Page 1

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS

ERIC FRICK

Review VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM


Dear friends in tourism, When I first moved here in 2014, Buffalo was a very different place. Construction cranes and fencing blocked off much of the waterfront. Architectural landmarks like the Richardson Olmsted Campus had sat vacant and empty for decades, while Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex and Graycliff Estate remained works in progress. New restaurants opened intermittently and only a handful of craft breweries dotted Buffalo’s neighborhoods. Today, adventure seekers zip line and rock climb among the city’s redeveloped waterfront grain silos at Buffalo RiverWorks and pedal on locally-made ice bikes at the Ice at Canalside. Travelers can stay overnight in new hotels like Hotel Henry and the Marriott HarborCenter and watch a Lake Erie sunset from the rooftop bar of The Curtiss Hotel. Visitors can tour the Martin House and Graycliff Estate in their reclaimed grandeur following the completion of decades-long restoration projects. And after a day of exploring Buffalo, tourists can choose from dozens of new restaurants, breweries and distilleries spread out across the city’s reinvigorated neighborhoods.

in media outlets around the world, including in the travel sections of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sunday Times of London and The Washington Post just in 2018. The Unexpected Buffalo Marketing Campaign won top honors at last year’s U.S. Travel ESTO Awards, while VBN’s videos have been watched hundreds of thousands of times. This growth and the launch of new initiatives like the Buffalo Wing Trail helped boost traffic to VBN’s website, which has hosted nearly 6 million unique sessions over the last five years. VBN’s efforts have contributed to Erie County’s flourishing tourism industry. Hotel room revenue in Erie County grew by nearly $40 million between 2013 and 2018, while total tourism spending grew by 11 percent, to $1.8 billion. Tourism employment in the county has grown by 10 percent, to nearly 33,000, while Erie County’s hotel occupancy tax continues to grow year over year, achieving a record $11 million in 2018.

What a difference five years has made for Buffalo!

What a difference five years has made for Buffalo! The visitor experience in Buffalo has never been better, and our team at Visit Buffalo Niagara has spared no effort to showcase and promote this transformation to potential visitors over the last five years. Our sales staff and Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission has been hard at work booking nearly 2,500 meetings, sporting events and conventions since 2013 that have filled more than 820,000 hotel room nights and generated more than $700 million in economic impact. VBN’s Bring it Home Initiative, which encouraged locals to leverage their connections with national organizations to bring their meetings to Buffalo, has been responsible for bringing more than 800 conferences and sporting events here, creating more than $300 million in economic impact since its launch in 2015. During the last five years, VBN’s marketing team helped place more than 750 articles about Buffalo

We’ve done everything we can to grow Buffalo tourism – but now is not the time to rest on our laurels. A new or expanded Buffalo Niagara Convention Center will greatly enhance our ability to book meetings and conventions here compared to the current facility that’s one of our country’s oldest and smallest. And the upcoming expansion of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery – the first in nearly 60 years – will allow our marketing department to keep enticing potential leisure travel visitors with new and exciting stories about our transformation. The best is still yet to come for Buffalo and Visit Buffalo Niagara!

Very truly yours,

PATRICK J. KALER President and CEO Visit Buffalo Niagara


JUST THE FACTS: 2018 AT A GLANCE VBN CONVENTION, SPORTS & GROUP TOUR SALES

$116 million

778

495

Conventions, meetings, amateur athletic events or group tours booked

sales leads

136,560 Hotel room nights booked

BUFFALO NIAGARA CONVENTION CENTER

271,674

140

People attended events at the Convention Center

Events hosted

279

Days the Center was occupied

30,525

Hotel room nights utilized due to events at the Center

BUFFALO NIAGARA SPORTS COMMISSION

112,900 Attendance

Attendees serviced

Hotel room nights

82

Amateur sporting events serviced in 2018

VBN CONVENTION SERVICES

49,200 Hotel room nights booked

129

Meetings and conventions serviced

VBN MARKETING

236

Out-of-town media placements

92,298

Facebook followers

3

1,429,035 Unique sessions to the website

27,898 Twitter followers

51

press visits

28,703

Instagram followers

$7.1

million Media value of out-of-town media coverage

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

44,000

87,090

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

Future economic impact


BUILDING THE BUFFALO BUZZ Buffalo achieved unprecedented visibility in the national media in 2018 and Visit Buffalo Niagara’s media relations team played an integral role in making that happen. VBN hosted more than 50 travel media on press trips and assisted with dozens of inquiries that helped lead to more than 200 stories about Buffalo in outlets like Thrillist.com, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times of London and The Washington Post.

4

These stories set VBN records for ad equivalency value, total number of media placements and number of media hosted and were often effusive in their praise for Buffalo. The coverage reflects the destination’s evolution – the newsworthiness of its architectural restorations, reinvigoration of its neighborhoods and redevelopment of its waterfront – as well as an aggressive VBN media relations strategy. VBN attended media shows like the International Media Marketplace and partnered with MuchPR to arrange desk side visits in New York City on multiple occasions that helped lead to coverage. The relationships VBN cultivated from such in-person meetings will help continue to build the buzz about Buffalo in the years ahead. •••

NEW WAYS TO ADVERTISE

B U F F A L O

Visit Buffalo Niagara continues to identify new platforms and audiences for promoting Buffalo. Instagram was one of VBN’s most cost-effective and successful advertising mediums in 2018. Access to their large and loyal fan base and the ease in which they allow brands to place ads made it a go-to location for VBN to promote two significant food and beverage experiences -- the Buffalo Wing Trail and craft beer. VBN launched a video campaign to promote both of those initiatives and the results were impressive. The Wing Trail video garnered more than 950,000 views and the beer video nearly 650,000. In an age of multiple platforms and channels, finding that level of engagement with our video content was quite an accomplishment. •••


Winging It On The Trail For decades, ordering wings in the city that created

outlets including the Associated Press, Food & Wine,

them has been near the top of a visitor’s to-do list. But

Bon Appetit and Lonely Planet. Travel writers from

these visitors had no blueprint or guide to show them

as far away as the United Kingdom came to sample

some of the best spots for Buffalo wings in Buffalo.

the trail, which was represented through a brochure

Enter Visit Buffalo Niagara’s Buffalo Wing Trail.

and a microsite as well as signage, branded coasters,

Visit Buffalo Niagara’s marketing team launched the

T-shirts and other promotional items at each of the

Buffalo Wing Trail

stops. VBN also put

inspired by a seminar

together a sizable

on food trails at

paid advertising

the 2017 U.S. Travel

campaign to

Association ESTO

promote the

Conference. The

launch of the trail.

trail is a collection

Our diversified

of 12 of the very

approach had the

best wing joints in

Wing Trail visible

the Buffalo region,

in print, digital,

establishments that

social and billboards

have been perfecting

throughout

their wings for years.

New York, Ohio,

The “Delicious Dozen”

Pennsylvania and

was identified through a Facebook poll, research on

Southern Ontario. These efforts encouraged interested

previously published reviews and articles, as well

wing lovers to visit www.buffalowingtrail.com and

as consultation with National Buffalo Wing Festival

we welcomed 125,000 sessions since April 2018 (our

Founder Drew Cerza.

second most visited page for all of 2018). This level of

VBN staff spent months talking to restaurateurs

interest and awareness translated into visitors making

and the cooking techniques that make each stop on the trail unique. The trail was an immediate hit with national media, receiving coverage in more than 100

the decision to come to Buffalo. Wing Trail restaurants reported seeing an increase in out-of-town customers, including a report of visitors coming from as far away as Arizona to complete the Trail! •••

5

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

in April after being

about their preparation methods, special sauces

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

DREW BROWN


GETTING SOCIAL Visit Buffalo Niagara began partnering with social influencers in 2018 – a reflection of the rapidly evolving media landscape. VBN hosted more than a half-dozen individuals with large social media audiences who specialized in food and travel content in key visitor markets. The sponsored trips helped inspire photos for these influencers’ Instagram pages and reached an audience of hundreds of thousands of prospective travelers in cities like Toronto, New York City, and Rochester.

DREW BROWN

Influencer partnerships will remain a key piece of Visit Buffalo Niagara’s marketing strategy moving forward as traditional media outlets continue to lose readership and more eyeballs head to social media newsfeeds. •••

6

CHEERS TO BEERS!

DREW BROWN

Craft beer has exploded in the Buffalo Niagara region,

markets such as Southern Ontario, Cleveland, Pittsburgh,

growing from 14 breweries in 2015 to more than 30

Erie and Rochester.

in 2018. Visit Buffalo Niagara recognized the need to promote this burgeoning sector of tourism and put Buffalo and Western New York on the map as a craft beer destination, and New York State supported our efforts with a $50,000 Market NY grant. We utilized VBN and state funds to print and distribute 25,000 copies of the Buffalo Brewcation brochure and to purchase digital and print placements in key regional

“Buffalo Brewcation” ads were placed in the pages of beer publications such as The Growler, Craft Pittsburgh and Hop Culture, along with targeted placements in craft beer and fall guides with Cleveland Scene, Pittsburgh City Paper, Erie Reader and more. YouTube, Instagram and Facebook commercials were also prime opportunities to share the edited version of our beer video. •••


Video-based marketing is arguably the most powerful

In April, VBN launched the Buffalo Wing Trail,

storytelling tool today’s DMO has at its disposal. High

accompanied by a promotional film that told the story

quality video content uniquely crafted for digital

of wings and how they became the world’s most popular

advertising and social media platforms is driving decision

bar food. In addition, 12 short videos highlighting each

making by travelers and delivering significant ROI to

of the 12 restaurants on the trail were released over the

destinations who invest in this communication tool.

