DAYTONA LAGOON DONATES NEARLY $800,000 OF IN-KIND SERVICES TO VOLUSIA COUNTY SCHOOLS
Year-round family entertainment destination and seasonal waterpark Daytona Lagoon (Daytona Beach, FL) made more than a splash when it donated 39,480 vouchers to Volusia County Schools to distribute to each student in grades third through eighth to enjoy over Winter Break. No purchase was necessary to get the voucher valued at $20 worth of arcade games and attractions. Students just bring the voucher to Daytona Lagoon before January 3, 2024, to the front ticket counter to be exchanged for a $20 Play Card, entitling the bearer to any combination of arcade games, food, and attractions up to $20. Attractions include go-karts, laser tag, bumper cars, mini golf, the Skymaze ropes course, and a rock wall. “As part of the Daytona Beach community, it is our way to saying thanks to all the families who have come out and supported our local entertainment venue,” explains Tyler Currie, Daytona Lagoon’s general manager. “And for families in Volusia County who haven’t had a chance to visit Daytona Lagoon yet, this gives them a good opportunity to experience the park first-hand.” Season Passes are popular purchases during the holidays as gifts. Currie said, “Not only are we offering a $15 discount, but those who purchase a season pass during the holiday sale also receive a free one-time bring-a-friend waterpark daily admission ticket and a free All-Park Pass for Central Florida’s Nona Adventure Park.”
Thursdays are Military Appreciation Day at Jellyfish Restaurant and Bar in Pensacola, FL. Military receive a 25% discount, all day.
The all-inclusive market in Mexico and the Caribbean just received a boost from Playa Hotels & Resorts with the completion of extensive renovations at the newly renamed Wyndham Alltra Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. To celebrate the grand unveiling, Wyndham Alltra Vallarta if offering a 40% discount on bookings, valid for stays through December 20, 2024. Owner and operator of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, Playa Hotels & Resorts has drawn inspiration for the property (formerly known as Wyndham Alltra Riviera Nayarit) from ancient Huichol culture. The renovation includes 159 rooms, including all Junior Suites. The Alltra VIP Club for club level guests has speeded up its semi-private check-in (and out) service, enhanced its concierge assistance and personalized cocktail service. Club guestrooms receive upgraded minibars, in-suite Nespresso coffee makers and a complimentary hydrotherapy spa experience. Five dining venues have been revamped. The brand introduces its new Agave Bar and the first Mezcaleria in the chain’s portfolio.
Meeting Planners have until December 31 to book and actualize their meetings and stays at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa (Miramar Beach, FL) in order to receive 100,000 bonus Hilton Honors points.
Florida residents can save 40% for stays at Universal Orlando properties. Valid Florida ID required at check-in. Book by February 13, 2024 to save 40% for all room types at ALL Universal Orlando hotels when you travel Sunday – Thursday 1/7-1/11/24 and 1/15 -2/14/24. Also, save 40% when you book by May 22, 2024 for all room types only at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel when you travel Sunday – Thursday 2/15-3/7/24 and 4/7-5/23/24.
The farm-to-table culinary experience at The DeSoto in the center of Savannah, GA begins right outside the historic property’s door. Growing some of their produce is just one part of the DeSoto’s mystique your group can experience for themselves. Book their Savannah Meetings, Remaking History package by December 31 for available Sunday through Thursday time periods in 2024. The DeSoto has 246 guestrooms and 20,000 sf flexible meeting space.
Book new business in a Boston or Cambridge (MA) hotel and receive a 10% rebate off the banquet master bill and 10% off all rooms booked. Here are the eligible program dates to qualify: 2024: 11/20/2023 – 03/31/2024; 2025: 11/18/2024 – 04/17/2025; and 2026: 11/17/2025 – 03/31/2026.
Book a meeting within specified dates at Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe (Houston, TX) and receive a complimentary cruise for two on the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise or a Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker. The remaining dates in 2023 are Dec. 30. For 2024, promo dates include Jan. 1-12; Mar. 14-29; and Mar. 31-Apr. 4. What gifts you are eligible for depends on amount spent for the booking. There are other promotional incentives, from 20% off any team building activity (sans F&B), self parking, and complimentary meeting room rental with minimum F&B spend.
