D.T. Minich, President and CEO of Experience Kissimmee, the county’s tourism marketing arm, presented Osceola County commissioners it’s new strategic plan at Monday’s meeting, as well as the effect the recent Coronavirus outbreak might have on Kissimmee tourism.
The news was just as much about the health of the local industry as it was about not getting sick. Osceola Room tax collections from October to December of 2019, the first quarter of the 2019-20 fiscal year, were up 11 percent over the same part of 2018, so a Coronavirus-related dip this year, if not prolonged, could be weathered.
Minich said marketing allocations and efforts have changed in light of it. Experience Kissimmee has gone dark for the last three weeks on its Chinese social media platforms, and a mission plan for China slated to start last week has been put on hold. The agency is updating its 900 tourism partners every Friday. Two smaller groups have canceled trips, he said, but all domestic and other international advertising pushes are going strong — funds budgeted to market in China can be used in other markets, like toward Brazilian travelers.
“There’s been no spikes in Google searches for, ‘Is it safe to travel to Florida?’ like there have been about other information on the Coronavirus,” Minich said.
And when it came time to talk about its strategic plan, EK’s Vice President of Business Applications Jason Holic presented that seven of the 11 key performance indicators (KPI) the plan is based on where “in the green” (at or over goals). Those track things like Google trends for popular searches, room nights generated and cash revenue not from public funds.
“These ensure we’re on track to deliver to the county,” Holic said.