Visit Alexandria Highlights Breakthrough Numbers at Annual Meeting
Record Consumption Taxes and Record Ad Impressions as Alexandria Rises to #3 on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Small Cities in the U.S.” List
Alexandria, VA—At Visit Alexandria’s annual meeting on October 3, 2023, the tourism organization showcased breakthrough results over the past fiscal year including record consumption tax revenue, all-time high advertising impressions and securing a place on Travel + Leisure’s “Best Cities in the U.S.” list for the first time. Just announced, Alexandria also rose to #3 on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Small Cities in the U.S.” list.
In Fiscal Year 2023, City consumption tax revenues (sales, meals and lodging) reached $81 million, surpassing the previous record set in Fiscal Year 2022 ($76 million) and up 22% over pre-pandemic levels. Alexandria relies on these revenues to support core City services.
An 18% rise in hotel occupancy coupled with significant increases in average daily rate (ADR) resulted in record revenue per available room (RevPAR) of $111, surpassing Alexandria’s pre-pandemic high.
According to data released by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the growth of Alexandria’s visitor spending in calendar year 2022 from travelers residing more than 50 miles away grew by 30.6%, the third highest rate in the state and 51% faster than the Commonwealth average.
Breakthrough Reputation and Awareness
Visit Alexandria’s promotional efforts reached significant milestones in Fiscal Year 2023 (July 2022-June 2023). Alexandria broke onto Travel + Leisure’s “Best Cities in the U.S.” list for the first time in July 2022, appearing among destinations like New York, Honolulu, Charleston and Chicago. In 2023, Alexandria maintained its Travel + Leisure status and sustained its place among Condé Nast Traveler’s top five “Best Small Cities in the U.S.” for the sixth year while also rising to #3.
In March 2023, Visit Alexandria leveraged these national accolades and more to launch the “Best Kept Shh!” campaign, a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign that seeks to grab attention and spark curiosity. It playfully suggests that despite recent national attention, Alexandria wants to maintain its status as a best-kept secret. Viewers are urged to discover Alexandria, but then keep it to themselves as it is just “too good to share.” The campaign generated a strong visitor response and was bolstered by new branding that emphasized Alexandria’s waterfront and evolving visitor scene. To date, the campaign has proven to be highly efficient, performing 40% above benchmark in the first round of advertising and garnering more than 60 million impressions, contributing to a record 186 million total digital marketing impressions in Fiscal Year 2023.
Fiscal Year 2023 KPIs and Programs
Visit Alexandria’s Key Performance Indicators include record group business, digital marketing impressions, national and international press hits, social media followers and membership.
- $10 million in confirmed group business (+22% YoY)
- 186 million digital marketing impressions (+18% YoY)
- 296 national/international press hits (+34% YoY)
- 193,000 social media followers (+7% YoY)
- 456 members (+7% YoY)
The organization previewed key upcoming initiatives for Fiscal Year 2024, including enhancing the city’s tourism experience and growing revenues. President and CEO Patricia Washington noted that Visit Alexandria is capitalizing on consumers’ increased desire for video content with an expanded video program that encompasses increased short-form vertical video content, a holiday shoot, an immersive Old Town video itinerary and Phase II of the “Expand Your ALX” neighborhood campaign.
Broadened diversity initiatives will encompass accessibility both online and in-person, as Alexandria seeks to become more welcoming to visitors of all abilities. The communications team will capitalize on its new public relations agency’s strengths to increase outreach to and coverage by Spanish-language media and trade media. Sustainability will increasingly guide Visit Alexandria’s work as a partner with the City’s Office of Climate Action to ensure the messaging of responsible travel and resource-sensitive hospitality. Increased marketing efficiencies will be a hallmark of the year with a media buying agency RFP and implementation of new research tool Datafy to better understand visitors’ behavior and spending.
ABOUT VISIT ALEXANDRIA AND ALEXANDRIA, VA
Visit Alexandria is the nonprofit visitor marketing organization for the City of Alexandria, Virginia. Recognized by Travel + Leisure among the Best Places to Travel in 2023 and Best Cities in the U.S. 2023 and voted a Condé Nast Traveler Top 3 Best Small City in the U.S. 2023, Alexandria is a welcoming weekend escape on the Potomac River, minutes from Washington, D.C. Founded in 1749 and boasting the nation’s third oldest historic district, Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel. Stroll Old Town Alexandria’s King Street mile to find more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques plus intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront. Explore vibrant neighborhoods beyond Old Town, trace George Washington and the Founding Fathers’ footsteps and follow the stories of Black Americans who shaped the history of Alexandria and the United States.
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