2015 was a record year for visitors to Mason County.

March 11, 2016

ludington lighthouse from ss badgerLUDINGTON — Mason County area hotels reported a record year in rental income in 2015, the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau announced today.

In 2015, Ludington area hotels generated $12.3 million in room rentals, a 3.4 percent increase over 2014 and a 30.3 percent increase compared to five years ago in 2011. Room rental income is one metric to measure tourism activity, and figures are collected from hotel members of the LACVB.

“This is a significant milestone for Ludington, validating our strong offering as a tourist destination,” said Kathy Maclean, CVB executive director. “Perhaps even more noteworthy to our region is the direct visitor spending impact, as visitors who stay in our hotels also dine in our restaurants, shop in our stores, and put fuel in their vehicles. Hotel stays create a substantial multiplier effect in terms of dollars spent in our community.”

cvb roomsThe summer months of July through September generated the highest room rental income at $7.2 million, a 4.9 percent increase over the same quarter in 2014, though every quarter in 2015 experienced an increase. September saw the largest year-over-year increase in room rental income at $1.4 million, 18.3 percent higher than September 2014.

  “Our unseasonably warm fall weather combined with strong autumn offerings like fall color tours and Octoberfest, plus our Pure Ludington marketing and public relations campaign promoting our shoulder season all contributed to this strong month,” said Maclean.

LACVB staff also noted some spikes in event and attraction attendance in 2015, as noted below. Other annual events (e.g., New Year’s Eve, Friday Night Live, Ludington Offshore Classic) saw similar attendance to 2014. 

The Pure Ludington App had 1,413 new users download the phone application in 2015 versus 1,224 new users in 2014, an increase of 15.4 percent. In total, there have been 2,883 downloads of the app since it launched in September 2013.

In terms of website visitors, the LACVB monitors its summer season visits from May 1 through Aug. 31, seeing increased online traffic of 187,196 unique visits in that timeframe in 2015, versus 175,941 in 2014 and 45,762 five years ago in 2011 (a more than 300 percent increase). And as in 2014, the top two referral websites to PureLudington.com are Google and Pure Michigan.

Foot traffic in the downtown Ludington visitor center went down slightly to 5,379 visitors in 2015 from 5,892 visitors in 2014 and 6,307 visitors in 2011.

“We’ve seen a shift over the past five years in where, when and how people get their information about Ludington as people migrate to online tools in addition to printed guides and in-person information gathering,” said Maclean. “We’re doing a better job of getting people information about Ludington before they get here – ideally, we’re helping influence their vacation plans when they’re in the decision-making process.”

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