Dear Valued Partners:
A few nights ago, I took part in my first Ford Holiday River Parade on the beautiful San Antonio River Walk, and it was another quintessential San Antonio experience. Where else in the world could you find 30 festive, themed barges, Willy Wonka and Santa Claus and his many carolers all winding through downtown under centuries-old trees draped with colorful lights? It was pretty magical.
While the celebration was impressive enough, as we recognized the 40th anniversary of the popular event, the most welcome sight was seeing tens of thousands of residents and visitors back together downtown safe and respectful to each other watching the evening’s festivities – walking our streets, filling our businesses and lining the River Walk. Just a year earlier, the parade had been cancelled because of the pandemic.
The Holiday Parade was televised live on the CW/35 in San Antonio and will be syndicated to more than 80 markets nationwide over the next month. You can watch the telecast here.
It all speaks to the continued recovery of a community that has been impacted more than most by the effects of COVID-19. San Antonio’s tourism and hospitality is one of the city’s most impactful industries, and we look toward 2022 with optimism as we welcome back many events to our River Walk and city.
Even as we move forward, we at Visit San Antonio close out 2021 grateful for the work we have done in the face of significant hurdles. I invite you to review our Annual Report, which includes many of our key accomplishments during the past year, as well as some thoughts from Visit San Antonio board chairman Robert Thrailkill and San Antonio Tourism Public Improvement Director board chair Henry Feldman.
Much of this information was shared a few weeks ago during our Annual Meeting at the lovely Majestic Theatre. I appreciate the hundreds of partners who joined us on that day. If you were unable to be on hand, a video of the meeting is now available here, while our Strategic Business Plan for 2022 and beyond is being posted on our Partners extranet for members-only access.
The weeks afterward have been busy, including speaking engagements with groups such as the Airport Advisory Commission and TPID member town halls and trips to Cleveland for ASAE Leaders Retreat and Board of Directors meetings and Las Vegas for the IMEX America 2021 tradeshow.
Our Chairman, Robert Thrailkill, has also been busy in representing Visit San Antonio, taping an appearance regarding tourism on “The Business of Business in San Antonio” program on KLRN-TV, which will be shown Dec. 15 at 9 p.m. and again on Dec. 19 at 1:30 p.m. He always does an incredible job representing our city.
We do have encouraging stories to tell today. Our October hotel numbers, for instance, are impressively steady compared to the same month in 2019. According to Smith Travel Research, we had 62.3 percent hotel occupancy in October, which was only 1.6 percent behind the same month in 2019 (63.3). Our October occupancy put San Antonio ahead of competitors such as Orlando, St. Louis, and Houston.
The average daily rate for October was $115.17, which was 3.6 percent ahead of October 2019 ($111.13). Our October RevPAR, at $71.72, was 2.0 percent ahead of October 2019 ($70.30). Year to date through October, in comparison to 2019, we are down 11.7 percent in occupancy, 3.7 percent in ADR and 15.0 percent in RevPAR.
There is so much more work we can do though to increase these numbers and we know our 2021 conventions are not all performing at past levels, and many have canceled this year. A few weeks ago, we partnered with Expedia.com on a “Gap Analysis.” This “Gap Analysis” will assist in driving leisure occupancy and demand during traditionally busier times filled with meetings and conventions in our city. More to come on this Gap Analysis in coming months.
Please take some time and explore this month’s Executive Summary, including reports from each of our divisions. We welcome your feedback.
Thank you again for your collaboration with Visit San Antonio. Together, we will showcase the power of recovery.
With warm regards,
President & CEO
Visit San Antonio