Q1 FY24

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Message from the CEO

Dear Valued Partners, 

We welcome a New Year (2024!) with an enhanced newsletter to further engage our members and partners. I present to you Journey Together – Visit San Antonio Executive Brief.  

As a friendly reminder, Visit San Antonio is on a Fiscal Year (FY) from October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2024. The intent of the newsletter is to ensure you, our stakeholders and partners, are aware of all the happenings, achievements and challenges at Visit San Antonio. 

To start the new year, we are excited to welcome the new chair of our Tourism Public Improvement District (TPID) Board of Directors, Maria Martinez, who is also the General Manager at The Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio. Maria is not only a formidable leader in tourism and hospitality but also the first female board chair of TPID. Congratulations, Maria! Avinash Bhakta, President at ABH Hospitality, will move to immediate past chair.  

On behalf of Visit San Antonio and all TPID hotels, we are immensely thankful to Avinash and his commitment to serving and advocating for San Antonio’s tourism and hospitality industry. Avinash was particularly engaged as a board chair and a member of the Visit San Antonio Board of Directors. His smiling, encouraging presence was felt at nearly every one of our important events throughout 2023. Thank YOU, Avinash, for your advocacy and support of our industry! We look forward to your continued involvement with Visit San Antonio through the TPID Board, our committees and events. 

In December 2023, Visit San Antonio and its partner Harwardt PR & Marketing hosted a weeklong sales and media mission and roadshow throughout Germany to prepare for Condor Airlines’ first non-stop flight from Germany to San Antonio, launching May 2024. We traveled to five major cities (Frankfurt, Holzwickede, Hanover, Hamburg and Berlin) to raise awareness and tell the ‘Real & True’ stories of our culturally beautiful city to top travel trade and media. We also learned what a unique and inviting market Germany is and will be for our stakeholders. We have our work cut out for us and are optimistic that our ‘storytelling’ campaign in Germany will result in a successful ROI for our community. 

Visit San Antonio had 85 events in Q1. Here is a brief update on our most important gatherings. 

Visit San Antonio Annual Meeting – The 2023 Visit San Antonio Annual Meeting was record-breaking, with more than 600 guests in attendance. This was our first Annual Meeting hosted at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. A touching moment was the recognition of Visit San Antonio’s first tourism and hospitality scholarship recipients from St. Philip’s College and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Be sure to donate to the San Antonio Hospitality Fund and help students pursue a career in the hospitality industry. DONATE HERE

2nd Annual Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival – The second annual Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival proved a success once again in San Antonio, the Culinary Capital of Texas. The event was moved to La Villita and featured more than 100-star chefs. A panel discussion on the current state of restaurants with Kris Moon, President and Chief Operating Officer at The James Beard Foundation, was a new element to the festival. As always, Culinaria did a phenomenal job producing Tasting Texas. Mark Your Calendars for our third Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival, November 8-10, 2024. It will be back at La Villita with an expanded presence throughout this historic square.    

Inaugural San Antonio “Holidays on Houston Street” – This was the first holiday season for San Antonio’s newest tradition, Holidays on Houston Street. From The Alamo to Legacy Park, residents all over Texas experienced a vibrant downtown San Antonio. More than 45,000 people attended this year’s Holiday Market, which far exceeded our expectations. If you were downtown the weekend of December 16-17, 2023, you would agree San Antonio was more festive and busier than ever.  

We look forward to seeing Holidays on Houston Street become a legacy event in 2024 and beyond for San Antonio and families across the globe to enjoy, experience and celebrate the joy and warmth of the holiday season. Details on the 2024 San Antonio Holidays on Houston Street will be issued in the coming months, but until then, enjoy photos from this incredible, first-time event. 

