January 21, 2015 TDC Recap

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dear Industry Partners:

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

November Posts 15th-Straight Month of Bed Tax Collection Growth
New month, but same reoccurring theme for Tourist Development Tax collections as November 2014 saw an 8.3% increase year-over-year, totaling more than $2 million---a first for November. Bed tax receipts have increased for a record 15 consecutive months and 37 of the past 38 months have seen year-over-year increases with August 2013 (.5% decrease) the outlier following the Republican National Convention in 2012. Of those 37 months, 21 posted double-digit gains. With two months in the books for FY15, collections sit 10.3% ahead of FY14's record-breaking numbers.

Winter Campaign Ready To Takeover NYC, Chicago and Toronto
It's that time of year when St. Pete/Clearwater's top feeder markets---New York City, Chicago and Toronto---brace for winter and embrace warm-weather messaging from Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. This year's plan , which will generate an estimated 745 million impressions in NYC and Chicago, includes branded elevated and subway trains, fully-wrapped double-decker buses, thousands of elevator screens in office buildings and hundreds of thousands of coffee cup sleeves. Of course, all of the marketing installations carry catchy phrases like "Forecast: 20 Below 100," "Catch A Wave, Not A Cold," and "Out With Polar, In With Solar." In Toronto, Canadians will see a VSPC 15-second "Live Amplified" spot in 380 Tim Hortons coffee shops, totaling more than 195 million impressions.

British Accent Or Local Voice To Connect With Brits?
As Visit St. Pete/Clearwater prepared to launch its first-ever national campaign in the United Kingdom an unexpected question was asked: To use a British accent or not? You'll have to watch to find out, but the 30-second TV spot is joining VSPC's largest multi-tiered marketing campaign to hit the UK. The campaign features wrapped buses, trains and taxis highlighting St. Pete/Clearwater with bright imagery, totaling 24 million impressions and directing consumers to YouNeedSun.com for a chance to win a getaway.

TDC Welcomes Back Familiar Face As Chairman
With the change in calendar year, Pinellas County Board of County Commission Chairman John Morroni has returned as Chairman of the Tourist Development Council. Morroni was Chairman of the TDC in 2012 and takes over for Commissioner Karen Seel as the duty rotates between the BCC's Chairman. Welcome back, Chairman!

These are just a few highlights from the meeting. The February TDC meeting has been canceled and the March meeting is a joint workshop discussion with the Board of County Commissioners at 9 a.m. on March 18 in the Clerk's Large Conference Room on the Fourth Floor on the Pinellas County Courthouse.

Again, my gratitude to everyone for the well wishes I've received since being named Executive Director last week. Special thanks to County Administrator Mark S. Woodard, the Board of County Commissioners and the Tourist Development Council for their support. And, of course, to our VSPC family for its continued dedication and professionalism. I thank you all and look forward to working with you in the months and years to come.


David Downing
Executive Director