Visit Pensacola News

President and CEO
Darien Schaefer
Outlines Visit Pensacola Goals

And just like that, 10 months have passed since I arrived in Pensacola last April.  Most of my attention has been spent on reacting to a multitude of challenges our destination has faced. I have also used this time to listen and identify the following paths for us to move Visit Pensacola and our local tourism economy forward.

Focus on brand identity for our destination and Visit Pensacola
We start by implementing critical findings from the Unique Emotional Positioning Study into our future marketing concepts. Research has shown that the Pensacola area's primary visitation driver is the white sugar-sand beaches and blue-green water. Our tagline, "The Beach is Just the Beginning," is right on target as our community has depth and a soul that sets us apart. We use all of our distribution channels to drive visitor exploration of Escambia County during the planning process and while visitors are in the market.

Redesign and introduce Visit Pensacola programs as our budget allows
We spent a considerable amount of time in 2020 addressing a $2 million budget cut due to the pandemic's devastating impact on our tourism economy.  Difficult decisions to cut operational expenses, staffing, and marketing programs had to be made.  Resuming the Visit Pensacola events grant program starting October 1, 2021, is an important step forward and we will be evaluating/updating this program to ensure its effectiveness and ROI to Escambia County. Look for more information in the next few months.

Add back staff positions now at Visit Pensacola using the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The environment has changed and so has our organization chart. We’ve been approved for a forgivable loan that will provide valuable dollars for payroll and personnel expenses through the Paycheck Protection Program.  My priority is to bring back marketing and sales positions that support our core purpose through a combination of internal promotions and external hires for group sales, social media, and marketing content development.

Create an advocacy plan for communicating with our community
Visit Pensacola is involved in many aspects of the community, building positive working relationships and connecting different community segments together.  Communicating what Visit Pensacola does and how we do it is necessary for our continued success. We’re excited to implement an advocacy plan that drives consistent communications to our residents, businesses, and government.