How has your first year been on the job?
It has been fantastic. We’ve accomplished so much, from more record tourism numbers to exciting new marketing programs and partnership opportunities. We have been working every day to promote Florida’s sunshine and good times, and it’s been exciting to see the success of our team.
What do you feel you’ve brought to this role?
Teambuilding more than anything. We have so many great, talented employees here and, coupled with our amazing partners across the state, we’ve accomplished a lot. Any success we’ve had is because of their hard work.
Any major challenges?
You’re going to face challenges in anything you set out to accomplish, but I think we’ve been so positive and so upbeat that we’ve been able to accomplish a lot.
We truly are full steam ahead!
How was it dealing with Hurricane Irma? Is Visit Florida still feeling the effects?
We had a robust crisis plan in place that helped us prepare not only our visitors, but also our partners and residents of the state leading up to the storm.
Across social media, industry outlets and other platforms, we were able to effectively communicate as the storm approached.
Following the storm, we rolled out an aggressive, two-phased marketing plan to make sure visitors knew Florida was back open for business. We also specifically worked with areas of our state that were more heavily affected, such as the Keys, to carefully pitch their message as they recovered. The great news is that every area of our state, from the Keys to Pensacola, is booming again, and the sun is shining bright!
What do you see for 2018?
I think you’re going to see more record numbers for visitors to Florida. In international markets in particular, we’re retooling our strategy to include the diversity and excitement of our state outside of the traditional destinations, which will help us expand our reach and attract new visitors in these markets.