As visitation to Orlando drives our region’s economic health, my top priority is squarely focused on spurring recovery of tourism. I’m pleased to announce that Visit Orlando has now launched our destination's first full-scale, multistate marketing campaign since the start of the pandemic, The Wonder Remains, to encourage spring and summer travel.
The $2.2 million campaign, which we are fortunate to be able to fund with visitor tax dollars, promotes travel to Orlando on multiple consumer channels including digital, social, streaming and — for the first time since March — new TV ads. It's also the first time since the start of the pandemic we’ve used paid advertising to reach consumers beyond Florida, and we're happy to share that our Orlando message is now running across nine Southeast states.
The campaign pairs compelling imagery of our world-famous theme parks, attractions, elaborate resorts and outdoor activities with essential information on our region's standout safety measures. Affordability is also a key focus, and we connect consumers with over 100 deals on VisitOrlando.com.
To share with residents the campaign's role in helping spur local economic recovery, I was pleased to meet with several media outlets this week. Thank you to WKMG Local 6 (video below), WESH Channel 2, WFTV Channel 9, the Orlando Sentinel and many other local reporters for helping communicate this to our residents. Additionally, the Associated Press and Yahoo! News carried the news nationally to reach consumers in markets of key importance to us, sparking another 180 articles and counting.
December TDT Collections Continue Gradual Recovery
Tourist Development Tax collections for December were $10.6 million, a 59% decrease from December 2019 but another incremental increase from the previous month. As reflected by the chart below, this marks eight consecutive months of gains since our lowest level in April. December’s collections were driven by strong occupancy rates during the Christmas-to-New Year’s holiday, which we anticipate will also be reflected similarly in the upcoming spring break window. Read more.
Destination Hotel Snapshot
Orlando continues to have the second highest hotel inventory of any market in the U.S. Our tri-county region ended 2020 with 479 hotel properties, which equates to 127,080 rooms and 5.7 million square feet of meeting space in our top convention hotels.
Anticipating a return to better days, the lodging industry continued to invest in our local economy, evidenced by 16 new hotels coming online last year, a total of 4,653 rooms. Regrettably, we also lost 16 hotels to permanent closure, representing 2,740 rooms.
Driven by the construction of new hotels catering to leisure travelers, room inventory grew 1.5%, all of which came from Orange County, while the bulk of the losses came from Osceola County, mainly in the Kissimmee East region.
Weekly Occupancy & ADR
Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending Feb. 6 grew to 35%, up from 33.3% the previous week. Average daily rate rose $1.38 to $82.14..
Spotlight: Black History Month in Orlando
This month, we continue to highlight Orlando’s Black history and culture by promoting local landmarks and black-owned restaurants in our communication channels to visitors. A few must-see places to visit are the “Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change” exhibit at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida, Winter Park’s Hannibal Square Heritage Center and Historic Eatonville. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the diversity of our community, not only during Black History Month, but all year long.
Orlando Publicity to Share
In addition to 180-plus stories promoting the new campaign, our PR team continues securing positive stories spotlighting Orlando to both potential leisure visitors and meeting planners. Recent stories to share include the notable Travel + Leisure promoting Orlando as a "best place to travel in March" and this Smart Meetings recap showcasing our region's "trailblazing steps to safeguard meeting-goers" through Visit Orlando's Virtual FAM with hundreds of meeting clients.
Romantic (and Safe) Valentine’s Day Activities
As I continue to familiarize myself with all that Orlando has to offer, I enjoyed learning about the many Valentine’s Day offers and attractions compiled by our marketing team. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Valentine’s Day in Orlando if you could use some last-minute inspiration, or just some really good date-night ideas for the future!
Also, our social media team has created a fun way to share your love for our destination with customized Orlando e-cards (sneak peek above). Look for the full collection Sunday on our Instagram and Facebook channels.
ACROSS THE INDUSTRY
In your service,
Casandra Matej | President & CEO