Tourism has been arguably one of the hardest-hit industries across the nation during the coronavirus pandemic. Destination Bryan and Visit College Station continue to learn to navigate the changes to their industry.
“We’ve been trying to adjust to all the changes here in 2020 and trying to figure out what’s the right way to attack tourism and keep it going and active going into 2021,” said Dominique Powell, Director of Compete College Station & Visit Casper.
The hospitality industry in Bryan-College Station has been hit the hardest. According to the S.T.R report, through September the local hotel industry has lost almost $78 million in revenue year-over-year, which is just under 50%.
“We have been more exposed because of what drives demand in our market is travel associated with Texas A&M, travel associated with the State of Texas, travel associated with TEEXs, things along those lines, and there has just been so much less of that in conjunction with 40% to 50% supply growth within the last year,” said Noel Mayes, vice president of the Brazos Valley Hospitality Association.
With April being the worst month for the local hospitality industry, trends slightly shifted towards the late summer months.
“There were a couple of factors that were beneficial in August for the local market. One of those was, it’s very unfortunate for those that live on the coast, but hurricanes can lead to an influx in demand and then dorm move-in,” said Mayes.
John Friebele, executive director of Destination Bryan, says they are already looking ahead to 2021 and how to capitalize on tourism once travel gets back to normal.
“80% of people have tentative trips planned for next year. So, from the Bryan perspective how do we capitalize on that? We are already beginning to look at marketing campaigns for the next year, and really just try to leverage as much as we can when people get back to normal,” said Friebele.
The future of tourism, like many other industries, lies in the hands of when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved and widely distributed.
“There's an openness to travel with American travelers when a vaccine comes out. I think it's somewhere between 60% to 80% of travelers are really interested once that comes out and getting back out there,” said Friebele.
As we approach the holidays, Destination Bryan and Visit College Station looking to bring people safely into the community with 2021 on the horizon.