Visit Sarasota County: Brand News

Read the latest brand news from Visit Sarasota County.

January 2019 Brand Team News

Visitors Center

Visitor Services

Reminder! Please join us on Tuesday, January 29 between 4 and 6 p.m. at the downtown Visitor Center official grand opening. No RSVP required. Refreshments and light bites will be available. We look forward seeing you there!

Additional parking available at the parking lot on the southwest corner of Osprey Avenue and 2nd Street.

Public Relations

Ela Ayhan (VSC UK Rep) and Britney Guertin
Ela Ayhan (VSC UK Rep)
and Britney Guertin

Spreading the Word About Sarasota

Communications & Content Manager Britney Guertin attended “Florida Huddle’s Media Marketplace” where she met with nearly 20 travel writers and media outlets, each eager to learn more about what Sarasota County has to offer. Media reps with USA Today, Canadian Traveler and Samantha Brown’s Places to Love were a few in attendance.

Our PR department also worked closely with The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota as they hosted a familiarization tour (FAM) for an influential group of travel writers. These efforts have already resulted in a mention with Travel + Leisure

Travel writers brought in by The Ritz-Carlton tour The Ringling with VSC  Travel writers brought in by The Ritz-Carlton tour The Ringling with VSC

Travel writers brought in by The Ritz-Carlton tour The Ringling with VSC

Recent coverage:

Advertising

VSC’s Glass Box Truck Hits the Road!

VSC’s out-of-home activation using a glass box truck is underway through February. This eye-catching beach scene is visiting six cities in six weekends: Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus (Ohio), Cleveland, and Detroit. Curious locals can step inside to lounge on Sarasota’s beach or they can engage in a “Florida-style” challenge where they then become eligible to win a free trip to Sarasota County!

Travel writers brought in by The Ritz-Carlton tour The Ringling with VSC Travel writers brought in by The Ritz-Carlton tour The Ringling with VSC Travel writers brought in by The Ritz-Carlton tour The Ringling with VSC

Website & Content

Events Calendar

Visit Sarasota County recently updated our calendar system, and we need your events! The event page has a "Submit an Event to Our Calendar" button, which leads to a form where anyone can add events to our calendar. If the event is one in which tourists and other visitors can participate and enjoy, we will likely approve that event content. Our mission is to always have a platform that reflects the best (and most up to date) happenings in Sarasota, so please help us help you and get your events on our calendar!

If you have any questions about using our new events calendar program, don’t hesitate to contact our Website Supervisor Matt Murphy at [email protected].

Recent VSC Website & Social Media Content:

ARCHIVE

December Brand Team News

Save the Date!

Downtown Sarasota Visitor CenterOn January 29, 2019, we are hosting an official Grand Opening/Open House of the downtown visitor center inside the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce building at 1945 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Please join us for a fun time that day between 4-6 p.m. with your fellow VSC partners, board members from both VSC and the Chamber, local dignitaries and media.

Since opening the new visitor center last year we have completed some awesome renovations and redesigns, so we look forward seeing you there and show you how we promote this beautiful county and your businesses.

An official e-vite will be emailed soon with additional information.

Advertising

The advertising plan is underway with digital placements on Trip Advisor and a retargeting campaign towards visitors to the Visit Florida website. We also launched print ads in D Magazine out of Dallas in support of the new America Airlines Service into SRQ ,and a placement in Cleveland Scene, encouraging travel to the warm, sugar-sand beaches of Sarasota while Ohio is covered in icy cold snow. We are ramping up to take our warm weather message across the frozen North with fully integrated campaigns set to go live in Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis and Chicago.

Public Relations

Old Faces, New Places

Britney Guertin - VSC's Communication & Content ManagerVisit Sarasota County has appointed Britney Guertin Communications & Content Manager! In her role with VSC, Guertin will manage all domestic and international PR initiatives, including press relations, visitor information, partner and stakeholder communications and event and campaign promotions. Guertin most recently worked as the PR & Social Media Director with Grapevine Communications. She is the incoming Chair with the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance’s Young Leaders Alliance and the current VP with Designing Daughters of Sarasota.

Amish Cooking at Der Dutchman in Sarasota CountyTurkish Media Visits Pinecraft

The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT World) visited last month to film a news documentary about Amish culture in America. What better stop than Der Dutchman and Yoder’s Restaurant & Amish Village? Both partners were very accommodating for the weekend video shoots. Stay tuned to see the final product!

Media Clips

Nomadic Boys (Europe) - 10 Romantic Things to do in Sarasota, Florida

CHCH-TV (Canada) - Holiday Travel Deals

Artsy - Excursions to 5 Art-Filled U.S. Cities Where You Can Unlock Your Creativity

Sunseeker (Allegiant Airlines In-Flight Magazine) - Adventure Awaits! Outdoor Fun in Sarasota County

Wherever I May Roam - 5 Things You Must Do in Sarasota, Florida

Website

Visit Sarasota County recently updated our calendar system, and we need your events! The event page has a "Submit an Event to Our Calendar" button, which leads to a form where anyone can add events to our calendar. If the event is one in which tourists and other visitors can participate and enjoy, we will likely approve that event content. Our mission is to always have a platform that reflects the best (and most up to date) happenings in Sarasota, so please help us help you and get your events on our calendar!

