April 15, 2015 TDC Recap

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dear Industry Partners:

Below you'll find a few highlights from Wednesday's Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, we have posted the TDC agenda on our industry website along with all of the individual monthly departmental reports. You can watch the meeting here.

Record-Setting Bed Tax Continues With February Up More Than 16%
February's Tourist Development Tax collections continued in record-setting territory with a 16% year-over-year jump, a boost that pushed the total just shy of $4 million for the first time ever (just five years ago February's total was just beyond $2 million). Five months in to FY2015, collections are pacing 15.8% ahead of last year's record receipts, and 12 of the past 18 months have seen double-digit growth. Based on preliminary reports from local tourism industry, this trend is expected to continue when tax receipts from the county's busiest tourism month---March---are announced next month.

VSPC To Unveil Its New HQ In Time For Tourism Week 2015
As a ramp-up to U.S. Travel Association's National Travel and Tourism Week, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is hosting an industry-wide kickoff event at its new location from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, at 8200 Bryan Dairy Rd. in Largo. The event will feature the "Best of St. Pete/Clearwater" awards hosted by OxiClean pitchman Anthony Sullivan and a look at elements of VSPC's all-new summertime advertising campaign, as well as music, a food truck rally and craft beers. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased on the RSVP page at PinellasCVB.com.

Year In Review: 2014 Advertising Results Show Increases Across The Board
With 2014 metrics from marketing efforts compiled, BVK---VSPC's advertising agency of record---produced a detailed year-in-review showing growth in a number of key areas during calendar year 2014. Bolstered by unprecedented engagement via last year's Florida's Natural Orange Juice campaign, website visits increased by more than 50% to almost 3 million, destination magazine requests grew by 15% and e-newsletter opt-ins were up by 22%. Those increases were mirrored by the destination's visitation climbing by 5.5%, or more than 300,000 people, which resulted in an additional $4 million of bed tax. Walter Klages from Research Data Services also presented a year-in-review detailing visitor specifics,highlighted by a 49.8% increase in visitation from Latin America.
Again, these are just a few highlights from our recent efforts. A workshop is scheduled to take place in lieu of May's TDC meeting, so the next regularly scheduled TDC meeting will be on Wednesday, June 17. We hope to see you there.


David Downing
Executive Director