Visit Florida picks network for Europe, Asia outreach

TALLAHASSEE, FL: Visit Florida has hired a team of firms to promote the state throughout Europe and Asia.

TALLAHASSEE, FL: Visit Florida has hired a team of firms to promote the state throughout Europe and Asia.

The tourism organization gave the first contract, valued at $2 million, to Reputations UK Limited, which will serve as the lead contractor managing a network of communications agencies in Europe.

The subcontractors on the European account include UK-based Gosh PR and Germany's Lieb Management and Mikulla Goldmann. Visit Florida has never collaborated with Lieb, but it is familiar with the firm's work because it promotes Ft. Lauderdale abroad, said Tracy Vaughan, director of international sales and marketing at the organization.

Reputations UK was the incumbent on the account, which it had subcontracted to Gosh PR. Mikulla Goldmann was the incumbent in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It includes PR, marketing, and sales.

Approximately 3.4 million people made the trek from Europe to Florida in 2011, up from the previous year, she added.

 “What was really important to us was who was well connected and who knows the Visit Florida partners,” Vaughan said about the selection of Reputations.

The contract is for one year with the option for two additional years. It requires Reputation and its partners to provide PR support that includes handling media requests in targeted markets and helping reporters develop niche or unique stories about the state, according to the RFP.  

The network will also market Florida through social media and oversee paid media elements.

Reputations has previously worked with the state, however most of its prior work was focused on the UK and Ireland.

“We feel like we chose the right partners, and I feel that was crucial for us in winning the bid,” said Sue Marshall, marketing director at Reputations UK.

For the emerging markets of China, India, and Oceania, the Florida state tourism body appointed AviaReps Marketing Garden. That account is worth $425,000. Last year, 938,000 people traveled from Asia to Florida, also up from 2010, said Vaughan.

AviaReps had previously worked with Visit Florida on outreach in Asia.

“The sheer size of the India market, the explosive growth of its middle class, and rapidly growing airlift ensure that India will become an increasingly important source market for tourism to the US in the coming decade,” said Michael Merner, chairman of the firm, via email.

The contract is similar to its European counterpart in both scope and duration, according to the RFP.

Visit Florida hired Ketchum as its PR AOR and SapientNitro as its digital AOR earlier this year.

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