Annual Meeting Touches our Sedona Roots, lays out FY23 Tourism Mission
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
October 14, 2022
I’ve recently shared how the Chamber is “of and for the community.” Our 736 members are mainly small business owners and nonprofits who provide jobs, amenities from spas to golf, and services from animal shelters to food banks. In addition, they volunteer, support fundraisers, back community events [I’m looking forward to Day of the Dead festivities later this month at Tlaquepaque!] and much more.
We’ve advocated for small business throughout our 70-year history while championing a robust and balanced economy. Our roots always show at our Annual Meeting, held this week at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock. Members who have been with us for more than 45 years connect and reconnect with newer partners while we update everyone on how we make Sedona better by working together.
Of course, the Sedona City Council and Chamber also manage our tourism sector – Sedona’s largest industry – as partners. Today, I want to share with you the FY23 Strategic Goals I presented at the meeting, focused on the tourism balance the Chamber and Council seek.
Encourage positive visitor behavior
Combining digital outreach with a personal touch, we’re informing visitors that we expect responsible interaction with our environment and neighborhoods. More than 60 Chamber partners use our Leave No Trace Toolkit with flyers and posters. Our Concierge Network ensures visitors have tips for behaving responsibly during their stay. As they arrive, we’ll relay the message to their phones, and bolster the theme with in-room videos.
Lessen density at busy locations
The Sedona Secret 7 program encourages visitors to go to lesser-known locations, reducing crowding at the busy ones. As the Verde Valley expands tourism, we will deepen our VV partnership to promote regional sites and disperse visitation.
Assist in Preserving Sedona’s Natural Resources.
We aimed for 1,000 Sedona Cares Pledges in FY22 and achieved more than 4,800. We will continue using the Pledge to communicate expectations and ask for visitor commitment.
Leave No Trace is a national movement to preserve the American outdoors through visitor education, and we’ve shared their responsible behavioral principles since last fall. In-room videos, business partnerships, our Visitor Information Center, and geofenced phone messaging all have a place in this full-on effort.
We’re setting up our Voluntourism program this year for launch next year. Voluntourism enlists visitors to give back through clean-ups and other activities with Sedonans, a growing trend among travelers want to connect with their destination. We want to offer that opportunity.
Ensure Future Economic Health.
We will maintain strong relationships with meeting and event industry professionals to speed the recovery of business travel, which attracts high-value visitors who stay longer, spend more and tend to visit during slower mid-week periods. Our outreach to tour operators and meeting planners includes responsible tourism messaging so we attract those who share our values.
Deepen engagement with the STR sector
Sedona’s STR sector has a huge economic impact, with more short-term rental rooms than hotel rooms. We want reciprocity with owners and operators, so they receive our business support while reinforcing our sustainability message to their guests. We have the tools to track this fast-moving industry and partner with the city of Sedona’s STR efforts, and we are well on the way to doing both.
With the help of our Board of Directors, member partners, community leaders and you, our residents, we can manage tourism sustainably while building a more closely-knit community backed with a strong, balanced economy.
That’s how we make Sedona the best place to live, work, play and visit.
–Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau