The President's Desk

Charlotte’s Hospitality Revenues for 2018 are BEST ever

For nearly a decade, Charlotte region’s Hospitality and Tourism Business has been experiencing phenomenal growth with each year’s revenues exceeding the previous year.

We can now proudly say that we achieved our goal of having the best revenues ever for 2018, as the actual revenues recently reported by the Mecklenburg County for the fiscal year of 2018 (July 2017 - June 2018) indicate this fantastic achievement.

Let’s look at some of these hospitality revenues and figures for 2018 in Mecklenburg County:

6.78 Million rooms sold, up 3.0% from FY17
70.5% occupancy, down 1.4% from FY17 (due to increased number of hotels)
$782.5 Million in hotel revenue, up 6.6% from FY17
$115.41 ADR, up 3.5% from FY17
$62.6 Million in occupancy tax revenues (8% gross)
$3.5 Billion in food and beverage revenues, up 7% from FY17
$35 Million in food and beverage tax revenues (1% gross), up 7% from FY17

Let’s take a look at some of the catalysts which were responsible for this growth during the past year:

• Our magnificent Charlotte Douglas International Airport (6th busiest in the world) is soaring with a new $2.5 Billion expansion driven by its status as the second largest hub for the largest airline in the world (American Airlines).

• Corporate travel business, corporate relocations and construction of massive new office space are at an all-time high. 60% of hotel business in our region is corporate business.

• Repealing HB2 enabled our hospitality industry to reclaim major lost sporting events such as the NBA All Star (2019), ACC Football Championship games (2017-2030), NCAA events and more importantly, retain many other major events and conventions which could have been lost.

• We worked relentlessly for more than a decade to change North Carolina laws to allow the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays, the “Brunch Bill”, passed last year to allow the sale of alcohol by 10AM on Sundays and has been a huge boost for food and beverage revenues here and across North Carolina.

Charlotte Convention Center is experiencing its best years ever, gearing up for major upgrades.

• Charlotte was a shining star in hosting one of the most prestigious and largest events in the world when it hosted the 2017 PGA Championship at the Quail Hollow Golf Club from August 7-13th. Charlotte and Quail Hollow Golf Club also hosted the magnificent Wells Fargo Championship from April 30th-May 6, 2018. Let the journey begin to bring the 2024 PGA Championship to Charlotte.

• With the 2017 Bank of America 500 Race, 2018 NASCAR All Star Race, and the 2018 Coca Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors for 3 of the best mega NASCAR events.

• We welcomed back the fantastic 2017 ACC Football Championship, the 2017 Belk Bowl, and the 2018 NCAA Regional Basketball Games, and had one of the best years for the remarkable CIAA Tournament in February of 2018. We also had a cause for more celebration as the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) committed to hold their annual college football champion games in Charlotte (Bank of America Stadium) through 2030.

• More determined than ever to upgrade Charlotte region’s status as a fantastic place for all sporting events and tournaments, we are going through rapid openings, renovations and additions of demand driven sporting venues for both professional and amateur sports.

• Our fantastic collection of first class hotel accommodations, dining and entertainment, arts, museums, attractions, parks and shopping are going through vast addition, expansion and upgrades.

• Our fantastic light rail system, which has been a mega economic development catalyst, doubled in size and impact when the extension to UNC Charlotte opened in March.

• As a top destination for young professionals and college graduates to move to, our “cool city USA” is rapidly enhancing its status with visitors and millennial friendly initiatives.

In addition to many of the above catalysts and our vastly improved hospitality assets, add the return of the fabulous International Soccer games to Charlotte (Liver Pool vs Borussia Dortmund on July 22nd), the upcoming 2019 NBA All Star Event, and the 2019 ACC & CIAA Basketball Tournaments at the Spectrum Center and you realize that the future is extremely bright for our industry.

Of course, let’s not forget the challenging, but awesome victory of securing the 2020 RNC for Charlotte. This means we have less than two years to prepare our region for one of the biggest and most visible events on the planet and we all need to pitch in to make the 2020 RNC a huge success.

I am truly honored by the enormous involvement of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality & Tourism Alliance’s members and know that their voices made a huge difference to gain the slim 6-5 approval from the City Council required the secure the convention. The significance of this massive convention for the Charlotte area’s hospitality business, your business and our region’s economy will absolutely be huge.

While we witnessed the fantastic results of our years of relentless work in bringing the 2019 NBA All Stars to Charlotte and did our part in securing the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC), I am writing to thank our members again for your support of the HTA and for enabling us to play a vital role in bringing these mega business generating event to our city. While we are briefly celebrating these accomplishments, we need your involvement more than ever as we have already embarked upon the massive work that is ahead of us to make Charlotte shine as a premier travel destination.

As a private membership organization which is dedicated to “helping members grow their business”, your membership has been essential in allowing us to be a relentless and proactive advocate for your business on a constant basis. We appreciate you, are proud of our vast accomplishments and know that we could not do what we do without your support and involvement.

Your support is enabling us to be a leader and active participants in the following current developments:

• Massive planned renovation of the Charlotte Convention Center
• The $35M+ re-construction of Memorial Stadium
• The anticipated mega renovation of the Bank of America Stadium (home of the Carolina Panthers). We are doing our part to position our city, our state and our industry to get a 20 year commitment from the new owners of the Carolina Panthers.
• Preparation for the 2020 RNC and the 2021 President’s Cup
• The recruitment of the 2024 DNC (Democratic National Convention), 2025 PGA Championship and the 2026 Super Bowl to Charlotte
• Massive expansion of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport
• Development of new amateur sports facilities and enhancement of existing tourism assets
• Promotion of the Charlotte area’s existing tourism assets and major events

2018 was by far the best ever for the Hospitality revenues in Charlotte. While our industry’s growth has been phenomenal due to our proactive actions and investment over the years, I know that the best is yet to come with the committed leadership and partnerships that our industry has in the Greater Charlotte area.

To you wonderful members of the HTA, I am truly honored and grateful for each of you for giving me the privilege of being an avid and relentless advocate for your business for the past 25 years. I cherish you and am more determined than ever to help with growing your business.

Thank you.

For membership information, please contact Carson Emily McMillan at (704) 331-0079 or