Visit Sarasota County wins prestigious state tourism award in recognition of direct mail campaign

Presentation made during annual Governor’s Conference, held in Orlando early this month

Kelly Defebo (left) and Jess Bertolini celebrate the award during the Governor’s Conference. Contributed photo

Last week, during the annual Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which Visit Florida hosted in Orlando, Visit Sarasota County — Sarasota County’s tourism office — was honored with one of the prestigious Flagler Awards, Visit Sarasota County has announced.

The Flagler Awards “are presented to outstanding organizations and individuals [to] recognize innovation and resourcefulness in Florida tourism,” a news release explains. “As Visit Florida is the official tourism marketing corporation for the state,” the release adds, winners of a Flagler Award consider it “a high honor.”

Visit Sarasota County earned a Bronze Flagler Award in the Direct Marketing category, the release continues. Visit Sarasota County sent a “coaches card” through direct mail, working to interest a variety of coaches — especially those associated with rowing, swimming and other water sports — in the county’s facilities, the release notes.

Cutting-edge direct marketing efforts of all types for consumers were entered into the category, the release adds. Visit Sarasota County’s mailer reached 3,800 sports personnel “and was widely praised for its creativity and unique design,” the release points out.

The Flagler Awards of Visit Florida draw upon entries from tourism partners of all sizes across the state, the release also notes. They serve as a “reminder to the world that Florida is one of the most sought-after travel destinations for good reason.”

Established in the year 2000, the release adds, the awards do not just recognize tourism marketing in Florida, but they also “ultimately promote continued ingenuity.”

A panel of judges evaluates each award entry on the basis of a variety of criteria, “including production quality, effectiveness, and creativity,” the release says. The top three highest scoring entries in each category are honored after the judges’ cumulative scores are tallied.