Beachside view of the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by VIAVAL TOURS
Florida tourism agencies are looking to make a splash in the streaming industry just before the summer months begin in an effort to drive more travel traffic to the state.
During the pandemic, streaming platforms such as Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and others saw significant platform growth in 2020 driven by the work-from-home shift.
Two of Florida’s most popular destination marketing organizations took time during the pandemic to analyze the streaming boom and paired that with the inevitable comeback of the travel industry to create the ultimate marketing campaign for the Sunshine State as travel season turns the corner.
Visit Florida and Visit St. Pete-Clearwater joined forces to create an all-new scripted series that launched this month on Amazon Prime Video to show off the real gems and businesses Florida has to offer, with a Hollywood twist.
According to the Visit St. Pete-Clearwater website, ‘Life’s Rewards’ “is the Sunscreen Film Festival award-winning story of Dan, who had it easy until he waged everything on a big gamble and lost. After landing in St. Pete/Clearwater for work, Dan’s assets are frozen, forcing him to live off his questionable charisma and a massive cache of hotel points. As the story unfolds, the goodwill of others and the magic of St. Pete/Clearwater and its friendly locals help Dan abandon his ego and dedicate himself to meaningful pursuits.”
Dan uses his immense stockpile of rewards points to bunker up at the historic Don CeSar Hotel, better known as the “Pink Palace” that sits along St. Pete beach for an extended stay.
Each agency forked up $275,000 to fund the project and was filmed and co-produced by Odessey – The Studio at Miles Partnership, a Sarasota-based company.
“What makes this stand out, compared to how we as a DMO or a film commission would typically work with a production, is that the storyline [takes place] is on the destination itself,” said Steve Hayes, CEO of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater. “Therefore, when they are talking about going someplace, it’s an actual real place. When they’re talking about the Don CeSar, it is the Don; they didn’t make up another hotel name, or Tarpon Springs; it’s a real city and community.”
The eight-episode show is set entirely in St. Pete and each episode is roughly 10-15 minutes long.
The trailer for season 1 can be found by clicking the link below—the show is also streaming on YouTube and GoUSA TV.
The DMO marketing strategy in a series like this is uncharted territory but an exciting way to reach a travel demographic and uniquely market the highlighted locale in the series.
“The Florida Keys did a survey after the first season of Bloodline came out, and that had a big impact on them — the impact was about $65 million of incremental visits, and that again was on a streaming platform, that wasn’t in a post-Covid world,” said Staci Mellman, chief marketing officer at Visit Florida.
While there is no data just yet on how the series will have an impact on the city or state, it will likely take months of analyzing downloads and people tuning in before a judgment can be made.
In the meantime, the series has already gained critical acclaim by winning the “Best Breakthrough Streaming Series” award at the 2021 Sunscreen Film Festival earlier this month.
Enjoy the big screen Florida!
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Mike has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations. He once owned his own agency and has worked with some of the largest brands in the world.