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Tourism campaigns prove to be economic boost for Burbank, officials say

A mixture of a recovering economy and proactive marketing has helped boost Burbank’s tourism economy, officials said last week.

Mary Hamzoian, the city’s economic development manager, briefed City Council members about how the Burbank Hospitality Assn., also known as Visit Burbank, performed during the 2017-18 fiscal year and outlined plans for the upcoming year.

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Hamzoian said the 18 hotels in the city generated about $11.7 million in transient-occupancy tax during the last fiscal year, which is nearly double the amount generated during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Through a hotel partnership program with Universal Studios Hollywood, about $1.28 million was generated from 10 participating hotels in calendar year 2017. Hamzoian said the program has already made about $780,000 through June of this calendar year.

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Additionally, about $257,000 was generated last fiscal year from hotel stays in correlation with five events in the city — the Burbank Comedy Festival, Burbank International Film Festival, Burbank Beer Festival, Burbank Winter Wine Walk and CTN Animation Expo.

Hamzoian said Visit Burbank’s multi-faceted marketing campaign helped give the city’s tourism economy a boost.

About $829 million was spent by visitors during the last fiscal year, with about $206 million in retail sales, about $208 million on recreation activities and roughly $146 million on food and beverages, according to Hamzoian.

With about 3.4 million people visiting the city last fiscal year, Hamzoian said tourism generated about $36.7 million in tax revenues for Burbank.

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Hamzoian explained the various ways Visit Burbank puts the city on the radars of those who live outside the region.

The traditional approach of purchasing digital advertising, either on the state’s tourism website or through ads on Google or Facebook, resulted in about 179,000 people going to the Burbank Hospitality Assn.’s website.

Hamzoian added that partnerships with Visit California, Discover Los Angeles, Brand USA and Expedia resulted in about 118,000 website visits.

In addition to digital ads, Hamzoian said Visit Burbank is trying to be active on different social-media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Posts made by the organization have been seen by about 1.39 million users and resulted in about 32,900 followers on all platforms.

However, Hamzoian said “influencer” campaigns have helped boost those numbers over the last year.

Influencers are people on social media with thousands of followers who have an impact on other people, such as influencing people to follow or purchase items from a particular brand, or in Burbank’s case, visit the city.

Hamzoian said Visit Burbank hires influencers to stop by the city and visit specific areas or businesses to promote them to that person’s followers. So far, three influencers have had social-media campaigns for the city, and another four people are scheduled to have campaigns through the end of this year.

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