Marketing your business is essential to its growth
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
December 9, 2022
With winter approaching, Sedona will be experiencing low tourism. Thus, Sedona businesses will be looking for ways to attract new customers. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau has created a program to assist our business community. We have partnered with our local marketing and media experts and offered a free workshop for our Chamber partners this past Wednesday, December 7.
Many people still correlate marketing with advertising, but marketing is much broader. Marketing essentials include promotion, public relations, customer care, identifying the right clients, honing a message that connects the business with a positive experience and using the right communication tools at the right time.
Economic warning signs make well-crafted marketing more crucial than ever to our business-owning neighbors. Data for the week ending November 19 showed traditional lodging occupancy is down 13% compared to a year ago, and the average daily rate for hotel rooms is down 6.3%. Our other broad economic barometer is sales tax revenues. At the end of August, the last data available, mentions that revenues were down 6% for FY23 compared to the previous fiscal year.
Recently, we surveyed Chamber members about economic conditions, and 77% of respondents said they expect to lose money or break even through February, with 83% reporting a hit to their bottom line due to lower tourism traffic. 44% believe a lack of destination marketing is hurting their business.
The news comes as we welcome a new mayor and three new city councilors. Scott Jablow, a veteran council member, and our new mayor, while Melissa Dunn, Brian Fultz and Pete Furman join Scott on the City Council. All took office on November 28. They will bring new perspectives to balancing our tourism economy so that businesses — and the thousands of area residents they employ — continue to prosper while we protect and enhance our environment and quality of life.
We applauded then Mayor-elect Jablow’s expressed desire last month to hear directly from the business community as these economic challenges surfaced. On cue, several Chamber partners spoke to the council at our destination management update presentation on November 9. They told of fewer customers, in some cases the lowest in years. They also reported a change in the type of guest coming to Sedona, citing more day trip visitors and fewer overnight guests as damaging to businesses ranging from adventure tours to art galleries, hotels and restaurants.
The Chamber looks forward to working with Mayor Jablow and the council to respond to these business concerns. An economy rooted in successful small businesses is critical to Sedona’s sustainability balance. In January, we will meet again to review progress made on the FY23 Destination Management Plan’s programs and sketch the outlines of tourism priorities for FY24. In a separate meeting, I will be presenting an intelligent marketing campaign strategy and concept to help boost our tourism economy for the remaining months of FY23. Please watch our weekly Business Bulletin to learn more.
I am grateful for the insight these experts volunteered this week, including our friends at the Sedona Red Rock News. They all deserve thanks by name: Comello Media Services, Evolve Media Sedona, KNAU Radio, KYBC Radio, Red Rock TV, Red Rock Values, Sedona Monthly, Sedona Red Rock News, Stone Canyon Media, Verde Valley Newspapers, and Yavapai College Small Business Development Center. Thank you!
No matter the economic headwinds, Sedona’s entrepreneurial spirit is irrepressible.
Sedona’s newest venture, The Ambiente is set to open December 26. This resort property is a unique landscape hotel that will highlight Sedona as a beacon of sustainable tourism and attract guests who value a low-impact environmental experience. Sedona can be proud of this “North American first” as additional evidence of our growing reputation as a destination — catering to responsible, respectful travelers.
–Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau