At Visit Orlando, we have quite a few teams working to support the success of our destination, from marketing and PR to convention sales, membership, research and beyond.
Our newly re-imagined “Destination Experience” team also plays a crucial role.
As in-person meetings and events continue to rebound, these Orlando experts are providing new and innovative ways for meeting planners and attendees to connect with a world of opportunities throughout our destination.
Think of them as the primary bridge linking convention groups of all sizes with exciting off-site experiences at theme parks, attractions, restaurants, entertainment venues, area nonprofits and more.
It’s just another way we’re enhancing the already magnetic appeal of doing business in Orlando — while, at the same time, solidifying our reputation as the nation’s No. 1 destination for meetings and events.
To close 2021, our destination had 488 hotels, 129,292 rooms and 5.81 million square feet of hotel meeting space. Driven by new properties catering to leisure travelers, total rooms grew 1.7% over 2020 (26 new hotels opened and one expanded, while 17 either closed permanently or for remodeling).
The I-Drive and Lake Buena Vista sectors account for two-thirds of all hotel room inventory. Thirty-nine hotels qualify as convention properties, featuring a minimum 300 rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
Non-hotel lodging: The region’s number of timeshare units (26,155) was largely unchanged from pre-pandemic levels. Vacation home rental inventory (41,455) — while steadily rebounding since late summer 2020 — continues to be well below 2019 (65,959).
Weekly hotel metrics: For the week ending Feb. 12, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy hit 70.9%, up significantly from the previous week (56.6%) and buoyed by large attendance at the International Home Builders Show. Average daily rate ($157) was up from $134.
Orlando International Airport Now 7th Busiest in the U.S.
Serving as further evidence of our destination’s recovery, Orlando International Airport was the nation’s 7th busiest in 2021, up from the 9th spot in 2020. Some 40.3 million passengers traveled through MCO for the year, up over 87% over 2020. Read more here.
U.S. Travel Announces 22 Emerging Travel Leaders
Congratulations to Visit Orlando’s Travis Binkley, manager of group development, for being named one of the U.S. Travel Association’s 22 Emerging Travel Leaders. Maria Fabregat of Disney Signature Experiences and Keith Stiff of Universal Orlando Resort also made the list. This inaugural program represents a diverse cross-section of industry representatives and was created to expand the exposure, knowledge and capabilities of rising travel leaders as they build careers in the travel and tourism field.
Routes America: On Tuesday, CMO Danielle Hollander represented Visit Orlando at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Routes America breakfast in San Antonio, Texas. The event provided a platform to connect with more than 35 executives who decide the future of air travel routes. The group was very positive about Orlando, and several expressed interest in partnering with us on future promotions.
CFHLA Advocacy Day: On Wednesday, community relations manager Kristin Westover joined CFHLA in Tallahassee for an advocacy trip focused on educating our elected leaders on issues important to Orlando’s tourism industry. Topics included VISIT FLORIDA funding, Tourist Development Tax usage, vacation rental regulations, data privacy and more.
AMCI: Finally, I’ve been attending the AMC Institute’s Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs over the past couple of days, along with Vickie Keliher, our director of national accounts for convention sales. AMCI represents over 180 association management companies, and we’ve been busy networking and educating convention clients on our destination.