Sedona is Energizing Again



October 16, 2020

dscf6800sedonalitessunriseSedona is energizing again; you can see it on the trails, at hotels, supermarkets and shops. The numbers tell the tale; sales tax collections and hotel occupancy, our two broadest economic indicators, have recovered from their lowest points and are gradually returning to pre-COVID levels.

When the pandemic struck, the Chamber halted our promotional efforts. When Arizona cases began spiking in June, the City Council and Chamber agreed to extend the pause through the summer. Since then, COVID-19 cases have ceased to spike, Arizona has largely reopened, and in Sedona, masks and social distancing are part of everyday life.

This month, once again in agreement with the Council, we begin rebuilding visitation to Sedona. We are reaching out to people ready to travel, people hungry for wide-open spaces after being cooped up for months. Our “Find Your Room to Play” message focuses on blue skies, world-class vistas, wondrous starscapes and the many Sedona outdoor adventures we all know so well.

We are moving ahead now because research shows people ready to travel are making plans, and because we are heading into the traditionally slow winter season when our economy needs a boost.

Our goal is to re-establish Sedona’s presence in an extremely competitive travel market, with the objective of reestablishing visitation to pre COVID-19 levels over time.

We are continuing our ‘less is more’ approach – seeking to attract fewer people who stay longer, spend more and have an affinity for our commitment to sustainability. That means appealing to a generally affluent audience: Phoenix households with incomes of more than $150,000 per year and in Southern California, more than $200,000 per year.

We are primarily using online technologies to reach them. As we had planned for earlier this year, we are focusing on Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix, markets where driving to Sedona is feasible and overnight stays are likely.

To assist with our recovery, we are also expanding our outreach to affluent younger travelers who have the potential to become regular repeat visitors. Over time, they can come to identify with Sedona and support our sustainable lifestyle. As digital natives, they are likely to share their Sedona experience  online with like-minded friends and family.

Of course, we will closely monitor the COVID situation as it relates to our promotions, with community safety uppermost in our minds. Should circumstances warrant, a digital campaign can be altered very quickly.

Throughout, we will be educating visitors on Sedona’s mask mandate and the Sedona|Safe.Clean.Ready practices we expect of ourselves and our guests. In the months to come, hundreds of thousands of people will get that message through our websites, key visitor area signage and at the official Visitor Center.

In January 2021, the City Council and Chamber Board of Directors will meet to assess our FY21 Destination Recovery Plan and determine our marketing course for the rest of the fiscal year. Between now and then, we look forward to a careful, steady, monitored economic recovery where residents and visitors alike feel confident of their health and safety.

–Michelle Conway, Interim President/CEO and Director of Marketing