Many companies and organizations build their business by marketing a product or service, but imagine being faced with the challenge of marketing an entire destination. It’s a challenge that Visit Orlando has risen to for over 30 years, drawing in tens of millions of visitors each year and making it the most-visited destination in the U.S., while uniting competitors in the tourist, hospitality and convention industry to make it a world-renowned destination.
Its top priority is to tell the story of who Orlando is and what it has to offer – making it a destination “Where Relationships Thrive.” It is uniquely positioned as a place for nurturing relationships and fostering connections between family members, friends, business associates and kindred spirits; to arts, sports, culture, achievement and fun; and to your inner child, your business savvy, your joyous side and your best self.
In 2014, Visit Orlando invested $69.5 million in marketing the destination. These efforts are broken down in three divisions – Global Marketing, Meetings and Conventions, and Membership. Global Marketing is responsible for destination advertising, marketing, travel trade and communications; Meetings and Conventions is responsible for convention sales and services, convention marketing, and destination meeting services; and Membership is responsible for member relations and services, member development, print and interactive services, web and applications development and tradeshows and events.
Visit Orlando’s marketing tools include print, TV, radio, digital and direct marketing as well as publicity efforts to enhance its programming and messaging, while also utilizing partnership marketing. Specifically for social media, with a Facebook page of over 750,000 fans, this tool is utilized to connect directly with its consumers and engage them through blogs, videos, imagery and interactions.
There is no other destination in the world like Orlando, and Visit Orlando’s marketing efforts work to showcase the imagery and depth of the destination like no other city or country can, reminding visitors of why Orlando is so unique for a vacation, business meeting or convention.
Local Presence, Global Reach
As the largest family destination in the world, Orlando is tasked with setting itself apart not only from states and cities, but countries as well. Domestically, Visit Orlando markets primarily to consumers east of the Mississippi, with top competitors Chicago, Miami and New York.
Internationally, Orlando markets against destinations all over the world. Canadian consumers love to visit during the cold months, making it the largest international market for Orlando. Close to home, the chief competitors are Caribbean countries. In Europe, the challenge is marketing against countries like Spain, Italy and France for traveler spending (see bar graph below).
One example of successful global impact is in Brazil, where Visit Orlando saw a trend, executed a marketing program and grew the destination in over six years to become its No. 1 overseas market and its second largest international market. Since 2004, Brazilian travel to Orlando has grown by 900 percent and in 2013, Orlando welcomed almost 770,000 visitors from Brazil.
Visit Orlando is represented in 10 countries around the world, including Brazil, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Canada, India, China and the United Kingdom. These offices act as Visit Orlando’s eyes and ears, providing direction on trends and helping to publicize the destination to consumers, media and travel trade representatives.
Orlando continues to grow in its offerings at a rapid rate, and no other destination has seen such a massive investment in infrastructure over the past five years. This growth in attractions, hotels, dining and shopping continues to grow Orlando’s awareness and intent to visit and return for travelers.
Avoiding the “Been There Done That” Perception
Already in 2015, The New York Times named Orlando as one of its top 52 places to visit in 2015, one of only four U.S. cities in the entire world. And Priceline.com selected Orlando as the No. 1 “hot spot” for travelers in 2015. These were just the latest in a series of prestigious editorial endorsements made by influential media in all of our key markets that recognized our destination as one of the very best.
Recognition like this doesn’t happen by chance. It takes investment in places people want to visit and smart, continuous promotional efforts to influence opinion leaders who shape the discussion across today’s media landscape.
Our mission at Visit Orlando is to consistently remind a broad landscape of target audiences that include media, clients, marketing partners and moms planning their family’s vacations, that “brand Orlando” is meaningful to their lives and a top place to visit among all of the options available around the globe. We leverage both the strength of our theme parks and all that’s happening across our community to grasp the attention of the world year after year and ensure that Orlando never becomes known as a “been there done that” destination.
– George Aguel, President & CEO of Visit Orlando