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Meet Puerto Rico Exceeds Groups and Conventions’ Sales Goal
The organization in charge of bringing groups and conventions to the Island, Meet Puerto Rico, reached its annual goal by ensuring 189,109 room nights during this fiscal year 2013-2014. This translates into 409 groups and over 100,000 delegates who, in the next few years, will visit the island either for a meeting, conference, convention or incentive travel according to Milton Segarra, Meet Puerto Rico's CEO.
"It has been a year of challenges, but we were able to focus on our goal of positioning Puerto Rico as the ideal destination for groups and conventions. For the first time in over 10 years we met and exceeded by a 100.9 percent our goal of 187,500 room nights," emphasized Segarra. He added that the sales growth was 53 percent when comparing it with fiscal year 2012-2013, which closed with 120,984 room nights booked.
The entity carried out two promotional efforts with great acceptance from the industry. The first one, Dial & Smile, took place in the month of November 2013, which generated over 49,000 room nights in two days. The second one was held this past April, the Escape the Meeting Blah! Promotion, which generated an additional 66,632 room nights.
With regards to the Convention Center, Segarra explained that Meet Puerto Rico has a contract with the Convention Center District to sell and market the Center internationally. "This year we were able to ensure 30,394 night rooms for the Center, an increase of 69 percent compared to FY 2012-2013."
Among the groups that will be holding their events are the IX Latin American Cities Congress and Local Governments in 2015, the XVI Latin American Congress on Pediatric Infections in 2015, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Annual Meeting in 2017 and in 2022, the Society of Critical Care Medicine Congress.
Segarra, who has been leading the organization for a year highlighted that in the past months they have reformulated the organization's business model to align it with the changes and trends within the industry. "We were able to embrace the change, identify the needs, transform the organization and stay current and relevant within the industry," indicated Segarra. Among the most significant changes done by the organization are a re-branding, a new advertising campaign, the re-launch of its website, an increase in social media use, changes in the sales force, new measurements, and a decrease in operational costs.
Joanne Ferguson, Meet Puerto Rico's Board of Director's President, said that the results are a way of showing the new trends within the organization and acknowledged Segarra's leadership and his team for achieving the established goals. "The industry is delighted with the results achieved by Meet Puerto Rico. This means more business for the hotels, but also for the small and medium sized businesses whose services we offer to these groups."
Ferguson emphasized the organization's contribution to the Island's economy. "The amount of room nights that were ensured for Puerto Rico have a multiplying effect in the local economy. This means that $110 million are injected into the economy, and on top of that, the government receives $3.7million in room taxes and $4.5 million in IVU."
Of an approximate total of $65 million in tax revenue from room nights that the government receives, Meet Puerto Rico receives $4.5 million. From that amount, the organization invests $2.7 million in sales marketing and public relations. The ROI is 3,954%. Meaning that for each dollar invested, $3,954 is injected back directly into the local economy. For more information go to www.meetpuertorico.com.
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