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Medford lodging hits a record

Overnight stays in Medford's motels and hotels produced record revenue for the fiscal years ending June 30.

Nearly $3.7 million was generated during fiscal 2015-16, according to figures compiled by Travel Medford, which contracts with the city to promote tourism.

In a report that will be presented to the Medford City Council today, Travel Medford noted occupancy climbed to 65.5 percent from 63.7 percent in 2014-15, room rates averaged $86.26 per night vs. $80.61 a year earlier, and revenue per available room grew to $57.19 from $52.08.

Tourism spending in local establishments grew 3.7 percent to $528.3 million during the year, with employment rising 4.4 percent to 5,290.

"Tourism employment is definitely one industry that has done well during the recovery," said Eli Matthews, Travel Medford senior vice president and a City Council member. "Medford tourism is continuing to grow and it's something to be excited about."

Medford's transient lodging tax produced nearly $3.7 million during fiscal 2015-2016, with Travel Medford receiving 25 percent of the proceeds. The organization's budget was $938,000 during 2015-16 and $968,000 for 2016-17, based on projections that additional overnight stays will push the lodging tax close to $4 million.

"The vast majority of our visitors who stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants and go to wineries are from driving markets, mostly in Northern California and Northern Oregon," Matthews said.

Demographic research revealed the average overnight visitor's age was 46.6 years.

"We've added a TV campaign, trying to hit that demographic across the West Coast, especially in the Bay Area, Seattle and Portland," Matthews said. "Generation X and Millennials don't watch commercial TV at all, but a lot of 40-, 50- and 60-year-olds watch TV and commercials."

Spots have played on everything from the Food and Golf networks to National Geographic, History Channel and Turner Broadcasting networks.

"We've created a wine commercial, showcasing our region's 150 wineries, that shows during Giants' games and other sporting events," he said.

During the past year, Travel Medford has hit social media on all cylinders, combining with the Southern Oregon Wine Association.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.