Last year Visit Orlando partnered with Tripadvisor on an award-winning campaign creating a fully immersive audio tourism experience utilizing Amazon’s Alexa voice technology. Now, I’m happy to share that we’ve expanded the program to Canada.  
By saying, “Alexa, launch Visit Orlando” both Canadian and U.S. audiences can experience highlights of undiscovered activities throughout the destination's neighborhoods, such as ecotourism attractions from hiking to airboat rides, celebrity-chef dining, and local arts and culture from museums to live performances. 
The Alexa skill utilizes Tripadvisor’s community-powered content to inspire travelers and drive tourism demand for Orlando. 
The U.S. campaign won the 2022 Mercury Award for Innovation from U.S. Travel Association and last night, during HSMAI’s Adrian Awards, Visit Orlando was recognized in the advertising innovation category for this program.


Visit Orlando Scores Gold at HSMAI Adrian Awards

Visit Orlando was recognized for three separate campaigns during HSMAI’s Adrian Awards held last night in Los Angeles. The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is a global organization that identifies and communicates trends in hospitality while operating as a leading voice in the industry. Each year, HSMAI honors travel and hospitality industry professionals, as part of their Adrian Awards to celebrate the best campaigns and people behind creative initiatives. 
We’re extremely proud of our Visit Orlando team, in collaboration with many members and industry partners, for developing and executing these innovative and now award-winning programs. Our awards included: 

  • Alexa, launch Visit Orlando! — Gold    

  • Orlando’s Rich Black History — Bronze  

  • Launching Orlando’s New “Unbelievably Real” Brand — Bronze


Visit Orlando Warms Up NYC

Visit Orlando brought a little touch of Orlando sunshine to “The Big Apple” last Saturday where we hosted Orlando Family Fun Day in Bryant Park at the Winter Village. New Yorkers came out in droves to the sunshine-themed celebration where we snapped hundreds of photos at our interactive Sun Globe photo-op, gave away more than 1,000 cups of hot cocoa and 600 orange scarves at skate night. Plus, we were joined by more than 70 meetings and media partners at our Client Appreciation Event.


Visit Orlando Attends Travel Tradeshow in Colombia
Visit Orlando team members attended Vitrina Turistica Anato — an important travel tradeshow in Colombia — where tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents from Colombia learn about U.S. and Caribbean destinations’ offerings. Our team connected with industry professionals and organizations, promoted Orlando for future visitation.

Remembering Former UCF President John Hitt 
Central Florida mourns the passing of John Hitt, former president at UCF. Among a life full of accomplishments, Hitt will be remembered for generously supporting many nonprofit causes and his commitment to the growth and development of UCF. His footprint in our community will forever be solidified as he was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

Hotel Metrics

For the week ending February 18, 2023, Metro Orlando occupancy was 80.9%, up from 77.9% from the previous week and up 15% from last year. The average daily rate was $239.24, up 22.4% from last year. 

Across the Industry
OEP Welcome Dinner: This week, Visit Orlando’s director of community relations & external affairs, Kristin Westover, attended Orlando Economic Partnership’s (OEP) State Legislative Session welcome dinner in Tallahassee. Several elected officials and industry professionals discussed the Partnership’s 2023 legislative priorities and heard from Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue on the state’s new infrastructure initiative, Moving Florida Forward. Investing in I-4 Beyond the Ultimate through Moving Florida Forward will help expand Orlando’s regional transit system and strengthen our global gateways.

Influencer Katrina Dandridge visits Hannibal Square Heritage Center

Around the Destination
Celebrating Black History Month: Visit Orlando partnered with local content creators to showcase Orlando’s Black-owned restaurants and share our city’s rich African American history. Brianna Watson visited the Hannibal Heritage Center sharing this Instagram reel and story. Christina Petsos also highlighted a unique dining experience at Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine, one of our Michelin recommended restaurants. 
Hospitality Hall of Fame: Barbara Bowden, Visit Orlando board member and area managing director at Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando, and John Sprouls, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Universal Parks and Resorts, were officially inducted into the Rosen College of Hospitality Management’s Hall of Fame yesterday. The honor is awarded to Central Florida professionals for their leadership and innovation in the hospitality industry. Congratulations to Barb, John and all recipients of this great award. Thank you for paving the way for our destination’s future leaders!


Visit Orlando Engaged!
Central Florida Update: This week I spoke to residents and business owners at the Citrus Club about all the outstanding achievements and activities taking place around our destination. I shared how we are off to a great start in 2023 with the latest attractions, exciting events, a new rail system and an active meetings and convention year. I also spoke about Visit Orlando’s involvement in strengthening community and industry partnerships, expanding reach across domestic and international markets and contributing to solutions on community initiatives. 
What I enjoyed most was hearing the enthusiasm and passion regarding the growth and contributions tourism makes to our city. Orlando’s tourism enhances our quality of life and sets a pathway of opportunities for all whether it is first-time job seekers, entrepreneurs or career veterans.

Casandra Matej's photo and signature for Tourism Matters