New research shows that face-to-face events are actually safer than daily activities like going to the grocery store.
In fact, as reported by Northstar Meetings Group, "the mid-August research found infection rates at business events were as much as 95 percent lower than the average across the U.S. over the same time period." In addition, attendees were found to have vaccination rates above 80%, well above the U.S. average.
This spells great news for the future of meetings and conventions — and it's a testament to the effectiveness of the industry's enhanced safety protocols, including those in place at the Orange County Convention Center (the first to receive GBAC STAR reaccreditation), Orlando International Airport and Orlando's convention hotels.
Restoring confidence in business travel is a key part of America's economic recovery. Building on efforts like the U.S. Travel Association's Let's Meet There campaign, which we're supporting on our social and digital channels, Visit Orlando continues working diligently to book meetings, conventions and tradeshow events that support thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in economic impact.
We continue to lead the way back for the return of safe events. The final four months of 2021 look promising as well, with high-profile, upcoming groups including: Surf Expo (Sept. 9-11), the Emergency Nurses Association (Sept. 22-25), IAAPA (Nov. 15-19) and the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin (Dec. 18-19).
So, spread the word, Orlando! The research shows that in-person events are happening safely and successfully.
Visit Orlando's Magical Dining a Hit with Local Media
Our entire destination is abuzz about Visit Orlando's 16th annual Magical Dining program, which launched last Friday and runs through Oct.3. From the Orlando Sentinel to Orlando Date Night Guide and popular food blog Tasty Chomps, reviews and positive promotions continue to pour in.
In the weeks leading up to the launch, Visit Orlando hosted media preview dinners at two participating restaurants and shared dozens of vouchers with journalists and influencers to experience the program at venues of their choice. The resulting coverage in local blogs, food reviews and TV segments has been astounding, with 114 stories so far.
Thanks to all our partners for helping spread the word as well, including the I-Drive Chamber of Commerce, Orlando Business Journal, Open Table, TravelHost and City Beverages.
New Business in the Orlando Ecosystem
Recently, Disney announced that its Parks, Experiences and Products Division will relocate to Orlando, a decision that will reverberate throughout Orlando's regional economy. We can expect to see more high-wage jobs; real estate, restaurant and hospitality revenue; and businesses that will follow Disney's lead.
Meanwhile, as more established businesses consider Orlando, homegrown startups are also flourishing. Florida is home to 11 companies that filed for IPOs over the past year and, in a recent article, Crunchbase named Florida as one of the top three states with the fastest increases in venture funding.
It seems it's no longer a secret that Orlando is more than a great place to visit — it's a profitable place for business too!
Visit Orlando at ESTO 2021
Visit Orlando's Danielle Hollander (CMO) and Toni Caracciolo (VP, marketing) recently attended the U.S. Travel Association's Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO). The event allowed us to network with professionals across the travel industry, learning about new trends and tools we can incorporate into future strategies to benefit our destination. We were also part of the winning East Team in helping Expedia present key travel data in a fun and interesting way – with a game of "Destination Feud".
Touring the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management: Go Knights!
This week, I had the pleasure of touring the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management, America's No.1 hospitality college. Preparing the next generation of industry leaders is vital to our future, and I spent this visit discussing opportunities that include internships, economic and professional development, research and training programs, community involvement and engagement. I look forward to returning to campus in December, when I'll be speaking at the 6th World Research Summit for Hospitality and Tourism.
Catch Up with Visit Orlando
If you missed our Business Insights Luncheon & Economic Forum last Friday, you can catch up with recordings of both, available here for your convenience:
For the week ending Aug. 28, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy fell again to 42.4% which is the lowest for the destination since January. Average daily rate also fell $3.09 to $104.20.
This decline can be linked to two major factors: softening consumer travel sentiment surrounding the delta variant and the usual seasonal drop-off associated with the end of summer. Occupancy for Florida (53.1%) and the U.S. (61.0%) also fell from the previous week.