Despite an incredibly difficult comparison, the first quarter of the year turned out to be down just slightly to 2017. Recall that 2017 included a record 79% occupancy in February, and quarterly occupancy was 78% overall. This year occupancy dropped slightly to 75.5%. ADR however increased 3% from $172 to $178. RevPAR declined from $141 to $140 a difference of .2%. Room revenue increased 3.6% – driven by increased supply from 3 recent hotel openings – Residence Inn Downtown (opened December 2017), Moxy (opened February 2018) and Embassy Suites Pioneer Square (opened March 2018).
YTD performance of our comp set varies – Vancouver’s RevPAR increased 19.2%; however many destinations saw declines, including Austin (down 6.5%), San Francisco (down 4.4%) and Portland (down 3.7%).
We anticipate YoY results will start to pick up as we reach Q2 and into the summer months.
On the heels of the successful Project Five by Five series, we partnered with SundanceTV on a new project called Dear Seattle. We enlisted five directors, all with Seattle ties, to share their love letter to the city through film. Directors included Dave Grohl, Jon Jon Augustavo, Josh Taft, and Megan Griffiths.
As we did last year, these five films made their debut at the Sundance Film Festival alongside a panel discussion with the filmmakers. Afterwards, we hosted a very well-attended Seattle pop-up party in the heart of Park City featuring bites by James Beard nominated Chef Jeffrey Vance and music by Robert DeLong.
The Dear Seattle series will be released throughout the year on SundanceTV, AMC networks and VISITSEATTLE.tv to maximize exposure and press opportunities. The first film by Dave Grohl garnered 44k views its first week, and currently has 450k total views.
Through our partnership and media buy with AMC network (which includes SundanceTV & IFC), we negotiated some nontraditional added value opportunities such as the activation at Sundance Film Festival, a presence at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Seattle Story Grant. The Seattle Story Grant allows an up-and-coming filmmaker to share their love letter to Seattle on an international stage. The winner of this grant, Matty Brown, was selected from an extremely talented pool of applicants. And, his film, Dreamcatcher, is truly a work of art about Seattle.
Matty’s film trailer made its national broadcast debut alongside our very popular activation presence at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica. We were one of only six brands present with a pavilion, and ours was, by far, the tastiest. We served Sparkman Cellars wines, Rachel’s Ginger Beer “Seattle Mules,” Beecher’s Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Cinerama’s Chocolate Popcorn and, freshly shucked Hama Hama Oysters.
Visit Seattle branding was incorporated into all press materials and woven throughout the show, with recognition from the stage by hosts John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, in addition to Matty’s film trailer debut.
Over 2 million people watched the live broadcast, and “#spiritawards” was the top trending hashtag for over an hour globally. The total impressions generated by the Spirit Awards exceeded 1,000,000,000 impressions—that’s one billion.
Celebrating its fourth year, Seattle Museum Month is a key asset for our destination in driving leisure room nights (during the typically quieter month of February), as well as museum attendance. What started as a week-long event grew into a month-long program in 2015 that continues to garner national and international media attention and position Seattle as a leading arts and culture destination.
Each year, Visit Seattle engages museums and cultural institutions across the region to participate. In 2018, 40 museums were involved, primarily concentrated in the Seattle area, but also as far as Everett in the north, to Tacoma in the south; and from the east in Bremerton to the west in Snoqualmie. Institutions of all kinds participated, giving visitors a remarkable selection of subject areas to explore from fine art, history, aviation, pop culture, music and much more.
The advertising support of this campaign consisted of hard-hitting units focused on families and arts/cultural travelers. Additionally, we have geo-targeted the drive markets of Yakima, Spokane, Portland and Boise.
Visit Seattle also created toolkits for hotels and museums to encourage them to amplify the messaging through their established channels. These includes signage, e-assets, social media posts, etc.
We just wrapped the 21st annual Taste Washington. This year’s event lineup was the strongest we’ve had, from the wineries pouring at the Red & White Party at AQUA by El Gaucho to the nationally known celebrity chefs on the Alaska Mileage Plan Chef’s Stage; guests enjoyed every minute.
As a reminder, Taste Washington is a partnership between Washington State Wine and Visit Seattle. They entrusted us to be the producers (since 2012) with the mission to grow it as a destination event. Our ticket sales and sponsorship numbers all finished ahead of years past, and it truly was the best one yet.
Taste Washington numbers:
|Grand Tasting Attendance||6,750||5,760|
|Restaurants at Grand Tasting||65||65|
|Best Bite||Capital Grille||Capital Grille|
|Wineries at Grand Tasting||239||225|
|Wines poured at Grand Tasting||717||675|
|Total wines poured at festival||975||894|
|Number of oysters shucked||10,000||9,600|
Our latest series produced in partnership with Vox (who also produced Been There, Made That). Four influencers come to Seattle, and are given just a map, Polaroid camera and a starting point in Seattle. Without a smartphone, they must seek advice, tips and input from the community around them to explore Seattle through a given topic. Current episodes include: “Food from the Sea” and “Out in Seattle.” Upcoming episodes will feature our epic natural surroundings and Seattle-made goods/retail.
We have carved out the STIA subset and have compiled transient weekday/weekend rate, occupancy and RevPAR by month. We are reporting 2018 results as compared to a five year average (2013 – 2017) and to 2017 performance. The full report is located on the dashboard.
|March YTD||YTD RevPAR Overall||2018 %Change||YTD RevPAR Weekend||2018 %Change|
|5 year average||$82.32||$78.81|
Monthly activity and social media are reported in graph form in the dashboard. For detailed information on any of our initiatives, please contact us.
President & CEO
SVP & Chief Marketing Officer