Thank you to our partners with the City of San Antonio, Centro San Antonio, The CE Group, Bexar County and all of our sponsors (Weston Urban, NuStar, CPS Energy, Corona Premier, White Claw, PNC Bank, the NRP Group, Frost Bank, Pape-Dawson Engineers, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Hyatt Regency, Go Rio, Marriott San Antonio Rivercenter, VIA Metropolitan Transit and Towers at the Majestic Apartments) for ensuring the success of the 2023 event.  

Please do not forget to attend the monthly member meeting (virtual) on February 14 at 10 a.m. We also have a Visit San Antonio membership mixer on February 20. Details are forthcoming. 

If you have any suggestions on inclusions or improvements on Journey Together, please do not hesitate to send me your thoughts at Marc@visitsanantonio.com.   

Our team and I remain at your service as we continue to build San Antonio into a brand that is known worldwide. 


 With warm regards, 

  CEO Signature

Marc Anderson 

Industry Outlook

In 2023, overall occupancy in San Antonio dropped to 61.5% (-1.2%) vs. 62.2% occupancy in 2022. Overall ADR increased slightly in 2023 to $128.86 (+.4%) vs. $128.31, and total overall hotel revenues in 2023 increased to $1.41 billion (+.6%) vs. $1.39 billion in 2022. YOY Transient occupancy increased in 2023 by +1.3%, while overall transient ADR decreased by -3.2%. Overall group occupancy decreased by -9 %, while group ADR increased by +10.9% in 2023. Transient ADR in 2023 ended at $122.29 and group ADR ended at $152.54, a sizable difference between the segments’ ADRs.  

Further analysis of the 2023 Year End STR Report showed growth in occupancy in the San Antonio Central Business District (CBD) - 2023 occupancy of 63.1% (+.5%) vs. 62.8% in 2022. The San Antonio Airport region also saw a slight increase in 2023 occupancy of 64.8% vs. 64.7% in 2022. San Antonio’s Northeast, Northwest and South regions all saw respective declines in YOY occupancy of -2% to -2.8%. 

Interestingly, Visit San Antonio has increased the three-year average (2017-2019) of our group room night contribution from 31.5% to an estimated 43.5% (2022-2024), resulting in a 38% overall increase in Visit San Antonio group share out of the total San Antonio group share per STR.                   

Between October-December 2023, Visit San Antonio staff confirmed several new, short-term citywide conventions, including: 

  • Cvent – June 2024 
  • Nationwide Marketing Group – March 2025 
  • American Specialty Toy Retailing Association – June 2025 
  • Texas Association of School Administrators – Midwinter meeting – January 2026 – 2029 (multiyear booked from Austin closure) 

On a positive note, the San Antonio group market is currently up by 22% YOY for the timeframe of January-June 2024, with the following new conventions taking place in San Antonio: 

  • National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association – 4,400 on peak  
  • American Urological Association – 8,400 on peak  
  • Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology – 2,500 on peak (Last in SA in 2012) 
  • Ellucian Live 2024 – 5,674 on peak 


Destination Sales 

Two professionals giving a presentation

Key Highlights for the Quarter

  • Cvent's 2024 Connect Conference 
    The convention sales team successfully secured Cvent's prestigious 2024 Connect conference for San Antonio. This marks a significant milestone as it is the first time this event has been held outside of Las Vegas. San Antonio will host the conference from June 10-13, 2024, providing an exciting opportunity to showcase our city to nearly 5,000 high-impact meeting planners. 

  • Annual Tamalada/Tamale Lifts 
    Team Texas, in collaboration with our community hospitality partners, organized the annual Tamalada/Tamale Lifts in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. This highly anticipated event has grown over the decades, becoming a highlight in each market for our Texas clientele. Unique activations were created for each location, offering sought-after tamales to every customer in attendance. 

  • Day of the Dead and Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival 
    Visit San Antonio's convention sales team hosted 13 convention planners from across the U.S. The planners had the unique opportunity to experience San Antonio's Day of the Dead River Parade and participated in our second annual Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival. Beyond the incredible San Antonio events, Visit San Antonio also showcased San Antonio’s convention capabilities, leaving a lasting impression on our esteemed customers. 


Key Metrics for the Quarter


Convention Sales Key Metrics



Q1 Actuals

Events Booked 680 206 (30%)
Room Nights Booked 692,000 206,843 (30%)
Leads Generated 3,400 769 (23%)


Looking Ahead Initiatives

  • Transforming Leaders – Customer Event in Austin (February) 
    Visit San Antonio is thrilled to host its annual Transforming Leaders customer event in Austin on February 8th in collaboration with the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE). This educational event features Alyson Van Hooser, a distinguished author of three books, who will delve into strategies for engaging and retaining a multi-generational workforce. 

  • Roadshow Events Across Ten Cities (March) 
    Late March marks the beginning of our roadshow events, starting with Denver, Colorado, and spanning across 10 cities. These events will showcase San Antonio’s convention and meeting attributes, with planned stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. We invite our valued hospitality partners to join us on this journey. Sign up at Roadshow RSVP to be part of this exciting initiative! 


Sales Committee Update 

The Sales Committee convened on January 18 at the Visit San Antonio office. During the meeting, there was an in-depth discussion about the group pacing metrics employed by Visit San Antonio. The committee delved into how targets are established and took a comprehensive look at future group targets. 

The committee also focused on upcoming customer engagement events, exploring opportunities to enhance interactions with our valued clients. Additionally, convention account targets were reviewed. The committee is actively collaborating to bring these events to San Antonio. 


Destination Experience

3 professionals standing with an award

Key Highlights for the Quarter

  • San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium  
    The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium met for their 46th symposium on December 5-9, 2023. They had a total attendance of 10,841, with 8,472 attending in person. Their in-person attendance numbers were up 1,400 from last year’s attendance. This year, they had a total of 43% of international attendees. The top six countries (outside of the U.S.) in attendance and ranking order were: Spain, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Italy.     


Key Metrics for the Quarter   

  • Serviced 35 groups with hotel blocks representing just over 11.4K room nights, nearly 80.2K attendees, Estimated Economic Impact Calculator total of $84M and supported over 27K jobs.      

  • Conducted 12 planning site visits with confirmed future groups.   

  • Achieved an overall Destination Experience survey satisfaction score of 4/4 and presented three groups with peak rooms of 2.5K+ with the ‘Heart of the City.’    

  • Provided seven booking leads to the Sales team.   


Looking Ahead Initiatives  

  • Meeting Planner Website  
    Launched a refresh of the meeting planner website. Enhancements included easier navigation throughout the site and new media assets. Additionally, the team plans to create new meeting planner resources for the e-tool kit to promote the destination further.      

  • Connect SA  
    Started a conversation with greater:SATX to discuss ConnectSA and identify high-growth industries and/or local universities/colleges to determine which entity offers the proper connection of leading experts in the following disciplines: Aerospace, Health/Bioscience, Cybersecurity, Financial Services, Manufacturing and/or Technology.

Learn More About What The Destination Experience Team Does with a Breaking News Report from Channel 210 News



Santa standing in front of the Alamo

Key Highlights for the Quarter 

  • New Agency Onboarding 
    A key milestone was the seamless transition to our new agency of record, Rest of the World, in collaboration with local agency Chamoy Creative along with media and analytics agency Predictive Data Lab. The strategic transition allowed the Rest of the World team to be fully onboarded, thus setting the stage for a successful collaboration as we launch into FY24 marketing endeavors. 

  • Fall Marketing Initiatives 
    Our marketing efforts commenced with regional and national support of our fall and holiday efforts, in addition to the execution of targeted campaigns. All campaigns were supported via paid media and organic tactics.  

    • Day of the Dead Celebration Campaign: Focused efforts were dedicated to boosting visitation to one of the country's largest Day of the Dead celebrations. The campaign, spanning from August to October 2023, adopted a dual approach to support all celebrations in San Antonio, with a specific emphasis on the Day of the Dead River Parade. 

