ST. PETERSBURG BEACH -- The St. Petersburg-Clearwater Area
Convention and Visitors Bureau unveiled a revamped Web site and a
new slogan and announced improved meetings attendance during the
second annual conference of the bureau's travel industry advisory
The Web site, www.stpeteclearwater.com, soon to become www.floridasbeach.com, now has on-line reservations
capabilities for both agents and the public, and there is a section
for agent reference as well. With a click, agents can get
information on discounts for themselves and on upcoming fam
According to Carole Ketterhagen, the bureau's executive
director, the area's new slogan, "Florida's Beach," is really a
Research showed that 77% of both Floridians and out-of-staters
associated the St. Pete area with Florida beaches, Ketterhagen
said. Continuing travel promotions capitalize on the area's 35
miles of beachfront for good reason.
Florida International University's beach authority, Stephen
Leatherman, recently rated three local beaches among the best in
the U.S. "They're a perfect compliment to our world class museums,
attractions and nature-based activities," Ketterhagen said.
Also interviewed during the travel industry advisory council
meeting, attended by representatives from retail and wholesale
travel concerns, was Rosemarie Payne, director of travel industry
sales for the TradeWinds Resort, St. Pete Beach.
Payne, the council's cochair for the bureau, said the group
provides suppliers with information about "travel trends to our
The other council cochair was Lisa Leidigh, reservations manager
of the Don Cesar Beach Resort and Spa in St. Pete Beach .
The area was once predominantly a winter destination, but that
has changed, Ketterhagen said, partly because of such efforts as a
$1 million fall ad campaign.
"Years ago, the winter business here in Florida was our major
business. But in the past few years, we [have been] able to get our
summer numbers very close to our winter numbers," she said.
Tampa, across the bay, has a convention center, but the St.
Pete-Clearwater area does not. Nonetheless, St. Pete has boosted
its share of meetings, Ketterhagen said. Meetings accounted for
only 12% of visitors seven years ago; now it is 23%.
"We focus on those groups that are 500 or fewer delegates," she
said, adding that many local hotels have recently expanded their
The travel agent community books about 50% of the trips here,
she said. "I think that's a little better than many
St. Petersburg-Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors
Phone: (727) 464-7200