TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 27, 2012) – Today, VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – is proud to announce the selection of Will Seccombe as its new President and CEO. Seccombe, VISIT FLORIDA’s Chief Marketing Officer since 2008, has been serving as the Acting President and CEO since Chris Thompson’s departure to head Brand USA. Today’s unanimous vote by the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors to have Seccombe become Thompson’s permanent replacement is the culmination of a deliberate process by a six-member executive search committee in concert with the national recruiting firm SearchWide.
“With Will as our new President and CEO, VISIT FLORIDA’s future is in great hands,” said Glenn Hastings, Chairman of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. “In his four years as CMO, Will’s vision and drive to succeed have elevated the state’s tourism marketing efforts to an unprecedented level and have put VISIT FLORIDA in a very strong position to pursue our vision of establishing Florida as the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”
During Seccombe’s four years as Chief Marketing Officer for VISIT FLORIDA, the organization has transformed into a national model for its highly-effective, public-private, industry-driven tourism marketing efforts. Since 2008, the Florida tourism industry has experienced record visitation, visitor spending and job creation. Under Seccombe’s direction, VISIT FLORIDA has achieved all-time highs on its return on investment of $258 in tourism spending and $15 in new sales tax collections for every $1 spent on tourism marketing.
“For the past four years, Will has been the creative genius behind all of VISIT FLORIDA’s “big ideas” and the bulldog who sees those projects through to their successful conclusion,” said Chris Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA and former President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “He is a proud and tireless representative of the Florida tourism industry and an innovative thinker who constantly challenges himself to stay on the cutting edge of travel marketing strategy. I have watched Will inspire and motivate the VISIT FLORIDA team to perform at the highest level and am confident that the organization and, by extension the industry, will continue to lead the nation with him at the helm.”
Seccombe has over twenty-three years of professional experience including nineteen years in the Colorado tourism industry. After holding executive positions in the ski industry, with the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and PRACO, LTD, he founded Revolution Communications, LLC, a travel marketing firm based in Denver, Colorado. Since joining VISIT FLORIDA in 2008, Seccombe has been named one of the “Top Twenty-Five Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing” by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and is included in Social Media Marketing Magazine’s list of the Top CMO’s on Twitter.
His leadership efforts while at VISIT FLORIDA have led to numerous award-winning programs, including the “Your Florida Side Is Calling” advertising campaign, a rebranding of the VISITFLORIDA.com consumer website, the creation of the unique social media platform “Florida Live,” the in-state advocacy campaign “Share a Little Sunshine,” the “Great VISIT FLORIDA Beach Walk” grassroots photo fest and the highly-targeted “Sunshine Moments” social media campaign.
Seccombe recently announced several new VISIT FLORIDA initiatives, including a new advertising campaign launching in January, a Florida lifestyle television show on the Cooking Channel hosted by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, a strong commitment to content through our expanded network of freelance journalists, and a multi-marketing platform for Viva Florida 500 to commemorate the state’s quincentennial in 2013.
“I am incredibly proud of what VISIT FLORIDA and the Florida tourism industry have accomplished together and am honored by the opportunity I’ve been given to lead this amazing organization,” said Seccombe. “The record growth in visitation, our incredible strategic partnerships and the outstanding return on investment that our marketing efforts have achieved are truly a testament to the strength of Florida’s tourism product and the creative and passionate work being done by VISIT FLORIDA and our partners statewide.”
“I look forward to building on the momentum and energy that we’ve established so that the Sunshine State truly becomes the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” continued Seccombe.