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San Francisco Travel Association: Keep Doing What Makes You Unique

#SFSBW2019 asked some of our resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Robert Skelton, Senior Manager, Partner Services of the San Francisco Travel Association.

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What is the San Francisco Travel Association’s Mission?

Our mission is to promote the San Francisco region as a top global destination by leading the way in performance and innovation.

What are your organization’s recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community?

As the official destination marketing organization for the city and county of San Francisco, the San Francisco Travel Association continually works to bring and support visitors to the region. We led the recently completed expansion of Moscone Center, increasing opportunities to accommodate key meetings, and in turn, opportunities for local businesses. Our digital marketing continues to drive exposure to potential and real visitors, contributing to an economic impact of more than a $25 million daily spend by visitors.

What tools and resources has the San Francisco Travel Association created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business?

In 2018, the city welcomed over 25.8 million visitors, who powered more than $10 billion in spending. San Francisco Travel’s partners have access to visitor research and convention calendars that can be key tools to forecasting and analyzing business opportunities that leverage these visitors. As well, we offer educational and networking events throughout the year, providing additional streams of business learning. If interested in learning more, email us at

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What is your organization doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners? What resources do you offer to entrepreneurs and small businesses to get started?

Our partnership model is continuing to evolve as we work with a broader range of innovative and forward-thinking businesses. Through our networking and educational programs available to partners, as well as our targeted outreach to convention, trade, and travel media audiences, San Francisco Travel can assist new businesses reach these key customers driving their goals.

San Francisco is known for its diverse culture. How does your organization ensure that the small businesses that make this city unique are able to stay in San Francisco?

San Francisco Travel recognizes that our neighborhoods and small businesses create San Francisco’s dynamic culture. Our MYSF Program seeks to highlight neighborhoods outside of the traditional tourist attractions by introducing hotel concierges, tour guides, and tourism professionals to small business corridors throughout the city. San Francisco also partnered with ReUnion to develop the African American Freedom Trail brochure which pinpoints African American owned businesses and history in San Francisco.

What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

From our award-winning culinary scene to our wide variety of key attractions and activities, small businesses continue to help make San Francisco and the region unique and a desired destination. Keep doing what makes you unique and continue to use resources learned through opportunities such as the San Francisco Small Business Week to look for ways to learn from others’ examples.

Please share with us some real-life examples of how you’ve supported small businesses

Our MYSF Program is beginning to launch monthly events in neighborhoods across the City with hotel concierges, tour guides, and tourism professionals. Check out the past events we’ve hosted here.

Connect with San Francisco Travel Association

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