Visit Florida Tourism Marketing Partnership Costs to Rise

Visit Florida is raising rates for its tourism marketing partners for the first time in 15 years, with the changes expected to stay in place for at least a few years, officials said this week.

Visit Florida, the state’s public-private tourism marketing agency, will pursue the changes over the coming months, with initial notifications released by April 11. The changes received no objection Tuesday from Visit Florida’s executive committee.

Visit Florida President Danny Gaekwad supported the “proportionate” implementation of the changes.

“We have a lot of small hotel owners or business people or [local destination marketing organization], it’ll take some relief for them,” Gaekwad, the owner of MGM Hotels LLC, told Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young in an online meeting. “Plus, we’ll have more money to market properly, which your Visit Florida team does a fantastic job.”

While some attrition is expected, Visit Florida expects the changes to increase private partnership revenue by approximately 40%, said Kate Chunka, vice president of industry engagement at Visit Florida. .

The partnership fee currently brings in around $1.2 million a year, and the new structure is expected to bring that total to around $1.75 million, according to figures released Thursday.

Chunka said the changes were intended to broaden the partnership base, and Visit Florida expects the new model to “stay in place unchanged for at least a few years.”

For small businesses that work with Visit Florida, the uplift will be 20%. Fees, based on annual revenue, will drop from $395 to $1,500 per year to $475 to $1,795 per year. Partnership agreements with airports and seaports will also increase by 20%, while accommodation establishments will face a new tiered tariff structure based on the number of rooms.

Visit Florida currently charges lodging establishments $395 to $1,500 per year, depending on income. The new structure will charge $475 per year for businesses that have up to 49 rooms to rent. Tiers will gradually increase to $3,500 for properties with 500 rooms or more.

Chunka said the tourism agency hopes the tiered fee structure will attract more hotels and other accommodation businesses, including vacation rentals, to partner with Visit Florida.

“Currently, Visit Florida partner hotels alone may represent approximately 12% of Florida’s total hotel population,” Chunka said. “So we think this is an area where we can add more exclusive benefits to the hotel and grow this category.”

Major attractions considered “strategic alliance partners” will have their service fees reduced from 10% to 15%.

The changes, in the works for about 18 months, are being implemented as Visit Florida drew praise for helping bring tourists back to the state after the industry came under fire from the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Florida attracted 63.5 million tourists in the second half of 2021, 0.3% more than in the last six months of 2019, before the pandemic.

Visit Florida is set to receive $50 million as part of the state budget (HB 5001) for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Gov. Ron DeSantis has yet to approve the $112.1 billion budget, which also includes $2 million for in-state marketing through what’s called the Hotel Trust Fund. and restaurants.

Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida.

Copyright 2022 News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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