The organization in charge of bringing groups and conventions to the U.S. territorial island of Puerto Rico, Meet Puerto Rico, reached its annual goal by ensuring 189,109 room nights during 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, CEO, Meet Puerto Rico.
“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 sales growth amounted to 53 percent when compared 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 November 2013, which generated over 49,000 room nights in two days. A second promotion, Escape the Meeting Blah!, was held in April and generated an additional 66,632 room nights.
Regarding the Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC), 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,” stated Segarra.
Among groups that will hold events at PRCC are IX Latin American Cities Congress, XVI Latin American Congress on Pediatric Infections and Local Governments in 2015; 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 Meet Puerto Rico has reformulated its business model to align 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 included 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, president of the board of director, Meet Puerto Rico, specified that the results are a way of showing the new trends within the organization.
She acknowledged Segarra’s leadership and his team for achieving the established goals.
“The industry is delighted with the results achieved by Meet Puerto Rico,” Ferguson reveled. “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 $3.7 million in room taxes and $4.5 million in IVU,” she said.
Of approximately $65 million in tax revenue from room nights received by the government, Meet Puerto Rico receives $4.5 million. From that amount, the organization invests $2.7 million in sales marketing and public relations with an ROI of 3,954 percent. For each dollar invested, $3,954 is injected back directly into the local economy.