COVID-19 Updates and Resources from the RTA

The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. 

As our elected leaders and public health officials aggressively work to contain infections, the RTA continues to work as an advisor to travelers and an advocate for regional businesses and the travel industry. We’ve heard from many of our partners and understand the challenges your business is facing, as well as your need to appropriately advise your customers and clients.

 

Business Impact Tracking

The RTA is actively tracking the business impact from COVID-19 and would like to know any direct cancellations or other significant impacts. Please send all information to Caitlyn Shearer at PartnerServices@SeattleSouthside.com.

 

Industry Guidance for Promoting the Health and Safety of All Travelers

PDF Cover graphic for Travel in the New NormalThe U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million American jobs, was developed in close collaboration with health and medical professionals, and with organizations throughout the broader travel industry: hotels/resorts, airports, airlines, attractions, restaurants, rental cars, meeting venues, event producers, travel advisors and others. It also builds upon and aligns with the White House and CDC guidelines for "Opening Up America Again."

We will modify the guidance as the public health issue evolves and we will continue to work with medical and health professionals, government officials and travel leaders across the industry to prioritize the health and safety of travelers and travel employees.

Read more...

 

 

Inslee Announces Five Regions to Progress to Phase 2

Updated Feb. 11, 2021 

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today five new regions have met the metric requirements to progress to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan, starting this weekend. The West and Puget Sound regions have maintained their metric requirements to stay in Phase 2. 

The new regions progressing to Phase 2 are: 

  • North (Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Island)
  • North Central (Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant)
  • Northwest (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason)
  • East (Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, Asotin, Whitman, Garfield)
  • Southwest (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Skamania, Clark, Klickitat) 

The only region not moving to Phase 2 is the South Central region – which includes Ellensburg, Yakima, the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla.

Additionally, the governor announced Thursday evening that the five regions progressing will be able to do so starting Sunday, Feb. 14. The holiday weekend provides a large portion of a restaurant's yearly revenue, and by moving up the region's reopening date will allow dining establishments to benefit. 

"I know this creates more options for restaurants to make Valentine's Day special for couples who hoped they could have a night out," Inslee said. "I am confident people, young and old, will celebrate safely. And if it's a first date that doesn't go well, remind them to stay six feet away from you." 

Read the full Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery plan here.

 

What's Open

  1. Indoor social gatherings with people from outside your household should not include more than 5 people, limit two households.
  2. Outdoor social gatherings shall be limited to fifteen (15) people from outside your household, limit 2 households.
  3. Worship services allowed up to 25% indoor capacity.
  4. Retail stores, including farmers markets, allowed up to 25% indoor capacity. Curbside pick-up is encouraged.
  5. Professional services allowed up to 25% indoor capacity. Remote work strongly encouraged.
  6. Personal services allowed up to 25% indoor capacity.
  7. Eating and drinking establishments are limited to 25% capacity for indoor service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Open Air Guidance. Table size for indoor and outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of six (6) people and two (2) households. Establishments only serving individuals 21+ and no food remain closed.
  8. Wedding and funeral ceremonies and indoor receptions, and wakes are permitted and must follow appropriate venue requirements. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking establishment requirements outlined above apply. Dancing is prohibited.
  9. Low and moderate risk sports competitions a permitted. Tournaments are not permitted. Fitness and training establishments can operate at a maximum of 25% capacity.
  10. Indoor entertainment establishments such as aquariums, theaters, arenas, concert halls, gardens, museums, bowling alleys, trampoline facilities, cardrooms and event spaces are open at a maximum of 25% capacity. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking establishment requirements outlined above apply.
  11. Outdoor entertainment establishments such as zoos, gardens, aquariums, theaters, stadiums, event spaces, arenas, concert venues and rodeos can be open for groups of fifteen (15), with a maximum of 200 individuals including spectators.

 

Impacted Hotel Operations

While hotels are deemed “essential” in Governor Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan, the operations of many King County hotels have been severely impacted:

 

Cruise & Airline Industry

  • Canada has suspended cruise until February 2022, essentially cancelling the Alaska cruise season.
  • The Port of Seattle has delayed its $200 million cruise terminal project (Terminal 46), which was slated to open for the 2023 cruise season. Port officials will assess the COVID-19 impact on future cruise business before continuing the project, which requires a $100 million investment from a private partner(s).
  • Access SEA Airport’s weekly dashboard of airport activity for more information

 

Travel and Health Advisories

Today, you’ll find resources on the following websites that may provide assistance:

These resources will be continuously updated. And if you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us at PartnerServices@SeattleSouthside.com.

 

STR: U.S. hotel results for week ending 13 February

18 February 2021

HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee—U.S. hotel occupancy increased more than 4 percentage points from the previous week, according to STR‘s latest data through 13 February.  

7-13 February 2021 (percentage change from comparable week in 2020):

  • Occupancy: 45.1% (-29.0%)
  • Average daily rate (ADR): US$99.21 (-25.7%)
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$44.72 (-47.2%)

Boosted by Valentine’s Day and the long weekend with Presidents’ Day, U.S. weekend occupancy (Friday/Saturday) came in at 58.5%, which was the highest level in the metric since mid-October. Elevated occupancy during the weekend of Presidents’ Day occurred during previous recessions as well.

-

Aggregate data for the Top 25 Markets showed slightly lower occupancy (44.0%) but higher ADR (US$106.53) than all other markets.

Among the Top 25 Markets, Tampa, Florida, saw the highest occupancy level (66.3%), lifted by Super Bowl LV.

Top 25 Markets with the lowest occupancy levels for the week included Oahu Island, Hawaii (28.8%), and Minneapolis, Minnesota (30.9%).

Additional Performance Data
STR’s world-leading hotel performance sample comprises 68,000 properties and 9.1 million rooms around the globe. Members of the media should refer to the contacts listed below for additional data requests.

About STR
STR provides premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for global hospitality sectors. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 15 countries with a corporate North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, an international headquarters in London, and an Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore. STR was acquired in October 2019 by CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces. For more information, please visit str.com and costargroup.com.

North America Media Contact
Haley Luther
Communications Coordinator
hluther@str.com
+1 (615) 824-8664 ext. 3500

Most Recent Traveler Sentiment Findings (as of 2/14/21)

by 

As anxiety wanes and optimism gains, Americans are feeling more and more love for travel—and the advertising that inspires their wanderlust.

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected February 12th-14th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • In total, 12.7% said they took a trip for the long Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend—double what was reported for Memorial Day weekend in the early pandemic period, and a similar rate to Labor Day weekend, which followed the summer coronavirus case surge.
  • Americans’ anxiety about the pandemic—from both the financial and health impact perspectives—continues to decline. Now a record 39.3% of Americans feel the situation will get better in the next month.
  • These better feelings translate to travel. Perceptions of travel and leisure activities as unsafe has fallen to an average of 46.2% —a record low since the start of the pandemic. About 60% of American travelers feel at least somewhat confident they can travel safely in the current environment, and those who would have travel guilt has declined to 44.0% from a recent peak of 54.6% the week of December 14th. Now 58.5% are in a travel readiness state of mind.
  • Vaccines continue to keep optimism up among a majority of American travelers. Nearly 6-in-10 travelers say COVID-19 vaccines make them more optimistic about life returning to normal in the next six months and 52.9% say it makes them more optimistic about the ability to travel safely in that same time.
  • This week, 54.0% of American travelers report that they have a friend or relative who has received the vaccine. Seeing people we know get vaccinated against COVID-19 clearly benefits travel sentiment. Those who know others who have already been vaccinated are even more optimistic about their travel future and have begun planning travel specifically in anticipation of a wider vaccine rollout at higher rates than others. They are also more likely to have done any travel dreaming and planning in the last week, and have more trips planned for 2021.
  • Right now, 80.2% of Americans have plans for one or more upcoming trips, with July still looking like the peak travel month this year. While nearly a quarter of the next road trips Americans will take will be within the next 3 months, the majority of American travelers still anticipate their very next air trip to be after June.
  • More than half of Americans have taken some action towards their very next leisure trip, including researching destinations to visit (26.1%), booking lodging (18.8%) and researching travel activities (14.4%).
  • Advertising certainly plays a role in inspiring more travel. This week, 55.8% report being highly open to travel inspiration. Well over a quarter of all American travelers —and over 35% of those Millennial age or younger —say that an advertisement has specifically motivated them to travel to a destination. In fact, 38.9% say the last travel destination ad they saw made them feel “happy” or “very happy.”
  • Where American travelers feel most receptive to travel advertising varies by age, but websites, social media (particularly Facebook), both broadcast and streaming television, and email are common.
  • In addition to how they are feeling about traveling, how Americans perceive travel within their own communities is also critical to understanding the travel industry’s recovery. This week 44.3% agree they feel comfortable going out for leisure activities where they live. In addition, a larger proportion of Americans continue to say they would be happy to see their community advertised for tourism (39.1% vs 29.1% who would be unhappy). Those residing in urban areas are far likelier to feel happy about travel advertisements of their city compared to those residing in suburban or rural areas.
  • Read more below.

