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Beyond Heads in Beds: Opportunity and Innovation in Rochester’s Hospitality Industry

August 29, 2016

Related Document: 2016-Annual-Report-to-the-Community.pdf

 As described in the RCVB's 2016 Annual Report to the Community, released today, the Bureau and its partners have advocated for and adopted some unique and dynamic strategies to position Rochester as a vibrant, world-class destination for visitors while stimulating economic growth and improving quality-of-life throughout the community. Specifically, the RCVB introduced a pioneering hospitality-industry accreditation program that facilitates high-quality customer experiences, and also advocated for first-of-a-kind medical lodging licensure legislation that helps ensure that Rochester's medical visitors are directed to safe, quality lodging.

 "We have been very successful in launching some innovative initiatives to ensure that every visitor experience is a positive one," said Brad Jones, RCVB's executive director. "We are also succeeding in attracting more visitors to our city. In 2015, we were honored to host three million overnight visitors who spent $465 million in our community's hotels, restaurants, and shops."

 Highlights of the RCVB's efforts and results include:

 The RCVB is enhancing the visitor experience.

  • Nine hospitality-industry businesses have received accreditation through the RCVB's one-of-a-kind Experience Accreditation program, which is designed to create an exceptional hospitality-industry experience for visitors, patients, and community members. More accreditation applications are in the pipeline.
  • More than 1,200 area hospitality industry workers have been trained as Certified Tourism Ambassadors, with 181 completing the CTA program in 2015. The CTA program, a nationwide certification program for volunteers, front-line hospitality workers, and anyone involved in serving visitors, was launched by the RCVB in 2011.
  • The RCVB and hospitality industry businesses began collecting visitor feedback through the survey in 2015. Survey feedback is being used to help the RCVB prioritize initiatives and allocate resources to improve visitor experiences.

 The RCVB is helping develop our destination.

  • More than a dozen medical lodging licenses have been issued in Rochester since the 2015 passage of pioneering medical lodging licensure legislation. The RCVB advocated for the legislation, which requires that lodging establishments that provide home-like accommodations for medical visitors meet construction, maintenance, and operations standards.
  • The $84 million expansion project at Mayo Civic Center, a close partner of the RCVB, is on track for completion in April, 2017. Once the transformation is complete, the center's new convention facilities are expected to draw new people and new income streams to local businesses.
  • Rochester added 610 new hotel rooms to its hotel inventory in 2015, bringing the citywide total room count to 5,873 at 57 lodging establishments. Several new hotels will open in 2017 and major renovations are currently underway at eight hotels.

 The RCVB's efforts are impacting the economy.

  • In 2015, the RCVB sales staff helped attract 315 conventions/meetings and 82 sports events to Rochester, generating more than $87 million in overall economic impact.
  • The RCVB exceeded sales goals related to the Mayo Civic Center, generating $2.99 million in Mayo Civic Center revenue and $48 million in economic impact from the center.

 The RCVB's efforts are strengthening the community.

  • The RCVB's success in attracting conventions, meetings, and events to Rochester triggers major economic benefits and supports improved quality-of-life throughout the community.
  • Hosting conventions and meetings helps sustain hospitality businesses, as well as public and private venues.
  • The quantity and quality of Rochester's restaurants and entertainment options is made possible by visitors and could not be supported by the city's population base alone.

Jones notes that the RCVB is poised enthusiastically for the many growth opportunities ahead, and that collecting visitor feedback will help drive the RCVB's strategy and tactics moving forward. "We need to be agile and flexible in order to provide unmatched hospitality to our visitors during their stays and to meet the needs of our changing community," Jones noted. "The RCVB staff, our Board of Directors, and our hospitality industry partners have the creativity, passion, and energy necessary to not only position Rochester as an exceptional destination, but also to strengthen Rochester's economy and improve quality-of-life throughout the community. We're proud of our accomplishments and looking forward to exploring exciting new opportunities!"

 View the full report to the community containing the RCVB's 2015 efforts and results here.