Silver City’s Tourism Marketing Campaign Delivers
Gross Receipts and Lodgers’ Tax Revenues Up Significantly
It appears that Silver City is realizing a strong return on its investment with the Albuquerque advertising and marketing firm, Sunny 505, as revenues from lodgers’ tax are up a whopping 24% since 2017, total gross receipts tax (GRT) revenues have increased eight percent, and GRT from food and lodging specifically are also up six percent. Lodgers’ taxes are up in Grant County as well, given that the two governments are working together to promote tourism.
“I’m very pleased with the increase in gross receipts taxes,” said Silver City Mayor Ken Ladner. “Silver City’s budget, and the funds that we have to provide services to residents without raising property taxes, is largely dependent on these taxes. Although there are many factors that contribute to tourism and the money that visitors spend in our community, the bottom line is that the more tourism we’re able to generate, the more stable our local revenues are, and that’s good for Silver City.”
Local realtors are also finding a lot to like, regardless of how directly correlated the local resurgence in home sales is to the tourism marketing campaign.
Blake Farley, qualifying broker with Hacienda Realty, confirms that the real estate market has shifted dramatically in the past few years, and even tentatively says that at least in Silver City, it’s now a seller’s market. Even the harder-to-move, more expensive properties are selling, says Farley, who reports seeing “lots of people from Colorado, California “refugees” including from Paradise, which was totally destroyed in the 2019 Camp Fire, and from the Austin and Dallas areas, where the tech industry is contributing to traffic jams and higher prices.
Joanie Griffin, Sunny 505 CEO, says part of the creative strategy behind Silver City’s collaborative, tourism marketing effort with Grant County is to help prospective visitors be “sightdoing” versus sightseeing. “People want to picture themselves having these outdoor adventures, not just passively visiting,” she said.
To maximize the rather modest budget of approximately $300,000, of which $185,000 is paid for by Silver City lodgers’ tax dollars, advertising emphasizes digital and social media ads, primarily on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a Trip Advisor campaign, all placed in Albuquerque, Tucson, El Paso and Las Cruces. Frequent social media posts push visitors to the website, www.visitsilvercity.org, which has seen a dramatic increase of 193% unique visitors in the past year, while Facebook “likes” now total more than 20,000.