April 14, 2010 TDC Meeting Recap

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from this month's Tourist Development Council meeting. Individual monthly departmental reports, which were presented in full by department representatives, are complete and posted to our industry website, PinellasCVB.com. As always, we invite you to attend the meetings in person or view them online at your leisure at PinellasCounty.org.

MAYOR FRANK HIBBARD OFFICIALLY JOINS TDC
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard was officially confirmed as Clearwater's elected representative on Pinellas County's Tourist Development Council (TDC). He follows former Clearwater Councilmember and long-time TDC member, Carlen Petersen, as the city's delegate on the board. In addition to his position as the Mayor of Clearwater, Hibbard has also served in the community as the Volunteer Executive to the United Way of Pinellas County and on the Board of Corporate Partners at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. We look forward to working with Mayor Hibbard in his new role with the TDC.

NEW VSPC BILLBOARDS PUSH PROXIMITY TO ORLANDO, BEACHES
VSPC rolled out their new spring/summer billboard campaign, which is set to take place in the Orlando and Tampa markets. Focusing on the area's award-winning beaches and proximity to Orlando, billboards appearing in that segment will be themed around a simple, but catchy tagline: "America's Best. 90 Miles West." Scattered throughout nine metro-Orlando locations---including near the airport and theme-park attractions---the billboards will continue to tout the imaginative 'Ambassador' campaign with images of the Rays' BJ Upton, a Tarpon Springs sponge diver and more. Nine additional billboards with a similar feel will be strategically placed throughout the Tampa Bay area---including the location at I-275 and Westshore Boulevard, which is regularly updated for signature events. VSPC will also continue its delivery truck initiative, plastering trucks in Orlando with its Ambassadors. Stay tuned for more details on how the '90 Miles' campaign will be incorporated into the collateral for next month's International Pow Wow, held May 15-19 in Orlando.

MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS NUMBERS CONTINUE TO RISE
There's good news despite a soft first quarter for the leisure market: VSPC continues to see steady growth in Meetings & Conventions. VSPC's Director of Meetings & Conventions Suzanne Scully reported that as of February, room nights booked for future meetings were up nearly 6,500 and room revenue was up $1.1 million over the same period last year. With business steadily increasing since November, Scully said that room nights and revenue have continued to rise through March. That upswing should maintain as the Meetings team handled 67 leads in the month of March, more than a 52% increase over those in February.

LEISURE TEAM PACKS A DOUBLE WHAMMY IN THE FRIGID NORTH
Highlighted by the Boston Globe Travel Show and the New York Times Travel Show, members of the Leisure Travel department completed 10 outbound sales initiatives in the months of February and March. VSPC was joined by key accommodation partners at the Boston Globe Travel Show, which was attended by more than 18,000 consumers, February 21-23. Later that week, 25,000 consumers packed Manhattan's Javits Center at the New York Times Travel Show, where VSPC exhibited for the sixth consecutive year.

ABC COALITION PRESENTS BALLPARK STUDY
Leaders of the ABC (A Baseball Community) Coalition appeared before the TDC to present an abbreviated presentation of one delivered to the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners recently. At the end of their presentation, Chairman Karen Williams Seel thanked ABC members Craig Sher and Alan Bomstein for their discussion on the future of a new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays. To view the complete ABC Coalition presentation and final report, please click here.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the streaming video of the entire meeting available from PCC TV, you can view all of the CVB's individual monthly departmental reports on our industry web site, PinellasCVB.com.

Regards,
DT
DT Minich, CDME
Executive Director
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater