The Tallahassee area has just ended its best year ever when it comes to tourism. The county's Division of Tourism Development plans to build on that success with a new brand image and marketing outreach this year.
Tourism Development Executive Director Lee Daniel gave a combination year-in-review and new marketing plan rollout Thursday (10/1) at Theatre Tallahassee.
During the year just ended, Leon County saw a record two-point-four million visitors, along with hefty increases in hotel occupancy, tourism-related jobs, economic impact and a thirteen percent jump in bed tax receipts.
“We’re very, very proud of that,” he said after the presentation. “I think that’s a great benchmark in terms of how business was and again 2015 was the greatest year in the history of Leon County tourism.”
What contributed to the success? Daniel said new events like Tallahassee Music Week and venues like Cascades Park helped. Then there were a lot of sports and politics to bring and keep more people in the area.
“We did have a great football season last year, no question,” he pointed out. “We had two special sessions that certainly helped, although it doesn’t necessarily help with our tax collections because a lot of that business is tax exempt. But it brings people to the community and helps the overall economy by people dining in our restaurants, staying in our hotels and shopping in our shops.”
But now it's a new year and Visit Tallahassee has a new logo. Gone is the stylized star. Now there's a spreading oak tree whose shadow is that of the historic old State Capitol Dome.
“I think this one does a much better job,” Daniel said. “It’s much more contemporary, much more friendly and really gives people an idea of what we offer as a destination, which the old logo really didn’t. So we think it’s going to be an additional sales tool for us and work hard for us.”
There will be more marketing of the area's outdoor amenities.
“Millennials love the outdoors all the way through to boomers,” Daniel said. “And we have an amazing outdoor product so that’s one of the things we’re going to put an increased emphasis on.
Daniel said that would combine with the latest "smart" online ad technology connecting visitors with all kinds of nearby attractions.
“You get up to your room and you go to your tablet or smart phone, go to ESPN.com or whatever and boom; our message is right there,” he explained. “And it’s targeted to where you are. It knows where you are and it’s giving you places to dine, to shop, attractions that are within a very short walk or very short distance of where you are.”
Publisher and local business advocate Joe Berg likes the campaign overall and hopes homegrown enterprise will be part of the mix.
“You know if you’re coming into town and stop in a chain hotel and you get ads for a TGI Friday’s that’s nearby, that’s great. But making that accessible to the local restaurant right down the street that really embodies local culture, that has local bands playing there and serving local foods would be a layer of depth that would entice people to go deeper into Tallahassee,” Berg said.
Florida's Capital City; coming off a record tourism year and hoping to do even better this year.