Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
This year's convention center business will be difficult
It could take years to woo back some major conventions, says expert Morrison
In convention business, this year "will continue to be a difficult year for San Diego," says tourism guru Jerry Morrison of Encinitas. He considers it good news that the San Diego Tourism Authority (formerly CONVIS) will be taking over booking of much convention business. That change was approved by the city council in March of last year, partly because booking patterns were irregular and often stagnating. "However, in the period leading up to the recent change the City missed on the bidding cycles for many conventions and therefore it may take several years to get back on the calendar of these major conventions," says Morrison. "According to [San Diego Tourism Authority] reports, convention center booking will be substantially below what was done in 2012."
He says San Diego won't be able to get back to its pre-recession 2007 level in revenue per available room (RevPAR) "any time soon." San Francisco is already 23.5% ahead of its comparable 2007 levels; Los Angeles is up 6.4% and the top 25 markets in the U.S. are up 0.7%. Orange County is flat and San Diego down 8.2%.
San Diego's weather hit December figures. RevPAR was down 12%. San Francisco was up 13.4%, Orange County up 10.1% and Los Angeles up 11%. Nationwide, the top 25 markets were up 7.8%.