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Casandra Matej, president and CEO, Visit Orlando, offers top tips for agents

As holidays to the US are back on the cards for Brits, Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, discusses what’s new in the region, and also offers agents tips to secure those all-important bookings.

I can listen to a UK accent for hours! As a native Texan, I have been told by my British friends that I have a “southern” US accent, which they are also drawn to. I think our differences and similarities are worth celebrating! In Orlando, we strive to be the nation’s most inclusive travel destination, with a commitment to creating wondrous adventures for all visitors, regardless of their background. As the new president and CEO of Visit Orlando, The Official Tourism Association for Orlando and Theme Park Capital of the World, I have enjoyed learning about what attracts UK visitors to Orlando – and what keeps them coming back!

While we don’t expect meaningful acceleration in international markets until 2022 due to the pandemic, we know the UK will likely be our first international market to return. In fact, Visit Orlando just launched a Winter UK campaign to recapture travellers’ imaginations and inspire them to visit Orlando when they are ready to travel. With that in mind, winter is coming and that means shorter days and chilly temperatures in the UK. In Orlando, we are fortunate to have year-round temperate weather and sunshine, so I know your clients have begun researching those winter sun or February half-term family holidays, keeping safety in mind. Orlando is home to some of the most respected tourism businesses in the world, that are known for taking safety extremely seriously. Our community has a collaboration of local government and businesses working together to prioritise safety in all we do.

Despite the challenges of pandemic, our destination has continued to expand and develop. From an 18-month, 50th anniversary celebration and a new theme park opening, to record-breaking thrill rides and a world-renowned performing arts venue, your clients will have so much to enjoy when they’re ready to travel again. We’re excited to welcome additional airlift like Aer Lingus’ new service from Manchester starting in December. This new service will make Orlando even more accessible for travellers across the country. We can’t wait to welcome our UK visitors back – and credit our trade partners like you, for helping us tell our story and create the most memorable holidays possible for customers.

With that in mind, I’d like to leave you with three of our top tips for selling Orlando holidays:

KNOWLEDGE IS KEY

There’s a lot to do in Orlando and it can sometimes be intimidating for customers. They will be more likely to confirm a booking with a knowledgeable agent who can take some of this pressure off by offering advice and recommendations. Many resources are available for travel advisors at www.visitorlando.com/trade, with videos featuring accommodation, attractions, and outdoor activities.

ARRANGE ATTRACTION TICKETS IN ADVANCE

Customers will save time and money if they purchase theme park tickets in advance, and your agency can earn additional profits if they book through you.

AVOID OVER-PLANNING

The Walt Disney World Resort alone covers 122 sq kilometres – about the size of Manchester! Parks and attractions are spread out and can take up to 30 minutes to drive between. Suggest to your customers that they avoid scheduling too much into one day and allow plenty of time for travel and down time to relax by the pool or go shopping.

www.visitorlando.com


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