June 13, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from this morning's monthly Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, we have posted the agenda online on our industry website, with clickable links to all of the individual monthly departmental reports. Please note that each of these clickable agendas will be posted on this page of our industry site the Monday before the TDC meeting every month.

New Bed Tax Record Set for April; Area Leads State In Average Daily Rate Growth
Pinellas County Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections topped $3.14 million for the month of April, setting a new record for the month and topping the $3 million mark for the first time in the area’s history, according to the Pinellas County Tax Collector’s office. Fiscal Year TDT collection to date stands at more than $17 million, a running total that is nearly 12% above the total for the same period last year. The area also led the state in growth of Average Daily Rate (ADR), surging 5.75% year over year to $136.81, while simultaneously growing occupancy by 4.9% according to figures released by Smith Travel Research. See the full research Data Services report here, and the Tourist Development Tax totals here.

Elite Event Committee to Meet Tomorrow Morning
The TDC’s Elite Event Committee will meet to consider funding requests from qualified applicants tomorrow, June 14, 2012, at 9:30 AM in room 2-304 at the St. Pete College EpiCenter, 13805 58th St. North in Clearwater. The meeting is open to the public and media but will not be televised. The Elite Event program is a two-tiered event funding mechanism designed to draw events ranging in size from 5,000 to 15,000+ room nights.

“100 Days of Summer� Campaign In Full Swing; Logo Available for Download
Designed to promote the St. Pete/Clearwater area to the summertime drive markets of the greater Orlando and Tampa Bay areas, VSPC’s summer campaign, 100 Days of Summer, which launched over Memorial Day weekend, is in full swing. Comprised of consumer e-mails, online banner ads and videos, radio, television, and print ads (which can be seen here), the multi-tiered outreach also includes a sweepstakes with daily, weekly and two Grand Prizes. There’s also an action- packed calendar highlighting 100 of the coolest things to see and do this summer in St. Pete/Clearwater, and heavy cross promotion via VSPC’s Facebook page. Industry partners can download the official 100 Days of Summer logo for use on their websites here, and are encouraged to add 100 Days of Summer deals to their listing on VisitStPeteClear water.com.

NYC, Chicago, Philly Rank Top Feeder Markets; Europe Bucks Downward Trend
The domestic feeder markets of New York, Chicago and Philadelphia together accounted for more than 20% of April tourism, this according to statistics released by Walter Klages of Research Data Services. Sowing the seeds for this growth were VSPC marketing and advertising initiatives, which blanketed the greater NYC and Chicago areas earlier this winter with wrapped buses and subway cars, newspaper, TV and other advertisements, as well as coordinated promotions with Southwest airlines. Also, bucking a trend that saw declines in European tourism elsewhere around the state, the St Pete Clearwater area saw a 9.5% increase in European visitation over that same period last year. For the complete report, click here.

New SEO Tool Increases Organic Web Traffic By More Than 50%
In late 2011 VSPC implemented BrightEdge, a new Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool designed to increase VisitStPeteClearwater.com&aci rc;€™s ranking in organic website search results, and the results have been effective thus far, according Miles Media VP Nate Huff. The goal was to increase organic traffic by 15% over the previous year, but results to date indicate that goal has already been surpassed, with a 52% increase in organic traffic in the first five months alone. Results for May were especially significant with an 89% increase in organic traffic compared to last year.

Welcome Back to Commissioner Morroni, Welcome Aboard Mr. Longenecker We were very pleased to see Commissioner John Morroni back behind the gavel, and we wish him our best for a continued and speedy recovery---and we once again thank Commissioner Susan Latvala for her staying on as Tourist Development Council Chair during his absence. Also, a very warm welcome to our newest TDC member, Bob Longenecker, who will bring a wide variety of experience and ideas to the position---both from his former tenure as COO of Transportation Services at UPS and in his current position of Executive Director of Jolley Trolley Transportation of Clearwater.

Please note that, per TDC tradition, the August TDC Meeting will be cancelled. However, as usual, all of our reports will be on file and available for viewing at that time.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the individual reports and online agenda, you can watch streaming video of the entire meeting, available online from Pinellas County Communications.



David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater