Big Data Drives 2018 Marketing Push

Plans Include Record Presence In Orlando, Annual Takeover In NYC

Dec 15, 2017

St. Pete/Clearwater (Dec. 15, 2017) - At two meetings last week with local tourism industry professionals, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) unveiled all-new marketing plans for 2018, which leverage big data in ways the destination's never seen.

"Research is going to dictate our behaviors and direction like never before," said VSPC President & CEO, David Downing. "This state-of-the-art technology allows us to evaluate millions of data points and build a plan around it that we never could have done before."

After a year-long analysis of visitation patterns using  AirSage---a pioneer in population analytics and location-based insights---VSPC is significantly ramping up its marketing presence in Orlando, which is the area's greatest source of year-round visitation. New York and Tampa Bay round out the top three feeder markets---and increased initiatives are planned there as well---but Orlando, which delivers more than 30 percent more visitors than New York, will be a main focus in 2018.

VSPC Chief Operating Officer Tim Ramsberger also gave an update on the organization's structure, including the development of an all-new Sports & Events department, and introduced Kristin Coryn as the new Community Relations Manager.

In addition, Media & Interactive Director Leroy Bridges outlined the latest industry digital trends, including the use of virtual reality in the promotion of meetings spaces and a first-of-its-kind pilot program with tech-giant Google.

Here are some highlights from the marketing efforts planned in Orlando for the upcoming year, which will continue with the all-new, lifestyle-intensive creative VSPC rolled out earlier this year:

WESH-TV: VSPC is amping up its partnership with Orlando's No. 1 TV station by adding a live beach cam from the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach to its 28 on-air spots a week. The spots air during the NBC station's news casts and drive almost 70 million impressions.

Orlando International Airport (MCO): Specifically targeting Orlando residents, VSPC is taking over four tunnels that connect long-term parking to MCO. The massive installations emphasize the 90-minute proximity message to St. Pete/Clearwater and BeachesOfOrlando.com.

iHeart Media: For the first time ever, listeners to a handful of iHeart Media radio stations in Central Florida will get weather reports straight from St. Pete/Clearwater's beaches. This effort is designed to overcome Orlando's "designated market area" or DMA including the East Coast of Florida and not the Gulf Coast.

ValPak: In a first for the direct marketing giant, VSPC is partnering with ValPak to produce a destination-only 16-page spread. The piece featuring the beaches, arts & culture, culinary, etc. will target specific zip codes throughout Florida, including Orlando.

Smart/Traditional Billboards: VPSC is employing "smart" billboards that utilize beacon technology that can deliver a message through an app on someone's phone long after passing the billboard around Orlando. On the more traditional side, VSPC is sprinkling in Gulf Coast messaging on I-75 south of Gainesville where its traditionally been only Florida's East Coast represented.

Other new efforts this year include Connected TV, which allows VSPC to get its message to "cord cutters" through streaming services, including Hulu and Roku.

Of course, VSPC is still taking over New York City with its annual wintertime marketing blitz, complete with wrapped double-decker buses, commuter trains, subway cars, broadcast TV and urban panels.

VSPC also rolled out its largest co-operative advertising program ever, which features programs starting at $100 and includes everything from print to video, digital retargeting, email and, new this year, Snapchat filters. Learn more here.

Other resources:

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's Annual Marketing Plan

Year-In-Review Video

Partner Co-Op Advertising

Meeting Presentation

Your Trip Favorites in St. Petersburg/Clearwater