On Tuesday, August 6th the Celebration Area Council held their first Business Spotlight, which they hope will become a regular event going forward. The Business Spotlight series aims to offer a “Celebration 101” crash course and to bring Celebration businesses and people together. This first outing had a bit of a tourism theme and was held at the offices of Experience Kissimmee at 215 Celebration Place. Attendees heard presentations from several local companies before taking some time to network and enjoy champagne in Experience Kissimmee’s Google Bar. Here’s some of what we took away from the presenting companies:
Debby Guertin, Director of Community Relations with Experience Kissimmee explained how tourism impacts us in Osceola County. The annual economic impact of the tourism industry in Osceola County is $5.3 billion. (Yes, billion…with a “b.”) 8.9 million people visit Kissimmee each year and spend an annual total of $3.8 billion while they are here. Their impact generates 45,000 jobs in Osceola County. Experience Kissimmee is Osceola County’s destination marketing organization (DMO), and therefore it is their mission to “create economic opportunity for our community by driving visitation to the destination.”
If you are living under a rock, or have been on an extended vacation, you might have missed that Florida Hospital is now AdventHealth. Erika Vera, Director of Business Development with AdventHealth clarified that this change does not reflect a merger or change in ownership. AdventHealth’s system of hospitals has always been owned by Adventist Health System, and they are simply unifying their properties around the country under one name for reasons of clarity and easy recognition. Some exciting changes coming to the AdventHealth Celebration campus include expanded women’s health services, a dedicated pediatric emergency department to open in October 2019, and advanced neurosurgical care and comprehensive stroke program. A new patient tower and expanded parking will open soon.
Avius is a company that offers real-time feedback solutions. Ben Story, CEO of Avius, shared their technology, which helps provide insights into customer experiences for major companies that include Macy’s, Legoland, and Los Angeles International Airport. Locally, they just started a trial program with SeaWorld, where their devices provide the park with real-time feedback (within 30 seconds), and have already collected 600,000 surveys in the last 4 months. To see Avius’ technology in action, visit Chick-fil-a in Celebration. Take the customer feedback survey, and also let them know where you’re from and check out the real-time map of worldwide visitors to Chick-fil-a’s Celebration location!
Mark Ortenzo with Main Street Strollers explained their solution to experiencing Central Florida with toddlers in tow. They offer stroller rentals that can be used throughout all parks, retail locations, and even on out-of-area excursions, and then returned before the customer flies home. They offer an affiliate partner program to make the stroller booking process easy via hotel, travel agency, rental company, visitor information center, or other local business.
Old Town has been a staple on West 192, just down the street from Celebration, since 1986. Todd Larkin shared some of its history, reported on some new offerings, and outlined further changes that can be expected in the coming months. Old Town offers events for all ages every night and continues to be home to the Saturday Classic Car Show and Cruise, which is now America’s longest running weekly car show! A 13,000 square foot expansion is in its final stages of construction and new restaurants, including a new-concept Shoney’s, and retails spaces will open soon. The long-awaited garage bar is also almost complete.
It’s no secret that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29th. Sylvia Tough, Sales Manager with Walt Disney World Meetings & Events, shared that Galaxy’s Edge is the largest single-themed expansion ever created in a Disney park. This 14 acre, $1 billion expansion will mean 1,700 new operations jobs, plus an additional 5,500 temporary jobs created as part of the construction period. The new themed area will include two attractions, seven food and beverage locations, and eight immersive shops. Sylvia also reminded attendees that Disney Meetings & Events can offer meeting and event planning services to local businesses and organizations in addition to those that travel in from out of town.
If you missed out on the August Business Spotlight, and would like an opportunity to get up-close with Celebration area businesses, please attend the CAC’s next Business Spotlight event on October 1, which will have more of a Downtown Celebration theme!