2021 GLCVB Annual Meeting
LANSING, Mich. – The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau (GLCVB) held its annual meeting on March 3 and shared the 2020 local visitor economic impact. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, tourism has been one of the hardest hit industries and the year-end numbers reflect that reality.
The travel sector nationally lost $492 billion compared to 2019 which was an unprecedented 42% decline. Michigan lost 199,00 leisure and hospitality jobs. Lansing’s visitor economy also suffered devastating and unprecedented loss. Prior to the pandemic, the Greater Lansing region supported over 11,000 hospitality related jobs. Recent stats indicate that almost half of those individuals are now unemployed. The region reported a 40.3% occupancy rate for 2020 which is down 34.4%, and overall hotel room demand decreased to 733,999 hotel room nights, which is down 30.7% according to Smith Travel Research (STR) data.
The Lansing region serves as the most central meeting location within the State and has always relied heavily on meetings and events for economic vitality. Due to the inability to host meetings and sporting events for most of 2020, the GLCVB lost 277 bookings for meetings and sporting events although individual venues lost hundreds more throughout the region. The community recently experienced the loss of a key tournament venue The Summit Sports Complex as a direct result of the closures over the last year. The numerous businesses that rely on meetings and events range from hotels, caterers, and linen companies, to restaurants, attractions and many others. The lack of visitors to the region and resulting decline in hotel occupancy had a significant impact on those businesses as well as the GLCVB. The impact of COVID-19 forced the Greater Lansing CVB to cut its budget by 50%, reduce staff from 33 down to 16 employees and close the East Lansing Visitor Center permanently.
“The Greater Lansing CVB and local hospitality community experienced a devastating year,” said Julie Pingston, President and CEO of the GLCVB. “The pandemic restricted our ability to host large conventions and sports tournaments and the lack of visitors to the region took a toll on our hotels, event venues, attractions and restaurants.”
The GLCVB did see some bright spots in 2020. The Greater Lansing Sports Authority won the bids to host eight NCAA events—the most of any city in Michigan. The Bureau’s members and partners got creative with their promotional efforts and did everything from offering virtual tours, to providing window shopping on Facebook live and local restaurants installed igloos for outdoor dining. And all the while over 100 members took the Greater Lansing Safe Pledge, ensuring the health and wellness of our visitors.
Pingston continued, “As bad as 2020 may have been, I remain hopeful and believe in the resiliency of this industry. Our focus for 2021 will be to serve as a resource to event planning clients and continue to help our local hospitality partners however we can. We remain optimistic that we are well prepared to meet any new challenges we might encounter as the industry rebounds in the future.”
The mission of the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau is to promote the region as a visitor destination to impact the area’s economy.
During the annual meeting, attendees had the chance to see and understand how COVID-19 affected the Greater Lansing Region and to what extend it took it's toll. However, the heart of our community came together and pulled through to shine a light on an otherwise dreary year. This short video played during the Annual Meeting to highlight the good that we saw in 2020: