Letter From Scott Beck, Red Iguana, & More
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Visit Salt Lake Destination News

Jun 21, 2024

Second Quarter Board of Trustees & Membership Meeting

2018 Tourism Achievement Award and Great Start!

At our recent Second Quarter Board of Trustees’ Meeting held at the beautiful new Hale Centre Theatre, we posthumously presented our annual Tourism Achievement Award to Bob Farrington. As a reminder, the Tourism Achievement Award is presented to honor members and community organizations for their efforts in supporting VSL’s mission and the larger tourism community of Salt Lake County.

As you may know, Bob passed away in April, but not before he left an indelible mark on our community and our industry. Bob was the first Executive Director of the Downtown Alliance, a position he held for 15 years and during which he played an integral part of dramatic growth in, and redevelopment of, Salt Lake. His achievements were many, including developing the First Night New Year’s Eve celebrations, Farmers’ Market, Salt Lake Music Festival, Downtown Dine O’Round, Live Green and Lights On!, and creating cultural events as part of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He also served as Chairman of the Cabinet for the award-winning visioning plan, “Downtown Rising,” and led efforts supporting the TRAX light rail system, as well as numerous small businesses downtown. Bob also helped initiate the $110 million Eccles Theater development, and recruited Goldman Sachs to Main Street downtown. Bob sat on the boards of many organizations and remained involved in numerous community projects until his passing.

Presiding over the meeting, VSL Board Chair Dee Brewer announced that the second quarter of 2018 was even better than the first quarter and we are now nearly six percent ahead of last year’s revenue and on track to set another record for hotel revenue, with RevPar throughout the County remaining strong. Dee also mentioned that even though VSL is growing as a consumer marketing entity and attracting more leisure travelers, meetings and conventions remain the core of the organization and VSL’s sales team is at 145 percent of its room night booking goal halfway through the year, a goal that represents a seven percent increase over the record 2017 year.

I trust you will agree that we are, indeed, off to a great first half of the year as well as the fact that Bob Farrington was a more-than-deserving recipient of our annual Tourism Achievement Award.

Scott Beck

President & CEO


Upcoming Conventions: The Financial Forecast

Visit Salt Lake has developed occupancy forecasting models by using STR Analytics daily hotel data. STR Analytics produces a ‘Daily Trend Report’ (DTR). The DTR is a report of hotels’ daily percentage occupancy, average daily rate, and resulting RevPAR. Visit Salt Lake has purchased a subscription to DTR for Salt Lake in two sets. One for total Salt Lake County (approx. 18,000 rooms), and the other for the Salt Lake County Convention District (“SLCD,” approx. 6,400 rooms). By simple interpolation, we derive the data set for Salt Lake hotels that are located outside the SLCD (approx. 11,600 rooms).

VSL has DTR information from January 1, 2012, to the present. Hotels in the SLCD are located in the downtown area, and 98% of their hotel reservation systems are directly linked to STR Analytics. This enables STR to produce its DTR with a high degree of accuracy and provides reliable insight into the effects of events in Salt Lake. Approximately 80% of the hotels inside Salt Lake County but outside of the SLCD link their reservation systems to STR Analytics. The other hotels participate in surveys conducted by STR.

The graph above shows hotel occupancy forecasts for September 2018. Occupancy forecasts are estimated by the number of convention attendees, day-of-week, seasonality, and location.

There are two graphs for each forecasted month:

  • Hotel occupancy inside the SLCD
  • Hotel occupancy outside the SLCD

The graphs also show historic year-over-year occupancy rates, convention dates, and claimed convention attendance.

Red Iguana - Salt of the Earth: People and Places of Salt Lake

Ask anyone where you definitely need to eat in Salt Lake, and you'll get one responseRed Iguana.

Red Iguana has been a Salt Lake institution, serving up traditional Oaxacan dishes and generations-old recipes to generations of Utahns. Known best for their moles (a slow-cooked sauce with up to 23 ingredients), Red Iguana is a classic environment with great service, and arguably the best Mexican food in Salt Lake. Ramon and Maria Cardenas, from Chihuahua, Mexico, started their first restaurant in 1965, and opened Red Iguana in 1985. Maria's daughter Lucy Cardenas and husband Bill Corker bought the restaurant after Ramon passed away in 2004, making it a true family business.


The Fourth Annual Eat Drink SLC

Nibble, nosh, sip and swirl the evening away while listening to live music on Tracy Aviary's cool, green grounds at Eat Drink SLC 2018 on July 12, from 6:30 to 9:30pm. Festival-goers, aged 21 and over, sample seasonal fare from many of Salt Lake's leading restaurants and purveyors; sip from a selection of 80 wines from an international assortment of family-owned wineries; taste craft cocktails from small-batch distilleries, including several which are locally owned and operated; and enjoy local beers from award-winning Utah craft brewers. Each of the three distinct festival pods feature its own culinary mix and musical genre, allowing patrons to chart their own course through the evening.


Tip of the Month - Amenities & Meeting Space

With the new website, we can’t stress enough the importance of getting your banner image resized to 1800 x 675 and updating and managing your amenities & meeting space through the Member Portal!

It’s important for convention planners to have access to accurate information, and your meeting facility details automatically display on the meetings section of our website where planners actively search for venue inspiration. So, if you have a hotel with meeting space, a unique venue, or a family restaurant that can offer private buyouts or anything in-between, we want your information.

To access these amenity fields, login to the Member Portal and click 'Profile' then the sub tab 'Accounts.' Once there you will select the name of your account, and finally click 'Manage Amenities' or 'Manage Meeting Space' on the left navigation bar.

If you’re not sure if your business has appropriate meeting space, or what a category in the Member Portal is asking, don’t hesitate to reach out to Miranda Maisto or attend one of our monthly training sessions where we review everything in detail. The next training will be July 18 and you can view the full schedule of trainings HERE.  


Featured Member Highlight - Tsunami Restaurant & Sushi Bars in Sugar House and Union Heights

Two brand new members, Tsunami Restaurant & Sushi Bars in Sugar House and Union Heights, have a distinctive story to tell. Locally owned, their two owners Kris and Scott first met when they both worked at Mikado rolling sushi. In establishing Tsunami, they have created a few unique qualities that distinguishes them from other Japanese restaurants.  

Tsunami contracts with one specific fishing company in Alaska that takes their catch right from the boat to the airport where it is shipped directly to Tsunami in Salt Lake. Talk about fresh! And they only purchase sustainable seafood, which is why you won’t find certain varieties of fish on their menu. They have a separate gluten-free menu, a great selection of 100% vegetarian rolls, and they don't use peanuts or peanut products in their menu items, which is welcome news to the population with peanut allergies. They have on-staff “Sake Advisors” employees that take an extensive class to learn about sakeand they bring in specialty sakes that you can only find in their restaurants. Keep watch for when they start offering their Sake Dinner Pairings. For those who don't love sushi, Tsunami also provides excellent beef and organic chicken options. And, as with their fish, they contract with one ranch that supplies them with 100% Black Angus beef; from ranch to airport to Tsunami.

Sounds like it's time to make a visit to one of the Tsunami restaurants, supporting two of our new members.

Quarters Arcade Bar

Meet Our New Members!

Upcoming Member Events:



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