#MyOrlandoStory of the Week

Dolphin kisses

Dolphin Kiss – Only in Orlando

I remember my son was very excited to finally be old enough (6 years old) to swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, FL. We had an unforgettable time, kissing dolphins, feeding stingrays, snorkeling with reef fish, feeding exotic birds, watching the otters and marmosets and simply soaking in the sun in the lagoon. You cannot put a price tag on memories.

story of the week

Stories shared on OrlandoStories.com and using #MyOrlandoStory on social media may be featured as the Story of the Week.

Visit Orlando Events

Sept. 3
Business Referral Group
The Orlando Improv Comedy Club & Restaurant

9101 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Cost: $15, inclusive
Click here to RSVP

Oct. 1
Member Orientation
Click here to register. 

Member Presents
Members interested in targeting the meetings and convention market can present their products or services during monthly, 30-minute sessions with Destination Meeting Services. Click here to schedule a session.

Congratulations Members

Celebration Health Assessment (CHA) welcomes Anthony DiNardo, D.O., as its newest staff physician. "My passion to focus on preventive medicine inspired me to join the team at CHA. I provide CHA clients with an in-depth review of their medical history and discussion about health concerns and risks. I then use this information to develop a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan to help my clients live their best and healthiest life."

Cooper's Hawk is proud to announce winning the 2015 Platinum Medal from the Critics International Wine Competition for its Lux Pinot Noir! Winning a 99-point (out of 100) honor is a milestone for the winery and a true testament to the dedication its team has brought to the craft of winemaking. For more information, call 407-855-5496.

Gatorland is excited to announce Jennifer Gallagher as senior director of sales and Julie Baross as director of marketing.

Member-to-Member Offers

Inspire your employees and staff this summer with Marc Mero's Dream Big Presentation, described as life-changing! Through Aug. 28, Champion of Choices - Marc Mero is offering a 30 percent discount. Click here for more information or call 407-448-9956.

LTC Language Solutions is excited to invite new clients to try its language services! Learn a new language, utilize an interpreter, have a document translated, or just learn more about other cultures. Through Oct. 1, receive 10 percent off of your first-time purchase. Questions? Please click here.


Join #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Osceola Heritage Park for Plum Palooza and celebrate the release of the new Stephanie Plum novel, Tricky Twenty-Two. Get a signed copy and enjoy food and entertainment. Visit Orlando members will receive 10 percent off of the general admission price. Use code ORLANDO. Purchase tickets here.

Regal Oaks - A CLC World Resort is offering an exclusive rate for Visit Orlando members of $99 per night for a two-bedroom townhouse, Sunday through Thursday, and $119 per night, Friday through Saturday; based on availability. The offer is good through Dec. 15. For more information, call 407-997-9478 or click here. Reference offer code: VIOR15.

Lovespoon Candles offers locally produced soy candles that make unique, special gifts. Visit Orlando members are invited to enjoy a special price of $17 each, tin or jar (regular price $27.95 and $23.95, respectively), through Dec. 31. Click here for more information.


Industry Events

Sept. 9-11
VRM Xtravaganza
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate

VRM Xtravaganza

Sept. 17
Building Business Expo
West Oaks Mall

Oct. 17
The Pineapple Ball
Rosen Shingle Creek

Nov. 4
Orlando Economic Development Commission's
BBQ on the Boulevard
301 East Pine Street
Orlando, FL 32801

Nov. 7
2015 VRM Awards Gala
Westgate Town Center Resort & Spa

Community Events

Through Sept. 30
School Supply Drive
Osceola County Welcome Center,
History Museum and Pioneer Village

Through Sept. 30
Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month,
presented by American Express
Select Restaurants

Magical Dining

Through Nov. 29
Mummies of the World: The Exhibition
Orlando Science Center

Aug. 29
Diamonds are Forever Casino Night

benefiting Central Florida Commission
on Homelessness
The Citrus Club

Aug. 30
Music at the Casa
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum

