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Sedona Chamber: Revenues may fall short of expectations

Michelle Conway (Submitted photo)

Michelle Conway (Submitted photo)

This month, we’re taking action to serve our Chamber partners and our community while bolstering the local economy.

According to the city of Sedona, economic indicators suggest that municipal tax revenues generated by business activity will probably not meet predicted levels this year. This could mean less money for city services and improvements. Hotel occupancy, another important metric, has also dropped compared to the past few years. Many hotels are now needing to stabilize occupancy by cutting their rates — average daily rates were down 10.4% in December 2022 compared to 2021. Average rates with short-term rentals are also down.

These indicators along with news from our partners about declines in customer traffic and revenue have triggered new ideas about reintroducing Red Rock Country after a two-year pause in marketing. Our economy needs a reliable stream of desirable visitors — those who stay multiple days, spend more than day-trippers, and are sensitive to our environmental and lifestyle concerns. The out-of-towners who attended February’s Sedona International Film Festival are an example.

We are working toward attracting an affluent sophisticated visitor and we are asking our more than 700 Chamber partners to assist us in this effort. Together with the Sedona Lodging Council and the newly formed Sedona Verde Valley Marketing Alliance, we are initiating a targeted out-of-state marketing campaign that will encourage high-value travelers to “Meet Sedona Again.” 

In addition to our main draw — Sedona’s magnificent scenery — this campaign will focus on our incredible dining, arts scene and retail establishments — the perfect things to enjoy indoors during warmer summer months. The result:  Increased foot traffic through the doors of our businesses. To supplement this campaign, we will continue our important “Respect Red Rock Country” messaging, so that visitors understand our values and recreate responsibly when they arrive.

The campaign will run from April through June. We are raising $225,000 within our local businesses to make it happen. Our entire business community and the thousands of families they support will benefit from the campaign and are eligible to participate. Now is the time to step up and contribute! Please go to SedonaLodgingCouncil.com to find out more.

March also features some of our most popular member and community events, starting with the second annual International Women’s Day Lunch on March 8 at Poco Diablo Resort. This event features inspiring keynotes, leadership awards and an excellent meal. Proceeds benefit the Helen Wolfe Scholarship for local women.

Sedona residents may bring four “banker boxes” of documents to shred for free at our March 15 event at the Sedona Performing Arts Center parking lot from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Place the boxes in your back seat or trunk, and the Elevated Shredding crew will take it from there. American Legion Post 135 Honor and Color Guard will also assist. Last summer’s event collected 4,000 pounds of paper products for recycling, saving 760 gallons of oil, 8,000 kilowatts of energy, 34 trees, and 14,000 gallons of water. That’s sustainable action!

Our Nonprofit Leadership Roundtable on March 28 will feature Patrick Schweiss or Reba Stone of the International Film Festival to discuss how nonprofits can attract and motivate volunteers. Nonprofits provide valuable public services from food to animal care and are always looking for eager helpers. We have over 130 nonprofit members, and we encourage you to join a favorite cause today.

The forecast for springtime in Sedona is colorful!  We anticipate the season to be filled with wildflowers, adding to the beauty of our landscape. 

Join us for one of our March events. I look forward to seeing there.


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