    • Tasting Texas Food + Wine Festival: In its second year, marketing support for this marquee event during October included a dedicated media plan to drive traffic to the festival. 

    • Holidays Campaign: The objective of the holiday campaign was to attract new visitors to the city. Running from October to December 2023, this comprehensive campaign utilized regional, national and international channels. 

    • Ford Holiday River Parade: In alignment with our tradition of supporting this key River Walk event, we launched a paid media campaign at the local and regional levels. Additionally, support was provided through social media, blogs, website spotlights and inclusion in marketing newsletters. 

    • San Antonio Holidays on Houston Street: To heighten awareness of the inaugural Holidays on Houston Street, our marketing team developed the official logo, branding elements, microsite, organic blogs, social media content and a paid media campaign. These efforts were aimed at increasing visitation to this prominent city event. 

  • Visit San Antonio Website Launch  
    ​The new Visit San Antonio website redesign was successfully launched in November 2023 and is already performing strong in metrics, showcasing a seamless experience for our visitors. 

  • Email Marketing Optimization  
    We launched our new email marketing efforts, enabling us to better tailor and design content for our audiences. This revamped approach is already delivering great results and positively impacting our online engagements. 


Key Metrics for the Quarter

  • FY24 Q1 Online Engagements 

    • 23.1M  

    • 47% increase vs last year’s same period 

    • Representing 20% of FY24 goal: 112M 


  • Visit San Antonio’s FY24 Q1 Web Performance 

    • 1.2M users 

    • 1.5M sessions 

    • 2.8M pageviews 


  • Visit San Antonio FY24 Q1 Social Media Performance 

Social Media Channel









Twitter (X)











5,709,061 (views)


12,507 3.060


  • River Walk Web FY24 Q1 Performance 

    • 38.3K users 

    • 49.5K sessions 

    • 1M page views 


  • River Walk Social Media FY24 Q1 Performance 

Social Media Channel









Twitter (X)




Looking Ahead Initiatives

  • Website Enhancements 
    Look out for a new River Walk website and enhancements to the Visit San Antonio website to ensure our visitors continue to have a seamless experience. Those enhancements include:   

    • User-generated content on the new River Walk website 

    • Launch of generative AI chat with avatar  

    • Launch of maps on Visit San Antonio and River Walk websites 

    • Phase 2 implementation of metaverse efforts 

  • New Branding Campaign 
    Our new agency has developed a new branding campaign to continue to evolve our ‘Real & True’ positioning. This new campaign is set to launch in mid-April to coincide with our dedicated summer efforts.  

  • Spring Campaigns 
    FY24 Q2 will focus on the execution of the spring campaign that will run from January to mid-April in conjunction with the following individual campaigns:  

    • San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo: For the last 75 years, this event has been legendary, which is a strong reason for visitors to enjoy what makes our rodeo unique.  

    • Spring Break: Dedicated efforts targeted at college students regionally and nationally who are interested in history, outdoor activities, nightlife or simply soaking up the local culture. 

    • Fiesta River Walk Events: Bring regional attention to the Ford Mariachi Festival and the Fiesta Artisan Show during our Fiesta festivities.   

  • Summer Campaign 
    Launch a dedicated summer campaign with CO-OPs and metaverse efforts. The campaign will focus on San Antonio amenities geared to keeping locals and visitors cool. The campaign will run from April 15 – August 9.  

  • International Campaign 
    Launch international campaigns for Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and China, while dedicating efforts to the launch of the first transatlantic flight from Frankfurt, Germany to San Antonio. 


Marketing Committee Update 

The committee reviewed marketing performance metrics, which are on track to meet organizational goals. The current focus is to review the FY24 domestic and international marketing plans for spring and summer efforts, as well as review and approve the new FY24 ROI goal. 

The committee also discussed our Google analytics approach to circumvent the impact on Visit San Antonio’s ROI in anticipation of Google ending the ability of advertisers to track website behavior via cookies. The next meeting is scheduled for February 12, 2024. 


Cultural Advisory Committee Update 

Deborah Omowale Jarmon, President and Director of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum, is the new chair and Board liaison to Visit San Antonio’s Cultural Advisory Committee. The committee discussed improving attendance of its members and its mission and goals. Also discussed was the performance of the Visit San Antonio cultural pages, which continues to generate significant engagements. Below are some of our highest-viewed arts & culture pages: 

The Cultural Committee met on February 7th, and the agreed-upon actions will be outlined in the next update.


Media Relations & Communications 

Key Highlights for the Quarter

  • Fall Festivals and Celebrations 
    Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival and Day of the Dead celebrations proved to be a driving force for a strong start. The Media Relations team was able to create strong interest from national and international media, including hosting media familiarization tours for national media from the U.S., Mexico and the United Kingdom. Media lauded the festivals and San Antonio’s overall culinary and cultural scene. 

  • Media Missions 
    During Q1, the team completed media missions to Mexico City, the United Kingdom and Germany. The European media missions, in conjunction with the Tourism Development team, focused on promoting 2024 travel overall as well as the May 2024 launch of the Condor direct flight from Frankfurt, Germany.  

  • Local Promotions 
    Locally, Visit San Antonio promoted the Ford Holiday River Parade and the launch of Holidays on Houston Street. These events added to San Antonio’s hospitality performance, nearing the highs experienced in 2019, in addition to the record levels of tax contributions from the industry that year. Additional activities included the launch of the Germany- and China-based marketing agencies promoting San Antonio and the hiring of a marketing agency of record. Lastly, the Communications team assisted with Telemundo’s national broadcast, featuring the local New Year’s Eve celebrations. 


Key Metrics for the Quarter

Media Relations & Communications Key Metrics


Annual Metric

Q1 Actuals

Outer Market Media Value



Number of Media Placements



Media Hosted




Looking Ahead Initiatives

  • Media Coverage 
    Visit San Antonio will continue its push for regional and national media coverage with ongoing unique pitches and media missions to Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. between January and May.  

  • Rodeo Media Relations 
    In February, the team will focus on promoting and celebrating the milestone anniversary of the San Antonio Rodeo with media familiarization tours for domestic media and journalists in the United Kingdom. The media will learn about San Antonio’s traditional rodeo celebrations, as well as untold rodeo stories, including Charreadas and Black Rodeo.  

  • Overseas promotions 
    The Media Relations team will join Tourism Development to host Media & Sales missions to Frankfurt, Germany and London, England in March 2024 to increase awareness and visitation from those key markets, especially with the launch of the Condor Airlines direct flight on May 17, 2024. 


Culinary Advisory Committee Update

The Culinary Advisory Committee met on December 11, 2023. The committee provided recommendations on chefs to participate in the upcoming VSA New York Media Mission and had a spirited conversation about the outcome of ¡Provecho! 2023 and possible ways to proceed in 2024. James Beard Awards 2024 Finalists were just announced with four San Antonio restaurants highlighted. 

Best Chef: Texas

  • Christopher Cullum, Cullum’s Attaboy
  • Andrew Ho, Andrew Samia and Sean Wen, Curry Boys BBQ
  • Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Best Quality Daughter

Outstanding Restaurant:

  • Mixtli


Global Development

Group of professionals in front of exterior JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country signage

Key Highlights for the Quarter

  • Mexico Reverse Mission 
    Tourism Development staff kicked off the year with a Mexico Reverse Mission for 20 key travel trade and media. Reverse Missions bring clients to San Antonio as opposed to taking partners to Mexico. The four days included experiences along the Loop 1604 corridor and the downtown area, with one day dedicated to one-on-one meetings with 15 members. Many of the clients had not been to San Antonio before and expressed interest in adding new hotels and attractions to their packages. A special thanks to our sponsors: JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, Thompson Riverwalk Hotel and the San Antonio International Airport.  

