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City marketing efforts get mixed results for 2015

A zone change for online colleges, an update on the city’s tourism wing and a parking permit approval highlighted Tuesday’s breezy Claremont City Council meeting.

One of the consent calendar items on the agenda Tuesday night was an annual report on the Claremont Tourism Business Improvement District (CTBID), which was established in 2009 to promote tourism in the city.

The report detailed the key highlights the CTBID undertook in 2015, including the “Discover Claremont” video, which has been viewed over 70,000 times on YouTube. The final version of the promo video was released in June 2015 after a previous version garnered mixed reactions from residents.

Other notable moments in 2015 include the “Share the Secret” ad campaign that was plastered on Metrolink trains throughout the region, “Discover Claremont” gift card packages, increased clicking of Claremont banner ads on TripAdvisor (0.47 percent, compared to the average of 0.08 percent) and continued support of Claremont Restaurant Week.

In addition, the CTBID increased its social media presence, showing gains in every platform—11,721 Facebook likes by January 1, compared to 6,200 in 2015; 838 Instagram followers by January 1, compared to 437 in 2015; and 736 Twitter followers by January 1, compared to 595 in 2015.

Overall traffic to the DiscoverClaremont.com site was down in 2015 compared to the previous year, despite an extensive revamp of the site. There were 43,665 visits to the site in 2015 with 37,335 uniques, compared to 64,290 views and 53,705 uniques in 2014. Website page views were down in 2015 as well—91,176 versus 113,721 in 2014. The report blames the website woes on not being tracked by Google Analytics in the first week after switching web servers, and a server error in October.

Occupancy rates in the city's hotel experienced mixed-to-positive results in 2015 compared to 2014. The Claremont Lodge and Motel 6 experienced an increase in occupancy rates, both by over ten percent, but Hotel Casa 425 and the DoubleTree Hotel experienced a slight, less than one percent drop-off in 2015. DoubleTree blames the remodeling of more than 1,400 rooms and a power outage affecting 500 rooms for the drop-off, according to the report.

Financially speaking, the CTBID has been in the black. The agenda report states that expenditures were $57,502 under budget in 2015. Revenues included $225,000, plus $145,388 in 2014 carryovers, and $50,000 in reserves for a total of $420,388. Expenditures totaled $303,463, leaving $66,925 to be carried over into 2016, according to the report.