September 8, 2010 TDC Meeting Recap

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dear Industry Partner:
Below you’ll find just a few highlights from this month’s Tourist Development Council meeting. Due to the number of items on today’s agenda, several reports had to be curtailed, so below is a quick rundown of the highlights of items of importance to the tourism community at large. As always, complete individual monthly departmental reports are available for viewing on our industry website,

VSPC Completes BP-Funded Ad Campaign, Delivers Recap to Governor’s Office
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) VSPC signed with the State Division of Emergency Management, VSPC delivered a recap with documentation of how the entirety of the $1.15 million in Emergency Marketing Funds was spent to combat negative perceptions resulting from the BP Oil Spill. The campaign, which more than doubled the size of VSPC’s regular summertime ad campaign, was comprised of the following media placements: television (27%), radio (21%), newspaper (8%), online (39%) and international cooperative ads (5%). The PowerPoint presentation outlining the individual elements in detail---including email blasts, screen shots and newspaper ads---can be seen here. BP has yet to respond regarding the second marketing funding request VSPC made in July in the amount of $5 million.

Canadian Leisure Sales and PR Blitz Continues Into Fall
Rosemarie Payne, Director of Leisure Travel, and Mary Haban, Senior PR Manager, gave a joint presentation on VSPC’s collective efforts in Canada. Behind a unified sales/public relations front, room night production is up 6.4% year-to-date, while positive media coverage continues to filter in. The duo reported on the successful media and travel industry exposure generated at the 8th Annual “Beaches & Baseball” event in Toronto last month, which resulted in a large piece of youth baseball business selecting St. Pete/Clearwater for their spring tournaments. The Leisure Travel and PR Departments will return to Canada this fall, attending a variety of events including the Addison Tradeshows , Society of American Travel Writers – Canadian Chapter Luncheon, Discover America Day, and others. In addition, Rosemarie Payne will be the featured “Insider” for the University of VISIT FLORIDA’s Travel Agent Newsletter this November.

Website Programs, E-mail Campaigns Push Visitors to
Nate Huff, Vice President of Publishing for Miles Media, presented the TDC with an update of VSPC’s summer e-mail marketing campaign and website programs designed to increase consumer engagement with the St. Pete/Clearwater brand. Highlights of the ten-week program include: more than 7 million consumer newsletters distributed, resulting in a record 67,000 requests for Visitor Guides (a 10,000% increase over last year); an average of 3,000 daily visitors to, making it the most visited tourism website on Florida’s Gulf Coast; and the development and implementation of a stand-alone “Wide Open Beaches” landing page featuring web cams, Underwater Updates and interactive postcard features. The entire presentation can be viewed here.

Sports Commission Woos New Business on International Front
The Sports Commission hosted two representatives of baseball teams from the Premier Baseball League of Ontario, Canada, who are planning to host their spring training in March of 2011. The teams will consist of 300 players and coaches, plus families, and will stay in the area for more than a week. In addition, two teams from the Eastern Canadian Premier League, which the Sports Commission met with during a tradeshow last year, will also train in the area this spring. Also, the Sports Department secured the MLB International European Showcase, which will take place at St. Pete’s Al Lang Stadium later this month and include representatives from France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.

Meetings Department Surpasses 2009 Sales Goals Before Year’s End
In addition to hosting planners for site inspections throughout the county, Sales Manager Jill Brown reported that the Meetings & Conventions Department has shattered their FY09-10 goal of definite room nights, surpassing the 90,000 mark at the close of August with another month left in the fiscal year. Through July, the uptick represents a 38% increase in total room revenue and more than a 40% increase in total economic impact over this same period last year. The Meetings Team has attended more than 20 tradeshows, sales missions and client initiatives this summer, and interest continues to grow.

TDC Chair Karen Seel opened the meeting with a short reminder that, while we continue to combat the oil spill perception issues and go on with the daily business of promoting tourism to Pinellas County, we all are keeping Leslie Curran and her family in our thoughts and prayers. We echo her sentiments.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the streaming video of the entire meeting available from PCC TV, you can view all of the CVB’s individual monthly departmental reports on our industry web site,

David Downing
Assistant Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater