Our Partners

Welcome Partners! Thank you for your support and passion for our tourism industry. Let us help you make the most of your partnership.

Current Partners - Important Information

COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

1. To see Governor DeSantis' Executive Orders as a result of COVID-19, click here.

As of March 20, 2020, Executive Orders #2020-68 and #2020-71 limit restaurants, bars and beaches.  As of March 27, 2020, Executive Order #2020-87 limits vacation rentals. This orders all parties engaged in rental of vacation rental properties to suspend vacation rental operations. Vacation rentals are prohibited from making new reservations or bookings and shall not accept new guests for check-in for the duration of this order. As of April 1, 2020, Executive Order #2020-91 issues a Stay-At-Home order and outlines Essential Services and Activities During COVID-19 Emergency. Further details about this order will be available at www.FloridaDisaster.org.

2. Report Your Business Damages

Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.

The Business Damage Assessment Survey can be taken online at https://floridadisaster.biz/. Results from this survey will be shared with state agencies and local partners. Surveys submitted by small businesses can be used to access the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, made available for COVID-19 through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. For inquiries or assistance with the survey, businesses can contact Emergency Support Function 18 at [email protected].

3. Small Business Bridge Loans and the CARES Act 

A) On March 16, Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. Click here for more information.

B) The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA. To view the Small Business Association's Guide to the CARES Act, Click here

4. Reemployment Assistance

A) Governor DeSantis has reminded Floridians that if their employment has been negatively impacted because of mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, these Floridians may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. Click here for more information from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

B) CareerSource Suncoast is offering assistance to employers and employees.

C) JobFocus.com is a source for jobs in the Manatee and Sarasota region. 

5. Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The guidance addresses critical questions and is available in three parts: 

6. Help Document COVID-19 Economic Impact

Please help our community document the economic impact of COVID-19 on tourism by completeing a survey created by Destinations Florida. Your answers are confidential and will be seen only by Downs & St. Germain Research who is doing this work pro bono. To take the survey, click here.  

7. Sarasota County EDC COVID-19 Business Resources

To review the various resources provided or recommended by our local EDC, click here. To learn more about its resources for Bartender, Restaurant, and Tipped Employees, click here

8. Enterprise Florida Disaster Resources

There are a variety of resources available to businesses through Enterprise Florida. Click here to learn more. 

9. Florida Department of Revenue

The Department of Revenue has issued an emergency order extending March sales tax due dates for those adversely affected by COVID-19. If you have concerns, please email [email protected]. For additional information about general tax changes, click here

10. VISIT FLORIDA COVID-19 Data Dashboard 

To better understand and measure the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s tourism industry, VISIT FLORIDA has created a data dashboard to track key economic indicators and trends, including hotel demand, rental bookings, airline traffic, and web traffic relating to vacation planning.

COVID-19 Marketing Resources

Marketing and Advocating in Times of Uncertainty

Each time we go through these crises, we learn a lot about our industry and human nature.  People want certainty, they want actions, they want to somehow bring the situation under control, but this virus is having none of that! 

And that’s why it’s so important for VSC to keep in close touch with you, our partners. Erin H and Carolyn have been reaching out and will have contacted all our 500+ partners when through. We want to know what you’re experiencing, so we can aggregate common needs for the tourism industry in our community and share our resources and recommendations. We also launched Zoom Partner Conference Calls, to review recent updates and give you all a chance to ask questions to us and each other.

Please know that our marketing strategy has changed to accommodate the climate surrounding COVID-19, and we are advocating for Sarasota County businesses wherever possible. 

VSC's Marketing Adjustments

In early March, VSC halted all national and international marketing campaigns and redirected those dollars toward in-state travelers. Eventually, based on the federal and state governments recommendations of self-quarantining and social distancing, VSC pausing all paid marketing. We believe these funds will be needed to double-down on advertising once COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

VSC continues to post to social media channels as this can be done organically, and without disbursement from the marketing budget. However, our social strategy has altered. 

