As challenges arising from the delta variant continue to cast uncertainty on the near-term future of America’s meetings industry, I want to share a few of the many ways Visit Orlando is working to bolster our reputation as the No. 1 destination for safe, successful, in-person events.
First and foremost, safety is key, and all events hosted at the Orange County Convention Center benefit from a pioneering medical concierge program with Orlando Health. In addition, the OCCC recently became the first convention center globally to be reaccredited by GBAC STAR, the gold standard of clean facilities; Orlando International Airport and multiple convention hotels are accredited too.
Second, our sales team, which books citywide and in-house meetings, is working diligently with meeting planners to schedule — and sometimes reschedule from other cities — multiple events that generate millions of dollars in economic impact.
Third, we’re reaching key decision-makers across a variety of platforms, from trade shows and site visits to targeted media, email, blog posts and testimonial videos that highlight the safe return of face-to-face events.
Finally, we are utilizing our partnerships to spread messaging and leverage shared knowledge about the extraordinary safety of in-person meetings in Orlando. We continue to work closely with Orange County and Mayor Jerry Demings, who has been working to keep our economy strong while taking additional measures to ensure public safety — as outlined in a letter he wrote this week to area hoteliers.
And in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association, our Let’s Meet There social media campaign is sharing new research that shows in-person events pose a near-zero risk of COVID-19 transmission to attendees. This is excellent news, and it’s a story that deserves to be told!
Orlando’s meetings industry has come a long way since the darkest days of the pandemic. We’ve overcome numerous obstacles to prove we can meet safely and successfully — and I’m confident that Orlando will continue to be the national example for the recovery of this important sector of America’s economy.
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Extended!
To support local businesses and ensure two deserving charities receive maximum benefit, I’m thrilled to share that we are extending Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining through Oct. 17, giving you an additional two weeks to experience delicious, three-course meals for only $37.
Visit OrlandoMagicalDining.com to find out more about the program and our charity partners. While you’re there, browse menus, make reservations and see which restaurants chose to participate in the extended time period.
County Leaders Recognize Success of “Safer, Strong, Together” Campaign
This week at the Board of County Commissioners meeting, Visit Orlando, the Orlando Economic Partnership and Orange County staff were honored for winning the prestigious PRSA Silver Anvil Award for our joint Safer, Stronger, Together educational campaign.
Launched in summer 2020 to combat COVID-19, the campaign’s “do your part” messaging is still relevant today — especially as we aim to improve vaccination rates — and it continues to serve as a template for making Orlando a healthier, safer destination for all who live, work and visit here.
Promoting Fall Travel
Airline Partnerships: Visit Orlando is partnering with Delta and American Airlines on joint marketing programs to increase travel to Orlando this fall. Starting Sept. 20 for Delta and Oct. 1 for American, we will be a featured destination on the websites of both airlines, as well as in emails targeting consumers from key direct-flight markets, through the end of November. These partnerships will earn an estimated 21 million impressions, sowing the seeds for future visitation that generates economic impact across our community.
Media Coverage: While fall may be Orlando’s typical shoulder season, it’s also one of the best times to explore the destination. To inspire visitation, we’ve been pitching media all the incredible offerings Orlando has coming up, from food festivals to Halloween events and more. As an example, check out this article we secured in the Orange County Register, which was syndicated to several other outlets in California — currently one of our top five states for advance hotel bookings through the end of the year.
For the week ending Sept. 11, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy remained mostly unchanged from the previous week, up 0.7% to 46.3%. Average daily rate decreased $6.31 to $107.23 but remained slightly higher than the same week in 2019. Florida and U.S. occupancy levels were nearly the same as last week at 54.1% and 60%, respectively.
Congratulations, Mayor Demings!
A hearty congratulations to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who last night was recognized as “Man of the Year” by OYNX Magazine at its Men of Honor dinner. The award comes as no surprise, given Mayor Demings’ exemplary leadership of our community through one of its most trying times in history.
Across the Industry
TravelPulse: Industry leaders press the need for business travel comeback
News 13: Central Florida COVID-19 hospitalizations start to drop
Travel + Leisure: The top 15 resort hotels in Florida
Conference & Meetings World: Orlando ready to rebloom for business
CNBC: If you want to travel for less, head for these affordable U.S. cities
Yahoo News: Vaccines still work - breakthrough infections remain low despite delta variant
TravelPulse: COVID-related travel restrictions costing U.S. almost $198 million daily
Lake Nona Social: 7 restaurants coming soon to Lake Nona
AHLA: hotels projected to end 2021 down $59 billion in business travel revenue
In your service
Casandra Matej | President & CEO