October 10, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, October 10, 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. 

Record August Collections Push Yearly Bed Tax to All-Time High 

With record setting August Tourist Development Tax  (TDT) revenues of $2.2 million pushing the month up some 22% year-over-year, Pinellas County is now officially in record fiscal year TDT territory, posting a YTD total of more than $27 million---with another month's revenue still to come (Sept). The current total already surpasses banner year 2008's total collections by some $700,000, and puts us $1.5 million above last year's pace. August was the seventh month this FY that saw a double-digit year-over-year increase, resulting in a 12% increase YTD over last year's total.

VSPC's UK, Central European Reps Present Year-End Recap to TDC 

London-based Venessa Alexander and Germany-based Marion Wolf, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's international sales representatives in UK and Central Europe, recapped their respective in-market sales plans  from FY 2012, giving insight on market conditions and answering questions from TDC members. Wolf highlighted a partnership with FTI, one of Central Europe's largest tour operators, which included a 135,000 circulation advertorial in a vacation-specific publication, as well as 3.5 million page views on the web. The result was a 55% room night increase year-over-year. Alexander's leading partnership with Virgin Retail and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment garnered remarkable exposure in the UK as well. Both representatives have been in the area this week conducting site visits, catching up on the latest area developments and making presentations to the local tourism industry.

RNC Boosts August Bed Tax, Hotel Rates, Occupancy

RNC-related business accounted for a large part of August's record TDT, simultaneously driving up that month's Average Daily Rate  (ADR) and Occupancy Rate, both of which saw double-digit increases year-over-year. The ADR skyrocketed by 24% compared to last year to $122.08, while occupancy rose by nearly 10% to 64%, the fourth-highest in the state. Both of those numbers contributed to FY 2012 ADR and occupancy increases of 20.4% and 5.3%, respectively, year-over-year. Also worth noting was that more than 37% of August visitors were first-time guests, giving the area a significant boost in new market share. This is due mostly to the wide variety of RNC delegates and visitors in the destination from around the country, as evidenced by the fact that Pinellas hosted delegations from 25 of the 50 states.

New VSPC Destination Magazine to Debut in January 

VSPC announced a groundbreaking new partnership with St. Petersburg-based Tampa Bay Times to produce a high-end visitor magazine that will be used to promote the area around the globe. The yet-to-be-named annual publication---the first of its kind for the Pulitzer Prize-winning publisher of Florida's largest newspaper, Tampa Bay Times ---will replace VSPC's current visitors guide as the area's official destination publication, focusing on cuisine, culture, sports, activities and other facets of life in the land of America's Best Beaches. The announcement came at Monday's 2013 Marketing Kickoff event---a video recap of last year's marketing achievements and the presentation  made that evening can be found under the WHAT'S NEW section on the homepage of PinellasCVB.com.

We hope you find this information valuable, and we look forward to continuing the record-setting year as it winds down.  

See you at next month's TDC meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. 




David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater