PHOENIX (June 18, 2013) — Metropolitan Phoenix’s hotel industry, which is in the midst of a slow recovery from the Great Recession, can count on an “off the charts” boost from Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.

Jan Freitag, a lodging-data analyst from Smith Travel Research, told travel and hospitality leaders gathered for the 2013 Visit Phoenix Annual Meeting at the Phoenix Art Museum that area hotels could expect occupancy levels of 90 percent and average rates upward of $300 during Super Bowl weekend in February 2015.

“There is one extremely bright spot on the horizon, and that’s the Super Bowl,” said Freitag, senior vice president of global development at STR Global. “Historically, hotel performance on the weekend of the Super Bowl is off the charts.”

Freitag pointed out that New Orleans, site of this year’s Super Bowl, experienced a 43 percent increase in occupancy and a nearly 200 percent increase in average daily rate (ADR) over the previous year. In 2012, Indianapolis experienced a 137 percent increase in occupancy and a whopping 335 percent increase in ADR when it played host to the National Football League’s premier event.

That news is a boon for hotels and resorts in Greater Phoenix, as well as city and state governments.

According to the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, the last Super Bowl held in Arizona, in February 2008, attracted more than 91,000 out-of-state visitors who spent $218 million. The City of Phoenix reported sales-tax collections from hotels increased 25.4 percent that February compared to the same month in 2007.

New name, same vision. For many years, the Visit Phoenix Annual Meeting was known as the “Greater Phoenix CVB Annual Meeting”. No more. As part of a growing trend among convention and visitors bureaus, the Greater Phoenix CVB announced to its members last week that it is simplifying its name.

“Our advertising and electronic presence has been ‘Visit Phoenix’ for over 10 years,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix. “Our logo says ‘Visit Phoenix,’ and the traveling public knows our brand as ‘Visit Phoenix’. We are simply embracing this locally.”

Moore added that the name shift to Visit Phoenix also will help alleviate confusion among residents and local policy makers, who sometimes conflate the GPCVB with the Phoenix Convention Center (formerly Civic Plaza).

Visit Phoenix tips cap to longtime TPC Scottsdale GM. During Bill Grove’s two-decade tenure as the general manager and director of golf at TPC Scottsdale, home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, it became one the highest-profile courses on the PGA Tour. And, as Moore pointed out, the Stadium Course’s world-famous 16th hole was transformed into “one of the most famous hospitality and tradeshow venues in America,” and annual television coverage doubled as “video postcards inviting viewers to visit the Valley area.”

For these reasons — along with what Moore characterized as Grove’s “role in developing Phoenix into the internationally renowned golf destination it is today” — representatives from Visit Phoenix presented Grove with the Visitor Industry Champion Award.

In accepting the honor, Grove, who grew up in North Carolina, said one of the keys to his long career was understanding how to lead with a subtle hand, and he shared this bit of wisdom from his father: “Snow that falls the softest lasts the longest.”

Phoenix hospitality community mourns tragic loss of friends. The nearly 300 travel and hospitality leaders who attended the 2013 Visit Phoenix Annual Meeting shared a moment of silence to honor Margie Long, the longtime president of Hot Air Expeditions, and Carl Prince, a project manager with the venerable ballooning company. Long and Prince lost their lives when two small planes collided near Deer Valley Airport on May 31.

Donations benefit Children First Academy. Guests who attended the Visit Phoenix Annual Meeting at Phoenix Art Museum were asked to bring art supplies for Children First Academy. The academy provides education, counseling and on-site healthcare to 300 at-risk children in grades K-8 who are homeless or live below the poverty line. To learn more about how you can help Children First Academy, click here.