Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel Promotes Destination in Successful Meetings magazine

George Aguel  

From a new convention center to new theme parks, Orlando is on the move, according to Successful Meetings magazine. Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel explains why Orlando's meetings, conventions, and events sector is off and running following a record year in 2017. Read more here.

 



From Research: February Occupancy Highest Since 1997

February was another month of solid growth for Orlando's hotel metrics. Orlando occupancy rose 2.8 percent to 83.9 percent, the highest February occupancy since February 1997 (84.9 percent). Orlando posted a higher occupancy rate and faster growth than both the state (81.1 percent, +2.1 percent) and the nation (61.7 percent, +1.2 percent). In addition, February's average daily rate rose 3.5 percent to $139.69 and revenue per available room (RevPAR) rose 6.3 percent to $117.23.

 



Visit Orlando Updates: March 22

Celebrate Travel with Visit Orlando
Each May we gather to commemorate National Travel & Tourism Week at Visit Orlando's Celebrating Travel & Tourism Luncheon and honor those who make our industry great. This year, Visit Orlando welcomes to the stage two highly-regarded industry leaders: Jonathan Tisch (pictured), chairman & CEO of Loews Hotels, and Roger Dow, president & CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. The event will also include a pre-luncheon session featuring Martin Stoll, founder and CEO of Sparkloft Media, who will share his deep knowledge on how to leverage social media and the trends and changes you can expect in the next 18 months. Register today.

Visit Orlando Upgrades Orlando Travel Academy
Agents interested in becoming certified Orlando Travel Experts can now enjoy Visit Orlando's newly revamped online training academy. The training academy now provides information about what's new in the area for 2018, including not only new theme park openings and improvements but also information on attractions, dining, nightlife and other points of interest outside the parks. Read more in Travel Weekly.

PITTCON Brings 11K to Convention Center
Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel joined PITTCON President Adrian Michael Feb. 27 at the PITTCON Conference & Expo 2018 ribbon-cutting ceremony. Over the course of four days, more than 11,500 attendees participated in the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry & Applied Spectroscopy at the Orange County Convention Center.

Visitor Center Welcomes Spring Breakers
Have you been to Orlando's Official Visitor Center at the corner of I-Drive and Sand Lake Road? If so, you know it's a destination in its own right, inviting guests to explore all of the magical, thrilling and wondrous experiences that can only be enjoyed in Orlando. Visitors can get help navigating Orlando via our knowledgeable, multilingual Vacation Guides dedicated to promoting our members' businesses while providing guests with resources they can trust. Stop by to say "hi," and see just how hard our Vacation Guides are working for Orlando -- and for your business.

Landing the Travel Channel
Visit Orlando's public relations team secured coverage on TravelChannel.com, one of the nation's top travel outlets, for a piece that showcases how to eat an entire day of mickey-shaped food at Disney World.

Orlando's Hidden Gems Highlighted
Visit Orlando's public relations team secured an article in top-tier Canadian family magazine Reader's Digest Online. The article highlighted unique can't-miss activities outside the theme parks, including value attractions, outdoor adventures, cultural finds and more. The coverage was shared on the magazine's Twitter page, as well.

Top-Rated Network Showcases Orlando
As a result of a destination orientation, Viagens ao Redor do Mundo filmed two, one-hour episodes featuring Orlando that aired on Band TV, one of Brazil's highest-rated television networks. The program showcased some of the destination's most delicious dining, distinctive entertainment, unique shopping and noteworthy attractions. The show's host was joined by influencer Felps, with a 4.8 million reach across social media, who shared his Orlando experience with his followers during filming.

16K Expected at ASA Convention in 2019
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) convention planning team was in Orlando this week conducting site visits, which included a special dolphin experience at SeaWorld. More than 16,000 attendees are expected at ASA's national convention in October 2019.

 



From President & CEO George Aguel: Positive Outlook for Brazilian Visitation

As Orlando's third-largest international market, Brazil plays an important role in our local tourism industry. That's why it's such welcome news that, after years of economic hardships, Brazilians appear ready to come back to Orlando in a big way.

Visit Orlando is hard at work in São Paolo, Rio de Janeiro and other major Brazilian cities to keep our destination top of mind. We just launched a national marketing campaign to coincide with a key booking period in Brazil, and our research shows that Orlando remains the No. 1 choice for an overseas vacation among our target audience.

As you'll read in this issue of Tourism Matters, the scheduled number of nonstop seats from Brazil to Orlando International Airport in 2018 just reached 486,000, smashing the previous high of 361,000. And because Brazilians spend more money, per person, in our destination than visitors from any other core market, their presence translates to even greater economic impact across our entire community.

While it's still too early to say if 2018 will be a record year for Brazilian visitation overall, the recent news out of OIA, coupled with Visit Orlando's marketing and research efforts, reinforces our outlook that Brazil is bouncing back in a very strong way.

On a related note, it speaks to the strength of our industry that Orange County's January collection of tourist development tax came in at a whopping $23.7 million, nearly 15 percent higher than the same month a year ago. Yet more proof that 2018 is looking good!

 -- George Aguel 

 



From Research: Exposition Industry Showed Strong Growth in Q4

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) recently reported that the exhibition industry grew during the fourth quarter of 2017. The performance of the industry, as measured by the CEIR Total Index, posted a strong year-over-year gain of 3.1 percent, rebounding from a slight decline (0.4 percent) the previous quarter. All four indicators in the CEIR Index increased during the fourth quarter: real revenues (5.0 percent), exhibitors (3.4 percent), net square feet (2.5 percent), and attendees (1.5 percent).

 



Visit Orlando Updates: March 8

FYI Philly Showcases What's New in Orlando
Visit Orlando's consumer marketing team secured Orlando being featured on the hit TV weekend show "FYI Philly" throughout February. Host and meteorologist Melissa Magee showed viewers what makes Orlando unique, with segments including "What's New at the Theme Parks," "Orlando's Endless Adventures" and "Orlando's Ever-growing Dining Scene."

USA Today Features Visit Orlando Contest
Visit Orlando's public relations team secured coverage in USA Today online with the article "Here are the top five travel contests you can enter." The piece features Visit Orlando's Uniquely Orlando contest, running now through
March 11.

Marketing Campaign Launches in Brazil
This month, Visit Orlando's consumer marketing team launched a Brazilian marketing campaign that incorporates TV, print, online videos, digital display, social media advertising, content amplification and search engine marketing. The campaign is designed to connect with consumers during their prime planning and booking timeframes. The first phase will run until mid-June and generate about 200 million impressions.

Recognizing Impact of Meeting Planners
Visit Orlando networked with more than 200 meeting planners and industry partners at an awards ceremony Feb. 22 hosted by the Greater Midwest chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association. These networking opportunities help keep our destination top of mind for future business.

The Globe and Mail Highlights Orlando
Visit Orlando's public relations team secured coverage in Canada's The Globe and Mail after a destination orientation with travel journalist Heather Greenwood-Davis. The article showcased LEGOLAND Florida Resort in print and online. Davis also featured Orlando in her latest March Break article, highlighting popular attractions like I-Drive 360, Kennedy Space Center and Andretti Indoor Karting & Games.

Brazilian Media Share New Orlando Attractions
As a result of Visit Orlando's media outreach, several online outlets published articles highlighting new and upcoming Orlando attractions, dining experiences and accommodations. Notable publications include Catraca Livre, Vírgula, R7 Viagens, MSN and Qual Viagem.

Canada's CHCH Features Orlando's Hidden Gems
Visit Orlando's public relations team generated a five-minute segment on Canada's CHCH Morning Live. Travel writer Kathy Buckworth spoke on her experience visiting the destination, highlighting places like Walt Disney World, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort, Orlando Balloon Rides and more.

Record Attendance at Annual Member Event
On Wednesday night, Visit Orlando hosted a record-breaking number of attendees at our 12th annual Party at Pointe Orlando. In addition to making valuable business connections with more than 800 travel and tourism professionals, attendees connected with key Visit Orlando departments. Throughout the night, guests enjoyed food and beverage from eight Pointe Orlando venues, as well as entertainment sponsored by Imprint Events.

 



From Research: January Occupancy Rises 4.8 Percent

The new year got off to a strong start as Orlando's January hotel occupancy rose 4.8 percent. For comparison, statewide occupancy rose 2.3 percent and the national average occupancy rate rose 0.9 percent. January's occupancy rate of 78.7 percent represents an all-time high for the month in Orlando. In addition, the average daily rate in Orlando rose 8.9 percent to $135.96, also an all-time high for the month of January, and revenue per available room (RevPAR) rose 14.1 percent.

 



From the President & CEO George Aguel: Central Florida Lodging Sector Turns In Exceptional 2017

Now that we've closed the books on 2017, it's official that Orlando continued to break records across a number of key tourism indicators.

As you'll read below, one of our industry's strongest-performing sectors was in lodging, where we established all-time highs for average daily rate, revenue per available room and room nights sold. Another important metric, annual occupancy rate, was the second highest since our data set began in 1979, just under the peak of 80.1 percent in 1996.

But speaking of 1996, we must take into account that our destination has added 40 percent more hotel rooms since then, which makes our occupancy figure even more impressive. Today, room inventory stands at 121,005 - and with so many large-scale hotel projects in the works, that number is expected to soar in the coming years.

Keeping with the record-breaking theme, total attendance at the Orange County Convention Center hit 1.53 million in 2017, up 5 percent on the year. We also expect to see record passenger traffic at Orlando International Airport, as well as record collections of Orange County's Tourist Development Tax, when those numbers are finalized in the coming weeks.

As America's most visited destination, Orlando continues to lead the way. And at Visit Orlando, we're proud to provide the research, business insights and destination marketing support to keep our region's entire tourism industry running strong.

-George Aguel

 



From Research: Hotels Post Strong Monthly, Year-End Numbers

Orlando's occupancy rate averaged 78.6 percent in December, up 8.6 percent from the previous year -- the highest December occupancy rate on record. The average daily rate rose 8.4 percent to a record $129.50, and RevPAR soared 17.7 percent. December's strong performance capped a record-setting year for Orlando's lodging market, with all-time highs for average daily rate ($121.53), revenue per available room ($96.40) and room nights sold (34.7 million). The annual occupancy rate of 79.3 percent was the second highest since 1979.

In addition, the Orlando market posted stronger growth across all key metrics in 2017 than state and national averages. And when compared to STR's 25 largest lodging markets, Orlando posted the second-fastest growth in occupancy (4.9%), average daily rate (4.8%) and revenue per available room (10%).

 



Honey Nougat Glacé is Orlando’s New Signature Dish -- Congrats to Chef Delrieu, Mon Petit Cheri Cafe

Signature Dish 

Congratulations to Chef Catherine Delrieu of Mon Petit Cheri Café for winning the Orlando Signature Dish culinary competition. Earlier this year, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs challenged the area's culinary community to create a honey-based dessert that would reflect the history and personality of Orlando. Dozens of delicious entries were received, and an expert panel of celebrity chefs chose the winner after public voting narrowed the field to 10 finalists. The honey nougat glace features Italian meringue prepared with honey, nougat and fruit confit, on a red berries sorbet.

Chef Catherine Delrieu 

#MyOrlandoDish 

 

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