PETER CRANIS: Space Coast Tourism Shines as Destination at U.S. Travel Association International Pow Wow
By Peter Cranis, TDO Executive Director // June 18, 2022
Show hpaired buyers of travel from all over the world with sellers of travel
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – What is IPW and why is it important to our long-term strategy?
IPW was once known as International Pow Wow and it is the singular largest show for international travel buyers that is put on by the U.S. Travel Association.
The show has historically paired buyers of travel from all over the world with sellers of travel such as destinations (like us), attractions, lodging, etc. This year the show was held in Orlando and several of us from the office attended.
Over three days, we met one on one with nearly 50 buyers and got to share the great things that are happening on the Space Coast. We were able to partner regionally with Orlando, but also show that we could stand on our own as a destination in our own right.
Our long-term strategy includes growing the quality of our visitors, seeking to appeal to people that will stay longer, and spend more in our destination. The international traveler fits squarely in this strategy.
Previously we had been satisfied to appeal to the drive market and pick up some of Orlando’s business, getting a visitor for a day or two of a 7-night vacation.
That is fine for keeping hotel rooms filled, but a long-term strategy has to look at the viability of generating high volumes of visitors for short stays. They actually cost the destination more in terms of impact on our infrastructure and even hotels would agree that someone staying 5 – 7 nights is a lower cost guest on a per-day basis than someone only staying a night or two.
So part of that strategy includes doing more marketing in the international markets – particularly the UK, European Union and Canada. And to that end, we have partnered with airlines like TUI and even hired a representative in the EU/UK to be our advocate and boots-on-the-ground there.
Hopefully, some relationships were forged this year at IPW and we were able to give some compelling reasons why tour operators and travel agents internationally should encourage their customers to include the Space Coast on a future visit to the U.S.
– Peter Cranis, Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director