Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort

This may be the gift that keeps on giving, all the way through December 31, 2022. Bring your meeting to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and receive a $3 room rebate per actualized room up to $5,000. The Islands Incentive program created by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau includes any new bookings that occur from May 1 to December 31 each year through 2022. To qualify, planners must book a meeting with a minimum of 150 room nights at one of these 14 properties. In Fort Myers: Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops, Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center, Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, Drury Inn & Suites, and Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection (opening in 2020). On Fort Myers Beach: DiamondHead Beach Resort and Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina. South Seas Island Resort and ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort are both on Captiva Island. The others include Embassy Suites Hotel, Estero; Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande; Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, Bonita Springs; The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, Cape Coral; and Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Sanibel Island. The offer applies to meeting groups who may be considering other destinations besides Lee County.;

Brocket Hall at Christmas

The year isn’t over, and neither are the possible discounts for your meetings and events. Take this offer from Brocket Hall in the United Kingdom. Their Brexit 2019 incentive extends for all meetings and conferences in 2019, until December 31 (subject to availability). Mention Brexit 2019 for inquiries.; 01707 368725

Polar Express is the theme for this year’s ICE show at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL

Seniors: this one’s for you exclusively. You have until November 20 to book up to six tickets at 50% off for this year’s ICE! exhibit at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL The $15 tickets are valid Monday through Thursday, from November 25 through January 5, 2020. This year’s theme is The Polar Express, about a young child who embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole. The animated movie has become a favorite of my husband’s, so I am absolutely sure we will be there. If you’ve never been to an ICE! Show, wear gloves, hats, scarf and closed-toe shoes. It’s 9 degrees inside. Use the code Senior19 to receive the discount.


The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station, MO, lights up the sky.

The $187 million family entertainment complex under construction at the 125-year-old St. Louis Union Station (MO) is nearly completed. One of the most dramatic components, the 200-foot-high St. Louis Wheel, lights up the sky at night with 1.6 million LED lights that can be arranged in a variety of 16.7 million colors and patterns. From the top of the Wheel, guests can see nearly 20 miles in the distance with views of the Gateway Arch and the downtown St. Louis skyline to the east and Forest Park to the west. During the upcoming holiday season, all guests on The Polar Express Train Ride at St. Louis Union Station can show their golden ticket to ride the Wheel for the children’s price. The 320-ton Wheel offers 42 climate-controlled gondolas, including a VIP gondola. Each weighs 1,500 lbs. is six feet long, five feet wide and five feet high, and can hold up to eight people each. The Swiss-made gondolas have a glass exterior, interior lights and two-way communication with the operator. The VIP gondola includes glass floors, leather bucket seats and other amenities. A maximum of 336 passengers can ride the Wheel per 15-minute trip. Recent additions to the entertainment complex include a 36-foot-wide carousel with 30 whimsical animals and two themed chariots, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and the Purina Performance Plaza, which has space for special events and concerts. Not to be forgotten is The Soda Fountain at Union Station, a modern take on a retro-style diner, featuring over-the-top Freak Shakes stuffed with candies, cookies, pastries and more. Coming in December, the St. Louis Aquarium opens under the historic train shed. The interactive 120,000-sf two-story aquarium will house more than 60 sharks and rays.

Inn on Fifth in Naples, FL just finished a $5 million renovation.

When The Inn on Fifth & Club Level Suites in downtown Naples, FL reopened their doors after a four-week, $5 million renovation, all 119 guest rooms were refreshed with décor such as floor-to-ceiling porcelain tile and custom quartzite bathroom vanities. The AAA Four-Diamond hotel’s rooftop pool courtyard was resurfaced and turf was added to enhance the lush landscape. The poolside gazebo was enlarged for more seating and a shady setting. A new outdoor courtyard covered bar can seat 10 and the pool area has been upgraded with plush chaise lounge chairs with built-in cup and cell phone holders. Additionally, hardwood floors were installed in each of the hotel’s 32 Club Level Suites across Fifth Avenue.


South Florida is especially beautiful this time of year, when the weather begins to cool, art shows seem to occur every week, and the beaches are less crowded for long strolls. The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, consisting of nine distinct communities, know not all visitors are snowbirds or familiar with all the activities and natural beauty available, so the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau is now offering a free Lonely Planet travel guide to the area.


Can you afford to travel this winter? According to WalletHub, the personal finance website that analyzes data affecting most people, having certain credit cards and paying attention to money-saving tips may make winter trips possible and less costly. Here are some of the highlights from their 2019 Winter Travel Survey, along with an updated list of the Best Credit Cards for Winter Travel. Four percent more people plan to travel this winter than last winter, and 79% of them are planning to spend at least as much as last year. WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou indicates more people travelling means there is economic optimism. “When people are feeling strain financially, you generally don’t see travel increase.” He does note however, that “It should be no surprise that 33 million Americans say they can’t afford to travel this winter. Even though unemployment is near record lows and the stock market is near record highs, there are a lot of things weighing on consumers financially right now. For one thing, we’re racking up credit card debt at a pace reminiscent of the run-up to the Great Recession. Student debt clearly is a problem. And there’s a lot of political uncertainty.” Interestingly, the survey pointed out that Millennials are 6x more likely than baby boomers to apply for a new credit card to save on winter travel. Papadimitriou explains, “Most millennials have grown up in the age of free credit scores and reports, and online credit card comparison. So they may be a bit more comfortable applying for new credit cards, seeing their credit scores dip then recover, switching billing information for services they pay for with their cards, etc.” So what did WalletHub determine is the best credit card for winter travel? Capital One Venture. It has an initial bonus worth $500 in travel for spending $3,000 in the first three months and gives at least double miles on all purchases.

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 2019 – 2020 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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