Friday, April 29, 2016 - 9:04pm
ST. PETE/CLEARWATER (April 29, 2016) - Visit St. Pete/Clearwater unveiled its "Amped Up" summer campaign on Thursday to more than 250 tourism industry partners, VIPs, elected officials and media at the Largo Cultural Center, officially kicking off National Travel & Tourism Week 2016.
The hip, youthful campaign---an evolution of last summer's successful "Amp the Awesome" outreach---focuses on "amping" visitors' stays through a variety of surprise-and-delight efforts throughout the destination. Area tourism partners---including hotels, attractions, restaurants and local chambers of commerce---can participate by promoting visitor interactions via social media.
"This is a high-energy summertime campaign that keeps the focus on engagement with our visitors," said VSPC Executive Director David Downing. "So we're expanding our footprint to include new markets around the state to maximize its impact."
In addition to the usual summertime feeder markets of Tampa Bay and Orlando, this summer's in-state campaign will be expanded to include first-ever placements in Jacksonville, West Palm Beach and Miami.
The two-hour long event was also amped up by a decidedly frank keynote from Glenn Haussman, Editor-at-Large of Hotel Management, who has been quoted in outlets ranging from The New York Times to CNN.com and whose Twitter feed has become a must-follow for a growing number of industry watchers. Haussman's presentation included a discussion of consumer hotel trends, followed by a list of suggested do's and don'ts---as well as some truly unvarnished traveler feedback aimed at improving customer experience throughout the hospitality industry.
"I thought it was both refreshing and respectful that Glenn didn't soft-pedal for the sake of not stepping on toes," said attendee Wayne Atherholt, Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg. "In order to stay at the top of our game as a destination we need to hear the truth about what travelers think, and Glenn absolutely delivered."
The event concluded with the much-anticipated "Best of St. Pete/Clearwater" awards honoring the winners of VSPC's annual online poll, as well as a special presentation made by Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long, who honored retiring Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson for her visionary leadership and unwavering support of growing the Bed Tax.
Other elements included a teaser announcement of a soon-to-be revealed major marketing initiative in the greater Orlando area, and the release of Voices from Industry, a new video featuring interviews with local industry veterans and U.S. Travel Association President, Roger Dow.
TOURISM WEEK BONUS: Video of attendees being interviewed at the event's after party, sharing their own thoughts about the future of tourism to the St. Pete/Clearwater area, and photos of "Best Of" winners being presented awards by a real Yeti, the star of VSPC's international winter campaign.