course of summer 2018. These videos were viewed more than 78,000 times online.

that resonate with potential

June saw the release of a video that

visitors for the past ten

was three years in the making – “Right

years, but we stepped up our

Here Right Now.” Produced with the

production efforts in 2018 to

financial support of the Buffalo Niagara

take advantage of the explosion

Partnership, 43 North, Invest Buffalo

of interest in video content. Our

Niagara and the Larkin Development

marketing team continued to

Group, “Right Here Right Now “is an

work closely with Paget Films –

exhilarating time-lapse look at the new

producing four original videos

Buffalo. It has been viewed more than

with their assistance-- while

570,000 times online. “Right Here Right

investing in state-of-the-art

Now” received a Gold Addy award for

video production equipment

cinematography and a Silver Addy for

that will allow us to produce

branded content from the Advertising

additional content in-house.

Club of Buffalo at its annual event

February saw the release of a powerful new video

honoring the best of local advertising and marketing

celebrating Buffalo’s African-American history and

communications.

heritage. “Lift Every Voice” had its premiere at the

The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission also premiered a

Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts before

new video in 2018 at the United States Sports Congress.

an appreciative audience. Since its release, the video has

The video is intended to convince rights holders and

been viewed more than 55,000 times online and was the

amateur sports governing bodies to bring their events to

recipient of a Gold Award for Excellence from the North

Buffalo. Attendees lavished praise on the video, with one

American Travel Journalists Association.

viewer calling it the “best sports promotion video” he had ever seen. •••

7

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

VBN has been producing videos

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

VBN EXCELS IN VIDEO-BASED MARKETING


and social media placements in the key visitor markets of Toronto, Rochester, Erie, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. VBN also deployed the campaign in publications geared for meeting planners and sports events rights holders. The Unexpected Buffalo campaign depicts a digitally created half buffalo, half human “everyman” who enjoys activities like kayaking the Buffalo River, touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex and exploring Garden Walk Buffalo. Since its debut, the Unexpected Buffalo has also established a presence on Facebook and evolved a Twitter identity. A Facebook Messenger chatbot launched by Visit Buffalo Niagara – the first of its kind in the United States -- allows the public to interact directly with the Unexpected Buffalo online, getting answers to questions about what to see and do or where to dine out.

ACCOLADES AND AWARDS FOR THE UNEXPECTED BUFFALO CAMPAIGN

8

Visit Buffalo Niagara’s Unexpected Buffalo campaign took home the top prize at last summer’s ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations) Conference in Phoenix. Presented by the U.S. Travel Association, ESTO’s Destiny Awards recognize excellence in destination marketing on the local and regional level. Visit Buffalo Niagara topped other destination marketing organizations from around the country with a similar marketing budget. The judges lauded VBN for creating a “bold” campaign that featured a :30 TV spot, print ads in daily newspapers and city magazines, out-of-home and transit advertising and digital

“This is a well-considered campaign that seemed to successfully re-craft the popular narrative about Buffalo, and to make some people want to visit,” The U.S. Travel Association judges noted. “In giving such a defined and specific image to a previously undefined location (per research), the judges thought this campaign was masterful, cheeky and smart.” The Unexpected Buffalo campaign also received a Silver Adrian Award in the Integrated Marketing Campaign category at an awards banquet at New York City’s Hilton Hotel this past January. The Adrian Awards recognize excellence in travel marketing and are presented by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association, an international organization of travel and tourism professionals. •••

Brian Hayden. Brian interviews Buffalonians who represent unique, quirky and fun visitor experiences. The videos, shot by Marketing Manager Drew Brown on an iPhone, typically span three to five minutes, require little to no editing and often debut live to VBN’s 92,000 Facebook followers. In 2018, “Buffalo Live!” covered subjects ranging from zip lining at RiverWorks to interviewing the legendary

BUFFALO LIVE! Visit Buffalo Niagara continued to use social media in innovative and creative ways in 2018. One of our most successful initiatives is the monthly “Buffalo Live!” Facebook series featuring Communications Manager

Conehead at a Buffalo Bisons game, the proprietor of the Marilla Country Store and the owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill. The ten “Buffalo Live!” videos produced in 2018 garnered more than 300,000 views on Facebook, a remarkable return on investment given the minimal amount of time needed to produce each installment. •••


