Nothing happens in a vacuum, as the pithy adage goes. This was proven once again Friday with the national exposure of Sarasota as a great place to visit for â€śthe quintessential beach vacation.â€ť
So said Travel + Leisure travel director Jacqui Gifford as she stopped by â€śMegyn Kelly TODAYâ€ť on Friday morning to tout four destinations ideal for Memorial Day weekend. Sarasota joined Denver, Chicago and the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in the recommendations. Gifford gushed to Kelly about the â€śperfect white sandâ€ť on Lido and Crescent beaches, the great shopping in Southside Village and the wonders of the Siesta Key Palms Hotel.
Credit Visit Sarasota County for a steady stream of pitches to various media outlets about the beaches, the culture, the sports and all things Sarasota. Lynn Hobeck Bates, VSCâ€™s communications manager, struck gold with her efforts to snag the interest of Travel + Leisure and she worked directly with the publication on Friday morningâ€™s piece.
This coup came fresh on the heels of Thursdayâ€™s VSC celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week â€” with awards presented to some of the countyâ€™s best ambassadors for visitation.
After the Megyn Kelly piece aired Friday, Visit Sarasota County president Virginia Haley called the free promotion â€śterrific.â€ť
She said what she â€śparticularly enjoyedâ€ť was the show’s recommendation of â€śone of our smaller boutique hotels.â€ť
Developer Henry Rodriguez converted a historic 1950s hotel just east of the southern bridge to Siesta Key into a tropical paradise with small private courtyards outside all 21 rooms, adult and family pools, tiki hut and an outdoor dining and barbecue area nestled among hammocks. He spent $1.9 million on the spring 2016 purchase and another $800,000 on the transformation.
â€śHenry did a great job on that property,â€ť Haley said.
The Siesta Key Palms Hotel earned a Certificate of Excellence in 2017 from TripAdvisor and currently ranks as the No. 2 hotel out of 51 in Sarasota, as 75 percent of the website’s reviewers gave it the highest rating.
â€śThe rooms are really colorful, done in the Old Florida style,â€ť Gifford said in the report. Kelly was quite enthusiastic about the peace and quiet offered by an adults-only pool.
Haley said she called Rodriguez after the piece aired. â€śTheir phones were ringing off the hook.â€ť
Which proves marketing matters. Visit Sarasota County notes that it hosts or helps more than 250 travel writers annually from various media outlets, including print and online.
â€śWe pitch these media outlets frequently and sometimes it takes time for it to evolve into a story,â€ť Bates said. â€śPatience is key.â€ť