  • Daily posting from our three most active accounts – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – has been slowed to 1-2 posts per day. The content varies and works to accomplish various goals, though none with strong calls to action. VSC is continuing to incorporate core hashtags #MySarasota, #VisitSarasota and geo-hashtags such as #Venice and #SiestaKey. 
  • Feel-good, light and aspirational posts, such as landscape imagery from around the destination, with very little copy allow our followers to find reprieve and much-needed positivity. This strategy promotes general awareness so that when the time is appropriate for everyone to return to normal activities, we are still top of mind. This may include original VSC photographs or sharing partner posts and videos. VSC uses #SarasotaNature for these. 
  • To encourage #SuncoastCurbside dining in the form of take-out or delivery, VSC has reserved such content for Facebook and Instagram stories. This is mostly due to the shelf-life of stories, and the ability to share many restaurants at one time. VSC has remained abreast of the posts in the community Facebook group, and worked with them to establish the hashtag above.
  • Incorporating niche content into the mix and using local and global hashtags to unite us and maximize reach. For the arts community, VSC uses #SarasotaArts and #FLCulturalCoast. There are many others so be sure to find us and engage with us on social media! 
  • Creating polls, sharing GIF templates, asking questions and more has all been effective for VSC on social, and leaning into each platforms special features has sparked entertaining, engaging and educational dialogue, which is all we can hope for in these uncertain times.

Below are VSC's social media channels. Find and engage with us online. You can also tag us in your posts for a chance to be featured on our Page.

To support  the social media strategy, VSC is generating online articles for consumers to read at their homes. They're meant to entertain, engage and raise general awareness in the midst of the crisis. These articles use "virtual vacation" narratives to highlight Sarasota County businesses and can be found on VisitSarasota.com. Additionally, these stories are being shared with consumers through VSC's eNewsletters, and are being used to pitch to media. 

For more informaiton and materials to support your marketing efforts, visit our Sarasota County Brand Toolkit

How VSC is Advocating

VSC is not a government agency but we can make sure leaders at the county and state level know of your issues and concerns.

  • VSC is providing Congressman Buchanan’s staff with constant updates on the impacts on our Sarasota County tourism businesses.
  • In partnership with U.S. Travel Association, VSC has been advocating in Washington for a recovery package that would provide the most assistance possible for our small businesses.
  • Ongoing communication is occurring with Visit Florida, Destinations Florida, Destinations International and other travel and tourism organizations.

Join VSC for Partner Coffee!

**VSC partner coffees and orientations are halted until further notice. We are looking at virtual solutions, and will be in touch with additional information soon.**

Extranet

Please take note of our extranet and make sure you have access to your account. All leads, web listings, visitor guide listing, partnership-exclusive information will be updated regularly in our extranet. If you do not have access, please contact Britney Guertin immediately.

Tourism University

Review the latest Tourism University presentation, from our sales, PR and content staff, for tips and tricks to help maximize your VSC partnership.

Partner Advertising Opportunities

Have you met Jerod Fuchs yet? Jerod is your representative to learn more about advertising opportunities with Visit Sarasota County. Get qualified leads and place valuable messaging to capture travelers' attention at the perfect time and place. More than one million visitors explore www.VisitSarasota.com each year in search of tourism information, make sure your business is stands out through deals, display advertising, email marketing, featured listings, commercial-grade video content and much more!

2019-2020 Partner Co-Op Advertising

Additional Partnership Opportunities

• Add your own events to our VisitSarasota.com calendar.

Email us today for consideration of a signature event.

• Obtain a Visit Sarasota County Partner Badge to display on your own site.​

• Check out the latest brand, sales and sports updates.

• Watch the webinar “Leveraging Google in Red Tide Recovery” and learn how to make the most of Google My Business features and improve engagement and conversion with customers who may be concerned about Red Tide. 

• Review the “Leveraging Google Presentation” to understand how your business, and all of Sarasota County, benefit when you optimize your Google My Business Listing.

• If you missed the lunch and learn with Miles Partnership and Google, watch this recording, “Leveraging Google – Live Session.” It provides an in-depth lesson on optimizing your Google My Business Listing as well as a Q&A conversation with local businesses who attended.

Our Brand is Your Brand

Visit Sarasota County wants to help our partners in promoting Sarasota County, so we’ve made our resources available to you! That includes a variety of assets like images, videos and branding tools. Visit our Brand Toolkit to learn more and to share the Sarasota County brand.

Contact Us

Erin Hurter 
Partnership Development Manager
[email protected] 
Office: 941.955.0991 ext 104 
Your contact for more information about becoming a partner.

Jerod Fuchs 
Travel Media Sales & Marketing Executive
[email protected] 
Direct: 941.342.2347 | Office: 800.683.0010 ext 2347
Your Contact for partner digital and guide sales

Sarasota County’s Brand Images

Family at Siesta Beach
Couple at Ringling
Family picnic on Siesta
Family at Orioles Game
Boomer Couple at Beach
Family Kayaking