If you have any questions about using our new events calendar program, don’t hesitate to contact our Website Supervisor Matt Murphy at [email protected].

November Brand Team News

Visitor Services

Every year, we invite our dedicated volunteers to an appreciation luncheon to thank them for their continued support and time spent helping our visitors. Last year, our Visitor Services team had over 30,000 face-to-face interactions, informing people from all over the world on all there is to see and do in our beautiful area. We are still looking for giveaways to add into their gift basket so if you have anything you would like to add something, kindly contact Sandrina McCloud at [email protected]. The 40 volunteers and part-time staff at our visitors centers are your biggest ambassadors, so let’s show them how much we care about their hard work!

The Visitor Information Vehicle (VIV) reached about 12,000 people in FY2018, attending multiple events, festivals and farmers markets throughout the county. Our committed VIV staff, John Sims and Mark Pawlicki, are sometimes up before dawn and return after dusk when attending major events like:

  • International rowing championships at NBP
  • Thunder by the Bay
  • Suncoast Grand Prix boat races
  • The Englewood Beach Waterfest
  • The Sarasota Holiday Parade
  • The Music Half Marathon
  • Fox Lea Farm
  • The Venice Suncoast BBQ and Bluegrass Bash
  • The holiday parade and Poinsettia festival in North Port

…And countless more! Thank you John and Mark for the hard work!

VIV

BMX

Website & Content

Visit Sarasota County recently updated our calendar system, and we need your events!  The event page has a "Submit an Event to Our Calendar" button, which leads to a form where anyone can add events to our calendar.  If the event is one in which tourists and other visitors can participate and enjoy, we will likely approve that event content.  Our mission is to always have a platform that reflects the best (and most up to date) happenings in Sarasota, so please help us help you and get your events on our calendar!

If you have any questions about using our new events calendar program, don’t hesitate to contact our Website Supervisor Matt Murphy at [email protected].

Advertising

The advertising department has been busy planning out-of-home advertising opportunities for the coming quarter. Throughout January, February and March, we will utilize a fully immersive, multi-touchpoint campaign that highlights the unique attributes of Sarasota County in a memorable way!

Glass Truck

A Sarasota County branded mobile glass truck tour will make a major splash with multiple stops across our desired opportune markets of Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago.

Supplemental messages across these same markets will be featured through Day to Night Backlit, and Growing Landscape billboards. These changing billboards will attract attention and help maintain interest in a very creative way. 

We are also working on a TV broadcast schedule, print advertising and digital campaigns to go along with these out-of-home efforts. Coupling the warm beach atmosphere of Sarasota County with the chilly weather seen by these cities during this time period, we hope to capitalize on people’s longing for warmer climates. We still have some co-op advertising available in these markets. Reach out to Seana Mincy at [email protected] to learn more about co-op.

Public Relations

Media Clips

Le Journal de Montreal (Quebec, Canada)

Air Canada enRoute Magazine

Mrs. O Around the World (blog)

Donna Magazin (Germany)

October Brand Team News

The new visitor center in the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) is performing well in its first three months. 

Since opening on July 1, our volunteers have interacted with about 4,000 people at the kiosk located in the baggage claim area of SRQ. Volunteers from VSC and SRQ are present at the airport from 10 am to 4 pm every day.

The closing numbers from the past fiscal year show several improvements for visitor services. In 2018, VSC organized 20 familiarization tours for our volunteers, providing education on over 35 tourism industry organizations in our county, helping better serve the needs of our visitors. The creation and distribution of bags for our visitors (leisure and business groups, weddings, family reunions, etc.) nearly doubled in the past year as well, from 3,658 bags to over 5,200 between 2017 and 2018, a 43% increase! 

Public Relations

Visit Sarasota County has welcomed a new member to its communications team! Adam Cellini joins VSC as a Content Coordinator, helping take over some of the duties and responsibilities left behind by longtime Content & Website Manager Eddie Kirsch. Adam spent the last three years working as a reporter and weekend anchor for ABC7, the local TV news station for Sarasota/Manatee Counties. He is excited for the opportunity to keep doing what he loves: telling the positive stories about Sarasota County showcasing what makes it a unique place to live and vacation! If you have any story ideas or questions about our digital content, feel free to contact Adam at [email protected]

Media Clips
Elle Canada The Florida Project: Truc Nguyen discovers that Sarasota of her youth is all grown up
UVM: 104,748
 
Uptown - Florida's Mini-Manhattan: Sarasota
UVM: 2,280
 
Style Blueprint Art Ovation Hotel - Encore-Worthy Accomodations
UVM: 84,900
 
YourTango -  25 Affordable (And Really Fun!) Spring Break Trip Locations
UVM: 11,850,000

Website Stats & Content
The VSC website accounted for over 64,000 referrals to partner websites during the fourth quarter of this past fiscal year. The number of visits to VisitSarasota.org visits were up 60 percent, unique visitors were up 56 percent, and pageviews were up 74 percent! Also, since creating a signup tool for the website homepage that asks first time visitors to the site to subscribe to our consumer e-newsletter, our subscriber base increased by 512 percent.