As we mark one year since COVID-19 began to impact our destination, and reshape the world at large, I want to thank our many member companies and community leaders whose ongoing support has helped Orlando’s tourism industry navigate such unprecedented challenges.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen our community rally together like never before, and Visit Orlando is proud to continue serving on the front lines of extensive, destination-wide recovery and safety efforts. Alongside our partners, we’ve pivoted to support residents and businesses in new, innovative ways — and now we are in prime position to further accelerate our region’s economic recovery.
As you’ll read below, and as we’ve noted many times over the past several weeks, positive signs are pointing the way forward. Orlando’s tourism industry is resilient, hope is on the horizon, and we’re ready to bounce back with vigor.
The Wonder Awaits You: An Orlando Virtual Travel Experience
With research showing that 84% of Americans have travel plans in the next six months, we’re encouraging consumers to attend our first-ever virtual travel experience, The Wonder Awaits You! This free, live event will run March 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. ET and is open to anyone nationwide.
The Wonder Awaits You builds on the success of our multistate marketing campaign, The Wonder Remains, which was launched in January and has been extended through June.
Designed to inspire out-of-state travel from start to finish, the show will feature a “main stage” and virtual booths where attendees can learn about our destination’s many exciting attractions and activities, as well as our comprehensive health and safety measures. In addition, dozens of member companies will be offering prize giveaways that range from theme park vacation packages to free flights to Orlando.
Know someone who might be interested in attending? Share the link to register.
Hosting Influencers Throughout Orlando
Over the past year, our PR team has worked with nearly 40 social influencers to highlight various aspects of our destination. This week, to promote drive-market spring break travel, we hosted four Florida-based influencers and their families to share enticing content of their spring-time visits across Orlando.
From TikTok-style videos to a myriad of Instagram highlights, the resulting coverage showcased theme park thrills, outdoor adventures, destination-wide health and safety measures, and more. Combined, this week's posts have generated more than 600,000 impressions.
If your company would like to be considered for hosting influencers, email firstname.lastname@example.org or keep an eye on your member leads.
What’s New for Summer
Aligning with our efforts to inspire future travel, this week we targeted consumers across social and digital media with “21 New Reasons to Visit Orlando this Summer.” The content includes adventures at our theme parks and attractions, new hotels and resorts, and more than 150 deals at VisitOrlando.com.
January TDT Collections
Orange County’s Tourist Development Tax collections for January were $7.68 million, the first month-over-month decline since April. These results were not completely unexpected, coming on the heels of increased holiday travel in December.
Looking ahead, as we continue to share with local and national media, there are reasons to be optimistic, with millions of people having already received vaccines, and the supply and pace of vaccinations continuing to increase. With spring break here and summer on the horizon, visitation should also be rising steadily.
Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending March 6 was 45.7%, up from 44.9% the previous week and the third highest occupancy during the pandemic. Average daily rate rose $5.41 to $94.63, the highest it’s been since the Christmas holidays.
2021 Smart Women in Meetings Awards
I’m proud to share that Stephanie Naegele, our vice president of sales operations, has been recognized among this year's Smart Women in Meetings by Smart Meetings Magazine. Yulita Osuba, deputy director at the Orange County Convention Center, also made the list. Join me in congratulating these incredible women for their hard-earned recognition in guiding and supporting our industry.
Discovering the Orlando Destination
Finally, many of you are aware that “discovery and recovery” are two of my top priorities as the new president and CEO of Visit Orlando. This week my family and I spent spring break discovering more about this amazing destination, with trips to Disney World, Universal Orlando and Winter Park.
Of course, we still have so much more to discover — and that will be a process I greatly anticipate! Have a suggestion on where we should go next? Email me at CEO@VisitOrlando.com.
ACROSS THE INDUSTRY
Visit Orlando's new campaign draws millions in local spending
How long will it take for Orlando theme parks to return to pre-pandemic strength?
Walt Disney World sold out as spring breakers head to Florida
Visit Orlando returns to TV screens
Survey finds uptick in optimism, new meetings business
New report shows travelers ready to hit the road again
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Opening at EPCOT Oct. 1
In your service,
Casandra Matej | President & CEO