Partners and Community Stakeholders,

Last week we welcomed our incoming board members and officers at our annual meeting. This meeting marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for us and we’d like to thank those that were able to attend. Your efforts made in our industry are what allow us to do our jobs well.

Through the leadership of our trusted board, Visit Pensacola has been able to accomplish so much and I am excited to see where that driving force takes us as we move into the new year.

The proof is in the numbers! The Pensacola Bay Area continues to show record numbers for our industry.

Pensacola Bay Area success by the numbers:

Number of Visitors

2,073,381

30% higher than last year

Visitor Spending

$787,186,547

16% higher than last year

County Taxes Paid by Visitors

$21,864,108

10% higher than last year

Tourist Development Tax

$10,175,933

8% higher than last year

Number of Jobs

22,300

17% of jobs in Escambia County

Average Spend Per Day

$216.82

28% higher than last year

 

As we look to 2018 

This new year is going to be full of new and exciting opportunities. Our goal will be to continue growing our relationships with the community and industry partners and to tell our story in the process.   

Key areas of focus will be to continue to use data to drive business decisions and direction while focusing on service to increase business. As storytellers for the industry, the importance will be to continue developing relevant content with a focus on service to you our partners, the Pensacola Bay Area and travelers to the destination. We would not be as successful without our partners and for that we say thank you.

 

 

Partnerships

As we said in the video, new partnerships are here! These packages were developed to enhance the partner experience and increase exposure to visitors. Watch this video above to better understand the benefits of being a Visit Pensacola partner and click here to see the new partnerships opportunities that are available.

Team Collaboration

H.O.G Rally
More than 1,200 Harley Davidson riders, from 23 states are expected to rumble through the streets of Pensacola during the 2017 Southeast H.O.G. Rally, October 31st through November 4th. Visit Pensacola is encouraging businesses to roll out the welcome mat for these riders and urging locals to use extra caution and “Look Twice for Motorcycles.”

With more motorcycles on the road, it’s more important than ever to use extra caution, especially at intersections and when changing lanes. So, remember. Look twice, it could save a life. Click here for more information and a list of public events!

Tall Ships Challenge Gulf Coast 2018 is coming to Pensacola with an est 20-50k attendees. In the following months, we will be announcing sponsorship and volunteer opportunities. We foresee this being an event to remember and one that we hope to see back in our city in future years. For more information visit, www.tallshipspensacola.com

Join us in welcoming the following:

  • Board Chair – Jason Nicholson, Innisfree Hotels
  • Vice Chair – Rob Overton, Jr., UWF Historic Trust
  • Treasurer – Capt. Sterling Gilliam, USN (Ret.), National Naval Aviation Museum
  • Secretary – Mitesh Patel, Pinnacle Management and Investments
  • Director – Cindi Bonner, Fitness Onboard LLC
  • Director – Ryan Christopher, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
  • Director – Ronald Cole, Prince Hall Scottish Rite Masons
  • Director – J.D. Hallam, Perdido Key Resort Management
  • Director – Verdell Hawkins, Gulf Power
  • Director – Jim Homyak, New World Inn
  • Director – J.C. Lowe, WEAR ABC 3/WFGX My 35

Sales and Services

The Sales and Services team have been busy promoting the community and bringing business to Pensacola. The team was successful in confirming 239 bookings for 27,430 delegates. This resulted in 35,339 booked room nights, a value of $35.3 million. We also partnered with the University of West Florida’s Global Hospitality Department for the development of the Visit Pensacola Certified Ambassador Program which is set to launch the beginning of 2018.

Our team attended IPW - International Pow Wow is the largest International Trade Show in the US. This trade show allowed for several appointments to discuss opportunity in our area.

VIC Center PhotosCreation of VIC Community Events - open to visitors and residents the visitor center has held several events this year. Coffee with the Artist, Frank Brown International Songwriter Fest’s Songwriter Presentation, Shellabration, and Great Pumpkin Week are just a few of the events that have taken place at the visitor information centers.

Creation of Event Snap Shot – Every two weeks partners can print of a listing of events to keep on their front desks and share with guests. If you are not receiving that, please let us know so we can get you signed up.

Creation of the Sales and Services Committee – this committee meets every other month to discuss strategy and share ideas.

Our visitor information center gift shop is full of local products. With the holiday season approaching, be sure to stop in and pick up a few local favorites.

Worked with UWF to host NCUR site visit, presentation and reception. The winning bid will bring in this National Conference on Undergrad Research and approx. 3k-5k visitors in 2021.

 

Upcoming Shows

  • DEMA – Diving/snorkeling adventure show in Orlando – Viking Diving and Bay Breeze Scuba will be attending DEMA with Visit Pensacola, the only major show held in the US that focuses on underwater adventures. People from around the world travel to Pensacola for the opportunity to dive the Oriskany, part of the Northwest Florida Shipwreck Dive Trail, and other beautiful dive sites home to turtles, grouper, moray eels, sea horses and other marine life.
     
  • Boomers In Groups (Daytona Beach) – This will be the first time Visit Pensacola has attended this show which will provide opportunities to meet with travel planners from all markets.  

Successful Fam Tours

  • Brand USA International Mega FAM – Fifteen travel agents from the UK and Ireland spent nearly two days touring Pensacola area attractions.

    Results: This event followed the launch for British Airways’ non-stop service from the UK to New Orleans. Pensacola is being marketed as the beach destination as part of a Deep South Itinerary being sold through British Airways.
     
  • Pensacola’s Unique Spaces and Places Tour – Visit Pensacola hosted the first meeting planner FAM that focused on Pensacola’s unique spaces and places as well as hotel meeting facilities. Attendees toured various meeting sites and were provided information and all meeting facilities in the Pensacola area.

    Results: All were impressed with our destination’s charm, accommodations and unique meeting facilities and will suggest Pensacola to clients that would be a good fit for Pensacola. One of the attendees is also part of the YOGA & SPA magazine plans to feature Pensacola in an upcoming issue.

 

New Trade Shows

  • Connect Marketplace Meeting Planner Show – First time participating in the new “Specialty” category and met with 37 meeting planners that plan medical, collegiate, and corporate meeting and events.

    Results: Great show, ending with 7 RFP’s and 8 leads.
     
  • Small Market Meetings Trade Show -Meeting planner show for small meeting markets like Pensacola to meet with planners that are looking for unique places and spaces for smaller events including leisure, religious and military.‚Äč

    Results:  Met with 32 planners and received 3 RFP's, 5 leads and good prospects.

 

Marketing & Communications

The Marketing and Communications team has had an incredible 2017. As we have said in previous newsletters our team is working hard to create relationships and bring more awareness to our area. This year alone, we made 105 assists with media resulting in 985 story placements. We also hosted events and participated in media missions in Nashville, New York City, London and Toronto, Canada.

 

The launch of our site has now been tracking data for a full year. With that, we have had some impressive results and even won Best of the Coast – Best Website! Here are just a few successes for our site this year:

  • Overall website conversions were up 94.6% for FY2017
  • Email conversions up 81.8%
  • Visitor Guide Requests were up 152%
  • Put a lot of effort optimizing pages on our website to increase conversion
  • For email marketing, we began testing dynamic content based on user interests  

Remember, if you are looking to increase your partner engagement, we ask that you give us a call and let us help you! There are several ways you can promote your business better on our site. These opportunities allow for more visibility and access to detailed analytics.

Social Media

Our social media and blog content was also something we worked hard to increase this year. We engaged in new platforms and were able to connect with influencers locally and out of market. Each month there are 3 blogs written and 1 dedicated to locals. We ask them to share their stories and experiences on certain topics so that visitors can “visit like a local” and learn more about our community.

In 2017 our team was busy hosting several media familiarization tours and press trips.  We loved having the following publications and influencers visit and are working hard to continue increasing awareness to our area. In this time, we have also created a Visit Pensacola Media Kit that is available online for anyone that may have an interest in visiting or learning more about Pensacola.

  • Southern Living Content and Photoshoot for Girlfriends Getaway
  • Southwest inflight magazine two-page spread
  • Hog Rally Press Conference
  • Tall Ships Press Conference
  • JD Andrews
  • China FAM
  • KidTripster.com
  • Darcy Ryhnos, Canadian Geographic
  • The Scottish Sun
  • Good Grit Magazine
  • Points North ATL
  • Taste of the South
  • Because I said I would – speaker

Our partner mentions, stories and assists with FAM trips have been documented in our CRM database. Check out your partner extranet and see just how much you have helped us this year. We could not do our jobs without our partners and are so thankful for the hospitality you provide to us!

Visitor Services

This year our visitor center greeted and assisted over 82,00 travelers to our area. In conjunction with the visitor center events, the ambassadors worked hard to answer all of our guests' questions and ensure their experience is unlike any other.

In the coming months look for events that you and the entire family can stop in to participate.

We invite you to do a little shopping while you are here as well and enjoy products from local vendors around Pensacola.