Sept. 4–6
Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic
Amway Center

Sept. 6
Uno's Pups & Popsicles

to benefit Pet Rescue by Judy
Uno Pizzeria & Grill
12553 SR 535
Orlando, FL 32836

Sept. 10
Winter Park Sip, Shop & Stroll — Fall-Themed Edition
Park Avenue, in Winter Park

Sept. 12
2015 Greater Orlando Heart Walk
University of Central Florida

Sept. 12
O-Town MacDown, Benefiting Give Kids the World
Osceola Heritage Park

Sept. 12–13
Corks for Cancer Festival
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards

Sept. 15–Nov. 1
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Magic Kingdom Park

Sept. 17–20
Art in Odd Places
Downtown Orlando

Art in Odd Places

Sept. 17–24
10th Annual Fashion Week
The Mall at Millenia

Sept. 18–20
Bobcat Goldthwait
Improv Comedy Club

Sept. 18–Nov. 1
Halloween Horror Nights 25
Universal Orlando Resort

Sept. 19
Candy's Cats 6th Annual Wheelin' Dealin' Kittens
Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs

Sept. 23
21st Annual “Salute to COMPACT” Awards Banquet
Rosen Centre Hotel

Sept. 28–Oct. 4
Global Peace Film Festival
Orlando and Winter Park

Global Peace Film Fest

Oct. 2–6
Orange County Convention Center

Oct. 3–18
Brick or Treat
LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Oct. 3–31, weekends
SeaWorld Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular
SeaWorld Orlando

Oct. 10–11
42nd Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
Central Park, Downtown Winter Park

Oct. 17
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando's
Savor the Night
City Hall Rotunda & City Commons Plaza

Oct. 17
Music of the Americas
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park

Oct. 18
Latin Food & Wine Festival
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Seneff Arts Plaza

Oct. 24
2015 Wyndham Vacation Ownership Charity Championship Golf Tournament

to benefit Give Kids the World Village
Metrowest Golf Club

Oct. 29
West Orange Chamber of Commerce's Golf Classic

Metrowest Golf Club

Oct. 30–31
6th Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Food and Wine Classic

Nov. 7
Eighth Annual 5K Run for The Gift
Southwest Aquatics

Nov. 13
American Lung Association's
SeaWorld Orlando - Sea Harbor Pavilion
and Ports of Call

Nov. 14
5K Gingerbread Run
Give Kids The World Village

Dec. 2
Christmas at the Casa
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum

Dec. 19
Inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl
presented by Florida Hospital

President & CEO's Message
August 21, 2015


George AguelMost stories have a beginning and an end. For Visit Orlando's new global marketing campaign, the start took place officially this week in New York City. The Big Apple is the largest source of out-of-state visitation to Orlando, or in other words, the ideal market to launch our new campaign in a very significant way. From digital video boards in iconic locations such as Times Square and Madison Square Garden, to wrapping double-decker buses and taxi cabs, on-air interviews and in-cinema advertising, Visit Orlando is reaching millions of New Yorkers with the promise that they can experience the vacation of a lifetime in our destination.

The new approach to connect with consumers in an emotional way as only Orlando can is also in other major markets such as Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Tampa, as well as our destination's No. 1 overseas market, Brazil. Additional key countries for international visitors - Colombia, Canada and the United Kingdom - will see the new campaign in the coming weeks. We'll even make a smash at this year's US Open tennis championships, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world that's broadcast extensively in 185 countries.

All of these fully integrated campaigns encourage consumers to share their Orlando stories in English, Spanish or Portuguese on OrlandoStories.com. Even better yet, this story has no set end. Inspired by the lifetime of memories that our visitors make and will make in our destination, the campaign is titled "Never Ending Story." It's a movement that we hope will carry forward for years and live in the hearts and minds of our visitors forever.

