Miami-Dade hotel business above US, state averages
By Jaime Levy
Post-Sept. 11 marketing strategies by tourism officials seem to be paying off as Miami-Dade's hotel room rates and occupancy remain above national and state averages.
And with the summer season ahead - always slow for hospitality industry business - the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is leveraging new state funds to market the area as a fun-in-the-sun destination.
In February, the state gave the bureau $1 million, bringing a total of $2.1 million to a summer ad push. Using state and bureau dollars, county funds and money from partners, the bureau will launch three initiatives, said David Whitaker, senior vice president for marketing and tourism:
nA national radio campaign to promote June's Soul Beach Music Festival.
nJune restaurant promotion that includes magazine ads.
nRegional TV campaign for "festival season," the bureau's summer branding to emphasize the many local events.
Greater Miami, like all US destinations, saw tourism plummet after Sept. 11, prompting two earlier campaigns - first a $2.5 million drive and a second for $3.3 million.
Room rates and occupancies have grown steadily since an initial dive.
Smith Travel Research reports that for the week ending Feb. 23, Greater Miami's occupancy rate was 71.5% - down from the previous week. Statewide, the average was 68.4% and national occupancy was at 61.3%.
Room rates, too, dropped slightly, to $139.41 for the week ending Feb. 23. Like occupancy levels, however, the area was above state and national averages of $105.61 and $85.80, respectively.
Despite the blips, the area is faring markedly better than six months ago. On Sept. 18, average occupancy dropped to 30.7%.