  • IPW Legacy Plan 
    Tourism Development’s IPW Legacy Plan includes campaigns with operators that will keep San Antonio top of mind in their B2B/B2B2C channels, including tour operators and airline/credit card redemption programs. The target countries are U.S., Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. Based on the operators’ reach in these markets, Hotelbeds and American Tours International (ATI) have been selected for campaigns that will run from January to May 2024. All member hotels and attractions that are contracted with these operators will be highlighted in the campaign on a destination landing page.  

  • China 
    As part of our Global Development Plan, in 2024, we will be proactively working to drive visitation from China. We have entered into an agreement with East West Marketing to develop and execute a plan that includes marketing, communications and tourism development. From a tourism development standpoint, the agency will focus on destination training, product development and a sales mission.   


 Key Metrics for the Quarter

Tourism Development Key Metrics


Annual Metric

Q1 Actuals

International Visitation


Reported at Year End

Agents Destination Training



Increased Air Service Seat Capacity


Reported at Year End


Looking Ahead Initiatives 

  • Sabores Polanco 
    Sabores Polanco is one of the most important culinary festivals in Mexico. The festival is held in the heart of Mexico City, in the high-end neighborhood of Polanco. In 2023, the festival had more than 12,000 high-end foodies attend. The festival started in 2013 and, for the FIRST TIME, is allowing a U.S. Destination to participate – a great win for San Antonio. It is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the culinary delights of our city to Mexican citizens. The festival will be held March 9 and 10 and will feature four San Antonio Chefs.   

  • European Mission 
    In preparation for the launch of the NEW Condor Airlines transatlantic flight between Frankfurt and San Antonio, staff coordinated a European mission that will include visits to Frankfurt and London from March 12 to 22 of this year. With the flight launching in May, this mission will allow us to solidify agreements with travel trade partners and drive demand for travel to San Antonio.  


Leisure Advisory Committee Update 

The Leisure Advisory Committee Chair Jeffrey Siebert convened a meeting on November 28. During this meeting, Marketing and Tourism Development provided department updates and shared results from summer short-term strategies. In addition, we discussed details of the new Holidays on Houston Street initiative.  


San Antonio River Walk

Santa and Mrs. Claus on River Float

Key Highlights for the Quarter  

  • River Walk Events 

    • Artisan Shows: There were two Artisan Shows in Q1. The fall show is in early October and the holiday show is in December. Both shows featured over 40 artisan booths, showcasing handmade items such as paintings, soaps, trinkets, clothing, jewelry and more. The events drew 5,500 and 6,500 visitors, respectively, to the River Walk extension.  

    • Day of the Dead River Parade: In late October, River Walk Operations managed the production and logistics of the Day of the Dead San Antonio River Parade on October 27. The event involved coordinating ticket sales, volunteer procurement, chair placement and parade operations. The sold-out event was a resounding success, with 11,500 tickets purchased, attracting 39,900 viewers.  

    • Diwali SA: On November 4, River Walk Operations collaborated with Diwali SA to run logistics for the Diwali Festival of Lights Parade. The event was well attended, drawing 12,800 visitors.  

    • Ford Holiday River Parade: The pinnacle of the season was the Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony on November 24. River Walk Operations produced a live televised and later syndicated parade that almost had a sold-out crowd of approximately 18,000 ticket holders and 49,600 onlookers. Digital communication strategies were deployed through text messages, QR codes and email distribution of the parade souvenir program. The parade broadcast reached an audience of around a million people via syndication in over 175 markets across the country.  

    • Ford Holiday Boat Caroling: The nearly 50-year tradition of the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling event was from November 30 to December 23. There were nightly performances that nearly sold out, entertaining 331,800 River Walk guests. Boat sales began eight months in advance, which is a testament to the event's enduring popularity with the return of church groups, school choirs, civic groups, and businesses alike.  

    • Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias: The 55th annual Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias illuminated the River Walk on the first three weekends of December. Approximately 2,000 luminarias were placed along the riverbank, drawing an average nightly attendance of 58,760 visitors and totaling 176,300 over the event’s three weekends.  


Key Metrics for the Quarter  

  • 2.1M visitors on the River Walk, comprising 1.4M unique visitors, marking a sizeable 6.9% increase compared to the same quarter in 2022  
  • 2.7M visitors and 1.8M unique visitors on the Museum Reach stretch of the river from the Historic Pearl Brewery to the Convention Center. This represents a noteworthy 3.6% growth from the subsequent quarter in 2022.  


Looking Ahead Initiatives 

  • Spring River Parades 
    The Q2 River Walk events include the Bud Light Mardi Gras River Parades, the 55th annual Bud Light St. Patrick's River Parades, and the River Dyeing sponsored by Mad Dogs.  

    St. Patrick's Week historically records the highest number of weekly visits per year, with 403,000 total visits and 319,500 unique visits from the Pearl to the Convention Center.  


River Walk Committee Update 

The primary objective and purpose of the River Walk Committee is to help promote San Antonio’s historic jewel, the River Walk. The committee, through its work, will advance and promote the destination through complementing Visit San Antonio’s efforts to create and sustain engagements and events that help spotlight San Antonio’s iconic waterway. The River Walk Advisory Committee meets quarterly to review major events, programming and address critical areas of opportunity. When it met on January 22, it held a brainstorming session to address the projected heat for the upcoming summer in order to keep visitation strong for the city and its partners. Additionally, the River Walk Committee has been tracking the success of signature events and has made recommendations to improve some of our high-profile events this year.  


Budget & Finance Committee Update

The Budget & Finance Committee met on January 11, 2024, for presentation of the FY23 financial audit by third party auditor Weaver and to review outstanding board member questions. The upcoming February meeting will include review of the FY24 Q1 financials, and FY25 budget development and reserve policy development. The FY23 financial audit received a clean “unmodified” opinion indicating financial statements are presented fairly, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). 


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Update

Visit San Antonio is launching a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, marking a pivotal step in its commitment to embracing and celebrating the city's diverse culture. This initiative aims to ensure that Visit San Antonio’s strategies and practices reflect the varied perspectives and experiences of the community, promoting an inclusive environment within the tourism sector. The DEI Committee will play a crucial role in enhancing San Antonio's appeal as a welcoming destination, demonstrating the organization's dedication to equity and representation in every aspect of its operations. 


Legislative Spotlight

Woman in front of desk holding pen and paper

In a landmark development for San Antonio's tourism and hospitality industry, Texas Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins has played a pivotal role in the passage of Senate Bill 2220 (SB 2220) along with Senators José Menéndez and Judith Zaffirini. This significant piece of legislation, which became effective as of September 1, 2023, focuses on upgrading and expanding facilities like the Alamodome in a strategic move aimed at attracting larger and more diverse events, which in turn will bolster the city's economy and enhance its reputation as a premier destination. 

Key Features of SB 2220

  • Infrastructure Revitalization: The bill allocates funds for significant upgrades to the Alamodome, ensuring it meets and exceeds the standards of a top-tier event and convention venue. 

  • Economic Impetus: The enhancements are expected to generate a substantial economic impact, invigorating the hospitality sector and creating a multiplier effect across related industries. 

  • Employment Opportunities: The initiative will create jobs in construction and the broader hospitality sector, as increased events and tourism drive demand for services. 

Anticipated Outcomes for San Antonio 

  • Tourism Growth: The city is likely to see an increase in both the number and diversity of visitors due to the enhanced facilities and events. 

  • Economic Resilience: This development is a step towards economic resilience, diversifying the city's economic base and reducing dependency on any single industry. 

  • Community Benefits: The ripple effects of increased tourism and economic activity will benefit local businesses and communities, contributing to overall urban development and prosperity. 

Representative Gervin-Hawkins' Strategic Vision  

The enactment of SB 2220, championed by Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, marks a significant milestone in San Antonio. Her vision extends beyond immediate economic benefits; she recognizes the long-term significance of a robust and dynamic tourism and hospitality sector as a cornerstone of San Antonio's economic and cultural identity. This strategic initiative not only addresses the immediate needs of the sector but also lays the foundation for sustainable growth and development. 

As San Antonio embarks on this exciting new chapter, the foresight and leadership of Representative Gervin-Hawkins will undoubtedly be remembered as a key driving force behind this transformative journey. 


Member Update & Spotlight

Key Highlights for the Quarter

  • Member Participation at Tasting Texas 
    Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival is an event that showcases the culinary excellence of San Antonio. Participating members included Clementine, Jerk Shack, Four Brothers, Dashi and Brasserie Mon Chou Chou. 

  • Membership Monthly Virtual Meetings 
    The inaugural Membership Monthly Virtual Meetings for members started in January 2024. The session focused on enhancing understanding of Visit San Antonio benefits, navigating the member portal, optimizing listing power and addressing any and all questions from members. 


Key Metrics for the Quarter

  • 602 Members + Community Partners attended our November 8, 2023, Visit San Antonio Annual Meeting.  

  • 198 Members + Community Partners attended our December Member Mixer 

  • 59 Members participated in the Maximize Your Benefits discussion, focusing on membership renewals and program updates.  

  • 22 First Time (New) Members joined Visit San Antonio Membership.  

  • 381 FY24 Members renewed their membership, putting the department at 50% of member goal.  

  • $377.6K projected revenue, putting the department at 63% of revenue goal.  

  • 1.4K Business Opportunities were provided to members during October to December. 


Looking Ahead Initiatives

  • San Antonio Hospitality Champions Program 
    Collaborate with the City of San Antonio World Heritage Office to infuse compelling historical content into the upcoming San Antonio Hospitality Champions Program. This effort, aimed at strengthening community ties and preserving the city's rich history, is reflected in ongoing updates to showcase the diverse essence of San Antonio. The collaboration enhances the program's educational and cultural impact, demonstrating our commitment to preserving and celebrating the city's unique history. ​

Man and woman in front of novelty van   Membership Photo 2

Member Spotlight  

Slingshot Rentals of San Antonio 
Kenneth Cole, Owner 
Website: https://www.slingshotrentalssa.com/  
Phone: (210) 935-0520 

Business Summary  

Slingshot Rentals of San Antonio is the number one provider of Slingshot rentals in San Antonio and surrounding areas. Whether taking advantage of guided tours, self-guided tours, or taking a relaxing ride around town, Slingshot Rentals of San Antonio is the place to start your adventure.  

  1. What's a project you're working on right now? Why is it meaningful to you?  
    We are working on Guided tours! They will be available at the start of Spring 2024. We already have self-guided tours set up, but we wanted to bring something special that would allow groups of people from all different walks of life to travel together and enjoy the beautiful sites that San Antonio has to offer. This will accommodate locals and tourists alike. Our first tour will be the Twisted Sisters. I know people will love the thrill of riding in a Slingshot; they just have no idea how affordable it really is. I'm fueled daily by the smiles from people when they come back from enjoying their ride.    

  2. What do you love the most about your business?  
    Meeting people is the highlight of every day. I have shaken hands with some wonderful people that I would never have had the opportunity to meet if it wasn't for my business. I love going out of my way to make sure every adventure is meaningful and special.

  3. Who/what inspires you?  
    I just finished a book called "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy. This book talked about really figuring out your why. What is the real reason you do anything in life, and how you should focus on that as your core energy.  My core energy, without a doubt, is my wife and kids. I focus on them daily while I am managing my business. At the end of the day, this is all for them to carry on when I am gone.  

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