Caesar’s Entertainment and Saleforce members build wheelchairs for veterans


Caesars Entertainment, the world’s most geographically-diverse U.S casino-entertainment company, and Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, have given more than “Thank you for your service” appreciation to veterans in Las Vegas, NV. Forty team members of the two companies joined forces to build and donate eight wheelchairs to the veterans through Veterans Village. The build-a-wheelchair event was hosted at the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel at The LINQ Promenade, adjacent to Caesars Forum, which opens in 2020. This is not Caesar’s Entertainment first give-back to Veterans program. Since 2013 when they launched the Enlisting Heroes program, more than 280 activities have been produced and more than $1 million has been donated. Salesforce created their Vetforce program, which is the internal employee resource group, to build connections between our ecosystem and the military community. Vets and spouses have training opportunities, achieve Saleforce certification, and get connected to high-demand and high-wage employment opportunities.;

Gaylord hotels snow tubing at ICE shows

Book a qualifying Rewarding EventSM in Gaylord Hotels by December 31, 2018, for meetings held in 2019 and earn double points at participating hotels. Marriott International will donate 2,500 Rewarding Events points to Clean the World® for every qualifying meeting booked at participating hotels, up to 10 million points. Clean the World is a charity that recycles used soaps from hotels to improve hygiene and sanitation in under privileged communities.; (877) 677-9352

I participated in a wonderful event, the fifth annual Thanks and Giving hosted by Shepard Orlando. Volunteers were told that in two-hours, about 40 people can pack 15,000 ready-to-eat-meals. I think our motivated group went well above the totals. Additionally, we helped My Neighbor’s Children prepare hygiene kits for Hurricane Michael survivors. We had a fun time. Many of the Meeting Professionals International Orlando family were there, encouraging one another. This is an event any group can host with Shephard Orlando, anywhere in the country.

Anthony CasellaNational Sales Manager, or Amy Barkley, National Sales Manager.;

U.S Veterans and active military personnel receive free standard parking and park admissions through the end of November at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, in addition to 50 percent off tickets for up to six guests and up to 25 percent off overnight stays. To receive free admission, valid military ID or proof of veteran status must be presented at the theme park ticket windows and parking toll plaza on the day of their visit. To book a discounted overnight stay, visit This offer is not available online or by phone. Valid military ID or proof of veteran status is required to receive all offers. To receive free admission and purchase discounted tickets, please visit a LEGOLAND Florida Resort ticket window on the day of visit.


Ceiling fresco in Vatican Museum in Rome, one of 2018’s hottest destination cities. I was there in 2018. photo by Karen Kuzsel

Whether you follow the travel trends or want to avoid the crowds, these lists should find a place on your planning schedule. Global DMC Partners, the largest global network of independent Destination Management Companies (DMCs), compiled a list of the most popular meeting and incentive destinations around the world for 2018, and used it to identify up-and-coming markets. Data was gathered from 6,000 meeting and incentive programs across 2018 and 2019 in over 500 destinations that Global DMC Partners represents.

In 2018, the Top 10 International Cities for 2018 began with Paris, followed by Amsterdam, Munich, Stockholm, Vienna, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Prague and Rome. The Top 10 North American Cities were Las Vegas, NV; Orlando, FL; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; San Diego, CA; Washington, DC; Los Angeles, CA and New Orleans, LA. President of Global DMC Partners, Catherine Chaulet, said many “secondary destinations that didn’t make our list, but that fall within the top 10%. Destinations in Asia, like Singapore and Hong Kong, and in the United States, such as Nashville, Seattle, and Austin.” So, with all this data in mind, here is Global DMC Partners’ Meeting & Incentive Destination Hot List for 2019. In the #1 spot is Costa Rica, followed in order by Bahamas, Malta, Puerto Rico, Morocco, Croatia, St. Lucia, Denver/Colorado Springs, South Africa and Thailand. “Part of our responsibility is to open up the world to our clients, so that they can encounter different cultures and experience something extraordinary. Identifying destinations for this list helps us present secondary markets and those intriguing destinations that our clients will soon discover are also perfect for meetings and incentives. Flight lift patterns, cost-effective local options, and a wide range of unique activities are just a few of the reasons why these destinations are already showing popularity for 2019,” says Chaulet.

Isle Grand Living Rooms have been renovated.


