Summer occupancy rates up nearly 6 percent; marketing efforts targeted conventions and recreational travel

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (November 15, 2016) —The Stevens Point Area experienced a strong increase in overnight travel this summer. According to new figures from Smith Travel Research, lodging occupancy from Memorial Day-Labor Day went up by 5.7% when compared to the previous year. The increase came as the Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (SPACVB) made a strong marketing push to draw conventions and encourage additional leisure travel, focusing on outdoor recreation and the arts.

“We’re encouraged by the growth in occupancy numbers locally,” said Sara Brish, executive director of the SPACVB. “We work hard to promote our area’s rich assets and it’s good to see travelers are getting the message and booking travel to the Stevens Point Area.”

Convention and sports business was strong in 2016 as the Stevens Point Area hosted numerous long-standing meeting events in addition to welcoming new events to the region. Notably the region welcomed two new events including the Izaak Walton League of America National Convention and the Upper Midwest Power Boat Association, with both drawing attendees from across the United States. The increase in occupancy is also supported by the large number of tournaments hosted in the region, including summer baseball, soccer and softball. Significant growth in the sports marked has been seen in camps and workshops, as attendance grows; including Camp Shutout, Tottenham Hotspur’s Soccer Camps and the Firepro Fast Pitch Girls Softball Camp. Additional growth in this market is tied to long-standing large-scale summer events, including Special Olympics Wisconsin Summer Games, the Energy Fair, Suzuki Institute, and Iola Old Car Show to name a few.

This summer also brought growth in the leisure travel market for the region. In May and June, the SPACVB launched two promotions. The first, ‘Get Out and Play Giveaway’ promoted the Stevens Point Area through a contest as a destination for outdoor recreation. It used social media channels, online advertising, e-newsletters, online videos and the Stevens Point Area website to educate travelers about outdoor options. The campaign encouraged visitors to explore the area’s outdoor amenities, including the Green Circle Trail, Tomorrow River State Trail, Standing Rocks County Park, Schmeeckle Reserve, the Stevens Point Sculpture Park, George Mead Wildlife Area and SentryWorld. 

The second, ‘Orange Barrel Art Tour’ was a joint effort with CREATE portage county. Through a partnership with Mega Rentals, retired orange barrels dreaming of a new life purpose came to life as public art Memorial through Labor Day weekends. Clever and enterprising artists created nine sculptures that were on display in Stevens Point and Plover. The project aimed to add a splash of temporary art to make drivers smile, encourage them to explore the community and offer relief from the hassle that construction season brings. The project showcased the fun, creative spirit of the region and its artists, and increased the awareness for arts and culture opportunities available locally.   

Smith Travel Research (STR) and STR Global track supply and demand data for the hotel industry and provide valuable market share analysis for international, regional hotel chains and independent hotels. 

For more information about the Stevens Point Area, visit You can also find the SPACVB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.