Our destination has seen incredible growth and a strong push towards recovery this summer, but as is often the case, success is not a straight line. New data from Destination Analysts shows that travel sentiment has slipped due to the rise of delta variant COVID-19 cases, and those issues are heightened by the surge in media attention on Orlando.
However, our goals as an organization remain clear: we will communicate with our members, clients, stakeholders and community, stay open for business and continue to strive for a full economic recovery that also prioritizes health and safety.
You may have heard that the AORN Expo 2021 has been canceled in response to their safety concerns. We also have reports from a few of our hotel members that their in-house groups are in conversation over how to move forward. I want to reassure you that we are constantly communicating with these groups about the incredible safety measures our destination offers. Orlando’s been leading the way back to in person events since summer 2020, and our reputation has only grown stronger as the No. 1 Destination for Healthy Meetings. We’re working hard to make our customers aware of this, ensuring that decisions are made based on facts rather than panic.
I also wanted to keep you up to date on Mayor Jerry Demings' response to the rise in cases. This week, the mayor declared a State of Local Emergency for Orange County, and continues to strongly recommend that all residents – vaccinated and unvaccinated – consider wearing a mask indoors while in a crowded environment. As a result, larger groups in Orlando may be wearing masks when they did not originally expect to. Regardless, visitors can continue to take advantage of our destination’s unmatched attractions, hotels, meeting venues and beyond.
Finally, I have been asked by Mayor Jerry Demings to serve as co-chair of the re-launched Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. Our first meeting is Monday, and I will keep you posted on our progress.
Let’s all do our part, Orlando. We are Safer, Stronger, Together.
Frontier Expands Flights to Orlando
A great partner to our destination, Frontier Airlines is adding 17 new nonstop routes to Orlando International Airport, with limited-time discounted rates as low as $25. Visit Orlando’s Toni Caracciolo, vice president of marketing, was on hand Tuesday at the airport to help make the announcement. Read more about Frontier’s new routes.
Don’t Forget to Register for Our August Luncheon
Our Aug. 27 Business Insights Luncheon & Economic Forum will be here before you know it, so register now to reserve your spot. Get the latest economic forecasts, connect with colleagues and Visit Orlando team members, learn about our destination’s new three-year strategic plan, and kick off Visit Orlando’s 16th annual Magical Dining.
Please note that, just as our destination has set the standard for safe, in-person meetings and experiences, this luncheon will remain an in-person event, with the addition of mandatory masks and social distancing.
Back by popular demand, one of the best-performing blog posts in the history of VisitOrlando.com has been updated and republished by our content team.
“25 Things to Do in Orlando for $25 or Less” reached nearly 5,000 organic pageviews in just two days — more than double what our previous top blog of the year achieved in its first week.
Promoting Orlando as an affordable destination remains one of the best ways to stand out from competitors and encourage future travelers to plan their trips.
Giving Back is Empowering!
A special thank you to our friends at Dress for Success Greater Orlando, who helped us find new homes for 100 leftover business jackets. Dress for Success empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools. Learn more here.
Weekly Occupancy Shatters Post-Pandemic Records
For the week ending July 24, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy hit 79.1%, up from 73.9% the previous week. This is our highest weekly occupancy since February 2020! Both weekdays and weekend occupancy saw pandemic peaks, an excellent sign of recovery. Average daily rate also rose $6.26 to $135.45.
Across the Industry
Orlando Weekly: Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining celebrates 16th anniversary
Morse Museum: The Morse Museum is back and free for the month of August
TravelPulse: Delta increases flights for Canada reopening
Travel Weekly: White House says COVID travel restrictions will remain
PhocusWire: Refunds, enhanced cleaning drive traveler booking decisions, not price
The Points Guy: Unsung Heroes: Ritz-Carlton’s director of housekeeping
Travel Age West: Is there still time for a summer vacation? 60% of Americans say yes
In your service,
Casandra Matej | President & CEO