Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber Members Presented ‘The Highland Study’ at Luncheon

Barb Harrington of Hillgate Marketing Services presented The Highland Study commissioned by The Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau to members of Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce at the June business lunch.

The Highland Study has become a tool for Lee County and its lodging partners to sustain, build market share and increase lodging revenue. Accommodation spending was up 8.3 percent to $2.1 billion or 70 percent of all tourism spending in 2015, according to the VCB. Direct visitor spending reached $3 billion in the same year, but the VCB says there is room for more tourism dollars.

“(By a show of hands) every business here is impacted by tourism,” Harrington said. “The market is changing. Are you able to keep up?”

The new guest is the Millennial, a market up 12.5 percent in 2015, and are known to review instantly – making first impressions important as ever. Lodging is either regularly improved or deteriorates rapidly. Reinvestment and renovation are crucial to remain competitive. Crisp, fresh, contemporary, clean and bright are the new keywords to look for in reviews.

“Regular updates to paint, linens, furnishings and décor will increase earning potential and renovated vacation rentals significantly increase annual revenue,” Harrington said. “We must ask ourselves how much money are we willing to leave on the table.”

To learn more about The Highland Study, visit

Members enjoyed lunch at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, one of those places in tune with its natural environment. The 18-hole championship golf course was masterfully designed by 10-time P.G.A. Tour winner and renowned course designer Mark McCumber. It sits within a stunning wildlife preserve sanctioned by the Audubon Society and was the view for the afternoon from the clubhouse.

Lunch sponsor A Better Bug Man introduced Nicole Williams of Application Dynamics, who spoke about mosquito control. Application Dynamics has been protecting families from mosquito-born diseases for more than three decades. It has developed a technology to fight mosquitoes, now offered by A Better Bug Man. For more information on mosquito control around your home, contact A Better Bug Man at 239-454-2847.