Travel is coming back strong, and we're working with a variety of industry and community partners to position our destination for a full recovery.
This week, Visit Orlando Chair Brian Comes and I attended the ASAE CEO Symposium in Washington, D.C., for continued learning and networking with meeting clients. I also had the opportunity to join a panel of local, state and national tourism leaders at Routes Americas 2021, a key event for connecting with airline decision-makers looking to add flights.
Back by popular demand, Visit Orlando hosted another Industry Insights Roundtable with Daryl Cronk and Maria Henson from our market research and insights team, covering trends impacting Orlando and our industry in the year ahead. Daryl also provided an in-depth look at the state of tourism and hospitality in Central Florida for a "NewsNight" segment on WUCF TV.
Finally, this morning I gave our quarterly update to Orange County's Tourist Development Council, highlighting recent initiatives in the areas of economic recovery, partnerships and diversity.
Read on for other ways we're leveraging the power of tourism to usher in a brighter future for our destination — from marketing campaigns and ticket sales to convention bookings and strategic planning.
Extending "The Wonder Remains" in Our Top Markets
To capitalize on pent-up travel demand, Visit Orlando is in the midst of our biggest-ever summer marketing push. With more and more consumers in northern markets resuming vacation planning, we've extended our "Wonder Remains" campaign to include six weeks of extra digital and TV spots in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. Our top regional out-of-state markets — Atlanta, Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, Dallas and Houston — are also being targeted with increased advertising.
New Partnership Promotes Ticket Sales
Visit Orlando is excited to announce a new partnership with Entertainment Benefits Group — one of the nation's fastest-growing e-commerce companies specializing in travel and entertainment — to create a one-stop shop where consumers can easily explore and purchase tickets to multiple theme parks and attractions.
This newly launched, co-branded website replaces Visit Orlando's former e-commerce platform and will be promoted as "Visit Orlando, powered by BestofOrlando.com." It enables us to help consumers plan their trips in a way that is both simple and comprehensive, while accommodating future technology growth.
Starting the Summer Strong in Meetings & Conventions
As we've noted before, the Orange County Convention Center is about to enter a very productive stretch, welcoming 57 events and over 635,000 attendees between now and year's end — nearly double the output of the first half of the year.
The AAU's annual Junior National Volleyball Championships — the world's largest volleyball event — is currently in town, with 3,400 teams competing June 17-29, and major upcoming events include AAU World Basketball July 3-19, Coverings July 7-9, ICAST July 21-23 and Museum Collector Car Auction July 29-31.
To further attract future business, Visit Orlando's convention sales team attended MPI WEC in Las Vegas last week (photo above), connecting with key meeting planners and showcasing our leadership in the return of successful, large-scale events.
Pro-Tourism = Pro-Business
It's no secret that our world-class tourism industry impacts all sectors of Orlando's economy, and I was pleased to read another example of this fact in a recent press release by the Orlando Economic Partnership.
While visiting Rosen Shingle Creek for a conference a few years ago, the director of South Africa-based MFT Executive Advisory Services — a select partner firm of Amazon — was so impressed with our destination that he started researching how to open an office here, the company's first in the U.S. Fast forward to today and MFT is setting up shop in Maitland, planning to create 35 high-wage jobs over the next five years.
These types of success stories reinforce how travel is part of the economic development cycle, playing a vital role in Orlando's economy. We look forward to future opportunities to join our economic development partners in working together for the greater benefit of our community. Read more
Hotel Occupancy Continues Upward Trend
For the week ending June 19, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy rose to 68.3%, our fifth consecutive week of growth and just shy of the pandemic era record (68.6%) set during spring break. Average daily rate rose $7.65 to $122.15.
Final Chance to Complete Visit Orlando Survey
Want to help shape the future of Orlando? Please take our DestinationNEXT survey by June 30. We need perspectives from all areas, including professionals in tourism, business, education, government and beyond. Your input will help us plan strategies for our destination and organization in the years ahead.