I’m making myself sit at my computer and write this blog today. What motivated me is a hotel that is hosting a job fair and they wish to have qualified candidates attend. When so much of the world is in turmoil, it makes me feel good to share the good news I receive. As I hear from both meetings & events, hospitality and leisure travelers, there is still uncertainty about hopping on a plane, attending an event or attraction, or staying at a resort. I have been using this column to highlight safety protocols undertaken by individuals and companies. We all want to work, travel, and to feel safe while doing so.
LUMINARY HOTEL & CO. HOSTS JOB FAIR AUGUST 6
Luminary Hotel & Co., the first Autograph Collection of Marriott International in the Fort Myers, FL area, is hosting a job fair Aug. 6 at the Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center from 10 am to 4 pm. The job fair is for full and part-time positions at the new boutique property. Opportunities are for servers, hosts, lobby and room attendants, housekeepers, cooks etc. Online and onsite applications available. Bring a resume. The boutique hotel will be home to the signature Silver King Ocean Brasserie, as well as the Beacon Social Drinkery rooftop lounge, The Workshop culinary theater, an indoor and outdoor fitness facility, Ella Mae’s Diner and retail space at street level and a spacious pool area on the fourth floor overlooking the Caloosahatchee. The 12-story hotel will have more than 8,000 sf of function space and is directly adjacent to the neighboring Caloosa Sound Convention Center.
NEW SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Outdoor activities just got safer with expanded safety measures taken by Western River Expeditions. Copies of the well-received plan were proactively sent to government agencies that regulate them, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and local health department. It was also shared with industry trade associations. Guests must read and agree to the safety standards before arriving for an expedition. Trent Keller, Vice President of Grand Canyon operations, states that “the goal is to help guests enjoy a trip with few barriers and the ability to live in the moment and enjoy the experience.”
www.westernriver.com/downloads/COVID-19-operations-plan.pdf; www.westernriver.com/; (866) 904-1160
Travelling to Mexico? JourneyMexico has private villas for rent, but suggests you first check out all the new safety protocols for Mexico. www.journeymexico.com/covid-19-travel-updates?utm_source=JM+Master+List&utm_campaign=fa550cde93-Mexico+W
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows (CA) has issued new guidelines for stays in the area. Also, The Village at Squaw Valley, which has full kitchens, private balconies, and beautiful views, has a new flexible cancellation policy for all summer reservations. Cancel or change your reservation 24 hours or more before your arrival date and receive a full refund of your deposit.
Canada has new protocols of which you should be aware if travelling there. All businesses and sectors except for festivals and large events, vacation camps with overnight stays, and combat-related sports activities, are now able to resume normal activities. As of July 13, masks or face coverings are mandatory for all users of public transit in Montréal over the age of 12. As of July 18, 2020, masks or face coverings will be mandatory in indoor public places throughout the province of Quebec. This measure includes businesses, boutiques, grocery stores, pharmacies, shopping centers, cinemas, performance halls, common areas of establishments and office buildings and public transit.
Music City Center (Nashville, TN) is going for the gold. The convention center, which has a 353,143 sf exhibit hall, the 57,500 sf Karl F. Dean Grand Ballroom, and an 18,000 sf Davidson Ballroom, intends to receive the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. Under the guidance of GBAC, a Division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, Music City Center will implement the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention in its facility. The program will verify that Music City Center implements best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics. “GBAC STAR™ accreditation empowers facility owners and managers to assure workers, customers and key stakeholders that they have proven systems in place to maintain clean and healthy environments,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “By taking this important step to pursue GBAC STAR™, Music City Center will receive third-party validation that it follows strict protocols for biorisk situations, thereby demonstrating its preparedness and commitment to operating safely.”
Book the Caribe Royale Orlando’s Summer BOGO 50% OFF package for a Buy 1, get 1 50% off your nightly room rate, plus 50% off daily parking ($6 daily savings). With this package you also get two specialty coffees and two bagels, muffins, or croissants daily, now through September 30.
Although I am hoping COVID-19 has waned by Halloween (my busiest gig time of the year as Natasha, The Psychic Lady), it doesn’t make me wish any less that I would like to be in the audience for London Cabaret’s ‘El Dia De Los Muertos’ aka ‘The Day Of The Dead’. The ancient Mexican tradition unites families to remember those who have moved into the spirit world, by way of a vibrant and scintillating fiesta! Presented Oct. 30 & 31 in England’s Bloomsbury Ballroom (an elaborate art deco auditorium decorated to the theme), the evening will include choreographed dancing, singers, and acrobatics by costumed performers. Guests are encouraged to dress to the theme. Of course, prizes will be awarded. Group rates are available.