 

Americans celebrated both Valentine’s Day and President’s Day…was love in the air for travel during this holiday? In total, 12.7% said they took a trip for the long weekend—double what was reported for Memorial Day weekend in the early pandemic period, and a similar rate to Labor Day weekend, which followed the summer coronavirus case surge.

 

 

As daily new cases have dropped dramatically over the last month and vaccines continue to be administered, Americans’ anxiety about the pandemic—from both the financial and health impact perspectives—continues to decline. Now a record 39.3% of Americans feel the situation will get better in the next month—and only 22.7% feel it will get worse. The highest optimism about the pandemic’s course had ever previously been prior to this period was the week of May 4th, 2020, when 35.1% believed things would get better in the next month. And even then, pessimism still outweighed optimism, unlike today. These better feelings translate to travel. Perceptions of travel and leisure activities as unsafe has fallen to an average of 46.2% —a record low since the start of the pandemic. About 60% of American travelers feel at least somewhat confident they can travel safely in the current environment, and those who would have travel guilt has declined to 44.0% from a recent peak of 54.6% the week of December 14th. Now 58.5% are in a travel readiness state of mind.

 

 

Vaccines continue to keep optimism up among a majority of American travelers. Nearly 6-in-10 travelers say COVID-19 vaccines make them more optimistic about life returning to normal in the next six months and 52.9% say it makes them more optimistic about the ability to travel safely in that same time. This week, 54.0% of American travelers report that they have a friend or relative who has received the vaccine. This rate is even higher among older travelers, as well as among those residing in the Western half of the U.S. Seeing people we know get vaccinated against COVID-19 clearly benefits travel sentiment. Those who know others who have already been vaccinated are likelier to have been or plan to be vaccinated themselves. These travelers are even more optimistic about their travel future and have begun planning travel specifically in anticipation of a wider vaccine rollout at higher rates than others. They are also more likely to have done any travel dreaming and planning in the last week, and have more trips planned for 2021 (3.0 vs 2.6).

 

 

Right now, 80.2% of Americans have plans for one or more upcoming trips, with July still looking like the peak travel month this year. While nearly a quarter of the next road trips Americans will take will be within the next 3 months, the majority of American travelers still anticipate their very next air trip to be after June. More than half of Americans have taken some action towards their very next leisure trip, including researching destinations to visit (26.1%), booking lodging (18.8%) and researching travel activities (14.4%). The primary motivators for these next leisure trips are to spend time with family, relax and escape stress and simply get away from the routineness of daily life. Thus, Americans express how important it is to have such experiences on their trips. In terms of other experiences they want to have on their next trip, outdoor recreation and connecting with nature, food and culinary and any brand new experiences overall are key for many.

 

 

What could inspire even more Americans to travel, and to travel more? Advertising certainly plays a role. This week, 55.8% report being highly open to travel inspiration. Well over a quarter of all American travelers —and over 35% of those Millennial age or younger —say that an advertisement has specifically motivated them to travel to a destination. In fact, 38.9% say the last travel destination ad they saw made them feel “happy” or “very happy.” This week, one-third of American travelers recalled having seen an ad for a travel destination in the past month, most commonly on broadcast television, social media and elsewhere on the Internet. Where American travelers feel most receptive to travel advertising varies by age, but websites, social media (particularly Facebook), both broadcast and streaming television, and email are common.

 

 

In addition to how they are feeling about traveling, how Americans perceive travel within their own communities is also critical to understanding the travel industry’s recovery. This week 44.3% agree they feel comfortable going out for leisure activities where they live. In addition, a larger proportion of Americans continue to say they would be happy to see their community advertised for tourism (39.1% vs 29.1% who would be unhappy). Those residing in urban areas are far likelier to feel happy about travel advertisements of their city compared to those residing in suburban or rural areas (50.1% vs 35.6% for rural and 34.7% for suburban).

 

 

Resources for Businesses

The state is working with federal and local partners to mitigate these impacts as much as possible. A list of resources for businesses and workers who have been impacted can be found here on the Governor's website.

Health Recommendations

Back to Work Guidelines & Toolkits

Back to Work for the Restaurant Industry

Back to Work for the Hospitality Industry

Back to Work for Retail Businesses

Guidelines for the Recreation

Additional Resources for Businesses:

 

These resources will be continuously updated. And if you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us at PartnerServices@SeattleSouthside.com.

Stay tuned for the official details, which will be posted on the King County Public Health site. The RTA will continue to work in collaboration with these authorities for any implementations of this layered approach to mitigation.