Even in the middle of welcoming visitors to Orlando for Spring Break, your Visit Orlando team is looking ahead at travel projections. After a strong start to the year, demand for Orlando area hotels for the late spring and summer period is showing early signs of softening.

With data and insights as the foundation of everything we do, your Visit Orlando team closely monitors trends and regularly adapts plans to meet the needs of our community. Our successful “Winter Doesn’t Exist” campaign in the U.S., targeting winter-weary residents in key markets with cold weather, concludes March 31st.

On April 8th, we’ll jump right back in with campaigns to target both drive markets within Florida and 12 key out-of-state markets to stimulate travel demand for the summer season. Under the Unbelievably Real brand, the summer campaign features new out-of-home high impact billboards in heavily populated areas of Washington, D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Charlotte, Atlanta and New York. 

We continue to look for ways to go big, bringing back the 7-story 3-D digital billboard in New York City, strategically placed in Times Square. Billboard, digital and social media ads in all markets push summer messaging with the call to action, “See yourself here this summer” and drive to VisitOrlando.com featuring member offers. We will also tag our television commercials with a summer message.

Visit Orlando members are encouraged to submit both Florida resident and summer travel offers as soon as possible through the Member Portal. By working closely with our members and community — and staying nimble with our campaigns — we have a great opportunity to better position our destination for summer.

tm-charity-applications-vomd-2024

Charity Applications Now Open: Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining

Visit Orlando is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations for our annual Magical Dining program. Last year, we donated $269,272 to organizations that provide services and resources to survivors of abuse in Central Florida. This year, donated funds will focus on organizations that offer impactful approaches to creating thriving and sustainable communities. Eligible nonprofits are encouraged to apply online no later than Friday, April 19.

How Can We Improve Tourism Matters?

Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey (only 3 – 5 minutes), to help us enhance future editions of Tourism Matters with information most helpful to you and your organization. Click here to access the survey.

Destination Tourism Master Plan Town Halls

Orange County’s Tourist Development Tax Application Review Committee will open its FY-2024 through FY-2028 (October 1, 2024 – September 30, 2028) application funding window for capital grants in excess of $2 million and up to and including $15 million on April 1, and will accept applications through April 30, 2024. The applications and supporting materials will be accepted through the United Arts Grants Portal.

To be considered, qualified applicants must meet minimum requirements. A complete list of requirements is included with the grant application. In addition to attending an information session, applicants are encouraged to contact United Arts with questions prior to applying. United Arts staff will be available for questions until April 29 at 5 p.m. and can be reached via email at Outreach@UnitedArtsCFL.org or by calling (407) 628-0333.

Data & Trends

Metro Orlando's hotel occupancy rate for the week ending March 23, 2024, was 75.5% which was down from 84.5% the prior week and down -6.9% the same week last year. The average daily rate for the week was $233.37, down from the prior week’s $243 but up 2% from the same week last year. Room night demand trailed the previous year by -6%.

Around the Destination

tm-Orlando Eye_Drone

The Orlando Eye by Merlin Entertainments at ICON Park. 

ICON Park Announcement: This week, Merlin Entertainments, the global leader of branded entertainment destinations, purchased The Wheel at ICON Park, the tallest observation wheel on the U.S. East Coast. Renamed The Orlando Eye by Merlin Entertainments, the attraction joins other Merlin attractions, such as SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium and Madame Tussauds Orlando at ICON Park. This news highlights ICON Park’s success as a landmark and tourist hotspot. With a portfolio of over 50 tenants, including restaurants and bars, nightly live music and shopping, ICON Park hosts brands and unique experiences that cater to families and adults. Learn more here.

OEP Roundtable Discussion: Visit Orlando participated in a roundtable discussion led by the Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP) with Florida Department of Commerce Secretary Alex Kelly. Various industry sectors were represented including, Visit Orlando for the travel and tourism industry. The focus of the discussion was the transformation of regional and statewide economic development strategies. During the meeting, we emphasized the significant opportunities within our region and listened to Secretary Kelly’s plans for the Department of Commerce. Additionally, we discussed various initiatives, including place-based transformation through LIFT Orlando, regional investment in semiconductor efforts, the Unbelievably Real brand campaign partnership with OEP and infrastructure investments to sustain regional growth.

Visit Orlando Engaged!

tm-future-business-leaders-of-america-2024

Visit Orlando hosts students from Florida Future Business Leaders of America. 

Florida FBLA: Members of Visit Orlando’s marketing, communications, travel industry sales and meetings and conventions teams, presented to over 40 college students from the Florida Future Business Leaders of America (Florida FBLA), an organization dedicated to helping business students prepare for their future careers. The session offered insights into the diverse career paths available at Visit Orlando and within the travel and tourism industry. Visit Orlando team members shared personal career growth stories and explained how actively participating in student organizations, like FBLA, and securing internships are essential for early professional development. This event exemplifies Visit Orlando's commitment to empowering future business professionals.

tm-ripleys-social-media-fam-2024

Pictured at Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Visit Orlando’s social media team host content creator FAM 

Social Media FAM: Across three days, Visit Orlando's social media team hosted six content creators for a familiarization tour (FAM). The participants experienced International Drive Orlando's I-RIDE Trolley transportation service, stopping at nearby experiences, including Ripley's Believe It or Not!, WonderWorks Orlando and ICON Park and its attractions. The group participated in several other unique adventures, including Gatorland, enjoyed several diverse restaurants and sheered on the Orlando Magic at the Kia Center. FAMs are important tool to offer influential content creators opportunities to personally experience our destination, share their stories with their followers and collaborate with Visit Orlando on content.

tm-rosen-pr-presentation-2024

Pictured L to R: Dr. Aysegul Songur, Rosen School of Hospitality Management and Visit Orlando's Denise Spiegel with public relations students 

Public Relations Presentation: Denise Spiegel, Visit Orlando’s VP of communications, shared insights into a travel and tourism industry career with students at The University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. She also informed the students about Visit Orlando and the critical role the communications team plays in telling the story about the organization, destination and the impact of our industry on the community. She shared examples of how the team landed major news coverage, including a segment on The Kelly Clarkson Show, viral Tik-Toks from influencers and syndicated news coverage on Visit Orlando and destination announcements.

tm-booth-europe-travel-shows-tis-2024

Visit Orlando team members and member organizations attend ITB Berlin. 

Participation in International Travel Shows: Visit Orlando’s travel industry sales team showcased Orlando to more than 6,000 consumers and provided training for over 200 travel advisors at three prominent travel shows across Europe: the US Travel Show in Copenhagen, Swansons’ America Day in Malmo and FDM’s Travel Event in Copenhagen. Additionally, Visit Orlando with a delegation of seven Visit Orlando members attended ITB Berlin in Germany, the world’s largest travel tradeshow, bringing thousands of delegates from global markets to network, negotiate and conduct business in the travel industry.

tm-arts-principals-breakfast-2024

Visit Orlando’s Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Hollander attends the United Arts Principals Breakfast hosted by Visit Orlando board member Jennifer Evins. 

United Arts Principals Breakfast: Each year, United Arts gathers the principals from Central Florida schools to thank them and encourage arts education. In all 210 schools, there is now an arts curriculum taught by arts educators. With entertainment being a key driver of visitation, it is important for our students to engage in the arts, and many end up as part of the tourism industry in this sector.