Industry Research

Finding Clients in Lap of SoCal Luxury

Brittni Rubin
Posted on February 28, 2013
Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — Known as the “entertainment capital of the world,” the City of Angels ranks the third richest and fifth most powerful city internationally. Home to countless movie studios, business districts, vibrant art and culture, and an almost never-ending supply of sunshine, it’s no surprise the city has become a mecca for big-name celebrities, moguls, executives and of course, tourists.

Between its status as a top visitor’s destination with many affluent neighborhoods, Los Angeles is a promising place for limousine and tour operators to consider for the New Year. The metropolis also boasts an extensive potential client base, as it is the most populous city in the Golden State.

Tending to the Tourists
Providing service to out-of-area visitors and local residents alike, the tourism and hospitality industries comprised 372,000 employees in 2011, representing one out of every 10 jobs in the county, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board’s Tourism Statistics. In recent years, tourism and hospitality added more jobs in Los Angeles County than any other industry.

In 2011, Los Angeles achieved a record high with nearly 40.4 million day and overnight visitors — an increase of 4.9% compared to the previous year. Statisticians predict 2012 calculations will hit at least 41.3 million.

Of those total visitors, about 27 million were overnight, which has increased by 3.3% from last year. The same survey calculated that 34% of visitors were domestic residents visiting with friends or relatives, while 25% were domestic residents leisure traveling and 19% were domestic business travelers. Additionally, 18% were international leisure travelers leaving 4% for international business travelers.

Even through the lingering effects of a recovering economy, there is still large-scale growth across Los Angeles’ tourism market. The strongest growth in international visitors comes from China, Australia, Brazil and France. Los Angeles’ top five international visitor generating markets are Mexico, Canada, Australia, the U.K. and China.

U.S. limousine operators serving the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, New York City, Phoenix and Chicago should closely monitor Los Angeles visitation trends as they are the city’s largest domestic feeder markets.

It’s also important to note the spending habits among Los Angeles visitors, which could correlate to an increase in business for the limo, charter and tour market. Direct visitor spending totaled $15.4 billion in 2011, a 6.4% increase compared to 2010, and also a record high.

Lodging Trends
Los Angeles has an abundance of world-famous hotels used by tinsel town celebrities of past and present. Included are the W Hotels, Hollywood Roosevelt, The Redbury, the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air.

In 2011, Los Angeles had the fifth largest supply of U.S. hotel rooms with 98,000 rooms and 948 properties. Downtown alone comprises more than 8,700 rooms at 35 properties.

According to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board’s Tourism Statistics, 25.6 million room nights were sold throughout Los Angeles in 2011, which is 6.1% more than the year prior, again displaying rapid growth.

One of the most common routes for limousine chauffeurs is from airport terminal to hotel room, and most hotel lodgers arrive to L.A. via the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In 2011, 61,862,052 people flew into LAX (4.7% more passengers than the year prior). Passenger traffic at LAX through the end of July 2012 was up 3.3% over 2011, putting the airport on pace to exceed 2007 pre-recession passenger totals, according to a recent Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board press release.

Secondary airport Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif. had 4,301,568 travelers and the Long Beach Airport had 3,115,433.

Plenty to See
As Los Angeles is a notably spread-out city, spanning more than 469 square miles, it can be difficult to navigate. Whether visitors or residents are traveling to and from the airport, sightseeing, or driving through the palm-tree lined streets of Beverly Hills, it’s especially critical to have an array of private transportation outlets available.

For celebrities big or small, stardom isn’t easy. Most stars use some type of luxury transportation facility to keep them out of the public eye. On the opposite end of the spectrum, curious visitors are increasingly more interested in “celebrity home” tours. This requires navigating via car through quiet, secluded residential neighborhoods that are often only accessible to locals who know their way around. This is an ideal opportunity for chauffeur and charter tour operators.

Los Angeles County is home to 841 museums and art galleries and has more museums per capita than any other city in the world. A famous corridor in downtown Los Angeles is home to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Science Center, the California African American Museum of History and Culture, and the Olympian Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Just three miles down the road are the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a cluster of other music center venues featuring major theater, dance and L.A. opera productions.

As Los Angeles grows, LAX plans to finish a new Tom Bradley International Terminal this year. A new passenger concourse just opened at the Long Beach Airport. And new museum locations and exhibits are always in the works.

The Numbers About The Los Angeles Market

40.4 million overnight and day visitors in 2011

$15.4 billion direct visitor spending in 2011

948 hotel properties

25.6 million room nights sold in 2011

61,862,052 total passengers flew through LAX in 2011

841 museums and art galleries

372,000 tourism and hospitality industry employees in L.A.

Related Topics: business travel, client markets, Los Angeles, tourism

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