North America’s largest regional motor coach trade show came to Buffalo in February and created lasting benefits for the region’s tourism industry. The Heartland Travel Showcase pairs those who sell group travel experiences, such as bus travel, with local attractions. Group tour operators from more than a dozen different states and Ontario experienced Buffalo and its many attractions over the course of the show, positioning the city for bookings and future tours with busloads of visitors. Heartland’s Buffalo show included an opening reception at

the Hotel @ The Lafayette and a dinner at the Frank Lloyd Wright Martin House Complex’s Greatbach Pavilion, while pre-and post- familiarization tours showcased a variety of attractions in Buffalo, East Aurora and Niagara Falls. The Showcase attracted 400 attendees and generated nearly $1 million in economic impact. And group tours booked for Buffalo based on relationships cultivated at the conference may bring in millions more for the region in the years ahead. •••

The Buffalo Niagara Convention Center’s Next Chapter Erie County took the first steps toward building a new Buffalo Niagara Convention Center in 2018. Last fall, the county published the results of a study it commissioned to determine the functionality of the current center and examine potential alternatives. The study, completed by HVS Conventions, Sports and Entertainment, determined the current facility is “functionally obsolete” as one of the country’s oldest and smallest convention centers. It recommended the county pursue one of two alternatives: either renovate and expand

the center’s current footprint along Franklin Street, or build an entirely new facility closer to Canalside and the waterfront. The county then commenced a 90-day public comment period soliciting input on whether it should remain in the convention business. It will reveal the results of that input and outline further plans for the center’s future in 2019. A new or expanded center would have an enormous impact on Visit Buffalo Niagara’s ability to market and promote Buffalo as a destination for meetings and conventions. •••

9

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

JAMES CAVANAUGH

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

SHOWCASING BUFFALO FOR GROUP TRAVEL


PREPARING OUR PARTNERS

“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” Successful destinations know this and do everything they can to ensure visitors are met by courteous, convivial and knowledgeable staff at hotels, restaurants and attractions. Visit Buffalo Niagara’s Industry Relations Department does exactly that through its destination development program. This program provides our industry partners and volunteers with information on new developments in our destination, resources to better assist our guests, and best-practice training in customer service through a series of e-communications, industry gatherings, familiarization tours and subject-specific training sessions.

10

Attendance at VBN’s 40 industry meetings, industry networking nights at local attractions, front line training sessions, Beacon Awards,

volunteer mixers and familiarization field trips reached an all-time high of 1,800 in 2018. Subscribers to Buffalo Niagara This Week, a weekly email with event recommendations is approaching 1,000, and 1,600 partners subscribe to Travel Pulse, a monthly report of metrics impacting tourism.

We’re also encouraging our industry partners to take a greater role in telling their own story on our website. Delila, our Destination Extranet for Leads, Information, Listings and Activities portal, allows partners to update their listing to our website, adding photographs and video and linking to Trip Advisor and social media reviews. Delila also gives our partners access to VBN’s website event calendar which, in 2018, included more than 1,000 local events. •••

de

U N I V E R S I T Y

delila

MAKING INROADS OVERSEAS

d

Visit Buffalo Niagara continues to build on its strategy to bring more international visitors to the region. In 2018, VBN participated in a sales mission to London and Manchester targeting markets for both groups and independent travelers. Several key global receptive operators visited Buffalo on a FAM tour and site inspections helped spur additional opportunities. There are now over 30 bookable packages available to Buffalo from tour operators in the UK, Ireland, and Scotland as a result, and the Buffalo Niagara region is now ranked 24th in the United States for the number of overseas visitor arrivals. •••


BUFFALO IS HOCKEY HEAVEN

Buffalo’s success in hosting hockey tournaments is a reflection of the investment the community has made in new and updated hockey facilities, including HarborCenter on Buffalo’s waterfront and the Northtown Center at Amherst. In March and April alone, the Northtown Center hosted more than 200 teams for the New York State Amateur Hockey Association’s State Tournaments as well as the USA Hockey National Championships. Collectively, the state tournaments filled more than 10,000 hotel room nights and brought in approximately $7.9 million for the local economyproviding a much needed boost for the hospitality industry at a time of year when demand for hotel rooms is low. The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission annually attends a number of tradeshows to promote Buffalo as a destination for a variety of amateur athletic events – including swimming, softball and hockey championships. •••

CENTER OF

ATTENTION The Buffalo Niagara Convention Center had another successful year in 2018, with more than 271,000 people attending 140 events. In all, the building was booked for 279 days. These events generated more than 30,000 hotel room bookings and $36 million in economic impact for Buffalo. The BNCC had another stellar year of service, too, earning an impressive score of 4.70/5 on guest satisfaction surveys. In 2018, the center also replaced some of its original equipment, including staging, dance floor and banquet chairs that were 40 years old. •••

11

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

THE

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

Buffalo has become a top-tier destination for college and amateur hockey tournaments. The region hosted more than three dozen hockey tournaments and events in 2018 – including the USA Hockey Player Development Camps, USA Sled Hockey Border Series and North American Prospect Boys Tournament. The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission played an integral role in bringing many of these tournaments to Buffalo, assisting at these events and ensuring their success, from booking hotel room blocks for teams to staffing information tables on Buffalo.


CONGRATULATIONS! Visit Buffalo Niagara recently hired two new staff members and promoted a third employee within its meetings and sports sales department. Meaghan Zimmer is VBN’s new national sales manager, while Heather Nowakowski is the new sales and marketing assistant. Lauren Vargo has been promoted to VBN’s new sports services manager. Meaghan Zimmer

Zimmer will focus on sales to social, military, education, religious and fraternal organizations. Vargo helps ensure the success of college and amateur athletic events by booking hotel room blocks, staffing events and providing visitors with information about Buffalo. And Nowakowski helps coordinate sales and marketing efforts, from arranging the details of familiarization trips for meeting planners to updating Visit Buffalo Niagara’s database. Congratulations to all! •••

Heather Nowakowski

12

Lauren Vargo

SEMPER FI, BUFFALO

The U.S. Marine Corps League held its 95th annual convention in Buffalo in July, bringing nearly 1,000 attendees from around the country to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and surrounding downtown hotels and generating more than $2 million in economic impact. The league so enjoyed the Center and surrounding venues like the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park that it is considering returning to Buffalo for its 100th anniversary in 2023! Visit Buffalo Niagara successfully bid in 2016 to host this convention, and staffed volunteer tables and welcome desks to make the Marine Corps feel welcome. •••

DREW BROWN

SHOWING OFF

BUFFALO

Visit Buffalo Niagara hosted 24 out-of-town meeting planners and group tour operators in June who had the potential to bring future conventions, meetings and group tours to Buffalo. The group participated in a multi-day familiarization tour that included stops at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Niagara Falls. VBN also treated attendees to zip lining at RiverWorks and a Buffalo River History Tours boat ride to acquaint them with the city. Opportunities such as these help make the right impression and are critical for ensuring future success in generating sales activity. •••


Patrick Kaler Earns State Wide, National Recognition Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler has been recognized both statewide and nationally for his work, earning the Tourism Executive of the Year award from the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association (NYSHTA), and being elected the new chair of the U.S. Travel Association’s NYSHTA, which is America’s oldest lodging association and advocates for the statewide travel and tourism industry, recognized Kaler at its annual conference at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in October. Kaler’s two-year term as chair of the 26-member Destinations Council will put him at the forefront of national grassroots advocacy efforts for the travel and tourism industry, including the 400 members of the U.S. Travel Association. •••

Top Events of 2019 }N  CAA Frozen Four – April 8-14 » The nation’s top four collegiate hockey teams will face off for the NCAA championship title this spring at Buffalo’s Key Bank Center. The 72nd Annual Frozen Four will mark Buffalo’s second time hosting the championship, and the first time since 2003. The Frozen Four will fill 5,300 hotel room nights in downtown Buffalo and generate $3.9 million in economic impact.

} North American Rinks Conference & Expo, May 18 – 24 » The North American Rink Conference & Expo (NARCE), presented by the United States Ice Rink Association, is the premier annual meeting of ice rink and ice sport industry professionals. The 4-day event will bring together hundreds of ice rink professionals, ice sport national governing body representatives and industry suppliers for leading educational courses, networking opportunities and the industry’s largest trade show.

} United States Synchronized Swimming Junior Olympics, June 26- July 8 » The largest synchronized swimming event in the world will generate more than $2.2 million in economic impact and fill 2,000 hotel room nights. The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission worked closely with the Tonawanda Aquettes to host the event, which will bring nearly 1,000 athletes from around the country to the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic Center. } American Legion, State of New York Convention, July 15-21 » Buffalo will host the 99th Annual Auxiliary Convention and the 45th Annual Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Convention. The State Convention will bring nearly 1,500 attendees to downtown buffalo this summer. The convention will fill nearly 1,852 room nights between the Hyatt Regency and Buffalo Grand Hotels, and generate nearly $1.8 million in economic impact. } New York State Bureau of Emergency Services – Vital Signs Symposium, October 24-27 » The Vital Signs Symposium offers EMS providers of all levels a wide range of educational programs, which focus on strengthening skills and enhancing clinical knowledge to provide the highest quality of care. The symposium will attract more than 2,000 attendees who will fill 2,300 hotel room nights and generate an estimated $3.3 million in economic impact.

13

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

} American Association of Airport Executives - Snow Symposium, April 26- May 1 » The 53rd Annual NEC/AAAE International Aviation Snow Symposium is presented by the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives and the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Focused exclusively on airfield snow removal and winter operations, the event provides new educational programs, opportunities for networking, and a variety of ideas about winter operations. The symposium will attract more than 800 attendees and occupy more than 1,500 hotel room nights, creating an estimated economic impact of $1.5 million.

