Life as we knew it pre-COVID 19 is starting to reappear as far as travel, hotels, restaurants, gyms, hair salons etc go. As this blog is globally read, it makes no sense to tell you which places are reopen or will soon. What is of more value, is what they are doing to assure your safety as much is humanly possible, such as how the majority of theme parks worldwide will check temperatures at the entrance and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be denied entry (as well as their family). As you all may be aware, how to safely reopen differs from city to city, state to state, and country to country. For instance, I just heard from a woman that a particular airline is not requiring masks for staff or travelers and that people were packed in to all seats (thanks to fewer flights). I have seen pictures of businesses, including restaurants, not requiring masks or social distancing. What do you think? Is that something we should discuss?
What are some of the best practices your company is doing to attract business? How do you feel about businesses that have relaxed all restrictions?
For the sake of moving forward in a positive manner, I am calling this section Best Practices for a New World. Feel free to share your property’s best practices, and if you feel so inclined, what issues you have enforcing your rules. Perhaps others facing similar situations will be able to assist with solutions.
BEST PRACTICES FOR A NEW WORLD
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, the water park and hotels are all open, with new measures in place, such as empty rows between guests on rides. Markers will be placed throughout the park to indicate correct social distancing. Hygiene screens will separate guests from staff in stores. Masks are encouraged but not required, though unnecessary for children under two years of age, anyone with respiratory issues, or who is unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Disposable masks are available for anyone who needs one. https://www.legoland.com/florida/ways-we-are-making-it-safe-to-visit/at-our-hotels/
Gaylord Hotels will have hospital-grade disinfectants for cleaning the property and sanitizer stations throughout. Contactless service with mobile checkins. announce Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) will now serve as the official wellness advisor for Gaylord Hotels. A leader in medical research and one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in the United States, VUMC provides counsel for on-site operating procedures, advises on development of training and educational materials for associates (STARS), and provides expert guidance for standards and protocols. www.gaylordhotels.com
Caribe Royale Orlando (FL) has a new “Travel with Confidence Cancellation Policy” that allows you to book your next getaway and cancel without penalty up to 24-hours prior to arrival for travel through December 19, 2020. At At check, the hotel is providing guests with individual wipe packets and hand sanitizers. As with other hotels, frequently used common spaces are being sanitized more often.
The Moonrise Hotel, in the Loop neighborhood (St. Louis MO) has a new Touchless check-in allowing guests to get into their rooms without stopping at the front desk or having interaction with the hotel’s guest services team. The Twilight Room at the top of the hotel will initially have cocktails, but no food service. Guests will checked into rooms away from other occupied rooms. No in-stay housekeeping service. Hotel team members will be required to wear masks and guests are required to wear them while walking through public areas as well. At check out, rooms will be left empty for two days before housekeeping will service them. After cleaning, the room will remain empty for at least one additional day so the next guests will be assured a room that meets the highest standards of health and safety. https://moonrisehotel.com/
HOSPITALITY STUDENT COMPETITION TO GET BUSINESSES BACK ON TRACK
The University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, in partnership with Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) has come up with a way to reinvigorate hospitality companies. They are challenging students in hospitality programs across the globe in a first-ever Hilton College Hospitality Hackathon. The competition, running from June 1 through August 8, asks participants to tackle COVID-19 head-on and address the challenges it has posed to all sectors of the hospitality, travel and tourism industry. The students are to develop solutions to overcome those challenges. “Our industry is hurting right now due to the devastating effects of this global pandemic. Without question, we will come back even stronger, but it will take ingenuity, resourcefulness and reinvention to get there,” said Dr. Dennis