ELDORADO RESORTS ACQUIRES CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT AND CASINO COMPANY
ElDorado Resorts now owns Caesars Entertainment and Casino Co. The transaction creates the largest casino and entertainment company in the U.S. The combined company owns and operates more than 55 casino properties worldwide, including an iconic portfolio of eight casino hotel properties on the Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas, NV).
TECHNOLOGY FOR VIRTUAL MEETINGS
MeetingPlay has updated their virtual platform. The Frederick, MD company offers panel discussions with up to six presenters to present simultaneously. The option is available with our live and semi-live session delivery formats. MeetingPlay’s newest agenda feature helps attendees keep track of their sessions and when they will take place. Attendees choose their time zone during onboarding. Their event agenda displays session times in both the time zone the event is taking place in and their own time zone. The new Theater and Engagement Modes allows more flexibility for learning styles. With theater mode, the content toggles to a wide screen view so that participants can focus on the content. Engagement mode maximizes interactions by spotlighting all engagement tools available. Attendees can also toggle between the two modes during the presentations duration.
CALLING ALL COMPETITIVE CULINARY ARTISTS!
Here’s a tasty treat for all cooks who have ever competed in the World Food Championships (WFC). For the first (and only) time, WFC is implementing a new, qualifying exemption process for cooks and chefs who want to compete in the 9th Annual Main Event this November in Dallas, TX. In the past, all cooks had to have won a WFC qualifier event to be eligible to compete in the Main Event. The rule was implemented by officials after surveying the number of qualifier events that have been postponed or canceled during the current cooking season. Teams wanting to participate in this one-year-only qualifying process will need to go to the competitor registration tab on the WFC website, choose the category in which you wish to compete, then simply choose the qualifying event “2020 Past Competitor Qualifier.” Each team will still be required to pay a $300 registration and processing fee, but there’s no limitation on what category a team can select as long as spots are still available. “We have available spots in eight of our 10 categories, although some have more than others,” said Mike McCloud, President and CEO of WFC. “The entire process will be based on a first-come, first-verified scenario. And for our state partners who have yet to conduct their qualifiers, we are still reserving their positions in the process.” This year’s event will be held at Fair Park in Dallas, with spacious inside and outside areas to ensure social distancing and a safe, clean environment. WFC will be providing hand sanitizer, face masks and other cleaning measures at no charge to contestants. Categories include Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Dessert, Recipe, Sandwich, Seafood, Soup and Steak.
LOUISVILLE (KY) TOURISM STRIVES FOR RACIAL EQUITY
Louisville Tourism, the marketing agency that promotes the city as a travel destination, has new initiatives to assess and improve racial and minority imbalances, inside and outside the organization. Designed with immersive experiences in mind, these plans call for new leisure tourism outreach programming using local attraction partners to highlight Muhammad Ali Tourism and the African American influence within the bourbon and horse racing industries. Developed over the past year, these experiences are a result of collaborations and partnerships with the National Civil Rights Trail, Black Bourbon Society, Kentucky Department of Tourism and the African American Travel Conference. To help shape these programs, Louisville Tourism is also developing a Black Tourism Advisory Council led by Cleo Battle, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Members of the community are being invited to join the ongoing conversation about intentional inclusivity in the hospitality industry. Representatives from all major hospitality industry sectors will participate. The first meeting will center around addressing systemic racism to improve Louisville’s hospitality organizations and overall destination experience for visitors and residents. “As a Black professional who has worked hard to be in a position of leadership in my industry, I have experienced and seen my share of racial inequality,” said Cleo Battle, COO, Louisville Tourism. “The time is now to make changes in our industry for the future and I proudly join my colleagues in helping to lead the conversation forward.” Looking inward, Louisville Tourism will review and address organizational culture by conducting a thorough review of practices regarding diversity in hiring, employee education, as well as developing ways to work with a more inclusive variety of vendors. New educational opportunities for Louisville Tourism staff will be provided through Decide Diversity. This working relationship will give staff access to a variety of leaders from across the country regarding diversity, equity and inclusion – as well as research, training and resources.
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.