NARCE, which will take place at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, the Northtown Center and the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, will fill 1,000 hotel room nights and generate nearly $700,000 in economic impact.

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

Destinations Council.


All Booked Up! MONTHLY OCCUPANCY PERCENTAGE,

Buffalo’s hotel industry had one its strongest years ever,

2018

according to key indicators compiled by Smith Travel Research. The average daily rate of $107.08 and the total

revenue at hotels countywide ( $257,499,158) both set all-time records.

SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH ERIE COUNTY HOTEL REPORT OCCUPANCY

HOTEL REVENUES

$107.08

$257,499,158

2017 63.7% $104.32

$249,243,982

2018 62.0%

14

AVERAGE RATE

2016 61.7%

$102.74

$239,710,239

2015 62.2%

$101.23

$235,913,402

TOP MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS IN BUFFALO Below are major conventions and events that came to Buffalo in 2018, in order of the most significant economic impact. NAME

ESTIMATED ECONOMIC IMPACT DATE

ROOM NIGHTS ATTENDEES

New York State Board of Law Examiners

$4.7 million

July 22

New York State United Teachers - NYSUT

$2.9 million

April 24

New York State Board of Law Examiners

$2.7 million

February 25

Catholic Charities USA

$2.4 million

1,000

6,500

3,000

2,161

3,000

3,800

1,600

September 24

1,239

Eastern Assoc. of College & University Business Officers $2.2 million

October 19

1,387

950

National Association for Campus Activities - NACA

$2.2 million

October 9

1,075

1,200

Marine Corps League

$2.1 million

August 10

3,160

600

American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)

$1.6 million

April 13

1,375

400

American Wine Society

$1.4 million

November 4

1,000

650

Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning

$1.3 million

October 22

1,295

800

Delaware North

$1.2 million

November 3

1,785

500

Association for Preservation Technology International

$1.1 million

September 23

771

550

Creative Problem Solving Institute

$1.1 million

June 18

Ohio Travel Association

$984,851

February 15

1,680

550

750

700


A Beacon of Excellence

P R E S E N T E D

TO

OUTSTANDING TOURISM EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Lillie Alexander Hampton Inn & Suites Buffalo Downtown

Brad Hahn

Maria Leon Hampton Inn Williamsville

Thomas Long The Westin Buffalo OUTSTANDING TOURISM EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Andrea Ball Roycroft Inn & Campus

Explore Buffalo Tours OUTSTANDING TOURISM VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Ron Eaton Explore Buffalo Tours OUTSTANDING TOURISM INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

BRING IT HOME AWARD – CONVEN-

USS Little Rock LCS 9 Commissioning, Maurice L. (Moe) Naylon III

Mike Zavarella Gaufest 2017

BUFFALO AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR

Sally Cunningham

2018 DESTINATION MARKETING GURU

Diana Principe

BRING IT HOME AWARD – SPORTS

Mike Gilbert (Buffalo Sabres/ HARBORCENTER), Bill Maher (Canisius College Dept. of Athletics), Simon Gray (Niagara University Dept. of Athletics) NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Championship

Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center & The Mansion on Delaware

TIONS

RESTAURANTEUR OF THE YEAR

Mike Andrzejewski

2018 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Matthew Chiazza Hyatt Place Buffalo Amherst Olivia Staniszewski Staybridge Suites

15

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

OUTSTANDING LODGING G.M. OF THE YEAR

The 2018 Beacon Award recipients were:

B Y

OUTSTANDING LODGING EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

OUTSTANDING LODGING MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Working with the former WNY Hospitality Association, we continued the Hospitality Scholarship – the 2018 recipient was Alyssa Zelaski, a graduate of Depew High School, attending Bryant & Stratton.

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

TRAV EL

&

ISM UR

In May, we celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week, bringing attention to the economic impact of tourism in Erie County. Activities included our 8th annual Beacon Awards luncheon, attended by nearly 500 industry partners, elected officials, volunteers and local vendors.


SERVING AS A RESOURCE FOR VISITORS

Visit Buffalo Niagara’s two visitor centers – downtown at Clinton and Washington Streets, and within the Buffalo Niagara International Airport – proved to be an invaluable resource in 2018, providing 125,741 referrals to nearly 90,000 visitors in 2018.

2018 VISIT BUFFALO NIAGARA BOARD OF DIRECTORS 16

Cindy Abbott-Letro

Law Offices of Francis A. Letro

Donald K. Boswell

WNY Public Broadcasting Association

Steve Boyd, Esq.

Steve Boyd, P.C.

