Visit Pensacola COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update #6
Dear Tourism Stakeholder:
I know concerns about your health, the health of your families, the economy, and your own employment are weighing heavily on your minds at this time. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all of our lives and what once were regular activities.
I am encouraged and amazed by the outpouring of love and support for others demonstrated daily in our community and our industry. As the weeks of this new normal continue, we remain focused on keeping our employees, families, and friends safe during this global pandemic.
I want to assure you that at Visit Pensacola, we are analyzing what the future will bring and how we best position our messaging to help you and your business recover as soon as possible.
Below you will find an update including travel trends, social sentiment and ways that the Visit Pensacola team continues to work hand-i-hand with our partner agencies, our tourism partners, community leaders and stakeholders.
We want to assure you that although times are challenging, we are #StillPensacola and we know that sunnier days are ahead for the best destination not only in Florida but in the nation.
According to the most recent COVID-19 Insight Series – Inflection Detection: Discerning and Preparing for the Rebound from Adara, which can be watched in full HERE (https://vimeo.com/405898885) and PowerPoint here. (attached in email)
- Signals of a rebound are likely to be market-specific and subtle.
- Leisure travel (both family and couple), saw a bump in the 91+ days booking windows.
- Corporate travel – operational managed corporate travel is likely to recover the soonest.
- Meetings and groups – small senior-level meetings will have a need to happen sooner rather than later.
- Rebuilding and stimulating travel demand will require a multi-tiered approach with different players and activities serving different purposes.
- Rebuilding willingness and encouragement to travel
- Targeted demand generation for specific routes, destinations and types of travel
- Highly targeted (micro-targeted) demand for generation-specific traveler profiles
- Programmatic and promotional incentives to stimulate discretionary and leisure travel Longwoods International has reported:
- 84% of American travelers are changing their travel plans for the next six months because of coronavirus.
- When asked how these travelers will change their plans because of the pandemic, 53% said they would cancel some trips, and 43% said they will reduce travel in the next six months.
- Despite the negative impact of the pandemic on near-term travel, consumers continue to be interested in future travel, as demonstrated by their interaction with travel content. 30% of travelers are reading travel-specific magazine articles, 26% watching an online travel video, 25% watching a travel TV show on-demand, and 25% reading a travel guidebook in the past two months. MMGY Global published its latest Travel Insights Report on April 6, Preparing Now for the Rebound. MMGY sees this taking shape across four key tenets.
- Domestic travel is beginning to return in China, and Trip.com reported that 1,000 tourism sites within the country had reopened their doors and gates last week.
- Travel continues to play a role in inspiring people – especially during times of isolation. Social sentiment has shown a 57% increase in people talking about dreaming of a vacation over the last 30 days, as compared to the same time last year.
- Destination organizations, in particular, have responded by supporting their local communities – creating a stronger position and role for these organizations when travelers return.
- Last week’s release of the U.S. Travel Association’s new Travel Intention Pulse Survey may already be providing clues into the types of travel and market segments that will rebound first.
Some indicators could signal what behaviors consumers may move toward when travel returns:
- 68% of consumers feel safe in their cars – more than any other location asked about in the study, which could suggest an early resurgence in drive market travel when a rebound occurs.
- 40% of consumers feel safe in parks, 11 points more than even grocery stores, setting up outdoor trips – especially those tied to national and state parks – as a potential interest if restrictions begin to lift by mid-year.
The overall impact on American travel has not changed week over week with reports of trips affected by COVID-19 staying mostly flat. While Americans attach fear to traveling right now, two-thirds of people are excited to get going once travel bans are lifted. While this is promising, people have noted that they may change the type of destinations they choose based on less crowds and more solitary activities (Destination Analysts).
Social Media Sentiment Report Please find the latest social media sentiment report available for download here. (attached in email)
- Platform engagement is steady comparing these last six weeks to the previous year
- Website conversions are steady YOY.
- Pinterest saw a 55% increase
- Social sentiment is primarily around COVID-19; however, we do not see a negative response towards our brand or community.
Our team and partner agencies are analyzing these and other travel trends each day, collaborating to determine what the best plan of action will be as soon as travel is safe again. As we reported in our board meeting this week, we are actively working on our recovery plan and will be ready to promote Pensacola immediately. BOARD PRESENTATION
Virtual Resources We are asking that you continue supporting the community and utilize our Help Out, Take Out landing page, designed to assist all restaurants, bars and breweries now offering curbside and to-go options. Visit www.visitpensacola.com/pensacola-to-go/ to ensure your business is listed.
We continue to invite you to share your virtual live events, experiences and activities to our calendar of events. From cooking demonstrations, fitness classes, live music sessions, and more, we want to share our destination experiences. https://www.visitpensacola.com/virtual-pensacola/
Tired of the same background during your conference calls? Check out these creative teleconferencing backgrounds now available. Video Conference Backgrounds
Share your Pensacola #TravelMemories with us, we know many are missing our slice of paradise, and we are asking the community and our guests to share their favorite Pensacola memories to Instagram and Facebook stories by tagging @visitpensacola and hashtagging #TravelMemories. We hope to flood social media with the very best of our destination.
As of today, the following remains in effect for Escambia County:
- On April 3, 2020, Governor DeSantis has placed a Safer at Home, executive order. This order encourages all Florida residents to only leave their homes for essential services and activities. Essential services include activities such as going to work, the grocery store, picking up prescriptions and taking care of pets.
- The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 April 2, 2020, to extend the public beach closure until further notice. This includes public beach areas, public beach access ways and public beachfront parks. Boat ramps remain open to the public.
- On March 17, Escambia County activated its Emergency Operations Center at a level 2 and declared a local state of emergency. Visit Pensacola is participating in this initiative and will continue to send the most up to date information we receive within our community as well as within the tourism industry.
- Governor DeSantis has directed all restaurants and food establishments within the State of Florida to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers. The establishments may, however, operate their kitchens to provide delivery or take-out services.
- The Executive Order also requires the closures of gymnasiums and fitness centers within the State of Florida.
- The Visit Pensacola visitor centers in an abundance of caution are operating as a “Virtual Offices.” Staff continues to provide the latest COVID-19 information and resources to help keep the traveling public informed; however, lobby doors are locked to public access.
- The Pensacola Beach visitor center continues to operate as a virtual office until further notice. The office staff will be available via phone and email.
- The Santa Rosa Island Authority office remains closed to the public in order to protect the public health and safety of its staff. Customers will be assisted via email or telephone.
Visit Pensacola’s healthy travel page with up to date travel information and reliable trusted sources information related to COVID-19. https://www.visitpensacola.com/plan-your-trip/healthy-travel-updates/
CARES Act, the most significant economic relief package in U.S. history, which contains several major provisions for our industry:
- $377 billion in loans and loan forgiveness for small travel businesses
- $454 billion in federally backed financial assistance for impacted businesses
- Tax relief to mitigate losses and allow companies to use cash to pay employees and keep the lights on
- Grants for impacted tourism businesses and airports
U.S. Travel Association has created relief resources to help you navigate the CARES Act. Click here for more information. CARES ACT
The Greater Pensacola Chamber has created a Facebook page to assist local restaurants by utilizing take-out and delivery options they are providing amid the Corona Virus outbreak. https://www.facebook.com/groups/203490210906567/about/
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) and DigiPro Media have partnered together to announce the Save Florida Business Initiative as a way to support Florida businesses during this difficult time. The Save Florida Business Initiative will connect consumers in Escambia and Santa Rosa County to area businesses through the SaveFloridaBusiness.com website, where consumers can be connected to companies participating in the program.
Paycheck Protection Program Small Business Assistance
The forgivable Paycheck Protection Program SBA loan application and related guidance for lenders and banks are now live. You can begin applying this Friday, April 3. § Small Business Paycheck Protection Program Overview § PPP Information Sheet for Lenders § PPP Information Sheet for Borrowers § Application for Borrowers
Small Business Bridge Loans On March 16, Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. Click here for more information. Damage Assessment Survey Governor Ron DeSantis has activated the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by DEO, will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the effects the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin. The survey can be taken online at www.floridadisaster.biz.
Governor DeSantis has reminded Floridians that if their employment has been negatively impacted because of mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, these Floridians may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. Click here for more information.
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County Coronavirus Call Center is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1 (866) 779-6121 or you can email your questions to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org Visit floridahealth.gov for the most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.
We will continue to keep you informed of any new developments.
About Visit Pensacola
Visit Pensacola is the destination organization for Escambia County which includes Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. With over 450 years of rich history and 18 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordered by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors from all over the world are lured to our pristine shores every year. Visit Pensacola supports the community vision of tourism by serving as the central body responsible for building tourism as an economic engine for our community through leadership, connection, collaboration and communication.