Monday, January 13, 2014 - 3:19pm
St. Pete/Clearwater, FL (November 5, 2013) - The St. Petersburg/Clearwater area set a new bed tax record for 2013, collecting more than $31 million over the twelve month period ending September 30, according to the Pinellas County Tax Collector's office.
The bed tax grew from the $28.7 million the County collected in FY 2012 and is used for tourism marketing, beach restoration, bonds on area sports stadiums and other tourism-related initiatives. Over the past three years, annual growth has been7.7% in 2011, 12.3% last year and now 8%.
"This is a result of aggressive marketing and very targeted messaging," said Visit St.Pete/Clearwater executive director D.T. Minich. "A lot has changed during the past several years, including our marketing approach. We're not relying on print as much, which gives us the ability to better target online within our feeder markets."
In the past five years, VSPC's print portion of its media budget has gone from 27% to 9%.
We can control who sees our message a lot more online than we can in traditional channels and that's been an important change for us," Minich said.
According to Minich, reaching the $30 million level is a significant milestone because it elevates the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area to what the state recognizes as a "high impact tourism" county, making it eligible for the addition of a sixth cent to the five currently imposed on transient lodging county-wide.