July 24, 2015 TDC Recap

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Industry Partners:

In lieu of this month's Tourist Development Council meeting, here are a few highlights from Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's recent efforts. Per usual, all of VSPC's individual monthly departmental reports are available.

Bed Tax Sees Increase for 21 Straight Months
May continued record-setting growth as Tourist Development Tax collections increased by 8.5%---a streak that dates back to 2013. The more than $3.3 million in collections---a record collection for May---puts FY2015 12.9% ahead of last year's high-water mark of $35 million. With four months left in FY2015, early word from industry partners indicates another strong summer with June and July on par with last summer's record visitation, a trend that shows signs of continuing into the fall months, as well.

First-Ever Summer/Fall Campaign Launches
A first-of-its-kind summer/fall campaign kicked off in 10 different northern markets Thursday. In partnership with iHeartRadio, "Rock the Beaches" hit TV, radio and digital networks in cities like Toledo, Ohio; Springfield, Missouri; and Grand Rapids, Michigan---all of which have direct flights to St. Pete/Clearwater via Allegiant Airlines. The campaign, which mirrors that of VSPC's "Live Amplified" creative, promotes a giveaway featuring roundtrip air, an intimate concert hosted by iHeartRadio, minimum 3 nights of accommodations and more at RockTheBeaches.com. 

VSPC Hosts U.S. Travel Summer Board Retreat
For the first time ever, St. Pete/Clearwater is playing host to the most influential organizations in the travel space this week as the U.S. Travel Association's annual summer board retreat takes place. More than 280 attendees, families and speakers are in destination to attend meetings and experience the area's world-class attractions, beaches and restaurants in between serious business. U.S. Travel is the nation's travel advocacy board with more than 1,300 members in all 50 states and 13 countries.

Grouper Week Catches National Attention, Video Views Top 400K
Grouper Week, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's first-ever destination-wide Gulf seafood promotion, made headlines around the country earlier this month with a playful video that garnered more than 400,000 views across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The promotion showcased the area's seafood staple at GrouperWeek.com  where visitors could find grouper specials, recipes and even charter fishing listings to try their hands at catching the flaky, white local favorite themselves. Florida's culinary ambassador, Justin Timineri, was on hand for national and local media appearances, interviews and a kickoff event (video recap).
Again, these are just a few highlights from our recent efforts. The next TDC meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19. We hope to see you there.

David Downing
Executive Director