Reynolds, dean of Hilton College. “To help create cost effective and quickly implementable solutions to this unprecedented issue facing our industry, we are thrilled to partner with HFTP for the first ever HC3 Hilton College Hospitality Hackathon – the brainchild of our faculty.” Two teams will be awarded first-place (undergrad and graduate) awards, each receiving a $3,000 USD scholarship to be divided equally among members. Teams placing first, second and third will all have the opportunity to present their winning hacks online at a specially-themed HFTP Global Hangout (virtual Zoom meeting), and will be recognized on social media and in other media and industry coverage. The challenge for participants is to submit innovative operational processes or initiatives to increase top-line revenue for the future viability of the business. The ideal “hack” should consider all of the following: Accommodates minimal or no capital investment; Realizes implementation within 30 days or less; Repurposes, redeploys or maximizes resources already available (e.g., existing software, staffing, current expenditure levels, amenities, or other assets); Provides a way to measure successful outcomes; Complies with all local regulations; and Involves “lateral thinking” – no tunnel vision allowed – with the potential for use in other sectors. The idea for the HC3 was first proposed by Arlene D. Ramirez, CHAE, CHIA, CAHTA, CHE, Hilton College instructional assistant professor and HFTP Global past president. “At Hilton College, ‘We Are Hospitality.’ This isn’t just a tagline. It’s how we operate – it’s who we are,” said Ramirez, who serves as the new executive director for HC3. “Part of hospitality is to be of service and to make things better for others. This competition truly represents the culture of community and collaboration that is Hilton College. The opportunity to embrace innovation with our peer programs via this problem-solving platform, as well as to present an exceptional learning opportunity for hospitality students worldwide, exemplifies our passion for the industry and is what HC3 is all about. This hackathon also allows all of us in hospitality education an exceptional forum to remind the industry of all the great talent our programs produce.” Registration for HC3 is FREE and is now open. The entire Hackathon will be virtual. There are no travel or related expenses involved, making it logistically simple to assemble teams. Universities are invited to register one undergraduate- and one graduate-level team (master’s and doctoral students). Winners will be announced August 8 via livestream. Visit Hilton College’s HC3 site for details on how to apply.
www.hrm.uh.edu; Arlene Ramirez at +1 (713) 743-2445.
Caribe Royale Orlando (FL) is offering a Summer BOGO 50% Off Package. The package, good for stays between July 1 and September 30, includes 50% Off your nightly room rate; 50% off parking daily (a savings of $6.00 daily); and two specialty coffees and two bagels, muffins or croissants daily at Java’s Coffee Café or Café 24.
Scallop season begins July 1 at Plantation on Crystal River (FL) and they have some sweet rates for both guided and non-guided tours. Guided tours are for mid-week stays for two guests and includes: Two-night stay in a garden or water view deluxe room, patio room or golf villa; Guided scalloping tour including mask, snorkel and fins with one of the area’s top captains; Souvenir bag with mesh scalloping bag, scallop recipes and water; Chef-prepared cook-your-catch from the day’s harvest (scallops or fish) for lunch or dinner and serve with two sides; and breakfast daily.
For those bringing their own boat, rates for the unguided package begin at $419* for mid-week stays for two guests. This rate includes ramp launch, trailer storage and seawall tie. Seawall tie is first come-first serve. Guests not on a tour can also have the chef prepare their catch in one of four-offered methods.
www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com; (800) 632-6262.
COMPANIES’ GIVE-BACK EFFORTS CONTINUE BENEFITTING COMMUNITIES
The initial goal was to raise money to feed hospitality industry families in Zachary Rabinor’s hometown of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Founder/President/CEO of Journey Mexico saw the dire need for food among families that had lost their jobs in hotels, restaurants, and other tourism related businesses. His friends at a local fruteria said $300.00 MXN (approximately $13.00 USD) would feed a family of four for a week. His company immediately adopted 10 families. After sharing the experience with an industry friends, she and her family immediately adopted 10 more families. More people responded. So far, Rabinor and friends have raised over $10K USD and provided more than 84,000 meals. Help is still needed.
