To the editor:
In October, I was excited to meet with local tourism partners during our annual meeting to roll out the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau's sales and marketing plan and cooperative advertising program. I realize not all of you were able to make it, so I wanted to share three important takeaways.
First, if you haven't already taken a look at the groundbreaking "Awaken" film unveiled at the meeting, please do so. The dramatic, one-of-a-kind film combines time-lapse photography and slow-motion videography with an online calendar that reminds users, via digital alerts, of the many year-round, natural seasons and migrations found in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. The goal of this unprecedented project is to showcase our area's many sub-tropical aquatic eco-systems with the hope that this visual exploration will inspire visitation and continued support for environmental protection.
Secondly, the cooperative marketing program announced at the annual meeting now is underway. If you haven't already, take a look at the remaining opportunities by logging on to the co-op site. As an added incentive, remember that you can earn co-op dollars by participating in the Davidson-Peterson Associates survey sent to each accommodation in Lee County. This is the survey used to compile the quarterly Visitor Profile and Occupancy Analysis reports, and the more properties that fill out these surveys, the more accurate and helpful the reports can be in truly reflecting Lee County's tourism statistics, which in turn helps us better target marketing initiatives. Each property that answers every question on the survey each quarter for the entire year will earn $500 in co-op credit. In addition, these properties will be entered into a drawing for an additional $10,000 in co-op dollars at our annual meeting next year.
Lastly, I want to share with you some thoughts from Peter Yesawich, vice-chairman of MMGY Global, who presented the keynote address at the annual meeting, sharing research from the 2013 Portrait of American Travelers. For example, did you know that among households with incomes over $50,000, nine out of 10 took at least one leisure trip in the past year and four out of 10 took at least one business trip? That amounts to a lot of potential visitors to our destination. Also, research shows us that value and convenience continue to be key drivers in travel decisions. Digital vacation planning is on the rise, with more and more people accessing the Internet via smartphones, tablets and web-enabled televisions. In addition, travelers are using social media increasingly for travel ideas and inspiration. Most importantly, 26 percent of those who participated in this definitive research of travelers indicate they want to visit The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel area.
All these factors influenced the development of our 2013-14 sales and marketing plan, which is very digitally focused. I invite you to take a look at the complete plan at www.LeeVCB.com.