-George Aguel


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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando

Consumer Confidence Rises in August

research chartU.S. consumers are more confident about the economy than they were last month, according to the latest report from The Conference Board. The Consumer Confidence Index reached 101.5 in August, up 11.5 percent from July (91.0) and 8.7 percent higher than one year ago (93.4). Consumers indicated a more favorable assessment of current conditions and also a more optimistic view of the short-term outlook. The Present Situation Index increased from 104.0 last month to 115.1 in August, while the Expectations Index improved to 92.5 from 82.3 in July.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Visit Orlando Sponsors US Open Championships, Set to Start Monday

Beginning Monday, tournament play will kick off at the 2015 US Open Tennis Championships in New York City. As a sponsor of the US Open, Visit Orlando will have its logo prominently featured courtside, reaching viewers in more than 200 countries around the globe where the event is broadcast. At the US Open itself, Visit Orlando will have a consumer activation booth, allowing representatives of the destination to engage with the more than 750,000 event attendees. Our booth will feature the global "Never Ending Story" campaign creative that launched last week.


Orlando Stories Campaign Takes Over The Big Apple

New Yorkers, we want to hear your Orlando story! Through mid-September, Orlando has visually taken over Manhattan. Visit Orlando's call for New Yorkers' Orlando stories is currently featured on double-decker buses, digital video boards throughout Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Bryant Park, on the NASDAQ board, inside 2,000 New York City taxi cabs on their TVs and throughout Manhattan movie theaters. These initiatives support an integrated New York media plan, including broadcast TV, digital advertising and a Pandora radio buy, and are perfectly timed to generate excitement about Orlando on the heels of Visit Orlando's US Open sponsorship.

Orlando Story Campaign Launches in Brazil

The Orlando story campaign continues to roll out around the globe, starting this week in Brazil. The Brazil campaign consists of TV, digital, radio and print advertising and drives people to the Portuguese version of OrlandoStories.com, where consumers can share their favorite Orlando photo, video or testimonial. The advertising will run through the end of November. Please take a moment to watch this Brazilian TV spot with the voice over of Carla Fioroni, a well-known actress in Brazil, starting in a popular children's TV soap opera, "Chiquititas." Don't forget to share your own Orlando story at OrlandoStories.com and use #myorlandostory.


Yelp Event Kicks Off Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, presented by American Express, launched on Monday, Aug. 24 with a special preview week. To mark the occasion, Visit Orlando partnered with Yelp to host a preview event for "Elite Yelpers" at the Orlando Museum of Art. Six Magical Dining restaurants, including American Q, The Boheme, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Kasa Restaurant & Bar, The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando and Stefano's Grill, served samples from their three-course menu so that Yelpers could help spread the word via social media (#magicaldining) about the wonderful food and great value that the program provides. Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, presented by American Express, runs through the end of September and $1 from each meal will benefit Elevate Orlando.

Adrienne Six Selected as a Top CMP Influencer

Adrienne Six

Visit Orlando's Director of Destination Services, Adrienne Six, Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), has been selected as one of the top #CMP30 Influencers. The Convention Industry Council (CIC) released its list of the most influential people who hold the CMP designation, as chosen by their peers. In a campaign dubbed #CMP30, launched on social media in April, CIC reached out to meetings industry professionals to nominate, via Facebook and Twitter, those who have influenced them personally and have made an impact on the profession as a whole. The initial field of candidates was condensed by a public Facebook poll, and the final influencers were selected by a committee.

HB Dinearound

Visit Orlando Hosts HelmsBriscoe and Top Clients

Visit Orlando's Intermediary Accounts team hosted a HelmsBriscoe (HB) Florida Regional dine-around last week at Downtown Disney Area with approximately 25 associates and their top clients. The event was a great way for the HB planners and their clients to gain an overview of the changes that have occurred there, as well as an update on what is happening in the near future.



