Information released at last week’s Delaware Tourism Summit show the key industry in Delaware is bouncing back despite pandemic headwinds.
Keynote speaker Andrew Davis told the 160 attendees that they will continue to see increased demand in 2022. He outlined best practices to Delaware’s destinations on how to sell and market their businesses during a time of information overload.
Figures point to a 31% increase in hotel occupancy for 2021, and a 50% jump in hotel revenue, compared to 2020.
Hotel occupancy was especially strong in coastal areas of the state, despite businesses dealing with and persistent staff shortages.
It should also be noted, that the comparisons with 2020 come from year when some hotels closed or operated with limited capacity for a time.
Also, business travel, which helps fill hotel rooms in northern Delaware, remains down from historic highs.
“We’re seeing visitors coming from new markets like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta, which are areas that the Delaware Tourism Office targeted during an impactful awareness campaign in January of this year,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Through innovative strategies and working together across private and public sectors, we will continue to move the tourism industry forward, which is a vital part of the state’s economy, contributing over 44,000 jobs statewide.”
During the summit, Longwood International, a national market research firm, reported that Delaware is attracting an increase in younger visitors, specifically those in the 18-34 age group.
The younger group now represents more than half of all visitors. Delaware also has a high rate of satisfaction among visitors. the restult could be more returning visitors as well as development opportunities for relocation and business development.
“Over the past year, we have worked to provide resources and educational opportunities to the tourism industry based on their top concerns and challenges, including the summit, online webinars, an educational portal, and the Destination Development Program,” said Liz Keller, director of the Delaware Tourism Office. “We wanted to end the year with as much information as possible so that our small business and non-profit organization professionals have all of the tools needed to make 2022 a success.”
On the minus side the industry faces continued labor shortages brought on by a variety of factors as well as continued upward pressure on wages.
In addition, the state also has far fewer marketing dollars than its neighbors. The tourism office has seen success in recent years with targeted marketing efforts.
The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, DE., is a Delaware Division of Small Business division. The official Delaware Tourism website is www.visitdelaware.com.