Last fiscal year was unlike any other for tourism marketing. Amid COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions, the City of San Luis Obispo’s Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) had to be flexible and strategic in how it approached tourism marketing.

City staff and the TBID board chair presented the SLO TBID Annual Report 2020-21 to City Council in September, providing a summary and details of the district’s strategic plan, marketing activities, and constituent relations that all resulted in a 10% increase in total transient occupancy tax (TOT) collected last year, compared to the previous year.

Here are 3 things community members can take away from the TBID’s 2020-21 Annual Report recapping the district’s strategy last year:

  1. San Luis Obispo’s lodging industry is poised to rebound from the pandemic sooner than anyone expected. The following indicators all point to a positive future for SLO. 
    1. Tourism brought in $6.9 million in TOT to San Luis Obispo. 
    2. $158 average daily rate (a $13 increase over last year).
    3. $93.73 revenue per available room (a 7% increase over last year)
    4. Local lodging occupancy rates increased despite the pandemic. San Luis Obispo’s lodging industry saw a 58.1% occupancy rate (a 0.7% increase over last year), mostly due to a surge in visitors in the fourth quarter.
  2. San Luis Obispo’s award-winning #SLOReadyCampaign kept SLO top-of-mind during COVID-19 closures and travel restrictions. In 2020-21, many of district’s special promotions and events went dark. Instead, the TBID focused on efficient ways to ensure that San Luis Obispo remained top-of-mind for future visitors through a robust marketing approach that intercepted travelers at all stages of their journey. At the same time, the TBID focused on being flexible enough to support the San Luis Obispo community’s needs during the most difficult months of the pandemic. 
    1. Relaxation, for those who want to SLO down. 
    2. Outdoors, for those who want to hike, bike, and have a good time. 
    3. Family, for those who want to have everyone they love in a place they love. 
    4. Culinary, for those who are SLO eager to taste local flavors.
    5. 65+, for those with the free time, money, and desire to get away.
  3. Paid digital campaigns reached millions, putting SLO in a solid position to increase tourism and benefitting local lodging industry. Overall, the TBID’s paid digital campaigns captured over 31 million impressions and resulted in 
    1. a 675% increase in hotel referrals compared to last year. 
    2. a 1,009% increase in paid homestay referrals compared to last year. 

Interested in knowing more? Download the full annual report or watch this brief video recap.