Visit Napa Valley’s Destination Showcase Brings Together Wine Industry & Hospitality Professionals to Share “Napa Valley By The Numbers”

The annual gathering is an opportunity for the industry to connect and share insights about tourism trends and projections in leisure, group and meeting travel in the Napa Valley

On March 30, 2023, Visit Napa Valley held its annual Destination Showcase at The CIA at Copia in Napa, CA. Designed to bring together wine industry, hospitality and tourism professionals from throughout the Napa Valley, Destination Showcase featured an afternoon of programming that provided intel and insights from some of Visit Napa Valley’s key data partners, and recaps of Visit Napa Valley’s 2022 marketing, sales, community and industry efforts. 

The insights panel was kicked off by Hannah Smith, Senior Consultant at Smith Travel Research (STR). Smith drew on STR’s premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights to shed unique perspective on the factors that contributed to the Napa Valley’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The strength of the Napa Valley’s brand and its unique lodging composition positioned the destination to recover more quickly than other destinations in the state, even though occupancy has not returned to 2019 levels,” she said. 

Chelsea Kendall, Account Manager at Cvent, provided insights on the return of group and meeting travel. Kendall also applauded Napa Valley’s strong recovery, and noted meeting planners’ desire for experience-first events that can be extended to include leisure. Napa Valley remains above average metrics for requests for proposal (RFPs), and has an 11% market share of meeting business in California, a huge portion considering the relative size of the Napa Valley compared to other destinations. “Most meeting planners award their business to the first three RFP respondents,” she added, urging properties to respond as promptly as possible to RFPs shared by Visit Napa Valley to increase their chances of winning. 

The Cvent presentation was followed by Dale Stratton, President of the Wine Market Council. He too highlighted unique experiences as key in attracting tourism, and indicated that many people coming to Napa Valley are not necessarily wine consumers. “The opportunity to attract younger consumers lies in the experiences wineries can offer, and exceeding their expectations,” he said. As the DTC demand flattens post-pandemic, Stratton pointed to the opportunity for wineries to ramp up their experiential offerings to win the hearts of visitors. 

The final panelist was Josh Collins, Chief Product Officer from Zartico. A new data vendor contracted by Visit Napa Valley, Collins gave an overview of Zartico’s capabilities and offered examples from other destination marketing clients across the US. “Once fully implemented, Visit Napa Valley will be able to leverage Zartico’s powerful tools to offer more complex insights on tourism’s impacts on the valley, ultimately helping Visit Napa Valley make more informed and strategic investments to sustainably manage tourism in the Napa Valley,” he concluded. 

The panel was followed by an overview of Visit Napa Valley’s paid and owned marketing efforts, highlighting the “Cheers, the Good Life” campaign with Sarah Gillihan, Director, Communications, Community and Industry Relations and Amanda Moul, VP, Group Account Director at The Shipyard, Visit Napa Valley’s strategic agency of record. 

The day wrapped up with a panel of town representatives from American Canyon, the City of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, and unincorporated Napa County. Each panelist offered an overview of their Chamber of Commerce activities and the results of their local destination marketing efforts. 

“The data continues to show that while we have not fully recovered from the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on travel, Napa Valley continues to be a bright spot in California’s recovery,” concluded Linsey Gallagher, President and CEO of Visit Napa Valley. “Tourism is a vital part of the Napa Valley economy and we are proud to work with our partners to continue to chart a path towards a return to sustainable tourism.”