Connecting and Protecting the Florida Keys

NewmanPR launched the ambitious “Connect and Protect” initiative to position the 125-mile-long island chain as a global leader in responsible tourism.

The “Connect and Protect” theme focused on sustainability and motivating visitors to include experiential, transformational, environmental and voluntourism activities. Objectives included protecting the destination’s unique natural environment — including the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef — and preserving its local lifestyle.

Launched in late 2018, Connect and Protect ran through 2019, and targeted the 4 million annual international and domestic visitors with a further objective of generating media coverage in Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Strategies included themed press trips, social media mini-videos, a consumer contest, a new website section, a “Keys Traveler” print magazine and dedicated e-newsletters.

Results of the comprehensive campaign included tens of millions of earned media and social media impressions, but a more significant measure of the campaign’s effectiveness was in tourism metrics.

Of 14 Florida tourism markets surveyed in December 2019, the Keys posted the highest year-to-date occupancy rate, with Key West at 84.2% and the entire Florida Keys at 76.6%; and average daily room rates in Key West at $291.52 and the Florida Keys at $277.32 — an increase of 3.9%.