COVID-19 Industry Update
November 5, 2020
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater helped make history last week with Brand USA and destinations across the U.S. for the first virtual Brand USA Global Marketplace event, Travel Week Europe.
The event, hosted on Brand USA’s proprietary platform, featured more than 750 participants across Europe and the U.S. with 154 buyers from 18 countries, including the UK, Germany, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland, among others.
VSPC held 24 face-to-face virtual appointments over four days giving us the opportunity to share the destination’s latest news, including sharing virtual FAM materials and digital assets to continue keeping St. Pete/Clearwater top of mind.
Brand USA is planning a handful of additional virtual events to keep the U.S. relevant with travel buyers across the Globe and VSPC will participate when in relevant markets.
Here are some takeaways from the meetings:
- UK operators are not selling January-March 2021, instead focusing on April and beyond where they are seeing bookings resume.
- Florida remains a significant value driver for most UK and Central Europe operators and a top choice for long-haul travelers.
- UK and Central Europe operators need rates through 2022 from St. Pete/Clearwater partners and those who are able to provide will get the early bookings.
VPSC HOSTS SIGNATURE MEDIA EVENT WITH ST. PETE PIER VIRTUAL TOUR
VSPC and its New York PR firm, NJF, successfully hosted a St. Pete Pier Virtual Tour with 25 high-profile media from around the country. The unique event hosted through Zoom featured a first-person video experience of the Pier while special guests---like St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, Bending Arc artist Janet Echelman and Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center Executive Director Dwayne Virgint, among others---narrated. The media were also discovering unique aspects of the Pier through a media mailer that was delivered in advance of the virtual event. Coverage is pending from several of the attendees. Watch most of the recorded event here or the first-person unnarrated video here.
DIGITAL MARKETING EFFORTS CONTINUE, WINTER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHING THIS MONTH
At October’s Tourist Development Council meeting, VSPC updated performance on its recent digital marketing efforts, including more than $9 million in generated hotel revenue since July 1. In addition, VSPC shared planning details for its winter campaign, which will be launching later this month throughout Florida and in Atlanta, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, in addition to using behavioral and contextual digital targeting East of the Mississippi. The campaign, dubbed “A Whole New Point of View,” taps into the senses to bring a visceral response across TV, radio, out-of-home, connected TV, unique digital takeovers and more. Complete campaign details will be shared at November’s TDC meeting.
VSPC OFFERS RESOURCES FOR IMPROVING BUSINESS' DIGITAL FOOTPRINT
In tandem with Miles Partnership, VSPC has created business resources to navigate the web’s different platforms (Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.) and optimize a business’ digital footprint beyond its website, including the following:
- Google My Business Fundamentals PDF and Video
- Google My Business Advanced Tips PDF and Video
- Yelp and TripAdvisor Fundamentals PDF and Video
- Online Reputation Management PDF and Video
BUSINESSES STILL ENCOURAGED TO JOIN RISE TO SHINE CAMPAIGN
VSPC’s Rise to Shine campaign continues growing with participation from hundreds of businesses across the destination and we’re still welcoming any type of business located in Pinellas County to join the free program. SIGN UP here to receive posters, decals, buttons, masks and the digital toolkit. Reminder, the countywide face-covering ordinance remains in effect. In addition, bars and restaurant patrons must be seated to be served drinks for on-site consumption.
VISIT FLORIDA OFFERS INTERNATIONAL SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
In an effort to keep industry across the state updated on priority international markets, Visit Florida has shared a country-by-country analysis of those markets, including information regarding quarantines, borders, economy, airlines, trade, etc. Key updates include the new lockdown beginning in England today, which will last four weeks. Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Spain are also enacting new restrictions and measures to combat Europe’s surging COVID infection rate.
SUPER BOWL LV COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR REGISTRATION OPEN
The Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee is looking for members for its Community Ambassador Team. The program is designed to provide an enthusiastic and warm welcome to everyone visiting Tampa Bay and to display a high level of customer service, so those tied to the tourism and hospitality community are perfect candidates. Become part of the excitement surrounding Super Bowl LV by registering here.
ANNUAL EXTRAVELGANZA TAKING PLACE AT WYNDHAM GRAND NOV. 20
In an effort to support hospitality industry education, the 28th Annual ExTravelganza Tampa Bay’s premier travel/sports auction is being held from 7-10 p.m. at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. The event’s attendance will be limited, but still offer the same high-level auction packages, which supporters can bid on remotely by using the event’s mobile app.
ST. PETE ARTS ALLIANCE LAUNCHES CURATE ST. PETE – GALLERY TOURS
Curate St. Pete – Gallery Tours is a new platform featuring 28 videos highlighting studios and galleries throughout St. Pete. The videos highlight the space’s owner/artist while giving a preview of the space and artwork, from Charlie Parker Pottery to Mize Gallery to Morean Center for Clay to RockShop Fine Gems & Jewelry and more. Explore them all here.
VSPC CO-HOSTS RAYS WATCH PARTIES FOR WORLD SERIES RUN
Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays on a thrilling season that fell just short in the World Series. As a proud partner of the Rays, VSPC teamed up with the City of St. Pete to co-host watch parties at the St. Pete Pier throughout the World Series. VSPC’s partnership included on-site activation with hand sanitizer and the chance to win a staycation for next season.