December 12, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from this morning's Tourist Development Council meeting, the last one of 2012. As usual, we have posted the agenda online on our industry website with clickable links to all of the individual monthly departmental reports.

New Fiscal Year Yields Continued Bed Tax Surge

October's Tourist Development Tax kicked off FY 2013 with yet another double-digit increase, surging 16.51% year-over-year, continuing the trend set by FY 2012 that saw a record growth in Pinellas County bed tax collections. October, which is the first month of VSPC's fiscal year, marks the seventh month this calendar year that has experienced double-digit growth in tourism tax revenues. The top three feeder markets for that month include New York, Chicago and the greater Orlando area.

VIDEO: St. Pete/Clearwater Showcased on ABC's "EXTREME MAKEOVER"

As part of a marketing agreement between VSPC and the show's producers, the St. Pete/Clearwater are received major national TV coverage on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on Nov. 26, the Monday following Thanksgiving. The special 2-hour episode, which was shot in January, follows the Watson Family on their surprise St. Pete/Clearwater beach vacation while their home in Knoxville, Tennessee, was rebuilt. Highlighted during the episode were Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Tradewinds Island Grand Beach Resort, and other locations around St. Pete Beach. Check out this five-minute montage of the clips featuring St. Pete/Clearwater that aired during the special. The actual value of this coverage is astronomical since, according to VSPC's ad agency, BVK, the going rate for a single 30-second commercial during the episode was approximately $175K.

Film Commission Unveils New Location Scouting System

Fielding more than 450 inquiries each year for film and video productions in Pinellas County, the St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commission recently unveiled a new online database that clients can use to scout locations from the comfort of their own offices. The new image management software contains thousands of photos and details about area locations that prospective clients can search to find specific settings for projects. All of the locations and images are searchable by categories---accommodations, beaches, bar, etc---and geographically as well. Currently some 300 distinct locations are included in the database, with more being added as they are photographed and catalogued.

Web Experts Predict Growth of Video and Mobile to Dominate 2013

Nate Huff of Miles Media presented the latest changes in store for , including implementation of a new technology that will serve up specific homepages to site visitors depending on where they are logging on from. Also in the works is a plan to create enhanced landing pages for individual communities, allowing visitors to drill down to a hyper-local level for the latest area information. Huff also reported on the growth of mobile and video, which are predicted to be the hot trends of 2013: with 75% of mobile users watching videos on their phones---and 89% of travelers using videos to research destinations---video content on mobile platforms is converting travelers to booking.

As we wind down an incredibly successful 2012, our thanks and best wishes go out to Commissioner John Morroni as he hands the TDC gavel to the incoming 2013 chair Commissioner Ken Welch. We're honored to have had the pleasure to work with him, and we look forward to continuing the momentum established this year.

We wish you all a safe and happy Holiday season, and we look forward to working with our amazing industry partners to continue growing Pinellas County tourism in 2013.

See you at next month's TDC meeting, which will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.





David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater