|VISIT FLORIDA Shares Enhanced 2016 Hurricane Season Plan|
As we approach the start of the 2016 Hurricane Season, I wanted to share the resources and action steps VISIT FLORIDA has developed to ensure Florida’s visitors have access to real-time, hyper-local information. It is our hope that these efforts will allow our visitors to make the most informed travel-planning decisions possible in preparation for a potential weather threat that might impact the state.
Each spring, VISIT FLORIDA’s crisis management response team re-addresses our Hurricane Crisis Preparedness Plan, updating it as needed and ensuring it is ready to implement. Additional steps taken in advance of this year’s hurricane season include:
- Working closely with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to align our response steps
- Revamping and testing our consumer messaging response efforts on VISITFLORIDA.com, including the Travel Alert and supporting Travel Advisory page offering official state response resources, mapped links to live Twitter feeds from DMOs, webcam feeds from tourism destinations, videos created by our Content team and an aggregation of industry and consumer social media posts using #FloridaNow
- Testing our Emergency Accommodations Module (EAM) activation process which allows us to provide statewide accommodations availability on VISITFLORIDA.com, its associated mobile site and the state’s FloridaEvacuates.com website should a widespread evacuation order impacting visitors be declared within the state
- Hosting an industry webinar to share the details of our Hurricane Response Plan including communications, content, paid and social media efforts, as well as training on how to populate the EAM should the need arise
- Updating the Hurricane Information page within our Crisis Preparation section on VISITFLORIDA.org which contains a link to the EAM webinar, helpful FAQs, media relations tips and resources for communicating with key audiences in times of crisis
- Verifying information for all our local tourism contacts should we need to mobilize the industry
VISIT FLORIDA is proud to play the vital role of serving as a liaison between the hyper-local information that our tourism partners have in each community and the visitors and emergency responders who need those details in order to make well-informed decisions. Remaining in regular contact with state emergency officials and tourism industry representatives ensure we are able to share the very latest updates through our consumer website, our mobile site and the staff at our five Official Florida Welcome Centers.
Visitors looking for the latest weather or travel updates will find that information on the VISITFLORIDA.com home page in an alert box activated as an orange ribbon at the top of the screen whenever a potential crisis situation arises. A link from there takes users to a page with many more resources we’ve compiled, including:
- Details on the latest official weather or storm alerts
- Links to the Florida Emergency Information 24-hour Hotline and Florida 511 road closure information
- Links to the National Hurricane Center and Florida Division of Emergency Management websites
- Live local updates from our Destination Marketing Organization partners via Twitter
- Live webcam feeds from tourism destinations around the state
- Videos created by VISIT FLORIDA’s content team featuring first non-impacted areas and later impacted areas once recovered
- An aggregated feed of social media posts using #FloridaNow
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our industry Partners, whose willingness to be involved in VISIT FLORIDA’s crisis response programs and diligence in providing vital local information in real time ensures our visitors have the resources they need to stay safe in the Sunshine State.
Director of Executive Operations