Domaine Chandon Tasting Room

Guests sample some of the offerings in the tasting room, known as The Salon, at Domaine Chandon last summer. Tourism is strong, with hotels enjoying double-digit revenue increases over the past year.

J.L. Sousa/Register file photo

Napa Valley’s lodging industry is enjoying double-digit growth in revenues, beating other parts of the Bay Area.

According to new data from Visit Napa Valley, area hotels reported a 14.8 percent increase in revenue for the 12 months ending in November. Revenue per available room was up 11.8 percent.

The lodging data was presented at Visit Napa Valley’s mid-year sales and marketing conference Friday afternoon at the Meritage Resort & Spa.

The conference updated visitor-serving businesses on tourism trends, progress in marketing the Napa Valley as a destination and shared key information about future programs.

Napa County’s revenue numbers are “outstanding,” said Thomas Callahan, senior managing director of CBRE Hotels in San Francisco. “Those are extremely good results.”

In the San Francisco area, revenue per available room was up less than 10 percent, he said. “Napa beat San Francisco” and almost doubled the national average of 6 percent.

Napa Valley benefits from its proximity to the rest of the Bay Area, which is one the strongest lodging markets in the U.S., noted Callahan.

“There are more folks with influence doing well” in the greater Bay Area, he said. “They have more of an affinity to do weekend getaways in Napa.”

In addition, there has been no appreciable new hotel room supply in most parts of the Bay Area, officials said.

Clay Gregory, Visit Napa Valley president and CEO, said the glowing hotel numbers come after some recent stellar results.

“We keep going against better numbers from the past year so at some point you’d think we couldn’t keep growing at this rate but it certainly is not showing that this year,” he said.

At Friday’s conference, Visit Napa Valley also launched a new program called Tourism Matters. The goal of the program is to educate and inform government officials, community leaders and residents of the value that tourism brings to the economy and lifestyle of the Napa Valley.

“There are pockets of citizens who don’t understand what tourism contributes” to the local economy, said Gregory.

“The increase of tourism and marketing dollars has a spillover effect to everyone that lives here,” said David Shipman, the general manager of the new Las Alcobas property, opening this summer on the old Grandview property in St.Helena.

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“I think that gets overshadowed often. I believe people’s lifestyles in the valley (are) better than 20 years ago. A fair amount of that is a byproduct of the tourism growth we’ve had.”

Visit Napa Valley receives funding via the Tourism Business Improvement District or TBID. The TBID added a 2 percent assessment to hotel room rates for county wide marketing efforts.

Its fiscal year 2016 budget is $6.4 million. For the fiscal year 2015, which ended in June 2015, the budget was $5.8 million.

While the lodging revenue news is good, that doesn’t mean the agency isn’t prepared for a rainy day. Visit Napa Valley is adding to its reserves in case the economy falters, both nationally or internationally, or the area faces another natural disaster like the August 2014 earthquake.

It’s hard to predict revenue for 2016, said Callahan. Will there be slower economic growth? Will China weigh down aspects of the economy?

“As long as we don’t go into recession, it should be another good year,” he said.

As for occupancy rates, which reached 71 percent for the 12 months ending in November, Callahan said that number will hold steady.

“I don’t think you’ll get much growth in occupancy,” he said, and “71 percent is about as good as it gets.”


Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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