Two TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach (FL) are receiving a $13 million redo. While all 211 rooms at the Guy Harvey Outpost are getting dressed up for their debut in February, 2019, while 288 rooms at the Island Grand should be readied by 2020. Located beachside on the Gulf of Mexico, new décor will include furniture, carpeting, and upgraded bathroom fixtures and lighting. Guy Harvey rooms will get new club chairs in the seating area, sliding glass doors and windows, and railings for 56 of the beachfront rooms. Representing the sea and surf, the color patterns will be white linen, lime green, turquoise and bright blues, with a navy carpet reminiscent of ocean waves.

(800) 345-6461; www.TradeWinds Meetings

Sub-Zero and Wolf brands power up the Epicurean Hotel’s culinary classroom

Let the cooking begin! Sub-Zero, the state-of-the-art Epicurean Theatre inside Tampa, Florida’s Epicurean Hotel was recently outfitted with best-in-class Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances. Added to the new over/under refrigerator/freezer and a wine storage unit, the 40-seat Theatre now features a dual fuel range with six dual stacked burners and a dual stacked convection oven, an induction cooktop, convection steam oven, convection M Series wall oven and warming drawer from sister brand, Wolf. The Epicurean Theatre is used frequently for culinary classes with local, regional and national chefs for celebrations, teambuilding, and meetings. The Epicurean Hotel, developed in collaboration with Mainsail Lodging & Development and the legendary Bern’s Steak House, contains Élevage, a restaurant where Southern hospitality meets French technique; EDGE rooftop bar; Bern’s Fine Wines & Spirits wine shop; Evangeline full-service spa; and 5,200-square feet of flexible event space.; (855) U-AWAKEN (829-2536);;

Championship sports just won’t be viewed the same way at Pueblo Bonito Resorts in Los Cabos, Mexico since opening The After at Quivira, a stylish, urban-themed sports bar with 10 oversized flat-screen TVS linked to six satellite dishes. Like The Market food hall, The After was conceived by Jeffrey Beers International (JBI), a leader in innovative architecture and design for the hospitality industry. Large round brass chandeliers, illuminated globes, crescent-patterned Italian ceramic flooring. and backlit glass bottles accentuate the space. A large wraparound terrace offers beautiful ocean views.  Complimentary wi-fi service is available in The After, as are cell phone chargers. More than 100 distilled spirits and 16 artisanal beers compliment the menu of handcrafted cocktails. Cuisine varies from American classics and comfort food with a Mexican twist. Food and beverages at the bar are included on the all-inclusive plan for Pueblo Bonito Resorts guests.;

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Northern Ireland’s Hillsborough Castle opens in April. The Castle’s State rooms and gardens will be in full display. The addition of a new coach park for 16 coaches, a group’s welcome area, and catering facilities will be available.

Aurelio Hotel & Chalet in Austria reopens its doors


The winter season descends on Austria, and with it comes the 10th reopening of Hotel & Chalet Aurelio, named as “Austria’s Leading Boutique Hotel” by World Travel Awards. Located on the slopes just above the village of Lech, Aurelio has 18 guest rooms, an award-winning restaurant and spa.

Save an extra 10% when you book Meliá Hotels’ Meliá Punta Cana Beach, a new Dominican Republic beachfront adults-only property in Playa Bávaro, opening December 15. Use promo code 0484-NEWMELIA to receive the discount, valid for stays from December 15, 2018 until December 22, 20`9. Additionally, you will get 20,000 MeliáRewards points, free unlimited golf and $900 USD in resort credits.

The Wigmam in Phoenix, AZ

Five exclusive resort offers by Associated Luxury Hotels International are worth checking out. Promotional offers extend into 2019. The Wigwam in Phoenix, AZ has more than 100,000 of meeting space, 331 casitas and suites, three championship golf courses, renowned spa, three pools and three unique dining options. Carlsbad, CA’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa has 607 rooms, suites and villas, over 100,000 sf of indoor and outdoor event space, golf course, 17 tennis courts, and multiple dining experiences. Coming in 2019: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa will be adding a brand new 14,000 sf ballroom, an 8K sf event lawn, breakout rooms and offices to the Coastal Del Sol Ballroom complex. It will become North San Diego‘s largest ballroom and meeting space resort and spa. Book your meeting and get the services and amenities of two Napa, CA resorts! Meritage Resort & Spa, and its neighboring Vista Collina Resort, offer 80,000 sf of function space, including the Vineyard Deck, Rooftop Terrace, Tasting Village and underground Estate Cave, in addition to 467 guest rooms, suites and luxury retreats. The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL shows off its finished multi-million-dollar redesign in December. The redesign impacts the lobby, fitness center, and BABOR Beauty Bar installation inside the award-winning spa. Also expected to be finished in December is the hotel’s Biltmore Hotel’s redesign of its 18-hole, 71-par golf course, restoring the grounds to its original grandeur of the 1925 Donald Ross-designed layout. It will establish a challenging signature hole, and extend the overall course length to over 7,000 yards. Book your meeting now through March 2019 at Cliff House on the southern coast of Maine and receive competitive rates, complimentary meet room rental, WiFi, 10% off AV and complimentary valet parking. Set across 70 acres atop Bald Head Cliff, Cliff House has over 25,000 sf of meeting space for up to 250 attendees.;;;;

