October 23, 2015 TDC Recap

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dear Industry Partners:
Below you'll find just a few highlights from Wednesday's Tourist Development Council meeting. Although the entirety of the meeting was dedicated to a discussion of processand guidelines for the capital funding process, we have recapped highlights from the reports on file for your convenience as well. Per usual, you can view the TDC agenda and all of VSPC's monthly department reports online.

TDC Votes To Earmark 60% Of Tourist Development Tax To Marketing, 40% To Capital
After extended debate, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) voted unanimously to recommend a minimum of 60% of tourist development tax be put toward marketing and advertising, starting in January when the bed tax increases from 5 to 6 percent. This recommendation effectively maintains the county's historic ratio of 60/40with up to 40% being reserved for possible capital expenditures and beach nourishment. The TDC's recommendation will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners for a vote later this year.

August Marks 24th Consecutive Month Of Bed Tax Gain
Tourist development tax collections totaled more than $2.6 million in August, a 3.2% increase yearoveryear. That number pushed FY201415 collections to more than $37 million13% ahead of last year's recordsetting pace. According to Walter Klages of Research Data Services, preliminary figures suggest that pentup demand combined with a late Labor Day will produce a strong September, edging the FY1415
collection to $40 million, setting a new record for Pinellas County tourism.

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's Nationwide UK Campaign Uses British Accent To Sell Sunshine
Venessa Alexander, Director of VSPC's UK office, presented a year in review on the UK, the area's top international feeder market. Highlights included a review of VSPC's firstever nationwide UK advertising campaign, a multiplatform initiative including specially produced national TV ads (with a British voiceover), wraps on taxis and buses in London and Manchester, advertisements inside cars on the National Rail Network, Facebook ads and social media support. The effort, which generated nearly 47 million impressions and was conducted in collaboration with Virgin Holidays, resulted in year to date room night increases of more than 6%. Other initiatives included a September campaign with British Airways that allowed users to simulate a scratchoff ticket on their mobile phone screens.

VSPC's German/Central European Office Reports Marketing Highlights
Marion Wolfe, Director of VSPC's Central European office, showed a sampling of some 90 marketing initiatives, which put a major focus on tour operators and industry partners. A fourweek September/October campaign with Dertour tied in with the film Dolphin Tale 2 including a cinema event attended by more than 200 top travel agents, material distributed to 30,000 agents and posters on 8,900 travel agency storefront windows. The campaign resulted in the region generating a year over year 36% jump in bookings for the 201415 winter season. Other efforts included a "hug cam" giveaway promotion at a VfL Wolfsburg soccer match, an animated YouTube video featuring the character "Special Agency America Unlimited" and a promotion with Kino News, a movie/entertainment publication distributed in McDonald's, as well as a specially produced TV spot on Kino News TV, with 9.6 million monthly viewers.

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

The next TDC meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18. We hope to see you there.
David Downing
Executive Director