The city of Orlando is the most visited destination in the United States, with over 55 million visitors each year. Visit Orlando has its hands full keeping up to speed with the market and what is being published online, but they stay competitive with media intelligence from Meltwater.
“We’re the largest destination marketing organization in the world, so we’re always pushing the envelope when it comes to new technologies, new campaigns, new uses of social media…new ways for people to interact with us,” explains Brian Martin, Director of Corporate Communications for Visit Orlando. “Visit Orlando is not just a marketing organization, but a place for people to come and ask questions, and have those questions answered.”
Staying Ahead of Corporate News and Competitor PR/Marketing Strategy
Visit Orlando uses Meltwater, a global media intelligence solution, to help understand what is being discussed in the news surrounding the organization and its many programs and marketing campaigns.
“For me, Meltwater is my morning cup of coffee. When I sit down, it is what I am going to look at first, and it’s how I gauge my day or week, and what has been happening with the company. I look at it as a tool that really helps me gather information about what is specifically happening about my company.”
Brian Martin and Visit Orlando also keep up with competing tourist destinations to get insights into how their PR and marketing strategies compare to their own.
“One of our searches is on Vegas, we want to know what’s being written about them. We do utilize it to look at our top competitors. It really looks at what they are doing in terms of marketing, how they are marketing, what their PR is. We utilize the service to watch our peers as well, we’d be crazy not to.”
Strategic Measurement of PR/Marketing Campaigns Reaps Dividends
Visit Orlando runs PR and marketing campaigns throughout the year to help attract more people to the destination. In order to make sure their campaigns are effective, they pay a great deal of attention towards metrics.
“We’re all about numbers here at Visit Orlando, so everything that we do has to be measurable from our marketing to our publicity to our sales,” Brian Martin explains.
Visit Orlando primarily uses online viewership and ad value statistics when it comes to measuring the publicity a PR and marketing campaign is able to garner. Brian Martin admits that these metrics “aren’t perfect” but for now are the best the industry has to offer.
“You look at what your specific numbers are on a campaign, the type of publications you’re in, how many hits you got in a certain time period and what they amounted to. Our biggest metrics are circulation and ad value, and so when we look at our analytics for the month and quarter, we base it off last year to figure out what we’re looking to hit in the coming year.”
By using Meltwater, Visit Orlando is able to quickly pull viewership numbers and analyze their campaigns in a number of ways to see what kind of impact they have had.
“The great thing about [Meltwater] is I can pull a search string and see where it’s trending. For me being able to specifically pull up an issue or an event that’s happening and see how we’re affecting it, if we’re affecting it, that is what is important to me.”
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month Sees 67% Increase in Sales By Improving PR and Marketing Strategy
Visit Orlando runs a program called Magical Dining Month each year where people can purchase a 3-course meal at up to 70 dinner locations across Orlando for $30 a person. In it’s 7th year, Magical Dining Month in 2012 brought in $3 million to the local restaurant industry with Visit Orlando spending just $50,000 in related advertising. Their PR and marketing campaign had a lot to do with the substantial growth in sales from year to year.
“In the last few years we’re seen an increase in our publicity numbers in that program…so it was nice to be able to look back on last year’s numbers compared to this year’s numbers and they were up by 67%. 40,000 meals sold in 2011 to 67,000 meals sold in 2012.”
About Visit Orlando
Visit Orlando provides an economic boost to Orlando by brokering hundreds of meetings and conventions every year at the Orange County Convention Center, local hotels and resorts, as well as local meeting spaces. In fact, meetings and conventions that were booked by Visit Orlando totaled more than $2 billion in attendee spending in 2011.
Visit Orlando is also the brand ambassador for Orlando, identifying and marketing to tour operators, travel agents, media and consumers worldwide in countries like Brazil, China, India, the UK and Canada as well as here at home in the U.S. In 2011, visitors spent more than $31.7 billion while they were in Orlando. Their spending helped support more than 367,000 jobs for Orlando residents.