Hotel occupancy rates in Sonoma County increased by 5.1 percent over the year in May, reaching 78.6 percent in 2014 compared with 77.3 percent in 2013, according to figures from Smith Travel Research.

At the same time, the average daily rate increased over the year by 8.8 percent, reaching $140.95 in 2014 compared to $132.07 in 2013, according to the company.

Sonoma County’s occupancy rates have increased to an annual average of 74 percent at the end of 2013.

Revenue per available room increased over the year by 8.5 percent, reaching $110.83 through May 2014 compared to $102.12 in May 2013.

In addition to seeing improved metrics over the year, a majority of the hospitality industry believes the economy has recovered, according to Sonoma County Tourism, the county’s official tourism booster.

According to the 2013 Annual Tourism Survey of more than 300 tourism-related businesses in Sonoma County, 87 percent of businesses are “optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” about their prospects in 2014.

Tourism adds more than $97.3 million to government coffers in the form of taxes collected from visitors, according to the survey conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.

Tourism is one of the largest industries in Sonoma County, employing nearly 18,000 people and resulting in more than $1.55 billion in spending, according to Visit California.

“In addition to the economic impact, tourism provides a better quality of life for Sonoma County residents,” said Ken Fischang, president and CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. “Visitors come in and spend money at our local businesses. The businesses pay their employees, who buy goods and services with that money. Taxes generated from visitor spending fund educations, roads, and other essentials.”

Tourism is also a significant source of tax revenue for local governments, with visitor-generated tax revenue currently making up more than 22 percent of total local tax receipts, according to the EDB.***Other local tourism figures

Napa Valley tourism up 62% from low during recession

June 27, 2014

Occupancy rates in Marin County, tracked by PKF Consulting, were up in March by 11.2 percent, reaching 76.1 percent in 2014 versus 68.5 percent in 2013.

RevPar was up by nearly 20 percent for the month ended in March, reaching $100.68 in 2014 compared to $83.95 the year prior, according to San Francisco-based PKF.

Average daily room rates increased by 7.9 percent, reaching $132.24 in 2014 versus  $122.61 in 2013.

For the three months ended in March, RevPar in Marin was $90.79 -- up 27.6 percent from 2013, when it was $71.18.

Occupancy for the three months ended in March was up 13 percent -- from 61 percent in in 2013 to 68.9 percent in 2014.

Average daily room rates for the three months ended in March reached $131.72 in 2014, up 12.9 percent from last year’s rate of $116.68.***

Petaluma-based Lagunitas Brewing Company continues to carve its share of the growing craft beer segment, gaining 4.5 percent of the total market share in the sector, according to a recent report from Frank, Rimmerman & Company.

The U.S. domestic beer market is dominated by “the big two” -- Anheuser-Busch and Miller-Coors, which collectively account for 75 percent of the entire beer market, the report said.

But craft beer now accounts for 7.8 of domestic beer sales, up from 6.5 percent a year ago. The craft beer segment is now a $14 billion industry -- larger than the entire ultra-premium wine industry.

Craft beer sales grew by 20 percent just in 2013, versus a 3 percent yearly growth rate in the wine industry, according to the report.***

Chef Adolfo Veronese opened Aventine Glen Ellen in late June in the 170-year-old Gristmill in Jack London Village.

Aventine Glen Ellen is the third location for Chef Veronese and his brother Gian-Paolo. Both are the children of Angela Alioto and respected restaurateur Adolfo Sr. of Osteria Romano fame. Along with partner Rodrigo Nevado, the group founded the popular Taverna Aventine in 2007 in San Francisco. In 2012 they opened Aventine Hollywood. For their third venture, the Aventine team chose a more rural location. Aventine Glen Ellen will be their first foray into Wine Country.

The restaurant said it will take the farm-to-table concept “to another level,” by not only purchasing products from local producers but also having its own garden onsite for produce.

The restaurant will also establish a micro-brewery on site to produce its own proprietary beers. Plans call for a wine list that features local Sonoma and Napa wines. Aventine Glen Ellen is located at 14301 Arnold Dr. It has private rooms and terraces available for banquets, private parties and weddings.***

The city of Calistoga is marketing itself as a destination for meetings and special events, in addition to its wine country reputation.

The Calistoga Chamber of Commerce in an announcement highlighted several spaces, including Indian Springs Resort, JoLē and Domaine, a new location dedicated to special events in downtown Calistoga

Indian Springs Resort will be opening an additional 75 rooms in July. The resort’s addition will focus on accommodating group reservations. In the near future, Indian Springs Resort plans to continue its expansion to include event space and restaurant this fall.

JoLē, a contemporary American restaurant, has expanded its seating capacity in the private dining room to accommodate small parties, rehearsal dinners and business meetings. Now the private dining room can comfortably seat 26 people,

New to Calistoga is Domaine, a 2,000-square-foot event space by Domaine Somm in downtown Calistoga....

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