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Ending the 2013 fiscal year on a high note, Visit Tampa Bay’s convention sales team surpassed the most aggressive room night goal in the history of the company. After closing on Sept. 30, the team achieved 450,805 room nights and 530 bookings, exceeding its goal of 440,000 room nights and 450 bookings. The total projected economic impact exceeded $262 million.

“The convention sales team worked with our partners in the community to pursue new business with a goal of continuing to put Tampa on the map,” said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO, Visit Tampa Bay. “Not only did conventions and meetings contract for multiple years, but we contracted new national and international meetings that we are looking forward to introducing to Tampa.”

Offering incentives to reach meeting planners in new markets, the 2013 sales strategies included citywide deals on the convention center and nearby hotels, gift card rewards and complimentary Tampa Bay experiences. The team gave special focus to small meetings, which accounted for 208 bookings and over 20,000 room nights.

“From our community partners to our board of directors, we had support and encouragement that fostered our dedication and hard work,” said Alex Kaptzan, vice president of convention sales, Visit Tampa Bay. “Our team was re-energized this year with new leadership and strong support from the entire organization as well as new sales strategies that will now allow us to continue to excel.”

Major bookings range from the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards for June 2014, American Fisheries Society, National Sheriff’s Association and several three-year deals, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Avid Center. Contracted for 2014, large short-term deals included 9,300 room nights for the YMCA Gymnastics Championships and 4,400 room nights for Siemens Medical.

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