In the second year of challenging economic times for the country, the county, and the tourism industry, Johnston County fared well with occupancy tax revenues up $32,629.17 over 2009. For a complete review of revenues and expenses for 2010-11, see charts below.
Hotel Update for 2011 - Revenue Side
This year was marked by several hotels changing brands like the Holiday Inn Express in Selma, which lost its flag and became a Days Inn. This left the previous Days Inn as an independent and the hotel finally closed the doors for good in October 2011.· Additional brand changes took place in Kenly with the Super 8 closing briefly but reopening as an Econo Lodge and the previous hotel at Exit 107 becoming a Quality Inn.· The county had one hotel opening, the Value Place which opened in October 2010 and provides extended stay, apartment-style accommodations.·
These brand changes and closings created ups and downs for some communities, however, overall the newer hotels built within the last ten years continue to show upward growth in revenues.· Older properties in the county with average rates in the low $30s face struggles with demand and occupancy rates.·
The month of April 2011 was a turning point for demand as this month's revenues were on par with April '08, before the county occupancy tax collected started a downward trend.· April historically has been a top performing month with Spring Break and Easter Break leisure travel.
As most economists would agree, in hard economic times controlling expenses is the key to an organization's success.· As conservative spending is the mantra of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau, the committees were cautious of any real upward revenue trends, expecting a return of hard times or continued increases in gas prices affecting tourism.· With that mindset, the board withheld funds from two major projects in 2011; the County Branding Project of $15,000 and the Video Project was rebid and it eventually stalled, which was $15,000 in the budget.· With increased revenues of $32,000 and decreased spending of $30,000, the visitors bureau recognized approximately $62,000 in net increases in 2011.
Moving forward to 2011-12, the Visitors Bureau again exercised caution in budget planning with conservative views on revenues, cutting costs on payroll, and maintaining current or below spending on grants and marketing projects.
Visitor Spending - Johnston County
In 2010, visitors to Johnston County spent $175.2 million with local industry partners, supporting approximately 4,500 full and part-time jobs with a payroll of over $26.5 million.· The visitor industry in Johnston County paid 10.81 in state taxes and 4.69 in local taxes.