Mainers looking long and hard at vacations in Kissimmee, Fla.

A familiar sight for Mainers in Kissimmee, Fla. The lighthouse, that is, not the palm tree. (Photo courtesy of Osceola County Dept. of Tourism)

A few weeks ago I met with Lauren Salisbury, a media relations person from Osceola County, Fla. She was in the process of visiting the places from where Kissimmee tourists are most likely to hail, and that journey led her to Maine, among other places.

Lauren told me that about 14,000 Mainers visit Kissimmee — near Orlando, which is known for Disney World and other amusement parks — each year, and she’d scheduled her tour to see where these folks were coming from, how they could continue to appeal to their most loyal tourists and make connections in their local media outlets.

It was an interesting approach to public relations, from my vantage point. I’ve never similarly been called for a face-to-face visit with anybody representing Pasadena, for instance, or Madrid.

What appeals to Mainers about Kissimmee? Well, after brainstorming the subject with Lauren earlier this month, we decided it’s probably that Kissimmee prides itself in offering a lot of the same outdoors activities Mainers enjoy in Maine — kayaking, hiking, things of that nature — but with warmer weather and a change of scenery. Of course, there are amusement parks and golf courses and all of those other things Mainers might travel to Florida to enjoy as well.

Interestingly — and this is why I tacked the headline that I did on this post — Lauren reported that Mainers are unusually studious online researchers when it comes to Kissimmee.

When you guys visit the new website, you stay 40 percent longer, access more than 35 percent more content, and are almost 225 percent more likely to sign up for the free newsletter than their average visitors.

This immediately made me think there must be illicit content of some kind on the site, but I checked it out, and it seems wholesome. While I don’t have comparative numbers to gauge how Mainers are viewing websites for other places they’re planning to visit, the Kissimmee online experience certainly suggests Pine Tree Staters aren’t making their vacation decisions lightly.

Where else are you guys looking when you’re planning to get away? Any favorite out-of-state retreats?

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.