I hope you’re gearing up for a fun, relaxing and safe July Fourth holiday. It is crucial that we maintain a strong emphasis on safety as we celebrate this weekend.

I’d like to thank all of our members who have participated in, supported and engaged on social media with our new “Safer, Stronger, Together” campaign. We have received strong support for donated local media ads to spread the message, as well as participation from businesses and residents alike.  

There also are developments throughout our destination that hold promise. On the lodging front, I’m pleased to report that several major hotels reopened July 1, and the 16-story, 516-room JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa held its highly anticipated grand opening Wednesday. It’s also always exciting when our theme parks roll out new attractions, so congratulations to Universal for Tuesday’s debut of The Bourne Stuntacular.

Safer, Stronger, Together: In the week since Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced our regional health and safety campaign—created with input from more than 100 local leaders—our local media has responded with news stories across multiple outlets, including the Orlando Business Journal, FOX 35, News 6, News 13 and others. The “Safer, Stronger, Together” effort has been well received on social media as well, with a “Do Your Part” message that’s also targeting Central Floridians on billboards, radio and TV sports, in-store posters and more. 

Hotels Welcome Back Visitors: More and more of Orlando’s diverse number of accommodations are ready to welcome back visitors with new packages and deals, as well as elevated health and safety procedures. Just this week, in fact, several major hotels reopened, including the Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World Resort, Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, Caribe Royale Resort Suites, Marriott World Center, Rosen Inn International and Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Read more 

Training Travel Advisers: Travel advisers play an important role ensuring visitors feel confident in resuming travel to Orlando. To help inform our industry clients on destination updates and safety information from our theme parks, attractions and hotels, we’ve launched a three-part webinar series for travel advisers in the U.S. and Canada. Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin presented this week, while upcoming sessions feature SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Westgate Resorts (July 14) and ICON Park, Orlando Magic and Gatorland (July 28). 

New Era of Travel Webinar: Join us July 8 at 10 a.m. as Richard Black from Sojern shares “Data Signals & What’s Next in the New Era of Travel.” How much has the face and demographics of your best potential customer changed? Where are travelers going now, and what does data indicate for future months? Click here to register or view our previous webinars full of current industry insights, research and best practices. 

Promoting Fourth of July Travel: Ahead of the Independence Day weekend, which is always a heavy time for car travel, I was able to discuss the popularity of Orlando as a driving destination for this story by CNN. Over 91% of our visitor base comes from the U.S., and of that, over 70% drive. As travel begins to resume, people will feel most comfortable venturing closer to home, and we are well-poised for that trend.

Research & Insights

Hotel Metrics: Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending June 27 was 28.9%, up nearly 1 percentage point from the previous week. The average daily rate also continued its steady climb since early May, rising to $80.23. 

Road Travel Increasing: A significant focus in our marketing, social media and publicity efforts involves drive markets, as people are most comfortable resuming travel first with nearby road trips. Recent research shows that U.S. consumer road travel for trips in a 50-plus mile radius continues to increase and, for the week ending June 20, was only 1% lower than it was in February, right before the crisis. Read more 

Community & Health

Please remember that, per Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings’ executive order, every person working, living, visiting or doing business in Orange County is required to wear a facial covering, consistent with CDC guidelines, while in public. For more on how businesses and individuals can play a role minimizing the spread of COVID-19, visit DoYourPartOrl.com.

Stay safe, everyone,

George Aguel
President & CEO