Visit Florida’s Cheryl Hatcher Dishes Value in InFocus Q&A

Hollywood Boardwalk
Hollywood Boardwalk

Cheryl Hatcher, director of marketing and events for Visit Florida, knows just how planners are adding value to meetings & incentives. Lucky for us, she wanted to share.

What can planners do to add value to meetings & incentives?

Hatcher: Value Is Always Added. In Florida where we are lined by beaches and warm ocean waters, filled with world-class resorts and meeting venues, and boasting every adventure under the sun, value is always added.

North Florida’s shoulder and low seasons, generally running from September through the end of February, are a great time to take advantage of higher availability and lower rates while still enjoying a balmy, beach-friendly fall and mild winter days that were made for tee times on award-winning golf courses, exploring prized heritage sites and strolling quaint downtown plazas.

In Central Florida, vacation playground for kids of all ages, seasonal values often hinge on school schedules and the times when families descend on theme parks, but typically you can expect to find the greatest values during the most seasonable weather from September to early December, then picking up again in January through May.

In South Florida, the season peaks from December to April, when brilliant winter and early spring days see a spike in the region’s famed international events, while summer months bring a slower pace but greater opportunity for groups to stay and play in some of the world’s premier resort and meeting properties.

Special hotel and resort packages for meetings also make the Sunshine State a value for groups. And don’t forget Florida’s convenient air gateways: International airports in every region of the State, means easy accessibility, and more time spent enjoying Florida, which is probably the greatest value of all.

Where do you take friends/family in your destination that can help planners deliver solid ROE?

Florida’s got staying power. Business may come before pleasure, but once the business of meeting in Florida is over, why not give attendees the pleasure of another day or two in the sun?

It’s no secret that Florida is one of the most family-friendly states in the nation. It’s also no surprise, then, that many delegates bring their families along to stay and play before the program begins or after the program ends. You can help them make the most of it by negotiating pre- or post-rates and planning exciting itineraries.

The possibilities are endless in Florida, from world-famous theme parks and championship golf courses to world-class shopping and dining, cultural and artistic treasures. Add to that a menu of adventures that include hiking wilderness trails, horseback riding through cypress swamps, paddling mighty rivers, snorkeling across brilliant coral reefs, fishing backcountry waters and going for the adrenaline rush of wave-running, parasailing and skydiving. Or just find a spot on Florida’s miles of beach to unplug with a good book.

Indeed, when the meeting ends, the fun is just beginning in Florida. It is our pleasure to welcome your group for another day in paradise.

How does Visit Florida deliver increased ROE (return on experience)?

Events with a twist and no end in sites. Florida’s venues and diverse options can be on target for bringing groups together in unique, exciting and entertaining settings. The Sunshine State’s vast array of venues for events pushes the boundaries of creativity and imagination. From a reception beneath a 6.2 million pound moon rocket, or a party in an ice lounge complete with ice bars, chairs and frosty works of art, to an awards ceremony surrounded by winning NASCAR vehicles, Florida offers it all.

If your group has hoop dreams or the big leagues in mind, Florida goes big on fulfilling with state-of-the-art arenas with skyboxes ready for VIPs. For on-the-floor fun, Florida’s Grapefruit League, home to Major League Baseball’s pre-season for 15 teams, offers a variety of indoor and outdoor action-packed spaces for excitement.

You can create a teambuilding activity showcasing the environment, combining animal encounters at our many zoos, zip-lining over wetlands or bonding with the alligators on an airboat ride. Or make magic at one of our world-class theme parks with rollercoasters, special cartoon guests and fireworks to close the evening.

No matter what you choose, Florida’s selection of venues and experiences offers your groups the uniqueness of our diverse destinations and makes a memorable addition to any program.

Must be the sunshine.