Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bure
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau seeks third marketing team in Brazil
By Scott Blake
Miami marketers knew enough to get down to Brazil a long time ago.
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has had marketing representatives for many years based in Brazil's two largest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The bureau now plans to add a third based in another large Brazilian city, such as Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Porto Alegre or Recife.
"We're looking at cities that have ties to the population of Miami," said Rolando Aedo, the bureau's senior vice president of marketing and tourism.
"We're hoping to identify another partner or partners [within Brazil] to help us penetrate these markets," Mr. Aedo said.
Florida officials have tried to foster the growing economic connections between Brazil and the Sunshine State.
In October, for example, Gov. Rick Scott led a team of 187 Florida representatives, including about 90 from South Florida, on a trade mission to Brazil. The five-day trip was based out of São Paulo, one of Brazil's industrial centers with a population of more than 11 million.
From the bureau's perspective, the goal is to fill Greater Miami hotel rooms and bolster the local consumer economy. Last year alone, more than 650,000 Brazilians visited Miami-Dade County, spending about $1.35 billion, more than visitors from any other foreign nation, according to the bureau.
Mr. Aedo said tradeshows and trade missions to Brazil are important, but it wouldn't be complete without having representatives there who can provide a permanent presence — someone who knows Brazil's travel markets and their key players.
That person could be a well-seasoned travel executive from the airline industry or the tour business, or it could be firm that provides general sales agent services for a number of clients in given markets, Mr. Aedo said.
The representative person or firm is expected to make sales calls, visit travel agents and tour operators, provide logistical support for a group coming down from Florida on a sales mission, identify top and up-and-coming travel industry performers in given markets, and keep in touch with airlines about potential new flights or routes.
In addition, the representative is expected to keep track of what is happening in Miami, including keeping apprised of local travel offers, new hotels and attractions to sell to customers in Brazil.
As always, a barrier to marketing overseas is cost.
That has been another reason the bureau has focused on hiring representatives in Brazil, because overall it is less expensive than repeatedly sending representatives down from the US, Mr. Aedo said.
Another way to reduce marketing costs has been to invite travel writers from Brazil and other nations to Miami, with local hotels and others private partners helping to defray the costs.
The writers generally are expected to write about their Miami stays in their overseas publications — the results being less costly and perhaps more effective than placing advertisements in those publications.
The more successful the bureau and its partners are at that, the more revenue the bureau receives for marketing from its share of local hotel tax revenue.
Using that formula, Mr. Aedo said, "we've been able to avoid budget cuts."