Jonathan A. Dandes

Rich Baseball Operations

Dottie Gallagher

Buffalo Niagara Partnership

Lesley Haynes

Erie County Legislature Appointment

Thomas R. Hersey, Jr Erie County Commissioner of Environment & Planning

Patrick J. Kaler

Visit Buffalo Niagara

Randall Kramer

MusicalFare Theatre

Thomas M. Long

The Westin Buffalo

Michael G. Murphy

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

Bridget Niland

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Edward A. Rath, III

Erie County Legislature

Mary F. Roberts

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

Brent Rossi

Pegula Sports & Entertainment

James T. Sandoro

The Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum

Paul Snyder, III

Snyder Corporation

Donald Spasiano

Trocaire College School of Hospitality and Business

Huseyin Taran

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER

Toni L. Vazquez

Urban Family Practice

Leslie H. Zemsky

Larkin Square

2018 COMMITTEES Executive Committee CHAIR:

Mary F. Roberts

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

SECRETARY:

COMMITTEE MEMBERS VICE CHAIR

Cindy Abbott-Letro PRESIDENT & CEO:

Patrick Kaler

TREASURER :

Huseyin Taran Toni L. Vazquez

Law Offices of Francis A. Letro Visit Buffalo Niagara

IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR:

Jonathan A. Dandes

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER Urban Family Practice Rich Baseball Operations


Budget/Finance/Audit Committee CHAIR:

Huseyin Taran STAFF: Patrick Kaler

David Marzo

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER

Donald Spasiano

President & CEO

Trocaire College School of Hospitality and Business

Toni L. Vazquez

Urban Family Practice

Chief Financial Officer

Sales Committee Hanna Hoffman

Hilton Garden Inn Buffalo Downtown

STAFF: Mike Even VP of Sales

Thomas Keane

Hart Hotels

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Kimberly Kelly

Hampton Inn by Hilton Buffalo Hamburg

Clorissa Bapst

Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER

Kaila Kise

Buffalo Lodging

Marni Bator

Radisson Hotel Niagara Falls-Grand Island

Kristy Kuhar

Hilton Garden Inn Buffalo Downtown

Colleen Bauda

Buffalo Lodging

David Lacki

Ellicott Hotels

Sarah Bishop

Ellicott Hotels

Tom Molenda

Ellicott Hotels

Mark Brown

Buffalo Lodging

Jen Noble

Mansion on Delaware Avenue

Britton Buczkowski Holiday Inn Buffalo Airport

Russ Papia

The Westin Buffalo

Melissa Burke

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

Megan Porter

Hampton Inn & Suites Buffalo Airport

Missy Byrne

Ellicott Hotels

Monica Rapini

Embassy Suites by Hilton Buffalo

Matt Carlucci

Garden Place Hotel

Drew Schmitt

Ellicott Hotels

Wendy Clubine

Buffalo Lodging

Jennifer Sparcino Curtiss Hotel

Mark Cornell

Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center

Renee Stupski-Pundt Wyndham Garden Buffalo Downtown

Joyce Curry

SpringHill Suites Buffalo Airport

AnnMarie Taft

Buffalo Niagara Marriott

Michael Dobell

Hyatt Regency Buffalo

Sue Walker

Buffalo Niagara Marriott

Ann Dugan

Buffalo Lodging

Steve Walsh

Hotel @ The Lafayette

Kelly Fox

Aloft Buffalo Airport

Courtney Weiser

Buffalo Lodging

Olivia Galante

Candlewood Suites

La-Toya Williams

Hyatt Place Buffalo/Amherst

CHAIR: Leslie Zemsky

Larkin Square

Michael G. Murphy

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

STAFF: Ed Healy

VP of Marketing

Mary Roberts

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Jim Charlier

JCharlier Communication Design

Caitlin Deibel

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

Sarah Heximer

Shea’s Performing Arts Center

Dora Kukuliatas- Wisniewski

Tom’s Restaurant

James T. Sandoro Buffalo Transportation/ Pierce-Arrow Museum

Maria Scully-Morreale Albright-Knox Art Gallery Zach Specht

Pegula Sports & Entertainment

Sandy White

Freelance Writer

Destination Development Committee CHAIR: Randall Kramer MusicalFare Theatre

Brad Hahn

Explore Buffalo

STAFF: Cindy Kincaide D  irector, Industry Relations &

Leslie Haynes

County of Erie Appointment

Lynn Marinelli

Empire State Development Corp.

Megan Porter

Hampton Inn & Suites Buffalo Airport

Destination Development

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Constance Caldwell Rob Free

Consumer’s Pub/NYS Restaurant Assn.

Dan Garvey

Roycroft Inn/NYS Restaurant Assn.

