- Van debuts at Hotel Summit
- Operating at five Arlington Metro stations starting Sept. 29
- Replaces award-winning vehicle launched in 2010 that served nearly 40,000 visitors
- Driving visitor spending in Arlington, up 19% since 2010
- Visitors spent nearly $3 billion in 2014, generating nearly $81 million in tax revenues
More than 50 hoteliers previewed Arlington’s new Mobile Visitors Center today at the fifth annual Arlington Hotel Summit, co-hosted by the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) and Arlington Chamber Hotel General Managers Committee. Hitting the streets next week, the vehicle is expected to reach more than 12,000 visitors a year in Arlington’s main tourist neighborhoods and at special events like the Marine Corps Marathon.
The standard cargo van, wrapped with StayArlington branding and outfitted to provide visitor information and services, will operate at five Arlington Metro stations four days a week starting Sept. 29. It replaces the original, all-electric vehicle that was taken out of service in 2014 due to an irreparable safety issue.
More versatile, cost-efficient way to serve visitors
Among the first of its kind when it was launched in 2010, Arlington’s Mobile Visitors Center has prompted numerous inquiries from destination marketing organizations, both domestic and international, seeking to transition from traditional storefront locations to a more versatile, cost-efficient way of serving visitors. The vehicle announced today cost $50,000, compared to an annual cost of $78,000 to lease the Pentagon Row storefront location that the County closed in 2010.
Market research in 2007 sparked Arlington’s Mobile Visitors Center concept. That research showed that local visitors were barely aware of quality shopping, dining, nightlife and entertainment near their hotels. The research recommended engaging more proactively with guests close to their hotels to educate them about excellent local options.
Subsequent ACVS initiatives, such as the Mobile Visitors Center, Rolling Concierges on Segways™, On-Site Convention Services at hotels, and the Arlington Hospitality College, have helped increase guests’ and hotels’ knowledge of Arlington restaurants, stores, attractions, and cultural amenities. Arlington’s first Mobile Visitors Center received a 2011 Virgo Award for Visitor Center of the Year from the Virginia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (VACVB), and a Southeast Tourism Society 2011 Shining Example Award in the “Tourism for Tomorrow” category.
“Our visitors and meeting planners tell us that for many, a phone and apps don’t beat one-on-one human interaction,” said Emily Cassell, director of ACVS. “Whether they’re figuring out sightseeing plans for the day, have questions about using Metro, or want ideas for Arlington restaurants and night spots that evening, most visitors express enthusiasm for the personal assistance they receive.”
Arlington led Virginia counties for tourism economic impact in 2014
ACVS’s combined visitor services programs have played a key role in increasing guest spending in Arlington which, according to the U.S. Travel Association, went up more than $485 million (19 percent) from 2010 through 2014, said Cassell. Arlington County announced last week that it led Virginia counties for tourism economic impact in 2014, generating nearly $3 billion in local travel spending, supporting nearly 25,000 jobs, and bringing close to $81 million in local tax receipts benefiting the community. For more information on Arlington tourism, visit www.stayarlington.com.
The Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) is the official destination marketing organization for Arlington, Va. A division within Arlington Economic Development, ACVS promotes Arlington’s overall destination experience – encompassing hotels, restaurants, stores, attractions, transportation, cultural amenities and more – to meeting planners, business travelers, vacationers and media. Grounded in research and best practices, the award-winning organization focuses on targeted advertising & promotion, public relations, meeting & convention sales, and visitor services to influence travelers to stay, shop, dine and play in Arlington when visiting the Washington, D.C., area. Arlington has been Virginia’s top county for tourism economic impact since 2009.