One of the biggest surprises to me is the complete lack of advertising from businesses in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in the Central Mass area

As I write this column, we are flying to Fort Lauderdale today; wouldn’t businesses in these areas want me to stay at their hotel, go to their theme park or restaurant?

Considering that we have 54,000 people per month (assume 90% load factor) wouldn’t you think more business would spend some money here advertising their businesses? It makes me wonder, are we are advertising in those markets for people to come to Central Massachusetts?

Another surprise for me has been is that it appears that on a day-to-day basis, Fort Lauderdale is selling better then Orlando. Considering all the family attractions and despite the fact that Fort Lauderdale has connections to points South, I thought Orlando would be more popular.

Have you ever tried to travel with a family to a larger airport? Parking, walking through the airport, long check-in and TSA lines, versus the 10 minutes from car to gate at ORH! There is no reason that Worcester should not be the number 1 choice of all families traveling to Orlando within 40 miles of ORH.

Good news
Destination Worcester and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce are addressing these concerns. They have teamed-up with Massport, the Fort Lauderdale CVB, and the Orlando CVB to host a trade show that targets travel agents/agencies. The event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 4-7:30 pm at the airport.

The purpose of the trade show is to educate local agents/agencies about the new and convenient air service (JetBlue) from Worcester to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale (and connecting flights to Latin American destinations), to showcase the airport and its amenities, and to highlight unique vacation packages for travel (e.g., cruises, hotel accommodations, transportation, large-scale events, etc.)

Exhibitors to date include (from Florida and locally), including Disney, Universal Studios, Sandals, Royal Caribbean Cruises, SeaWorld, Marriott, Sheraton, Worcester Airport Limousine, Knight’s Limousine, and more. The show will feature presentations about the new service, travel packages, opportunities for cross-promotion, etc. Refreshments, a signature drink, hors d’oeuvres, and a beach theme will add some spunk to the event.

Working together
chamberTravel agents are an extremely important market for the airline and the airport to succeed. Over 400 travel agents are being targeting and AAA of Southern New England has been engaged. They have also recruited TripAdvisor and MOTT to assist with presentations and an educational component. All are very enthusiastic to work with us in helping to make this event a success!

Stay tuned; I will have more information on this event going forward as we get closer to the date. Let’s hope they call it something like “Live from T1”, like JetBlue does for their T5 Live events at JFK. Maybe the Chamber could advertise this event of the digital billboard on Route 146 and Route 290

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