This Monday marks Labor Day, the final long weekend of the summer travel season where travelers traditionally look to squeeze in one more vacation before fall.

Based on a survey by The Vacationer, more than 53% of U.S. adults — which represents 137 million of the American population — intend to travel for Labor Day this year.

So what can we expect for Orlando? When we compare hotel booking pace for the Labor Day weekend, we’re 37% above 2021 and 10% below 2019.

However, assuming the pace holds, we’ll most likely well surpass the 2019 final numbers due to significantly shorter booking periods — a trend we have consistently seen before long holiday weekends.

Looking ahead, Tripadvisor’s Fall Travel Index shows domestic travel continues to be the preferred choice among Americans and Orlando is among the top destinations this fall.

According to the Index, fall travelers are looking for food, activities, people, scenery and weather for their fall vacation, which means Orlando is well positioned as a leading choice for visitors.

We look forward to welcoming travelers to Orlando this holiday weekend and throughout the fall season to enjoy the full scope of seasonal events and specials like these Labor Day activitiesfall events and Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining.

I hope you have a chance to enjoy many of these experiences found only in Orlando.

Have a great holiday weekend! 

Header image for Corporate Blog - Magical Dining

Visit Orlando’s 17th Annual Magical Dining Creates Local Buzz

Excitement is spreading for Visit Orlando's Magical Dining, which launched last Friday and runs through Oct.2. From the front page of the Orlando Sentinel, Spectrum News 13 and WFTV to Orlando Date Night Guide and local food blog Tasty Chomps, reviews, positive promotions and TV coverage continues to pour in. So far, there’s a total of 170 stories.

On the social front, we launched a giveaway, in partnership with Yelp Orlando and Yelp Tampa, for Visit Orlando’s Magical Nights. The gift includes a stay at the Caribe Royale Orlando and dining at the Venetian Chop House. To help spread the word, we connected with eight local content creators and influencers which helped generate over 1,600 comments and entries.

Hotel Metrics

For the week ending August 27, 2022, Metro Orlando occupancy was 63.8%, up one percentage point from last week’s 62.4%.

Average daily rate grew to $122.13 from $120.07 last week and remains much higher than pre-pandemic rates ($99.89 for the same week in 2019).

Across the Industry

VISIT FLORIDA: I recently had the opportunity to attend my first VISIT FLORIDA board meeting where we discussed an upcoming marketing plan to focus on three key areas: adventure travel, culinary and accessible travel.

Visit Orlando will be partnering with VISIT FLORIDA on an upcoming culinary FAM that will explore Orlando, Tampa and Miami in mid-October. Since the MICHELIN recognition, there has been an increase of 38.7% out-of-town visitors to the restaurants and a 42% increase for Orlando alone. We are also planning to join the VISIT FLORIDA team for a media mission in Texas in November.

Following the board meeting, Visit Orlando attended the Florida Governor’s Conference. The conference brings together tourism industry professionals, advertising agencies, travel experts and state leaders to explore the latest trends and opportunities for the industry. Mike Waterman, chief sales officer, participated in a moderated panel discussion for Northstar Meetings Group sharing trends and opportunities. Next year, the conference will be right in our own backyard as Rosen Shingle Creek is the host hotel. 

Smart Woman Summit Award August 2022

Smart Meetings Award: I was recently honored with a Smart Woman in Meetings Award in the Visionary category. Denise Spiegel, senior director of public relations, attended Smart Meetings’ 7th annual Smart Woman Summit to accept the award on my behalf. It’s an honor to be among the other award recipients who’ve also done remarkable things for our industry. I also want to extend a huge thanks to the Visit Orlando team for their exceptional work and contribution to our region’s success. Like the famous Helen Keller quote says, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

IAEE: This week, in partnership with the Orange County Convention Center, we hosted the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) board of directors. Several Visit Orlando team members and I met with key members of this organization to showcase how incredibly strong the meetings and conventions market has been in our destination.

I also provided a destination update including what’s new and recent research from MMGY on how our meetings and conventions industry is looking forward. According to MMGY, a third of meeting planners surveyed are extremely optimistic about meetings and conferences in the next 12 months and more than 80% of attendees feel in-person meetings are important or extremely important.

Indian American Chamber’s Ashoka Awards Gala August 2022

Ashoka Awards: Visit Orlando attended the Indian American Chamber’s Ashoka Awards Gala, Aug. 26, at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. The annual event celebrates area businesses and professionals that go above and beyond serving their clients to make Central Florida a great place to work and live. Congratulations to the award winners!

Orange County Consuls Meeting: Elaine Blazys, VP of travel industry sales, provided an update on our tourism industry during Mayor Jerry Demings’ annual Consuls’ meeting. Among those in attendance included the Consul General of Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Brazil, as well as the Honorary Consuls of Italy, Switzerland, Iceland, France, Chile, Germany, Austria and Namibia.

Grand opening of Luminary Green Park at Creative Village August 2022

Grand Opening: Visit Orlando team members attended the official opening of Luminary Green Park at Creative Village. Thank you, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and District 5 Commissioner Regina I. Hill for the invitation. We are excited for residents, students and workers of Creative Village, Parramore and downtown Orlando to experience this new 2.3-acre park.

State of West Orange: Kristin Westover, director of community relations and external affairs, attended the West Orange Chamber’s annual State of West Orange luncheon. The event featured an open conversation with several of our local elected officials — Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, City of Ocoee Mayor Rusty Johnson, City of Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, Town of Oakland Mayor Kathy Starks and Town of Windermere Mayor Jim O'Brien — regarding important initiatives in their municipalities and the upcoming Orange County Transportation Sales Tax Referendum.

Volunteer event at Heart of Florida United Way August 2022

Team Volunteer Event: Visit Orlando’s convention sales and destination experience teams recently volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida sorting more than 10,000 pounds of sweet potatoes for distribution to local families in need. The initiative helped support the organization's mission to create hope and nourish lives through a powerful hunger relief network, while multiplying the generosity of a caring community.