While it's imperative our destination remain diligent in the fight against COVID-19 — increasing vaccination rates and promoting an environment of health and safety — it's also important we continue to work toward Orlando's full economic recovery by restoring the mighty impact of our No.1 industry.
At Visit Orlando, we're rising to that challenge on both fronts.
Our Wonder Remains marketing campaign, launched in January, has generated over 1.3 million hotel searches, 745,000 flight searches and an estimated $132 million in visitor spending — a 10:1 return on ad spend.
Given this level of success, I'm pleased to share that we are extending this campaign through December. Our messaging will continue to focus on outdoor experiences, safety measures and hotel offers, with the additional promotion of our always popular fall and holiday events.
Simultaneously, I'm encouraged to see Orange County's vaccination levels have steadily risen above 65%, and as co-chair of the county's Economic Recovery Task Force, my hope is that we can cross the 70% threshold soon. Making strides in this area will translate to a safer, healthier destination for residents and visitors alike, bolstering traveler confidence and positioning us for a stronger economic rebound.
LAST CHANCE: Register Now for Our August Luncheon
One final reminder to join us for Visit Orlando's annual Business Insights Luncheon & Economic Forum, just one week from today. Reserve your spot now for this valuable in-person event at Hilton Orlando, featuring the latest economic forecasts, networking, the unveiling of our destination's three-year strategic plan and the kickoff of Visit Orlando's 16th annual Magical Dining program.
It is important to show that we can safely meet in person, and we hope to have your support. Orlando has a well-earned reputation as a leader in safe meetings, and this event will reflect those high standards.
We will adhere to CDC guidelines.
Face masks must be worn while not actively eating or drinking.
Social distancing of six feet will be marked at registration counters.
One guest per six-foot classroom table at the economic forum.
Four guests per six-foot roundtable at the signature luncheon.
See you there!
Podcast Discusses Our Social Media Approach
If you've ever wondered how Visit Orlando's marketing efforts translate to our social media channels, check out this recent episode of award-winning business podcast Social Pros. Featured guest Adeta Gayah, our director of social media and content, discusses how Visit Orlando's social media keeps people engaged and has rebuilt traveler trust during the pandemic, while also explaining the strategies around our user-generated content, social listening and TikTok.
WTM Latin America
Last week, Visit Orlando participated in the first virtual World Travel Market Latin America alongside the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort and Margaritaville. With an abundance of pent-up global travel demand, this event offered a key opportunity to connect with travel trade partners who are equally keen to help clients plan trips as soon as possible.
During this three-day event, the Visit Orlando team handled over 60 appointments with travel professionals and media from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru, showcasing all that is new in our destination to enhance portfolios and tour packages.
21 Best Restaurants in Orlando
If you just can't wait for Visit Orlando's annual Magical Dining to start next Friday, consider this article from Conde Nast Traveler a fitting appetizer. As part of our ongoing efforts to promote the depth and breadth of Orlando's dining scene, we worked with Conde Nast to provide information for its "21 Best Restaurants in Orlando" feature. Check it out and see if your favorite is on the list.
Help Keep Our Visitor Experience Exceptional
Orlando has a positive reputation for being a safe and fun place to gather with your friends and family as well as meet – and let's continue to deliver. Below are some tips and reminders to ensure our guests have a great experience and are fully informed.
For hotels, send out a pre-arrival email with your current policies regarding face masks, what outlets are open and their hours, adjusted housekeeping policies if you have them and who to contact if they have questions. For experiences, dining and attractions, provide an updated email or text to those that make reservations or buy in advance with information on face masks, what to expected and safety measures.
Ensure that your hand sanitizing stations are filled at all times.
Clearly indicated with signage your face mask policy at entry points and within your establishment.
Provide your front line team with information on CDC guidelines, testing sites, etc. so they can answer guests questions. Have them encourage visitors to make reservations whether it is for a theme park, restaurant or other experience.
Utilize the Visit Orlando toolkit for Keep Calm & Play On to remind your visitors to plan ahead, be patient and be kind.
Six months into the job, I continue to be thankful for the amazing reception provided by so many of our wonderful community organizations. This week, I was grateful for the opportunity to speak at CFHLA's meeting of hotel GMs from the I-Drive/Lake Buena Vista area. It was a pleasure meeting you, and I value our partnership.
July was by far our best month for Metro Orlando hotel indicators since the pandemic: When compared to 2019, occupancy was within 2 percentage points, demand was 94% and average daily rate was nearly $20 higher at $134.07.
This implies that upcoming July TDT collections should be very strong, but the weekly results for August and August advance bookings are pointing to weaker performance.
For the week ending Aug. 14, occupancy fell to 56.3%, the lowest for our destination since early May. Average daily rate also fell $8.60 to $117.07.