Tuesday’s Insights Luncheon & Economic Forum at Hilton Orlando was a huge success and the largest member event since 2019! 
Thank you to Visit Orlando’s partners, team members, board members, member companies, guest speakers, Orange County public officials and industry professionals for attending.

Here are a few highlights:

Current position: Orlando’s travel and tourism industry has been returning at a rapid pace, with hotel demand reaching 97% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels through June 2022. A lodging forecast by STR suggests hotel demand reaching 99% of 2019 by end of 2022 with a full recovery to pre-pandemic performance in 2023.

Forward outlook: While it’s too early to evaluate hotel bookings, online travel search demand for flights and hotels for Orlando is high and growing, particularly for the first four months of 2023.

Insights Luncheon and Economic Forum in August 2022

Updates and announcements: We shared an update on domestic and international campaigns for Unbelievably Real and recognized several Orlando restaurants — featured in the MICHELIN Guide — participating in this year's Visit Orlando Magical Dining program. 

Keynote Speaker: Raven Solomon, global diversity, equity and inclusion thought speaker, shared how to be an inclusive leader and addressed how to replace barriers in the workplace with productive working relationships to drive business results.

New partnership: We also unveiled big news that Orlando Health is now the official health and wellness partner of Visit Orlando! Learn more about this first-of-its-kind partnership.

Through these initiatives, Visit Orlando is moving closer to our vision to be the most visited, welcoming and inclusive destination in the world.

Again, thank you to everyone who joined us at our signature event. For anyone unable to attend, the Insights Luncheon can be viewed here.

7593 Chophouse

Visit Orlando’s 17th Annual Magical Dining Kicks Off Today

The wait is finally over. Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining has officially returned now through Oct. 2. This year, we have more than 100 restaurants offering three-course, prix-fixe dinner menus for $40. Visit MagicaldDining.com to explore restaurants and menu items, special deals on hotels through Visit Orlando’s Magical Nights and make reservations. 

As part of the program, one dollar from every meal will benefit The Able Trust, an organization that helps expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Watch here
In addition, Visit Orlando will award a $2,000 donation to one local nonprofit in each of Orange County’s six commission districts that also focuses on the community need of workforce development. The charities include BIG SIS, Inc.Central Florida Urban LeagueHope CommUnity CenterPace Center for GirlsRebuild Self Care and St. Vincent de Paul.

Unbelievably Real This is the Place Where Dreams Become Real web hero

Unbelievably Real Fall Domestic Campaign

The U.S. domestic fall campaign kicked off Aug. 15 to drive visitation using TV, out-of-home, digital display, paid social and paid search. Our Unbelievably Real campaign creative will run in August and September to promote fall travel and again in November and December to promote winter travel and capture travel demand.

The TV and out-of-home creatives will run in nine markets — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York and Philadelphia — this fall. Plus, we’re adding three new markets — Washington DC, Indianapolis and Minneapolis — to drive incremental travel demand. In addition, we’ve added creative to promote Orlando’s Halloween events for all ages and fall food festivals to drive fall visitation.

Moving Orange County Forward – Transportation Initiative

A formal campaign, Moving Orange County Forward, has been established by Orange County Mayor, Jerry Demings, to work towards community and voter outreach until the November election. Tim Giuliani, president and CEO at Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP), and Robert Agrusa, president and CEO at the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, joined me for a discussion about the campaign earlier this week at our Insights Luncheon available here.

Learn more about the transportation initiative and how to get involved by contacting Rachael Kobb, senior transportation advisor at OEP.

Key Tourism Indicators

For the week ending August 20, 2022, Metro Orlando occupancy was 62.4%, a four-percentage point drop from last week’s 66.4% and almost a six-percentage point drop from the same week in 2019 (68.1%).

Average daily rate remained flat at $120.07 from last week’s $120.87 but is still much higher than pre-pandemic rates for the same week in 2019 ($106.95).

The employment data for July 2022 points to continual improvement for our industry. Leisure and Hospitality segments gained 4,100 jobs in July (+1.6%) with all three subcategories (food services and drinking places; arts, entertainment and recreation; and accommodations) seeing growth from June. 

Across the Industry

Preview Dinners: Our public relations and social media teams hosted media previews of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining for 14 media and influencers this week including The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Magazine, Tasty Chomps and more. First-time restaurant participants, Turci Pasta and Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen, provided an early look and taste of the delicious three-course meals available through the program.

Chief Eric Change of Command Picture 2022

Congratulations, Chief Smith: This week, newly appointed Orlando Police Chief, Eric Smith, was sworn in by City of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, during a change-of-command ceremony at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Thanks to former Chief, Orlando Rolon, for his service and congratulations, Eric! We look forward to working with you to help keep our residents and visitors safe.

Fall Forum: Mike Waterman, chief sales officer, welcomed more than 500 tax collectors from around the state to our destination during the Florida Tax Collector Association’s Fall Forum opening event at Rosen Shingle Creek. We look forward to hosting you again in 2023!

Visit Orlando CSR Rummage Sale Benefiting United Way 2022

Visit Orlando Rummage Sale: Visit Orlando’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) committee hosted an in-office rummage sale to benefit Heart of Florida United Way. Items included clothing and accessories, houseware, glassware, books, electronics and more. Over $1,500 was collected in donations and the CSR team was thrilled to show why service is our superpower at Visit Orlando.

ASAE Conference 2022

ASAE: Always working to keep Orlando top of mind with clients, members of Visit Orlando’s sales team, our partners at the Orange County Convention Center and I connected at the ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition in Nashville, TN meeting one-on-one with clients interested in Orlando. ASAE provides thousands of association professionals and industry partners an opportunity to exchange knowledge, resources, strategies and solutions.