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Experience Scottsdale leadership delivers 2023 annual report at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Former broadcast news professional — and current Executive VP at Scottsdale-based Tequila Corrido — Olivia Fierro moderated three panels with Experience Scottsdale partners working to do good in the local community. (Photos Courtesy of Analisa Shah at Experience Scottsdale)

Experience Scottsdale reports data, goodwill efforts in community

By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Millions upon millions of positive impressions from both traditional and digital means coupled with an industry sector at the top of its game — Experience Scottsdale reported extraordinary marketing reach at its annual meeting earlier this week.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess played host to the annual address — Impact: Tourism as a Force for Good — Tuesday, Nov. 14, as elected leaders, industry executives and local proprietors gathered to hear from the leadership core of Experience Scottsdale.

Experience Scottsdale Board of Directors Chairwoman Kate Birchler and Vice Chair Joe Iturri served a masters of ceremony for the initial part of the presentation offering opening remarks and a few data points like on average, for every $1 spent on advertising — digital or otherwise — Experience Scottsdale marketing experts generate $116 in visitor spending and $4 in state and local tax revenue.

This was music to the ears of Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega.

“For our residents and visitors Experience Scottsdale leverages to the absolute maximum our investment and compounds the goodwill that we know that come from their efforts,” Mayor Ortega told the Arizona Digital Free Press at the annual address.

For Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner, the top elected official at the Town of Paradise Valley, a key municipal contributor to the Experience Scottsdale marketing pursuit, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I’m not at all surprised because when we renewed our contract we had an outside consultant review and they found what we have already felt — they [Experience Scottsdale] continue to knock it out of the park,” Mayor Bien-Willner said. “Because of our return on investment and the commitment of Experience Scottsdale our communities are better for it.”

Linda Milhaven, former member of City Council who was in attendance, had a direct approach to express how she felt following the Experience Scottsdale presentation: “I wish I could invest my own money with them.”

Scottsdale tourism industry efforts help shape community goodwill

Former broadcast news professional — and current Executive VP at Scottsdale-based Tequila Corrido — Olivia Fierro moderated three panels with Experience Scottsdale partners working to do good in the local community. They were:

  • Kristin Heggli of the Hotel Valley HO and Kerry Schulman of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central & Northern Arizona the Ronald McDonald House;
  • Stuart Graff and Fred Prozzillo of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West; and
  • Brandon Maxwell of M Culinary Concepts, Hillary Bryant of Waste Not and Chance Cozby of The Thunderbirds at the WM Phoenix Open.

Efforts at the Hotel Valley Ho entail dedicated support at the Ronald McDonald House Charities whereas the hotelier hosts the annual gala for the charity effort among other regular efforts like catering.

In terms of the preservation of place and exploration of the intricate relationship between brick-and-mortar in an arid environment, look no further than Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘desert laboratory,’ Taliesin West, which for many who travel has become a beacon of the emerging marriage of sustainability and tourism.

At the WM Phoenix Open, representatives from The Thunderbirds, M Culinary and Waste Not explained how the ‘greatest show on grass’ has become a zero waste event — despite the staggering amount of crowds who make the annual pilgrimage to TPC Scottsdale.

Rachel Sacco delivers Experience Scottsdale annual report

“I love being here with my people,” said Rachel Sacco, Experience Scottsdale president and CEO. “Experience Scottsdale’s mission is enhance the local community through the power of tourism.”

Ms. Sacco delivered data points generated from the most recent market research report conducted by Longwoods International spanning efforts over the last calendar year.

“Over the last year, Experience Scottsdale has delivered 339 million traditional advertising impressions and 127 million digital advertising impressions,” Ms. Sacco reported.

“We all know how competitive this industry is,” she said. “But that makes it even more important to stand out amongst our competitors and with the Longwoods study we are holding ourselves very accountable … The difference between Scottsdale and Las Vegas is not insurmountable.”

In fiscal year, 2022-23 the city of Scottsdale contributed $16.1 million in bed tax dollars to the budget of Experience Scottsdale, according the 2022-23 annual report.

Download the full annual report HERE.

Since July 1, 2010, Scottsdale has been imposing a bed tax of 5% with remits of those rates funneling into the Tourism Development Fund of which 50% is used for destination marketing activities.

Of Note: 45% of those funds are contributed to Experience Scottsdale as the city’s DMO or destination marketing organization.

Experience Scottsdale and the city of Scottsdale are in year two of a five-year destination marketing agreement.

“Our research and data shows travelers are seeing our ads across multiple mediums just as we had planned,” Ms. Sacco said. “In total, we created more than 466 million traditional and digital impressions and we were able to forge new partnerships with online travel agents and those translated into bookings.”

Provided through the most recent market report, Experience Scottsdale generated 179,570 definite room night stays with an anticipated economic impact of $107 million over the last year.

Ms. Sacco explains the recent partnership forged at Breaking Par, which is the fastest-growing golf show on the planet, was a major success spurring future efforts with the producer of the digital program.

Those numbers are a total of 623 airings, 22 regions and a total of 80 million households across the country watched the Experience Scottsdale episode on Breaking Par.

“We were thrilled to learn when that episode aired it became the show’s most watched,” she said also pointing out internal digital efforts have also paid dividends. “Last year, we captured 3.6 million sessions. In the spring, we launched a refreshed website. I am really proud of our sales team.”

Another key success, Ms. Sacco presented to those in attendance, was the current television commercial running in key East Coast markets like New York City.

“Our commercial is running every 15 minutes and will be running through the holiday through events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” she said of next week’s national telecast. “All of this is the due to the work of our incredible creative team.”

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