Napa Valley hotel spending rises 12% to $368M
Napa Valley’s tourism growth was the fastest in California last year, based on details revealed at a major county tourism meeting.
Revenue from hotel stays was $367.9 million, up 12.7 percent for the 12-month period ending in April, industry officials reported at the Visit Napa Valley Sales & Marketing Conference.
The growth rate for travel spending in the county was the highest in the state. Tourists opened their wallets 9 percent wider in 2014–2015, spending $1.27 billion.
Total hotel occupancy rose to 73 percent in 2015, from 71.6 percent in 2014, an increase of 5 percent. The average daily hotel room rate in the city of Napa was $293, also up 5 percent.
YOUNTVILLE TOPS $500 A NIGHT
The average daily rate in Yountville was $439, with occupancy at 81 percent. Occupancy in April was 76 percent, however, down about two points from the previous April.
“Our current trend is a slight reduction in occupancy of a few percent, but growth in the actual hotel room rate charged each month,” said Steve Rogers, Yountville’s town manager, at the conference, held at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa on June 17. “Last year was the first year we saw a monthly room rate average in excess of $500, when it hit $504.”
Yountville’s transient occupancy tax (TOT), revenue was $6.6 million in 2015. It’s 66 percent of the town’s annual budget, the highest proportion in the state.
The town also placed fourth on USA Today’s Best Small Town Food Scene list, and St. Helena placed fifth. The awards are voted on by readers and focus on locales with a population of under 25,000.
Along with Visit Napa Valley, St. Helena also has a new website, targeting itself as a wedding location, as it has the most winery venues in Napa county.
Michael Lennon, chairperson, Calistoga Chamber of Commerce reported TOT revenue in that city was starting to level off. By the end of 2018, that town will see two new high-end resorts, adding 200 new rooms, however.
TOT revenue in American Canyon is also leveling off, as reported by Mark Joseph, city council member, and revenue growth for all of 2016 was projected at 3 percent–4 percent. American Canyon is also looking to participate in the Napa Valley Film Festival, which takes place in November, with locations in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga.
Other statistics revealed the average age of those visiting the Napa Valley is 47 and has an average annual income of $200,000.
CHINA NOW LARGEST SOURCE OF FOREIGN TOURISTS
China became the largest source of foreign tourists to the valley in 2014, up from sixth place in 2012. The average Chinese visitor spends $7,000 each to visit the U.S.
“They are very fond of California,” said guest speaker Mike Gallagher co-founder of CityPass, the attractions marketing company, and a founding commissioner of Visit Napa Valley. “China is on fire, and visitors from there are great for us. They stay longer and spend a lot of money.”
Visitor spending supported 13,680 jobs in Napa Valley, up 3.7 percent from 2014. And more than three in four Napa workers - 77 percent - also live there.
NAPA VISITORS GO ALL-IN
Tourism in California has had its ups and downs, Gallagher said. California Travel Association, or CalTravel, was formed in 1981 to promote trips to the Golden State. Visit California grew out of CalTravel and was successful until the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
“Having an earthquake on national TV is really bad for tourism,” he said. It struck during the World Series broadcast from San Francisco.
While California has it all - beaches, mountains, Disneyland and the Golden Gate Bridge - people come to California for the lifestyle, he said.
“Travel is important to people who come to Napa,” Gallagher said. “They leave other things out of their budget so they can travel.”
Also at the event, Visit Napa Valley presented a check for $150,000 to the Vine Trail pedestrian path project along the valley. VNV has committed $2.5 million over the next 10 years.