This is the season when economic impact statistics for 2015 are being released. The report is out here in Virginia and apparently several other states. My Facebook and Twitter feeds and several industry e-newsletters I read are all filled with stories about how communities are benefiting from visitor spending in calendar year 2015.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, visitor spending increased 2.4% over 2014 levels. That's serious money considering that in 2014 visitors spent $22.4 billion (not a typo — that's billion with a B). That is amazing news because it supports a lot of jobs and brings in a ton of tax revenue to the state and localities.
I couldn't help wondering what kind of growth our clients experienced compared to the state average. I did a quick and highly selective check of a few clients for whom our creative work was used in marketing for the entire calendar year and/or we had significant influence in their strategic marketing plans. I am proud to say that the average among these clients was 2.68% growth, surpassing the state average. Alleghany Highlands lead the way with a 3.8% increase.
Mikula-Harris is certainly not taking credit for the growth in visitor spending. There are people at the tourism offices and CVBs that we work with who are making tough decisions about where to invest their marketing dollars. There are people in those organizations working hard to bring in groups, conventions and sporting events. They all did their part to achieve growth. I'd like to think that we did our part as well. We're happy to be part of high-performing teams. We have always known that great advertising creative work moves the needle. It certainly moved the needle for our clients in 2015.