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Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel receives Florida’s top tourism marketing awards

September 1, 2017
Special to The Breeze ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel earned five Flagler Awards including the prestigious first-place Henry award recently at the Florida Governor's Conference on Tourism at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida.

This year, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel earned the following awards:

* Henry award: "Extend Your Summer Fall Campaign" in the Social Media Marketing category

* Bronze award: "National Seashell Day PR Campaign" in the Creativity in Public Relations category

* Silver award: "Fall Islandolgy Print" in the Print Advertising category

* Bronze award: "Spring Radio" in the Radio Advertising category

* Silver award: "Consumer Website Redesign" campaign in the Websites category

Highlights of the awarded marketing campaign include:

Social Media Marketing category: The campaign goals focused on driving awareness and increasing interest in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel as a year-round destination where the sunshine, warm weather and fruity cocktails don't stop. Through a series of imagery promoting summer vibes, partner deal posts, sponsored ads in top and in-state markets and a dedicated #ExtendYourSummer hashtag, the campaign organically generated a total of 4,895 engagements and 217,000 impressions, and generated 384 new Instagram followers during that two-week period.

Creativity in Public Relations category: Targeting national, regional and in-state consumer travelers, the National Seashell Day PR campaign set out to raise awareness of the destination as the "Shelling Capital of the World" through creative "Shelling Starter Kit" mailers, dedicated press trip, targeted media outreach and themed Travel Massive event. Efforts resulted in more than 193 million impressions and earned media coverage in national outlets including Lonely Planet, Travel Channel and Conde Nast Traveler.

Print Advertising category: An "Islandology" print campaign touted the destinations unique attributes that evoke a relaxed state of mind, combining high impact visuals with inspirational headlines to increase visitation during the fall shoulder season (October December). The campaign generated 5.1 million gross impressions and a 3.1 percent increase in paid accommodations year-over-year.

Radio Advertising category: Targeting the top feeder markets of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Columbus to entice spring travel with personalized "thank you notes," dedicated audio spots and partnerships with TargetSpot and Spotify. The campaign garnered almost 3.8 million impressions and an additional 5.9 million impressions generated through digital extension.

Websites category: Embarking on a redesign, which utilized a content-first approach with dynamic imagery and video as well as robust content and personalization software to create a more relevant and engaging user experience. Overall site traffic increased by 37 percent while digital information requests increased by 25 percent.

The Flagler Awards program, sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing organization for the state, and the Florida Commission on Tourism, recognizes outstanding tourism marketing in Florida. Every year, the Flagler Awards honor many individuals and organizations that help maintain and improve Florida's position as one of the world's most popular travel destinations. The awards are open to all individuals, private businesses and not-for-profit organizations offering a product or service that promotes tourism to or within Florida.

"It is always rewarding to gain industry recognition for our marketing efforts," said Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau Executive Director Tamara Pigott. "We are grateful to Visit Florida and Florida's Commission on Tourism for bestowing us with these prestigious Flagler Awards. By vigorously promoting and marketing The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, we will continue to raise global awareness for Florida as a preferred travel destination.

A panel of out-of-state judges, who evaluated the creativity, innovation, production, quality, and effectiveness of each entry determined the winning entries. Based on the judges' cumulative scores, awards were presented to the top three entries in each category: the Bronze Award for the third highest scoring entry, the Silver Award for the second highest scoring entry, and the Henry Award for the highest scoring entry in each of the 17 categories.

For more information, contact the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau at 239-338-3500 or toll free at 800-237-6444.

The VCB is at 2201 Second St., Suite 600, Fort Myers, FL 33901



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