Tourism: Lincoln City looks beyond the pandemic | New
As a popular Oregon Coast destination, Lincoln City relies on its tourism industry to help promote the local economy and maintain the livability of the community.
The News Guard continues to monitor the driving factors of tourism and its impact, up or down, in our city. To get a glimpse of the 2021 spring and summer tourist season, we occasionally check in with Explore Lincoln City director Ed Dreistadt.
The following conversation is our last update.
Custody of news: Briefly describe the spring and summer 2021 tourist season in Lincoln City? Robust or Bust? Up or down, and what percentages can you share with us?
Ed Driestadt: As you know, our strongest numbers are the reported revenue figures from our accommodation properties that the city uses to calculate the transitional room tax. The story they tell is incredible.
While it’s fun to see things like the 4,559% increase in April this year from 2020, it compares this year to last year when the short-term accommodation ban was in effect. force. A more accurate way to look at 2021 is to compare it to 2019, our last pre-COVID year.
Here’s what those numbers look like:
- January + 61%
- February + 73%
- March + 35%
- April + 71%
- May + 35%
- June + 50%
2021, until the end of June, the revenues reported by our accommodation properties are 55% higher than 2019, which is indeed robust.
Note that these numbers don’t necessarily mean more people in town. The STR Global Hotel Survey shows Lincoln City hotel occupancy rates are on the rise, but the most significant change is the average daily rate our hotels can charge due to high demand.
What we are seeing is that the attractiveness of Lincoln City allows our properties to charge higher rates, with the average amount spent per person exceeding what we saw during the eclipse.
Custody of news: What were the driving factors during the spring and summer tourist season in Lincoln City that caused the increase / decrease compared to previous years?
Dreistadt: The pandemic, of course, is the paramount factor. In many other tourist destinations, COVID-19 has had a devastating effect. Portland, for example, has lost its international visitors, business meetings, and conventions to COVID-19 issues. Their occupancy rate has dropped dramatically and they have yet to recover.
Lincoln City, however, does not have an airport, convention center, or many properties that host business meetings. We are a destination for families in the spring and summer, as well as for empty nests in the fall. The desire to travel has not abated during the pandemic, but customers want to feel safe when they go on vacation.
People were reluctant to fly or take a cruise. They find themselves stranded to visit other countries. Much of our tourism competition has been taken out of people’s minds.
What they want most is a perceived rural, uncrowded vacation destination with outdoor adventures and a beach close at hand. Lincoln City is exactly what they want.
Custody of news: Who came to town and why?
Half of our customers are from Portland and the rest from the Willamette Valley. Another 20% come from Washington State. The balance comes from everywhere. Most of our guests drive here from relatively close so they can take advantage of our seven miles of beach and many outdoor activities and explore our seven miles of town.
For over a year, we’ve been letting our customers know that we are a city that takes COVID-19 seriously. We expect everyone to wear a mask, to be courteous and careful. Our public relations and promotional efforts have focused on safe activities like drive-thru movies and boat concerts, while showing that our citizens and businesses are resilient, generous and caring in the face of a pandemic and a Forest fire.
A big reason people have come here is because we are considered a safe vacation spot, with plenty of space on our beach to stay away from, no crowded places, lots of outdoor activities and an expectation for everyone to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and be courteous to each other.
Custody of news: In short, what is your forecast for fall and winter tourism in Lincoln City?
Dreistadt: We continue to see above average interest in Lincoln City through our website and social media. We look forward to a record fall and winter. Interestingly, we are starting to see more inquiries from Northern California than in the past. We are trying to determine if these requests will turn into visits.
Custody of news: What are the signals / factors that you are watching closely?
Dreistadt: We continue to monitor our occupancy and average daily rate figures to see if the rush of business and the increase in per capita income will continue through the winter. We also chat with businesses in town to get their thoughts on what customers are saying and the business trend.
One caveat we have is that demand could drop when we finally start to emerge from the pandemic and travel options open up again. Or, we can see that so many new people have been introduced to Lincoln City that the attendance and popularity that has occurred during COVID-19 continues.
We are looking at all the indicators we have to see how things will go when the pandemic subsides.
Custody of news: Briefly describe the range of events designed to attract tourists this fall and winter that the city is hosting and / or businesses are hosting.
Dreistadt: We’re preparing to send out press releases and presentations on our Halloween offerings including the Kiwanis Spooky Spectacular Drive-Through Trick or Treat Experience, Haunted Taft Walking Ghost Tour, Halloween Specials by Cheeky Cauldron and the Zombie Apocalypse Live Action from Lincoln City Archery.
Subsequently, Explore Lincoln City works with Lincoln City Parks & Recreation to wrap Taft Dock in Christmas lights. Each city-owned street light will be wrapped in solar-powered LED Christmas lights. A partnership comprising the City of Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lincoln Parks and Recreation will result in vacation trees in crab pots, provided by Depoe Bay fishermen, in at least three different locations across the city.
Companies will also be approached by Explore Lincoln City with an offer to finance the purchase of Christmas lights. Funding is available for about 30 companies to participate. This will be the first step in lighting Lincoln City for the holidays, with a program designed to increase the number of lights each year for the next four to five years.
We are currently in the process of releasing a Finders Keepers enhancement where those who register a tank get an unexpected prize. The awards come from the Economic Relief Awards at the start of the pandemic which were funded by the Explore Lincoln City Reserve Fund. Renamed Invest & Recover Program, our collection of prepaid goods and services will be used to create many more promotions like this in the future. It will be a fun way to strengthen our city’s Lincoln City brand by delivering the unexpected.
Additional city-wide food promotions, similar to the Secret Takeout Menu program, are underway. What we are finding, however, is that our restaurants need a little breathing room before they embark on a special promotion. You’ll see fun restaurant promotions starting in the first quarter.
Our goal is to make Lincoln City a vacation destination for families.