Travel Industry Sales Team Attends 27th Annual Virtuoso Travel Week

The Travel Industry Sales team recently took part in the 27th Annual Virtuoso Travel Week at the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, which had a record-breaking number of attendees: 4,842 travel professionals from 90 countries. Attendees conducted an impressive number of one-to-one meetings-more than 450,000 of them to be exact-with the end goal of building relationships that lead to better traveler experiences. With nearly 400 appointments and a hosted table at the gala dinner, Visit Orlando had a great presence at this year's event and is becoming a top contender for Family Vacation sales. Our partner, The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, took the BEST FAMILY PROGRAM award from the 2015 Hotels & Resorts Best of the Best Award nominations. Virtuoso is the industry's leading luxury travel network and a by-invitation-only organization that is comprised of over 330 agencies, with more than 7,200 elite travel advisors in 20 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.


Visit Orlando to Host Radio Broadcast Event

Starting tomorrow, Visit Orlando will be hosting radio broadcasters with 11 radio stations, including both English and Spanish language, at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. The on-air talent, from the markets of New York, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Tampa, West Palm and the United Kingdom, will be broadcasting their morning shows live from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 after experiencing all that is new and exciting in the destination. The group will be visiting the theme parks and numerous other venues in a jam-packed itinerary and will then talk about their adventures in Orlando live on the radio.


FAM Held for Top Brazilian Tour Operator

The Travel Industry Sales team recently held a familiarization tour for Ancoradouro, one of our key clients in Brazil. The 11 participants from the Rio de Janeiro offices were hosted by the Holiday Inn & Suites across from Universal Orlando and were able to experience the Amway Center; Artegon Marketplace Orlando; The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art; Walt Disney World; I-Drive 360; Kress Chop House; The Grand Bohemian; SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment; Orlando Premium Outlets; The Florida Mall; Universal Orlando Resort; Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour and more.

LATAM Paraguay

Special FAM Held for LATAM Paraguay

The Travel Industry Sales team for Latin America recently held a familiarization tour for LATAM Paraguay. Seven participants and one representative of a trade publication, Contacto Editorial, were graciously hosted by the Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. The destination visit gave them the opportunity to experience Walt Disney World Parks; SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment; Universal Orlando Resort, along with I-Drive 360. They also enjoyed dining at Hard Rock Cafe, American Q at the B Resort & Spa and many more. This FAM utilized the convenient direct daily flight operated by Lan Peru to Orlando.

Toronto SM

Convention Sales Departments Attend Industry Trade Show in Canada

Representatives from Visit Orlando recently attended the IncentiveWorks trade show in Toronto, Canada. IncentiveWorks is Canada's largest and longest-running education and trade show for the meetings, incentive travel and special events industry. Visit Orlando met with more than 150 Canadian planners. Following an already full week of industry events, Visit Orlando, along with the Hilton Orlando, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Rosen Hotels & Resort and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, hosted its 5th annual Client Mission. The four members and 36 clients attended a reception at The Vault before enjoying the award-winning Broadway production of Kinky Boots.

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News About Orlando

Next Week at the Convention Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimate Attendees Estimate Economic Impact
International Council of Shopping Centers Florida Conference Aug. 31 Sept. 1 3,000 $5,910,000

dolphin kisses

Dolphin Kisses Featured in New Visit Orlando Marketing Campaign

Is there anything cuter than an adorable child kissing an adorable dolphin? It seems Visit Orlando doesn't think so either and that's exactly the memory the region's tourism authority selected as the first ever "Story of the Week" for its new marketing campaign.

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fast and furious

Universal Orlando Confirms Fast & Furious Ride

Well, now it's official: Universal Orlando will open Fast & Furious: Supercharged in 2017.

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Orlando-Area Hotels Are Fuller, Charging More Compared to Last Year

New data from STR Inc. shows that a higher percentage of travelers stayed the night in Orlando-area hotels in July compared to last year—and they paid higher rates for their rooms.

