTD

% Chg

CCC # Groups

                      32

                       36

-11.1%

CCC Ttl Rooms

            207,075

             175,840

17.8%

CCC Ttl Attendance

            119,624

             106,773

12.0%

CCC Economic Impact

 $ 241,567,489

 $  235,762,941

2.5%

Non-CCC # Groups

                    290

                     250

16.0%

Non-CCC Ttl Rooms

               99,157

               91,700

8.1%

Non-CCC Ttl Attendance

               46,714

               44,427

5.1%

Non-CCC Economic Impact

 $    76,237,248

 $    72,504,864

5.1%

TOTAL # Groups

                    322

                     286

12.6%

TOTAL  Rooms

            306,232

             267,540

14.5%

TOTAL  Attendance

            166,338

             151,200

10.0%

TOTAL Economic Impact

 $ 317,804,737

 $  308,267,805

3.1%

TID Financial Snapshot

Below is the year-to-date (YTD) overview of the TID budget. As you will recall, the TID must first dedicate $3.8M annually to the City for the expansion of the CCC. Remaining funds then flow to VISIT DENVER for marketing efforts. Once the annual obligation to the City is met, the TID will generate significant marketing resources in the second half of the year. Because this is the first year of implementation of the TID, the Board has chosen to be conservative with expenses while also creating a reserve fund.

YTD TID collection minus convention center expansion payment (Jan.-April 2018)

$571,000

Anticipated May-Dec. 2018 collection minus convention center expansion payment

$4,829,000

Total 2018 TID Marketing/Program Revenue

$5,400,000

**Total 2018 anticipated cash collection

$4,150,000

Anticipated 2018 marketing/program expenses

$2,150,000

Anticipated 2018 cash reserve

$2,000,000

** November & December revenue (estimated $1.25M will be collected/received in January & February 2019)

 

Farewell to Tom Curley

Tom Curley, a founding TID Board member and GM of The Westin Denver International Airport Westin, retired at the end of April. Tom’s position on the TID Board was a Mayoral appointment since the Westin is a city-owned hotel. The Mayor and City Council are in the process of confirming the Westin’s new GM, Laura Lojas, to the Board and we look forward to welcoming Laura to the TID Board in the coming weeks. Many thanks to Tom for his leadership during the initial start-up of the TID and we wish him the best in his retirement!

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.


 

 

UPDATE - March 26, 2018

Thank you

Many thanks again for your support in 2017 and on Election Day to create Colorado’s first TID! With passage of the TID on November 7, 2017, the TID went into effect on January 1, 2018. The TID will allow us to achieve the full vision of the Colorado Convention Center (CCC) expansion and generate new business, creating meeting and leisure visitor demand through increased sales and marketing efforts.

Colorado Convention Center expansion update

In February, Denver City Council approved contracts with Fentress Architects and Trammel Crow to design and project manage the CCC expansion project, respectively. We are excited to see the expansion project moving forward and will continue to keep you updated on key developments.

TID Board of Directors meeting

The TID Board of Directors recently met to discuss plans for this first year of TID implementation. The 2018 TID Board members are:

  • President: Bill Ninivaggi, General Manager, Denver Hilton City Center
  • President-Elect: Navin Dimond, President & CEO, Stonebridge Companies
  • Treasurer/Secretary: Walter Isenberg, President & CEO, Sage Hospitality
  • Tom Curley, General Manager, The Westin Denver International Airport Hotel
  • John Everett, General Manager, Westin Denver Downtown
  • Greg Leonard, General Manager, Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center
  • Allen Paty, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Denver
  • Richard Scharf, President & CEO, VISIT DENVER (ex officio)

Board members discussed potential uses of new marketing funds generated by the TID that could have a benefit to all submarkets, including aggressive targeting of convention and sporting events, meeting planner familiarization (FAM) trips, tourism event development, and leisure consumer weekend marketing, to name a few.  The TID Board is focused on dedicating TID resources to events, meetings and campaigns that will drive new demand and benefit hotels located in all parts of the City.

TID Revenue

As mentioned above, the TID went into effect and the City began collection on January 1, 2018. Under the agreement with the City and County of Denver, $3.8 million annually will be directed to the CCC expansion and to paying for the Certificate of Participation (COP) bonds. The $3.8 million will be paid in monthly installments of $500,000 with any additional revenues flowing to VISIT DENVER under its existing marketing contract with the City. A 1% administration fee will also be paid monthly to the City. Once the $3.8 million annual obligation has been met, all TID revenues will be directed to VISIT DENVER. It is projected that the balance of the 2018 TID revenues to be used for marketing will be approximately $5.3 million in new marketing resources.

From a cash flow perspective, a little more than $4.2 million will be available later in 2018.  Due to the late first year collection of taxes, the Board has discussed launching some limited programming in 2018 and coordinating a broader more extensive plan in 2019.

Input Sessions

As the TID begins the first year of implementation in 2018, it is important to the Board that we have regular communications with all TID hotels and hear from you regarding your needs. Throughout the year you will be asked to provide input from a needs perspective to better help craft future marketing plans.  In addition, you will soon receive an invitation from VISIT DENVER to attend a TID Update session in a location near you, we hope that you or a member of your team will be able to attend! 

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the TID, please contact Carrie Atiyeh, director of government and community affairs at VISIT DENVER, at catiyeh@visitdenver.com or 303-571-9466.