Meet Puerto Rico, the organization in charge of bringing groups and conventions to the Island, kicked off its Annual Meeting presenting the vision, mission and success indicators of its 2015-2017 Global Innovation & Strategic Plan. In addition, the first Hall of Fame recipient was announced and the successes of the 2014-2015 fiscal year initiatives were reviewed.
New Two-Year Innovation & Strategic Plan
Meet Puerto Rico members had the opportunity to hear Peter Hopgood, Chairman of the Meet Puerto Rico Board of Directors and Milton Segarra, President and CEO of Meet Puerto Rico, launch the new two-year blueprint by explaining its Vision, Mission and Success Indicators.
“Our vision continues to position Puerto Rico as one of the preferred group and convention destinations of the Americas,” said Segarra. “Our mission is to be a leading Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), promoting our unique group and convention experiences, through branding, selling and services – with the goal of bringing $150 million per year of economic benefits related to meetings and conventions for Puerto Rico by the end of 2017 with a 30 percent increase in market share.
Segarra continued by laying out five specific strategic initiatives or pillars of the program each with strong supporting tactics to help the global team attain this goal. Those initiatives include: generating additional demand, extending the brand, increasing community support, expanding members’ engagement and strengthening the DMO. “As we execute our new business model which integrates our branding repositioning, social media programs, aggressive sales, public relations and advertising outreach, we are on a strong path that will help us secure and reach those goals,” Segarra affirmed.
Both Hopgood and Segarra reiterated that experiential travel is still important to groups and that brand identity is critical to the meeting planner’s perceptions about the value and experience of the destination. Taking Puerto Rico’s key cultural attributes and combining those with a wide variety of quality accommodations and top professional partners, including having the largest and technically-advanced convention center in the Caribbean, they stressed that Puerto Rico has what it takes to attract the largest city-wide conventions to the smallest high-level executive retreats – all key to reaching their final economic goal.
Peter Hopgood expressed his gratitude to the MPR Board of Directors for their unconditional support and thanks the MPR team for the achievement of their goals in despite of the many challenges they faced over the last year. “Our new strategic plan responds to our need of engaging all the tourism industry, stakeholders and our community in vitalizing Puerto Rico as a leading and innovative destination”, assured Hopgood. “I am positive that the success of this collaborative plan will be reflected directly in the growth of the Island’s economy.”
To generate further demand, Segarra said that the implementation of the new aggressive sales and business model will focus on increasing citywide and convention center bookings, sales team expansion into new markets and industries as well as increased participation in trade shows, client events and sales missions.
Key branding programs to extend the brand include deploying a global consistent message, leverage social media and other technologies to increase awareness, drive website visitation and generate engagement by developing relevant content and leveraging third party information. These integrated branding programs will be complemented by aggressive public relations social media programs and input from the Customer Advisory Board (CAB).
Meet Puerto Rico will launch the redesigned Ambassadors Program as well as partner locally with organizations focused on economic development for Puerto Rico. An expanded member engagement program will include evolving the Member Affairs Department composition to include stakeholders, MPR Supporters and students. An updated members section on the website will provide tools to help members with their daily outreach and education.
“Meet Puerto Rico is a positive disruptor in the industry. We are always seeking new and innovative ways to keep Meet Puerto Rico in front of the trends impacting planners – and ultimately bookings to Puerto Rico,” stated Segarra. “We are confident that with our new two-year Innovative and Strategic Plan, we will continue along the same aggressive growth we have shown this past year.”
Under the fully launched new business program, the Brand Sales teams have solicited brand new accounts for the destination, conducted sales calls and appointments with key clients and generated leads for the destination. Meet Puerto Rico began the first quarter of the fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 on strong footing with more than 40 new bookings secured, representing more than 30,000 room nights for years 2015 through 2018. Groups range from multinational companies to medical, educational conferences and sporting events, among others.
Gilberto “Kiko” Pesquera Hall of Fame
Paul Ferguson was named the first recipient of the Gilberto “Kiko” Pesquera Hall of Fame. The award was created to honor individuals who have shown a firm commitment to the development and enhancement of the groups and conventions tourism market in Puerto Rico and who have positively impacted the global awareness of Puerto Rico as a meetings destination. The award also honors those who have positively changed the future of marketing the destination. Paul Ferguson, former member of the MPR Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Destination Puerto Rico/Travel Services, Inc., a DMC Network Company, has a long illustrious career in the tourism industry that has spanned for more than 6 decades and has helped guide MPR through rapid and dramatic changes during his tenure.
“We are thrilled to continue the celebration of individuals who have contributed to the success of our organization and Puerto Rico,” said Milton Segarra, President and CEO of Meet Puerto Rico. “It is our pleasure to honor and thank Mr. Ferguson for his commitment, compromise, enthusiasm, forward-thinking approach and numerous nurturing initiatives that led to prosperity and positioned Puerto Rico as a top meeting destination at a global level”.