I have written about Caesars Entertainment often, whether it’s to describe future projects or the opening of new hotels, restaurants, or starring acts. Since the devastation wrought by Covid-19, I’ve written about the varied and large donations of money, food, PPEs, and just plain kindness that the entertainment giant has contributed, along with many partners and vendors. The giving continues through their Caesars Cares program, an assistance fund established to support the Company’s team members across the U.S. who suffer unanticipated hardships from the current public health emergency. The fund is comprised of donations from the Company’s Board of Directors, Management Team, and business partners, as additionally includes numerous donations made by Caesars Foundation. Recently, Carl C. Icahn has made a grant of $350,000 to Caesars Cares, which has been matched by donations from many of the Company’s business partners for a total of $700,000. Dining partner donors include Gordon Ramsay, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay, as well as Mr. Chow, Nobu Restaurant, Old Homestead and Rao’s. Entertainment partner donors include Criss Angel, Jeff Dunham, Mat Franco, Jimmy Kimmel, Wayne Newton, Penn & Teller, Piff the Magic Dragon, Jerry Seinfeld and Donny Osmond. Show contributions include Bronx Wanderers, The Mac King Comedy Magic Show, Menopause the Musical, Paranormal and X Burlesque. Many of the Company’s other business partners have made donations as well, including Adobe, Base Entertainment, C3 Presents, Desert Labor, Glist Entertainment, Kre8 Media, Red Mercury, Stabile Productions, Ticketmaster and We Serve. Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, noted that “Since the beginning of this public health emergency, Caesars Foundation has shifted its focus to support our communities by helping 20 charitable organizations across the country fighting COVID-19.”
EXPERIENCE PENSACOLA USING THE NEW VISIT PENSACOLA APP
Visit Pensacola (Florida) has launched its new Experience Pensacola app to assist locals and visitors around Escambia County. With a built-in location finder, app users can seek new experiences. Some of the core features include: affordable travel deals; local restaurant guide; custom itinerary builder; happy hours, current events, local transportation options, museums and attractions. The Experience Pensacola app is available for download on the Apple Store or on Google Play.
ST. LOUIS GRADUATIONS DELIVERED POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
For the students and families of eight St. Louis, MO area high schools, this year’s graduation ceremony may not have been conventional, but the event was not less celebratory. Each school separately held their 2020 high school graduations at the POWERplex site, including Ferguson-Florissant, Marquette, Lafayette, Rockwood Summit, Eureka, North County Christian, the St. Charles Christian Home Educators, and McCluer/McCluer North. Altogether, more than 3,500 guests stayed in their vehicles to watch more than 2,700 graduates receive their diplomas. Schnucks Markets teamed with U.S. Bank and more than a dozen area companies to make a memorable graduation happen A team of local live event companies, including Fogarty Services, Klance Unlimited, Brought 2U Media, MVP Security and Valet and Big Sports Properties, joined forces to create the largest Drive-In Graduation Ceremonies ever held. The former St. Louis Mills Mall parking lot is being transformed into a major youth sports destination called POWERplex, is at 5555 St. Louis Mills Blvd., Hazelwood, MO 63021. Dan Buck, managing partner of Big Sports Properties, said the sponsors worked “closely with the St. Louis County Public Health Department to make certain everything was done safely and everyone was socially distanced. But these graduations will prove that ‘safe’ and ‘amazing’ can co-exist.”
IF YOU CAN’T GET TO MONTRÉAL, LET MONTRÉAL’S HOTELIERS COME TO YOU!
Did you know that the pineapple has come to symbolize hospitality, wealth and luxury? Writer Mark Hamilton credits islanders offering up pineapple chunks to Christopher Columbus’ 1493 arrival in Guadeloupe, which he then brought back to Europe. That legend is what instigated the Hotel Association of Greater Montréal (Canada) Project Pineapple, a set of short videos from some of the city’s leading hotels to enliven your home during the still-current pandemic. Here is a sample of what you will see: how to make a pavlova with Hôtel Monville’s Roxanne, bed-making tips from Escad Hotel’s Jean-Philip, a homemade pasta how-to from W Montréal’s Ivan and how to fold toilet paper with Hôtel Le Crystal’s Roméo.
HOLIDAY EVENTS ALREADY BECKON
If you are a fan of the thrilling jet-setting glamour of the shaken-but-not-stirred world of 007, then the London Cabaret Club has just the oh-so-British unique entertainment event to spice up your December holidays. Christmas Royale is an ode to Bond, James Bond, with a 4-D sensory experience that includes luxury dining, dazzling choreography, and performances by stars from London’s West-End. Tickets on sale beginning June 15 but this program is also available for group buyouts.
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. Karen@KarenKuzsel.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.