COVID-19 Industry Update
October 22, 2020
As we continue our efforts to restore our tourism community amidst COVID-19, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is wrapping up a destination-wide audit and outreach for our local businesses’ presence on Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Many local businesses’ still hadn’t claimed their Google My Business listing or provided recent COVID-19 updates that all three platforms have introduced, which are vital when the local and visitor are searching for changes in operations, outdoor dining, etc.
In tandem with Miles Partnership, VSPC has created business resources to navigate the different platforms and optimize a business’ digital footprint beyond its website, including the following:
In addition, VSPC’s sales teams represented the destination at in-person trade shows last week and this week for the first time since March. Last week, VSPC met with 25 qualified meeting planners in person at SMART Meetings in Colorado Springs. This week, VSPC held 125 appointments with planners at Connect 2020 in Orlando, which featured more than 900 attendees.
Some takeaways from our sales team’s first in-person meetings: masks were worn at all times indoors, all snacks were pre-wrapped and passed by hotel staff to cut down on attendees moving around and meals were physically distanced at large tables. SMART Meetings even had a SaniCrew moving throughout the event providing attendees with hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
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.
LATIN AMERICA TEAM REACHES MORE THAN 275 CLIENTS IN SEPTEMBER
Throughout September, VSPC’s Latin America team conducted five destination webinars in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay, reaching 278 trade clients. In addition, the team created and promoted an incentive campaign for the Specialist Advisory Training in partnership with BWT Brazilian Tour Operator, encouraging 45 specialist badge completions. Another incentive campaign was launched on Oct. 9 in partnership with Agaxtur Brazilian Tour Operator to promote the training.
D.C. SALES REPRESENTATIVE, LIZ DANE, LEADS FOOD DRIVE FOR HOSPITALITY WORKERS
VSPC’s meetings sales representative in Washington D.C., Liz Dane, led a food drive as the chair of the Convention and Visitor Bureau Reps and in partnership with Visit Alexandria. The effort led to food distribution to local hospitality and event industry employees and their families in the D.C. area.
SUPER BOWL LV LOOKING FOR RESTAURANTS FOR ITS RESTAURANT WEEK
In celebration of Super Bowl LV, the Business Connect program is hosting a one-of-a-kind restaurant week, “Road to Gameday,” which will highlight 50 diverse-owned restaurants in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco County. Restaurants who are 51% women, minority, veteran or LGBTQ+ owned, have positive reviews, derive its primary revenue from dining and offer full-service dining five days a week are encouraged to apply here. The deadline is Friday, Oct. 23.
FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETE RACING THIS WEEKEND
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be off and racing this weekend in downtown St. Pete. The event was postponed from its original date in March. The City approved the event’s plan to operate with 20,000 spectators under specific health and safety protocols detailed here. The race, which is the NTT IndyCar Series finale, will be broadcast live at 2:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC.
CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM UNVEILS NEW GUEST SPACE
Clearwater Marine Aquarium celebrated the unveiling of new viewing areas and exciting new guest experiences last Friday. This addition is part of the $80 million expansion which began with the unveiling of the new 1.5-million-gallon dolphin habitat in July. With five times the guest space previously accessible at CMA, guests can now enjoy a new retail area, new spacious café and culinary options, an enhanced ticketing experience and above water viewing of the dolphin habitats with Clearwater Bay as a backdrop.
PINELLAS COUNTY HOLDS VIRTUAL HOUSING SERIES
Pinellas County has seen a dramatic rise in local home prices in recent years, raising the question: How does the county ensure current residents can continue to afford to live here, while allowing new arrivals the opportunity to live and work in Pinellas County? To tackle that question, Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas are bringing together community leaders and subject matter experts in a series of five webinars, the next one taking place 11:30 a.m. Friday. Learn more and register here.
UNITED AIRLINES STUDY SHOWS PROMISING RESULTS
United Airlines says the risk of COVID-19 exposure onboard its aircraft is "virtually non-existent" after a new study finds that when masks are worn there is only a 0.003% chance particles from a passenger can enter the passenger's breathing space who is sitting beside them. The study, conducted by the Department of Defense in partnership with United Airlines, ran 300 tests in a little over six months with a mannequin on a United plane.
PR CALL FOR INFORMATION: BLACK FRIDAY DEALS
As the holiday season approaches, our New York-based PR Agency---NJF PR---will be sharing Black Friday Deals with top-tier media. If your hotel/resort is planning to offer a discounted rate, please email details to [email protected] by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, for potential inclusion in an agency-wide pitch.