October 28, 2016 TDC Recap

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dear Industry Partners:

Below you'll find a few highlights from this month's Tourist Development Council meeting. We have posted the TDC agenda online, along with our monthly department reports. You can also watch the meeting here.

August Marks 36th Consecutive Month of Bed Tax Growth
Tourist Development Tax collections totaled more than $3.3 million in August, an increase of 5.4% yea-over-year (and a 27% increase when factoring in 2016's extra sixth TDT cent). FY 2015-16 collections reached $46.5 million with one month left, well ahead of last year's 12-month total of $39 million. Key hotel metrics drove the August bed tax performance as Average Daily Rate (3%) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR, 1%) were both at the top of St. Pete/Clearwater's comp set..

VSPC Leveraged Cassadee Pope's 'Summer' Hit For Fall Promotion
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater launched a targeted fall marketing campaign promoting its connection to country music star Cassadee Pope. For nearly a month, specially-made TV spots featuring scenes from her hit music video (which has more than 3.2 million views) will run in key feeder markets on Country Music Television (CMT) promoting Pope's private concert on Nov. 9 at the Opal Sands on Clearwater Beach. Viewers could enter to win a trip to St. Pete/Clearwater to attend the concert and meet Pope. Earlier this year, Pope shot her new popular single 'Summer" on Clearwater Beach, featuring exclusive imagery of the destination and a name-drop in the song's opening lines.

VSPC's Major UK, Ireland Campaigns Yield Impressive Results
Venessa Alexander, Director of VSPC's UK office, presented a year-in-review on the area's top international feeder market. A British ad campaign placed 740 30-second TV spots during four weeks, reaching more than a million moms, while the digital component generated an outrageous click-through rate of more than 5% (industry average is less than .5%). Running alongside the campaign were wrapped taxis and buses, signage in the London Underground, full-motion video screens (including one in Piccadilly Circus) and costumed yetis that engaged in fun shenanigans with folks on the street. For the first time, the UK team conducted a "Dublin takeover" in Ireland---an aggressive campaign that involved print, TV, radio, digital, social media and a major presence in the city's tram system.

Central European Marketing Focused On Travel Agencies, Tour Operators
Marion Wolfe, Director of VSPC's Central European office, presented a year-in-review of VSPC's marketing efforts, primarily in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With travel agents a primary driver in Germany, Wolfe's team engaged in 13 B2B training events that reach more than 2,600 travel trade professionals. The effort also included retail travel agency storefront displays, giving Germans a glimpse of people frolicking on St. Pete/Clearwater beaches. These images were supported by print pieces, direct mailers, digital messaging, e-newsletters and more. Wolfe conservatively estimated that the storefront campaign generated 5 million potential consumer impressions. Other highlights included a highway billboard in Vienna that saw 35,000 cars drive by it a day and an interactive event giving away 2,000 branded snow tubes at Alpine ski resorts.

VSPC To Travelers This Fall: Use Your Vacation Before You Lose It
VSPC is running a fall campaign from beginning of November through the end of the year encouraging people to use their remaining vacation days---and do so by visiting St. Pete/Clearwater. The "Use it! Don't lose it!" initiative is motivated by U.S. Travel's Project Time Off, which extols the myriad benefits of Americans taking their allocated vacation days each year---from improved health and happier and smarter children to greater work productivity and increased levels of intimacy amoung couples who take all of their vacation days (and yes---they mean taking them together!). As part of the promotion, VSPC is asking visitors to take the "Pledge to Chill" and enter to win a week-long luxury vacation to the area.

Again, these are just a few highlights. We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting at 9 a.m. on November 19.

David Downing
Executive Director