Global Outposts Funnel Visitors To Miami
By Blanca Venegas
The addition of Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau global marketing representatives over the past couple of years has contributed to record-breaking numbers of Miami-Dade visitors.
According to Rolando Aedo, the bureau’s senior vice president of marketing and tourism, the visitor industry’s total economic impact here last year was $21.8 billion generated by 13.9 million visitors.
"Both numbers were record on top of a record," Mr. Aedo said.
Having marketing teams around the globe is also cost effective, he said, as saved airfare can be reinvested in additional marketing sales outreach.
"We are the most international domestic destination, with 50% of our business being from international markets, so it is of critical importance for us to invest in international resources."
The marketing teams abroad aren’t bureau employees but are "contracted relationships" that allow flexibility to make changes as necessary. About $300,000 is spent annually on the global marketing teams, Mr. Aedo said.
"By having someone in the market who speaks the language fluently and who has the intelligence on what’s happening, it becomes very cost effective," he said, "It would be financially impossible for me to have someone in Miami go back and forth and do the same thing."
However, the cost of having international marketing teams may differ from country to country.
A key goal of the network of representatives and the Miami office is to extend visitor stays here.
"Staying one or two extra days has a tremendous amount of economic impact for the Miami-Dade County, which translates in helping sustain more hospitality jobs," Mr. Aedo said.
Last year, the bureau planned on additional marketing teams in Brazil — its number one international market. Now, bureau representatives can be found in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte.
"We have five representatives in Brazil," Mr. Aedo said, "Brazil continues to be a critically important market for us."
With about seven daily flight services from Brazil to Miami, Mr. Aedo said, Brazil has not only become number one in terms of expenditures but has now climbed at the top of the Miami visitors list.
Working closely with airlines flying into the bureau’s markets is the core strategy at expanding its global team, as 50% of Miami business comes from international markets.
"Our strategy has been to take full advantage of direct flights, working closely with airlines, tour operators and the retail travel agent community," Mr. Aedo said.
Currently, the bureau has links with marketing teams in 45 cities around the world, he said, including California, New York, Washington and the home office in Miami.
Having representatives in Russia is relatively new, thanks to the recent availability of flight services from Miami to Moscow.
"We did not have a direct service to Moscow for many years, but it has become re-established last year," Mr. Aedo said.
"The one area we don’t have direct service from is Asia," he added, "We are looking closely at Asia."
The bureau is working closely with the Miami International Airport and its route development team to put together incentive packages to expand marketing services to Asia.
Said Mr. Aedo, "We are always looking."To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.