St. Pete-Clearwater CVB revamps Web site, adds slogan

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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 council.

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 trips.

According to Carole Ketterhagen, the bureau's executive director, the area's new slogan, "Florida's Beach," is really a brand.

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 destination."

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 convention facilities.

The travel agent community books about 50% of the trips here, she said. "I think that's a little better than many destinations."

St. Petersburg-Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Phone: (727) 464-7200

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