Cliff House in Cape Neddick, ME

If your idea of an outdoor experience is to cruise on a small ship expedition and can book your trip by December 31, 2018, you can save $750 per person air credit plus 20% off select itineraries with AdventureSmith Explorations. For instance, you can cross over the Antarctic Circle from February 26 to March 12 on the 114-passenger, all-suite Hebridean Sky. A 75-member staff pampers on this round-trip voyage that begins in Ushuaia, Argentina, explores from the Beagle Channel to the Drake Passage, and then heads South Shetland Islands. An  Citizen Science program assists research projects in five major disciplines: Oceanography, Glaciology, Ornithology, Marine Biology and Meteorology. The data collected contributes to a better understanding of climate change and how it’s affecting the world’s fifth largest continent, Antarctica. Another trip, Antarctic Latitudes: Whale Science Voyage, runs March 2 – 15 aboard the 112-guest Island Sky. Joining this cruise roundtrip from Ushuaia will be Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists Daniel Zitterbart, Kylie Owen, Alessandro Bocconcelli and Joseph Warren who are researching the feeding habits of Baleen whales. Also on board will be a British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) film crew who will be gathering footage for their Big Blue Live series. AdventureSmith’s owner, Todd Smith, last year was named as the leading expert on small ship expeditions by Condé Nast Traveler‘s prestigious world’s Top Travel Specialists list.;  (866) 575-2875

penguins frolic in the Antarctic.


Caesars Forum doesn’t open until 2020, but the stars are already lining up to participate in the Las Vegas, NV hotel owned by Caesars Entertainment. The Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Club will showcase comedians both known and up-and-coming. “Building a club like this in my hometown is a dream come true,” said Kimmel, who grew up in Las Vegas. “I’ve done extensive research, consulting with veteran comics to create the ideal venue for comedians and comedy lovers. My aim is to capture the spirit of classic Vegas with late night shows, surprise guests, live music, memorabilia from my career and food that will rival the finest restaurants in town. Every comic who plays this club will get first-class treatment. I am obsessing over every detail to make this the most comedy-friendly club in the world.” The 8,000 sf have an expandable showroom that seats up to 300. The club will be open seven nights a week and will be also available for buy-outs for meetings and private events. The Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Club will be located across from Brooklyn Bowl and near the High Roller, offering a unique venue for meetings and teambuilding events.;

Hampton Court Palace glamps 1520 Tudor Style


2020 is the 500th anniversary of The Field of Cloth of Gold; an extraordinary meeting of King Henry VIII of England and his French counterpart, Francis I, in the fields of northern France. Come enjoy the celebratory festival of lavish entertainment including jousting, masquerades, feasts, ornate portable palaces and wine fountains at Hampton Court Palace.


Anaheim Marriott adds charging stations to banquet chairs

No longer will meetings and event attendees need to leave their seat to rush outside to charge their phone at the Anaheim Marriott at Anaheim, CA. The Anaheim Marriott purposely works to set a standard for meetings, from creating flexible meeting setups and layouts minus the rental fees (most of their furniture for meeting setups from sofas to high tops, Lego conference tables, and other casual seating options are owned in house) to offering innovative technological features like these charging seats. The Anaheim Marriott has 169,662 sf of flexible function space, spread across 23 event rooms with a maximum of 44 breakout rooms. The property also does its part to reduce its carbon footprint with a total of 1,805 solar modules installed on the roof atop the meeting space which slashes its energy consumption by 8%.; (714) 750-8000.


No matter where I travel domestically or internationally, I hear soloists, bands or background music systems playing Beatles tunes. With that in mind, I am excited to let you know that organizers of Abbey Road on the River, the City of Jeffersonville, and Southern Indiana Tourism have extended their commitment for the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival to 2024. The five-day annual event, held over Memorial Day weekend, will be May 23-27, 2019 at the Big Four Station Park and will feature more than 50 bands performing on eight indoor and outdoor stages. Headliners already named are The Grass Roots, The Cowsills and The Buckinghams.

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2018 – 2019 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events.;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.


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