Discover Puerto Rico remains ‘optimistic’ for tourism sector recovery
As Discover Puerto Rico continues to work closely with partners on and off-Island to accelerate the economic recovery that is underway, it is citing positive trends pointing toward what it called “the great recovery of travel and tourism.”
“Consumers want to travel, and while some are determined to travel regardless of the health outlook, others remain cautious or even hesitant. This is why it’s so important for us to continue to deliver precisely the right message to reassure prospective visitors that future travel to Puerto Rico is both safe and enjoyable,” Discover Puerto Rico CEO Brad Dean said during the entity’s May Industry Update.
He said there has been “strong response” to recent advertising efforts “which continue to deliver a healthy mix of information and inspiration and drive increased yield. Likewise, the positive accolades we’ve received from trade publications, travel writers and influencers provide added assurance that our strategies are working.”
In April, Discover Puerto Rico’s website showed “strong performance,” including both month-over-month and year-over-year, with three months of record site traffic. Last month, the organization saw time on site go up and bounce rate down, “which shows the right consumers are seeing the advertising and then visiting the site,” the entity said.
“In the first quarter of the year, organic traffic accounted for more than 51% of sessions on the website, totaling 1.5 million. Compared to the fourth quarter of last year, we saw an increase of 87% in the first quarter of this year,” said Leah Chandler, CMO of Discover Puerto Rico.
“In February of 2018, the old site SeePuertoRico.com saw more than 28,000 organic sessions compared to 456,632 organic sessions three years later in February 2021, which is an 1,517% increase,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kelly Craighead, president of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), who joined the May Industry Update as guest speaker, stressed the island’s standing as a preferred cruise ship destination.
“Puerto Rico is an incredibly important cruise market that attracts 1.6 million cruisers to the island as part of their cruise experience. These visitors, including those who fly specifically to Puerto Rico for land-cruise holidays, support nearly 4,000 direct jobs and $56 million in direct wages, and we are working on their behalf to resume cruising this summer,” said Craighead.
“While there is still much work to be done, we have been encouraged by our recent dialogue with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and members of the interagency groups to support the type of responsible resumption we have seen in other parts of the world since last July — with health and safety protocols that are leading the way and have demonstrated effectiveness with a lower incidence rate than on land,” she said.
Data reported by leading travel and tourism research show that passenger arrivals and hotel occupancy are correlated. The island’s occupancy for April 2021 beats 2019 numbers, and every month through the rest of the year is currently booking above where we were at the same point in time two years ago.
So, it is possible that Puerto Rico could be on track for a full recovery of demand this year, Discover Puerto Rico officials said.
In the leisure sales area, Discover Puerto Rico continues to engage with travel advisors through co-op programs implementing activities that drive traffic to bookings. With this strategy, leading to landing pages and making booking services easy has proven to be the most effective path to conversion, and the best way to invest funding.
The DMO is focused on all key segments and sources of leisure business, including, travel agents through consortia, associations, and local chapters; wholesalers in the U.S. and internationally; and membership driven travel enterprises.
“We are encouraged by these positive trends, but recognize much work remains to be done. As your DMO our goal remains the same: to lead a recovery effort that outpaces our competition and launches Puerto Rico beyond pre-pandemic levels, enabling us to reach record heights for our visitor economy,” said Dean.
“You can be certain the team at will continue to do all we can to get your business back to where it needs to be,” he added.