July 21, 2016 TDC Recap

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dear Industry Partners:

Below you'll find a few highlights from this week's Tourist Development Council meeting. We have posted the TDC agenda online, along with our monthly department reports.

Pinellas Bests Statewide Averages As Bed Tax Continues Growth
In a month in which many Florida destinations saw slow or no growth, Pinellas County continued into record-setting territory, posting its 33rd consecutive month of positive Tourist Development Tax collections with May's bed tax totaling more than $4.2 million. This represents a 6% year-over-year increase (plus an additional $701,027 from the sixth TDT cent) and a 3.2% bump in Average Daily Rate (ADR) that was the second highest among Florida beach destinations and a 5.6% jump in Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR), which places it at the top of its statewide comp set. These figures come on the heels of the strongest spring in the destination's history, with March posting TDT collections of more than $7 million alone.

VSPC Becomes First DMO In U.S. To Launch 360-Degree Video Portal
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater unveiled a groundbreaking new 360-degree video portal, which allows users to dive deeper into the destination through state-of-the-art 360-degree videos. VSPC is the first destination marketing organization in the United States to launch these immesrive videos, which can be manipulated by users either dragging the cursor on their computers or physically moving their mobile devices. Currently, 10 video clips populate the landing page, including sailing around Clearwater Beach, exploring Anclote Key, flying around the track of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and hanging out with dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It's hard to describe, but easy to experience---take a minute to check it out to see what we mean.

Summer Marketing Efforts Include First-Ever Forays Into Jacksonville, Miami
After successful winter and spring campaigns in cold weather markets, VSPC's summer marketing efforts turn in-state with new outreaches in Jacksonville and Miami, featuring market-specific radio spots that emphasize drive times and Gulf to Bay destination magazine inserts into local newspapers. The summer "Get Amped" campaign also blankets the Tampa Bay and Orlando markets with radio, broadcast TV, vibrant digital billboards and a new presence in International Plaza in Tampa, which sees more than 19 million shoppers annually, many of them international visitors. Clearwater Beach's title as TripAdvisor's No. 1 Beach in America is a common refrain in messaging. See the newly revamped summer TV spot and other examples of our summer campaign media here.

VSPC Meetings Team, Director Receive Pair of National Honors
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's Meetings & Conventions team was recognized as one of the elite DMOs in the southeast by Successful Meetings, who honored their outstanding work in the meetings industry with a Pinnacle Award. The award is especially noteworthy because the winners are voted on by decision-makers planning meetings, events, conferences and incentive programs in the United States and worldwide. Department Director Suzanne Scully received a separate honor by being named one of three recipients of the European Cities Marketing scholarship by Destination Marketing Association International. The scholarship program offers Scully the opportunity to attend a no-cost program where best practices and ideas will be shared at an international forum later this year.

A special welcome to the TDC's two newest members, South Pasadena Mayor Max Elson and St. Petersburg City Council member Charlie Gerdes. Elson has been appointed by the Mayor's Council and replaces Indian Rocks Beach Mayor R.B. Johnson, while Gerdes was tapped by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to take his seat. A big thank you to both Mayor Johnson and Mayor Kriseman for their participation on the board. We look forward to working with Mayor Elson and Councilman Gerdes.

Again, these are just a few highlights. Feel free to watch the meeting in its entirety here.

David Downing
Executive Director