Picente: Hospitality Sector Posts Strong Showing

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., along with Oneida County Tourism President Kelly Blazosky today announced that Oneida County’s vital hospitality sector had a strong showing in 2011.

“We are working very hard to make Oneida County a destination for tourists and a center for travelers of all kinds,” Picente said. “We have outstanding attractions and some wonderful facilities here in the county, and we have reinvigorated promotional efforts highlighting the great places to see and where stay here in Oneida County. What we are seeing in the recently released hotel occupancy numbers is a very encouraging first step that should lead to even more growth in 2012.”

Picente said that according to the Smith Travel Research report for Oneida County hotel occupancy for December 2011 and 2011 Year to Date – as released by Oneida County Tourism, the monthly and yearly data showed strong increases in comparing December 2011 against December 2010 and in comparing 2011 versus 2010.

December 2011 increases at a glance:

Occupancy Rate was 41.2%; Up 12.6% over December 2010

Average Daily Rate (ADR) was $88.02; Up 1.8% over December 2010

RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) was $36.29; Up 14.7% over December 2010

Demand was up 12.6% over December 2010

Revenues were up 14.7% over December 2010

Full Year 2011 increases at a glance:

Occupancy Rate: Up 6%

Average Daily Rate (ADR): Up 2.7%

RevPAR: Up 8.8%

Demand: Up 6.0%

Revenue: Up 8.8%

Picente noted that the data is based upon results from a number of properties across Oneida County, including Vernon Downs Casino Hotel and Hotel Utica. He noted that CD Food & Beverage properties do not participate in Smith Travel Research reporting, which would mean that the numbers do not reflect hotel sales activity at the Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Blazosky stated, “Oneida County’s hotel industry has made sound gains from the economic downturn of 2009 and is now surpassing 2008 levels for occupancy, average daily rate, revenues, and demand for rooms, and has done so while adding 250 rooms to the available inventory with the opening of the Microtel Inn & Suites and the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Verona and the Wingate in Rome.” Blazosky also noted that investment in Oneida County’s hospitality industry continues with the development of a new Hampton Inn in New Hartford, Holiday Inn Express in Utica, La Quinta Inn & Suites in Verona, and Fish Creek Cabin Resort in Taberg.

“Our attractions play a critical role in positioning Oneida County as a premier Central New York destination,” Blazosky said. “Our partners have shared information indicating attendance and activities were up in 2011. The Utica Zoo realized a 45% increase in admissions, Fort Rickey Children’s Discovery Zoo saw an increase in their Fall Fun Festival, and nearby Erie Canal Cruises reported a healthy 30% increase in group tour activity.”

“The important factor in these numbers is that we are growing tourism, and we are gaining visitors to our county,” Picente said. “Making the most of our vast tourism potential is essential work that has begun with great effort by Oneida County Tourism and our community partners. This encouraging data shows we are moving in the right direction and provides an incentive to build upon the foundation put in place over the past couple of years.”