FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Visit SLO CAL Market Study Highlights Robust Demand for
New Conference Facility

Results show more conference space would boost mid-week bookings during off-peak season

San Luis Obispo County, CA (May 10, 2017) –Visit SLO CAL recently released a Countywide Conference Center Market Study, which was commissioned to determine how mid-week business travel may be impacted as a result of new conference facility inventory. The study indicates strong demand, and a growing market, for mid-week conference bookings during off-peak seasons in San Luis Obispo County.

The results of the extensive, third party study show that Wednesday and Thursday are peak conference days with 84% of bookings occurring in the fall, winter and spring. Additionally, the study demonstrates how business travelers often convert their business travel into extended-stay leisure bookings adding to the economic impact. Attendees commonly bring a spouse, extend the length of stay and spend more dollars at restaurants, retail shops and other businesses. The study also shows that conference attendees often return to the region for leisure travel based on interest in the destination they discovered while at the conference.

“The conference center market study is a product of five key imperatives in our three-year strategic plan,” said Chuck Davison, President & CEO of Visit SLO CAL. “We commissioned the study with the intent of proving the demand for large conference center space in the county and making the resulting information available for use by a local municipality, private party or combination of both. The report demonstrates an opportunity to support economic stability by growing sustainable, year-round tourism, one of the county’s largest industries. Such efforts are even more important with the Diablo Plant closure looming.”

Visit SLO CAL worked with B&D Venues, a Brailsford & Dunlavey practice group, which specializes in evaluating investments that advance communities. B&D conducted a detailed market study and demand analysis, evaluating the four competitive regional markets of Santa Barbara, Fresno, Monterey, and Bakersfield, as well as 11 comparable public facilities in similar markets across the country. A component of the study was a survey of meeting planners with 57 responses from Visit SLO CAL’s target market areas of San Francisco,
San Jose and Southern California.

Although the county is currently limited in its ability to host larger groups due to the lack of suitable ballroom space, meeting planners surveyed were interested in the destination and its unique offerings specifically the availability of outdoor activities. A ballroom of 20,000 SQ with availability to book Tuesday -Friday business in the spring, fall and winter satisfied 95% of responders’ needs when booking group business. Survey responders were interested in a variety of communities to book a meeting if suitable space was available with San Luis Obispo, Five Cities (Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach), Paso Robles and Morro Bay being the most preferred locations.

“The seasonality of rates and occupancy can vary greatly throughout the year,” said Davison. “With nearly 9,000 hotel rooms countywide and more on the way, the Conference Center Market Study proves there is demand that would help even out the seasonal highs and lows. It’s not our intent to build, own or operate a conference center, but rather to provide the evidence of how such a facility can grow tourism in San Luis Obispo County more successfully competing with surrounding areas.”

This study is among the initiatives undertaken by Visit SLO CAL with the passage of the Tourism Marketing District in June 2015. The agency is the only organization to conduct a countywide study of this nature without specific community bias. The project is aligned with the core focus to 1) create greater awareness of the county and its assets and 2) increase demand for overnight says.

For a copy of the study’s executive summary or a full copy of the study please go to:http://www.visitsanluisobispocounty.com/conference-center-study.

About Visit SLO CAL
Visit SLO CAL is the non-profit countywide destination marketing organization. Its goal is to promote San Luis Obispo County through marketing, advertising, public relations, group sales, promotions, events and sponsorship, and to brand the region as a choice destination for regional, national and international travelers. Visit SLO CAL works in partnership with tourism industry-related businesses including lodging properties, restaurants, wineries, activities, golf courses and retail stores to create a unified marketing approach that promotes the culinary, coastal and cultural assets of the County. For more information, visit www.SLOCAL.com.

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Media Contact:

Chuck Davison

T: 805-541-8000; Chuck@slocal.com