October 14, 2009 Meeting Recap

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find a recap of the highlights from today's TDC meeting, as well as a few other items of interest to the tourism community at large. As always, we hope that you find these updates useful, and welcome your input regarding this or any facet of our operations. Please take special note of the first item: if you are receiving this email, you'll likely want to attend the debut of our marketing initiatives for 2010. RSVP info is included below.

VSPC will unveil its 2010 marketing initiatives---including a completely revamped web site and a new Visitors Guide---at this year's Marketing Kickoff Event, which takes place next Wednesday, November 4, at the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa. An hour-long seminar outlining cooperative marketing opportunities starts at 4:30, followed by the industry-wide marketing debut from 6 to 7 pm. The complete schedule is as follows:
4:30 - 5:30 2010 Cooperative Program Preview - Athena Room
5:00 - 6:00 Networking Reception - History Hall & Palm Lobby
6:00 - 7:00 2010 Marketing Preview - Baranoff Ballroom

To RSVP, please visit http://www.pinellascvb.com/ and click the "RSVP for Events" tab on the left-hand side to confirm your attendance at the "2010 Cooperative Program" and/or the "2010 Marketing Preview." If you have any questions, please contact Linnie@VisitSPC.com.

The director of the film commission for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Jennifer Parramore, has earned the Certified Film Commissioner designation, a merit award program of the Association of Film Commissioners International. Parramore, who has helmed Pinellas County's Film Commission since its inception in 1990, is a member of the charter class for the new professional designation, and the first film commissioner in Florida to receive it. The AFCI certification program ensures that AFCI members are operating at the highest level of knowledge and professionalism. Graduates have to demonstrate knowledge in six core competencies and write a case study.

The Meetings & Conventions Team has surpassed their room night goal for FY 09, which ended on September 30. The goal was for 85,000 definite room nights and, as of the beginning of the new year, the M&C Team assisted St. Pete/Clearwater area hotel partners in closing 86,289 room nights. These room nights resulted in $14,251,490 in room revenue and $25,023,810 in total county impact.

For the second year running, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater will make a worldwide splash by sponsoring the coat check at World Travel Market 2009, which will be held at London's ExCel Centre on November 9-12. Visitors who brave London's blustery late-fall weather will be greeted by coat check attendants wearing sweatshirts bearing the VSPC logo on one side and this year's theme on the other: "Check Your Tan, Not Your Coat." The booths themselves will be decked out with VSPC collateral as well, including mural-size images of our award winning beaches. A new addition to this year's sponsorship will be plasma screen monitors displaying a custom-edited video loop, which will be visible to both coat-check patrons and passers by. This summer, VSPC was awarded a Flagler Award for this one-of-a-kind marketing outreach which takes place at WTM, one of the world's largest tourism trade shows.

Even though September is a traditionally slow web traffic month, traffic to VisitStPeteClearwater.com this September was up 23% over the same month last year. This was only the second time in 2009 that monthly web traffic surpassed the same month in 2008 - the first being in August - providing a potential indicator that interest in future travel to the region is higher than it was last year at the same time. It's also an indicator that this summer's extended online advertising campaign, which placed ads on more than 50 of the internet's most popular web sites---including Expedia, TripAdvisor and Facebook---has succeeded in increasing overall traffic to the site.

These are just a few of the highlights from this month's Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, all of the individual department reports are available for viewing at download at PinellasCVB.com, and the entire meeting can be viewed at your leisure on PinellasCounty.org.

As many of you know, this month's TDC meeting, which was originally scheduled for October 14, was postponed to today so the tourism community could attend memorial services for Cindy Powell, who passed away suddenly earlier this month after a brief illness. We're planning a short tribute to Cindy as part of next Wednesday's industry-wide marketing forum, so we hope to see you there.

Also, please note that next week's marketing debut will take the place of our regular TDC meeting for November, so the next TDC meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 9.

David Downing
Assistant Director
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater