I’m happy to report that IMEX Americawas a very successful trade show. It is one of the biggest for our industry, and it did not disappoint us. We had nine hotel partners join us, and our appointment calendar was full the entire time, with268 appointments held. Over 2,700 buyers attended the show in Las Vegas, and they were all ready to conduct business. Due to supply chain issues, building and organizing our booth became very expensive. So we decided to simplify the booth and make a statement, highlighting that the money we saved on building an elaborate booth would go instead to FIND Food Bank and the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Foundation. As one example, it would have cost us over $17,000 to rent furniture. Instead, we purchased it locally for $4,000, and it will be donated toa charity. The concept was very popular with the customers and the press, making the front page of USAE's weekly newspaper.
When we set our sales goals for the year, the meetings segment expectations were unknown for all of us. We decided to utilize a dynamic approach and review the production and overall environment quarterly and make adjustments as needed. We set a goal of 69,500 room nights, 150 bookings and 450 leads. The first six months of the year were steady but showed no indication that this important segment was going to recover soon enough. We are still experiencing hesitancy, and some groups continue to shift dates based on their concerns over COVID-19. However, we are getting positive indicators: The sales team booked over 14,000 room nights in October, and YTD we have now booked 142 groups worth 78,995 room nights and delivered over 800 leads. Also, meeting planner visits to the destination continue to show positive signs: 53 site inspections worth 58,833 room nights have been conducted through October, and we have converted 21 of those site inspections worth 18,151 room nights. Based on the climate at IMEX, we are very optimistic about 2022 and beyond. We are searching for a Vice President of Sales and have engaged SearchWide Global to assist us with finding the best candidate possible.
We have retained Coraggio Group to work with us on updating our strategic priorities. Founder/Partner Trever Cartwright will facilitate our November Board meeting and will start our process to evaluate both the overall tourism industry and our organizational priorities for 2022 and beyond.
With borders opening up for nonessential travelers early this month, there has been an increase in demand for on-the-ground support from international media from Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada, and our international offices have been busy conducting destination trainings, holding client meetings and uncovering marketing opportunities.
Across the nation, October has been the second-highest month of TSA recovery since the pandemic began, and November is trending well, resulting in just under 80% of 2019 levels. Here in Greater Palm Springs, PSP had had a record summer in terms of passenger traffic and seat capacity, and PSP will be welcoming two more new air carriers: Flair Airlines from Toronto in December and aha! from Reno in early January. In addition, PSP will see 15 new routes this winter season from brand-new destinations like Austin, Chicago Midway, Dallas Love Field, Des Moines, Fort Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Nashville, Provo and San Jose.
Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday. Here’s looking ahead to a positive 2022 for us all!