Gary Praetzel  Jen Swan

Arts Services Initiative

17

VISITBUFFALONIAGARA.COM

Marketing Committee

2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS REVIEW

CHAIR: Thomas Long The Westin Buffalo


2018 BUFFALO NIAGARA SPORTS COMMISSION ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIR: Bill Maher

Canisius College

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Ann Brooker Mike Buczkowski Stephen Butler Charlie Cannan Chris Catanzaro Brian Cavanaugh Drew Cerza

Buffalo News

Rob Crean

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Bisons Niagara University Pegula Sports & Entertainment. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. D’Youville College National Buffalo Wing Festival

Jonathan A. Dandes Rich Baseball Operations TJ Day STAR Swimming Therese Forton-Barnes Events to a Tee Sean Green Riverworks Kathleen Gregoire Skating Club of WNY Eric Guzdek Northtown Center at Amherst Thomas Hersey County of Erie

Perry Jenkins Peter Jerebko Tom Koeller John Lambert Joe Lojacono John Maddock Lynn Marinelli Bridget Niland

University at Buffalo Erie Community College Buffalo State College University at Buffalo Valmark Associates

Canisius College County of Erie

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Ron Raccuia AdPro Team Sports Edward Rath, Jr. Erie County Legislature Nicholas Salvatore Salvatore’s Hospitality Bob Schell Amherst Youth Hockey Lisa Scherer Scherer Event Management Timm Slade Section VI Charles C. Swanekamp Bond, Schoeneck & King Kathleen Twist University at Buffalo

2018 VISIT BUFFALO NIAGARA STAFF

18

Kathy Benzel Drew Brown Michele Butlak JoAnn Blatner Karen Cox Denise Drews Michael Even Karen Fashana Charles Giglia Jennifer Gregory Pete Harvey Brian Hayden

Information Technology Manager Marketing Manager Accounting and Benefits Manager Industry Relations Assistant Convention Services Manager Visitor Center Manager Vice President of Sales & Services Director of Marketing Director of Sports Sales National Sales Manager Director of Sports Development Communications Manager

Ed Healy Vice President of Marketing Patrick Kaler President & CEO Cindy Kincaide Director, Industry Relations and Destination Development

Tracy Martell David Marzo Leah Mueller Heather Nowakowski Judy Smith Matt Steinberg Lauren Vargo

Convention Services Manager Chief Financial Officer Tourism Sales Director Administrative Assistant Director of Administration Director of Creative Services Sports Services Manager

Dionne Williamson

National Sales Director

Meaghan Zimmer

National Sales Manager

2018 BUFFALO NIAGARA CONVENTION CENTER STAFF Richard Arnold Sous Chef Melissa Bean Convention & Event Service Manager Tom Beiter Controller Melissa Burke Senior Director of Sales and Marketing Andre Callus Food & Beverage Manager Lorna Cullen Executive Assistant Susan Kimmins Sales & Catering Manager MaryAnn Martin Accounting & Benefits Manager Paul Murphy Facility Director Terry O’Brien Director of Operations

Heather Petrino Keith Pitman Kenneth Sandford Raymond Thom Amy Trautman Lisa Vega Cory Watson Michael Will Raymond Williams Danielle Winiarski

Sales & Service Coordinator Electrician Chief Engineer Executive Chef Convention Sales Manager Lobby Receptionist Banquet Manager Assistant Operations Manager Timekeeper/Security Convention & Event Service Manager


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT BUFFALO This city in Western New York is on a revitalized upswing. An industrial powerhouse and a major port city over a century ago, today’s Buffalo is getting noticed for its architectural wonders, historic ties, an inventive food scene, and repurposed buildings. Travelocity Only knuckleheads – and the obstinately unenlightened – write off Buffalo, N.Y., as nothing more than a winter icebox and the birthplace of a certain sports-bar delicacy. The Wall Street Journal This former punchline in Upstate New York is enjoying a millennial-driven renaissance, with hip, affordable restaurants and bars materializing in converted turn-of-the-century buildings, especially in the Waterfront district. The Washington Post Like many older American cities, Buffalo, which had early booms from various industries, including railways, shipyards and steel manufacturing, is shedding its rusty roots and experiencing a bona fide renaissance. No longer merely the portal to nearby Niagara Falls, Buffalo is a modern and multifaceted city, more than ready for its moment. The New York Times There’s a positive energy in Buffalo; a polite (Buffalo folks are unfailingly nice) but definite swagger in the step of their residents. It’s as if they’ve looked around and said to themselves the same thing a lot of journalists are saying, which is, ‘Wow, this place is COOL.’ Jim Byers Travel If you want an all-American, easily accessible summer holiday – addictive junk food, worryingly friendly locals, blue-collar grit, and millennial charm – Buffalo is your place. It’s California meets Coney Island. The Sunday Times of London

403 Main Street

»

Suite 630

»

Buffalo, New York 14203

VisitBuffaloNiagara.com

»

716.852.0511

Profile for Matt Steinberg

Visit Buffalo Niagara Annual Business Review 2018  

Visit Buffalo Niagara Annual Business Review 2018

Visit Buffalo Niagara Annual Business Review 2018  

Visit Buffalo Niagara Annual Business Review 2018