Visit Lodi! Convention and Visitors Bureau reported this week that tourism numbers are up in 2014, and higher numbers are expected again next year.
Visit Lodi! director Nancy Beckman presented tourism numbers to the Lodi City Council during a special meeting held Tuesday morning at Carnegie Forum.
Lodi tourism has been strong and steady in 2014, she said, with 2,273 new faces coming to the Visit Lodi! office at 25 N. School St. so far this year — a 33 percent increase from 2013.
In addition, there were 8,071 requests for information on Lodi this year, both in person and online. That number is 13 percent higher than 2013, Beckman said.
To determine how many people who come to Visit Lodi! are out-of-towners, Beckman said, she and her staff simply ask where guests are from. About 70 percent of the guests are from California, she said.
“Many people are not from San Joaquin County, but we do get people from Lodi who bring in their guests,” she said. “Occasionally we have people come in who know they are having guests visit, and they request information for them.”
Thanks to an online campaign specifically designed to attract tourists from the Bay Area, Beckman said visits to the bureau’s Facebook page have increased from 1,373 in January to 9,700 for all of 2014 as of Tuesday. In addition, subscriptions to the Visit Lodi! e-event calendar have increased by 24 percent since last year.
Beckman said Visit Lodi! will amp up its efforts in 2015 with a stronger online presence that includes more advertisements, videos and blogs, as well as increasing its search engine capacity on sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Seventy percent of visitors to Lodi this year revealed they use the Internet to search for information on the city, she said, and 30 percent of those online users use social media. That means Visit Lodi! will also increase its use of Facebook and Twitter to promote the city.
“It’s important to make sure people can find us,” Beckman said. “We can have the best website in the world, but if we’re not coming up first on search engines, then it’s all for naught.”
Amgen Tour of California
The most anticipated marketing tool for Lodi in 2015, Beckman said, is going to be the Amgen Tour of California in May.
The event, now in its 10th year, brings about 2 million visitors from all over the world, and creates $100 million in revenue for the state, Beckman said.
Lodi will host the end of the second stage of the race, and Beckman said the city can expect about $1 million in additional revenue, as well as constant media exposure throughout the eight-day event.
“Media outlets will review each city that’s been visited every day of the race,” Beckman said. “That means Lodi will be mentioned over and over and over every day.”
The race attracts more than 3.5 billion online visitors to host cities and more than 24,000 visitors to the race’s Facebook and Twitter pages, she said.
Vice Mayor Larry Hansen applauded Beckman’s efforts and said she has done an amazing job bringing more visitors to Lodi.
“Watching you and this program develop over time has been amazing,” he said. “You’ve done a terrific job. You’ve certainly put Lodi on the map.”
A complete overview of Beckman’s report to the council can be seen online at www.tinyurl.com/luuhqeg.
For more information, visit the bureau at 25 N. School St. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or visit www.visitlodi.com.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.