Florida’s Adventure Coast/Hernando County Tourism
Client: Florida’s Adventure Coast/Hernando County Tourism
Hernando County Tourism, known by its brand as Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville – Weeki Wachee, is the destination management organization tasked with developing and growing tourism in Hernando County, Florida.
Hernando County is a rural destination in Central Florida that offers a variety of natural, cultural, and historical attractions. However, the county faces several challenges in developing and marketing its tourism sector, such as limited accommodation options, insufficient public transportation, seasonality, and competition from nearby destinations. The county also lacks a cohesive vision and strategy for its tourism development, as well as a strong brand identity and awareness among potential visitors.
Hernando County Tourism engaged HCP Associates to conduct a comprehensive strategic planning process to evaluate the awareness of the brand and identify key objectives to grow and sustain tourism in the county over the next decade. HCP Associates presented the findings and delivered a new strategic plan and a full report with identified KPIs and executable action items to be strategically implemented over the next 10 years.
Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville – Weeki Wachee serves as the official destination management organization for promoting tourist destinations in Hernando County. However, there are several challenges to tourism in the county. First, several nearby counties in the region offer similar experiences that are available in Hernando County. As part of the strategic planning process, HCP Associates conducted a competitor analysis to examine how Hernando County currently compared to nearby counties and which counties in the state offer similar attractions and amenities as Hernando County.
Second, Hernando County Tourism rebranded in 2016 to Florida’s Adventure Coast, to distinguish the county from its neighbors and other counties in the former Nature Coast. However, more than half a decade after the rebranding effort, elected officials and business owners questioned whether the new brand had effectively reached potential new visitors and distinguished the county. To measure brand awareness, HCP Associates conducted in-person dispatch interviews at popular attractions in the county at two different times a year to ascertain out-of-county sentiments. In addition, HCP Associates conducted an online panel study of potential in-market visitors to examine recent travel history to the region and interests in attractions and amenities offered in Hernando County.
HCP Associates also facilitated workshops with key stakeholders, such as local businesses, government agencies, and community organizations, to review the research findings and provide recommendations for the county’s consideration.
Based on this research and stakeholder input, HCP Associates developed a strategic plan that provides a clear roadmap for the county’s tourism development, encompassing strategic objectives, destination stewardship, community alignment, and digital conversion. The strategic plan is designed to serve as a valuable resource for the entire organization, addressing the needs of both the destination and the organization.