ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque hotels have a new plan to help them compete with other cities. Monday night, the city council will consider establishing a tourism marketing program that would work with area hotels to not only help get their name out there, but bring in more overnight tourists.
When it comes to bringing tourists into Albuquerque and getting them to stay the night, local hotels are planning how to compete with other big cities. “They already have a lot larger marketing funds than we have here in Albuquerque so we really can fall behind if we let other cities market more than us,” said Damen Kompanowski, general manger of Sheraton Uptown. “I think it’s a great idea to help generate new dollars for marketing our city.”
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It’s one of the reasons hotels, the Visit Albuquerque group and city councilors are working together on the Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District, a collective of hoteliers around the metro, working together to tailor advertising and marketing to their needs.
“We’re talking about a group of business people who have decided what can we do to help ourselves without necessarily just counting on the city to be able to help,” said Councilor Brook Bassan, who represents District 4 and is a sponsor of the bill. “It’s a group of hotels that is working to make sure they can market Albuquerque and really increase tourism so we can draw more people here on a positive level.”
Hotels will create a set fee separate from a lodger’s tax. It will be spent targeting tourists to come and not only stay for the day, but stay the night — or longer. “This is something they’re finding hotels are doing in other cities,” said Bassan. “This is also leveraging and making hotels be able to utilize some of that fee for ads that they want to do.”
Hotel Chaco, Sheraton Uptown and the Econo Lodge along Central are among the program’s early participants. “By getting our name out there and by using these dollars to really help market what we have available to do in Albuquerque is going to bring people to Albuquerque,” said Sean Jariwala, a managing member of Ambica Hospitality.
“The Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District will be a game changer in terms of Albuquerque’s ability to attract new visitors and compete for the millions of dollars they will spend in our city,” said Tania Armenta, president and CEO of Visit Albuquerque. “Travel and tourism are key drivers of our local economy. In 2019, more than 6 million visitors spent $2 billion in our city, generated about $69 million in local taxes, and supported more than 44,000 jobs in the hospitality industry. The pandemic has cut deep into those numbers.”
The hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. They hope it will be the extra boost they need to bounce back. “These new dollars coming in will help bring jobs back, will help bring people to our city, will help our industry recover after COVID,” said Kompanowski. “This will only benefit all the hotels in the market. It’s really a great thing.”
If approved, the Albuquerque Tourism Marketing District is expected to launch on July 1 and run for at least five years. Afterward, it would be heard again for an additional five-year run. Hotels that agree to be a part of the program and benefit from it would agree to pay back 2% of their room revenue each year.