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Hunker Down Because Orlando's Theme Park War Has Only Just Begun

The battle for the best theme park with the best rides between Orlando's Big Three theme parks is heating up, and trends show the best is yet to come.

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Disney Begins Upgrades to Polynesian Resort

Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort may get even more renovation work done this week.

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Star Wars Half Marathon—the Dark Side Coming to Walt Disney World

Looks like Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is getting its own version of a Star Wars half-marathon, debuting April 14-17, 2016.

Sporting events such as races help draw visitors to the area who often extend their visit in order to take advantage of the region's attractions, restaurants, hotels and more.

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More Details of I-Drive Skyplex Revealed in New Renderings

New renderings of International Drive's Skyplex project show a bit more of what to expect when the development opens in 2018.

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Universal Unveils Entire Halloween Horror Nights 2015 Lineup

Universal Orlando has shared the full lineup of haunted houses and other attractions for the 2015 edition of Halloween Horror Nights, and there's a definite flashback feel to the event, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

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Planned Orlando Resort to Court Extended Families

The developers of a large resort in the Orlando area hope to capitalize on a demographic trend driven largely by aging baby boomers yearning for meaningful family experiences: multigenerational travel.

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Megabus.com Names Bus in Honor of Florida

Megabus.com on Monday said it plans to name one of its buses the Sunshine State Bus to honor the people in Florida it serves.

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Star Wars Land

Artist Creates Magical Map For Disney's Future Star Wars Land

One day you will walk into a Disney theme park and open a map that features myriad attractions, including those tucked away in the truly awesome Star Wars land.

Read More

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Industry News

hotel desk

U.S. Hotel Industry's Occupancy Was Up 2.3% to 75.3% Within a Year

The U.S. hotel industry reported positive results in the three key performance metrics during July 2015, according to data from STR, Inc. In year-over-year results, the U.S. hotel industry's occupancy was up 2.3% to 75.3%; its average daily rate rose 5.9% to US$124.32; and its revenue per available room increased 8.3% to US$93.61.

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Survey: Travel Intentions Remain Strong, Traveler Satisfaction on the Rise

The results of the latest travelhorizons study, released this week, reveal that travel intentions among American adults remain robust more than halfway through 2015.

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Why the Hotel Business Is Doing So Well Right Now

Life is sweet if you're a hotel chain right now. While there's a shortage of hotel rooms in the U.S., demand is up, so hotels can charge more.

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Fees Collected by U.S. Hotels Expected to Break Records in 2015

U.S. hotels will collect a record $2.47 billion in fees and surcharges during 2015, according to New York University hospitality clinical professor Bjorn Hanson. That figure is 5% higher than 2014's total, which also broke historical records.

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credit cards

How the Recession Changed the Ways Americans Spend Money

Americans are spending again, but what they are spending their money on has permanently changed since the Great Recession.

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Trends Report: How the On-Demand Economy Is Reshaping the Travel Experience

Is "on-demand" that new? Well, not really. If you consider pizza delivery part of the on demand economy, then it's been around for quite a while. The newer wave of Uber-ized on demand services are new though and are shaking up the industry.

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California Town Bans Airbnb Rentals

The Northern California town of Tiburon has joined several cities in the state which ban Airbnb rentals. The ban extends to all short-term rentals, including those arranged through VRBO.

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Hotel Workers Get Their Breaks With Break in Rates

A national initiative led by the U.S. Travel Association has cascaded its way through the state down into Miami's hospitality industry. In Miami, employees within the hospitality industry are being told to do something unordinary: take time off.

Read More

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Corporate Ambassadors
ARDA Bags BB&T British Airways Clear Channel Outdoor
Darden Fairwinds Credit Union Florida Distributing Company Florida Hospital The Florida Mall
Lufthansa The Mall at Millenia Orlando Economic Development Commission Orlando Health Orlando International Airport
Orlando Magic Orlando Premium Outlets O'Town Television OUC Smart City
Tupperware Brands United Service Companies
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