I have a dear friend who believes the power of the beach overcomes any of the day’s negativity. She would go crazy for the ‘Wealth of Wellness’ package offered by Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resorts, located within the luxury residential development Quivira Los Cabos at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. The updated-for-2024-package integrates numerous wellness components available within the resort community. The exclusive five-day “Wealth of Wellness” package, available through December of 2024, includes all-inclusive F&B, two 50-minute organic massages or facials, mountain bike tour for two, use of beach cabanas with personal butler service, a cooking class for two, and shuttle service and access to sister properties, which also have all-inclusive F&B,
www.pueblobonito.com; (800) -990-8259
You can only book your group business for Sunday through Thursday stays, but you have until December 31 to do it and take advantage of The Sea Pines Resort (Hilton Head Island, S.C) incentive package. This limited-time incentive for conference, meeting or corporate groups booking $25,000 or more in lodging revenue at The Inn & Club at Harbour Town, named one of the top five hotels in the country for 2023 by U.S. News & World Report. Incentives range from a $1,000 credit on the master account to 10 percent off all 2024 catering menus. Additional considerations include: $500 resort credit for use in retail or outlets; 20% off in-house AV needs; waived chef and bartending fees for one group event; in-house group guest rates available on Harbour Town Golf Links, Heron Point by Pete Dye and Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III and more. Other terms and conditions, including blackout dates, apply to the group incentives booking offer. Sea Pines is set on the southernmost tip of Hilton Head Island. Five miles of unspoiled beaches, 18 clay tennis courts, six pickleball courts, 14 miles of bike and walking trails, horseback riding, Eco-Adventures, water sports, and the 605-acre Sea Pines Forest Preserve filled with wildflowers, wetlands, and more than 130 species of birds.
https://www.seapines.com/offers-and-packages/group-incentives; (866) 561-8802
Meeting Planners: secure your 2024 event at The Westin Nashville (TN) by December 31 to receive a signing bonus of Marriott Bonvoy Points. You’ll receive points based on your total contract value upon signing.
sales@WestinNashville.com; (615) 248-2800
Wine tasting, cultural tour, and a 15% discount on F&B, as well as AV are just some of the perks when you book at least 30 rooms a night a minimum three nights at Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende, located near the Obraje Dam in Mexico. You must make this new booking by December 30. There are many promotional packages available so check them out to see which might work for you.
Here’s an offer I’ve never seen before. Richmond Region Tourism has a summertime offer that will provide a 15% rebate off your banquet master bill and a NetZero Emission Event Certification whether you book your meeting or event this month or June through August of 2024. The booking must be made by December 31, 2023. The Virginia tourism group will assist how many carbon offsets you are entitled to from examining your RFP and will purchase those offsets to make you eligible for NetZero Emission Event Certification.
You have plenty of time to book the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach for your group and still be able to take advantage of benefits offered. Book your new meeting by December 31, 2023 and actualize by December 31, 2024 to receive benefits such as 5% off all Master account charges, reduced resort fee to $20 per group room, or a complimentary basic Wi-Fi up to 3 mbps in the meeting space. The more rooms booked, the more benefits accessible. The hotel has 343 guest rooms, 22,000 sf of meeting space, and the area’s largest ballroom.
https://www.wyndhamgrandclearwater.com/meetings?; (727) 281-9500
REFRESHED, NEW & READY FOR BOOKING
The Colorado Convention Center (Denver, CO) has expanded and is now open. 80,000 sf column-free Bluebird Ballroom; 20,000 sf outdoor terrace with unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains and city skyline (all on the roof of an existing building), and a 35,000 sf pre-function area. Increased capacity for WiFi and streaming video. The ballroom includes 19 subdivisions of varying sizes. In its full configuration, the room can host more than 7,500 attendees for a general session or 4,600 guests for a catered event.
https://www.denver.org/meetings/convention-center; (800) 233-6837; (303) 892-1112
Trilith Guesthouse (Fayetteville, GA) opens in January. The new 193-room boutique hotel is designed, not to rest weary travelers, but instead, to awaken the storyteller in all who visit. The hotel aims to immerse its guests in a story of their own making. The hotel is located at the main entrance of the European-inspired Town at Trilith, adjacent to Trilith Studios, a premier film and television studio in North America. Designed to inspire creativity and collaboration, the five-story boutique hotel includes 36 apartment-style studios and one-bedroom suites; a signature street-level restaurant; fifth-floor rooftop bar; culinary studio; and indoor/outdoor event spaces spanning more than 17,000 sf. Trilith Guesthouse will become a member of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio of independent boutique hotels and is currently accepting reservations for Feb. 1, 2024, and beyond. (See story below on its new partnership with Leap for Literacy).
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa (Miramar Beach, FL) continues work on its 35-million- dollar renovation. Phase 2 of the project, currently ongoing, includes renovation of the remaining 285 rooms and adding four new lanai rooms to the premium selection. In all, 590 suites will have been renovated.
Coming this Spring to Las Vegas, NV: Caesars Palace and Clique Hospitality presents its latest creation, Caspians, a cocktail and caviar bar dramatically designed in onyx and pearl hues with detailed brass. On the bar’s back wall, a monochromatic passageway seemingly disappears into the shadows. Once you open the door, color and vibrancy will burst through. An homage to Art Deco’s Parisian roots, the music lounge is a collision of materials, fabrics, and colors. A large carved golden frame draped with inky blue velvet curtains will provide a rich backdrop for performances. A dramatic chandelier hangs from the center of the lounge from a 16-foot-tall ceiling, illuminating colors of the sea accentuated by brilliant gold features. Located near the main entrance to Caesars Palace on the walkway between the high limit slot area and Nobu Hotel & Restaurant, Caspian’s is taking over the space formerly occupied by Cleopatra’s Barge. Designed by the award-winning team of Celano Design Studio Co., the 1,100-sf caviar bar will seat close to 50 guests. The music lounge will span 2,300 sf and will seat nearly 100 guests.
Gordon Ramsay Burger at debuts the Summer of ’24 at Flamingo Las Vegas. It is Ramsay’s seventh restaurant at Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas Resorts and the fifth Gordon Ramsay Burger location. Guests can expect some of their favorites on the menu at the Flamingo location, such as the Hell’s Kitchen Burger, Farmhouse Burger and Hellfire Chicken Wings. All burgers are cooked over an open flame fueled by hardwoods. Sides include Just Fries with house ketchup and chipotle ketchup, Truffle Parmesan Fries with truffle aioli and house ketchup, and Sweet Potato Fries with vanilla powdered sugar and honey jalapeño aioli. Those with a sweet tooth can choose from a variety of milkshakes. The 8,000-sf space was designed by DEZMOTIF Studios and features a large exhibition kitchen, island-style bar as the restaurant’s social hub, expansive storefront windows, multiple dining zones, and a nod to Britannia with Union Jack accents and dynamic flame displays throughout. An open-air patio overlooks the bustling Las Vegas Strip and is anchored by a 25-foot-tall LED column showcasing Gordon Ramsay Burger imagery underneath the famous Flamingo neon. Gordon Ramsay Burger at Flamingo Las Vegas will occupy the former Bird Bar space.
HEY SINGLES: WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET?
I have no idea how many of readers of Hotel Happenings & Program Promotions are single, but I do know many single people who are self-supporting and would not want to be involved with anyone who has massive debt or doesn’t know the value of a dollar spent judiciously. With that in mind, I want to share the latest survey conducted by personal finance website company, WalletHub. The company determined that nearly 47% of all U.S. adults are unmarried and only 42% of single adults are currently interested in a relationship or casual dating. Financial Secrets Survey measure 35 key indicators of dating friendliness, from online dating opportunities to the average price of a two-person meal, to help singles in the dating world. What are some of the findings? 76% more men have financial secrets than women, but if you want to figure out who is most honest about their finances, then the prize goes to baby boomers. The Survey says 42% of millennials and 38% of GenZers hold financial secrets. Income and debt are the financial topics that people lie about the most, with 33% of people saying they’ve lied about each. Then add in, that one in four don’t think their partner has the right to know their financial wealth. Pretty interesting. Glad I am not having to scope out potential partners (as I am happily married). Let’s jump to the good stuff. You likely want to know the top 10 and bottom 10 cities for singles. Top 10 begins with Seattle, WA. The list then goes to Las Vegas, NV; Denver, CO; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Reno, NV; Tampa, FL; Madison, WI; Tucson, AZ; and Portland, OR. There were 182 cities listed in the survey. Here are the 10 worst for singles, beginning with Winston-Salem, NC; then Little Rock, AR; Hialeah, FL; Jackson, MS; Dover, DE; Pearl City, HI; Glendale, CA; Brownsville, TX; Warwick, RI; and in last place, Columbia, MD.
JOURNEY MEXICO HAS BECOME B-CERTIFIED
Getting a B-Certification means Journey Mexico has met the high standards from B Lab to prove the company’s operations prioritize having a positive impact on people and places as much as making a profit. The B stands for “benefit for all”. Journey Mexico believes “Mexico’s natural world and the communities we engage with should benefit from Journey Mexico’s operations, as well as the team, travelers, and partners.”
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY TECHNOLOGY EXPOSITION AND CONFERENCE PROPOSALS SOUGHT
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) is seeking input from industry professionals and presenters for the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) scheduled for June 24-27 in Charlotte, NC. Presentation proposals should be industry-specific and unique to HITEC, crafted for seasoned hospitality professionals. Topics may include (but are not limited to) artificial intelligence, sustainability and renewable resources, best practices regarding ethics, operational back-office solutions, and personal development.
For HITEC 2024, the council is incorporating a new hybrid approach to its program planning to ensure attending professionals will have access to industry guidance of great interest. Presenters will receive a complimentary HITEC 2024 registration in exchange for speaking. They will then be responsible for their own participatory travel and hotel expenses.
NEW SPONSOR FOR ENTREPRENEUR 20x EUROPE
BAE Ventures is the newly named sponsor of Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) Europe. The successful pitch competition featuring hospitality technology start-ups will conclude the first day of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals’ (HFTP®) inaugural Digital Horizons 360 (DH360) symposium on Tuesday, 20 February 2024. Focused on nurturing startups within the tourism value chain by providing funding, resources and industry expertise, BAE Ventures is a Lisbon-based venture capital firm with a primary goal of igniting innovation through strategic alignment, smart investments and expert guidance. This makes the venture capital firm a natural fit to sponsor E20X. Established in 2015, HFTP’s Entrepreneur 20X provides hospitality technology start-ups with a career-boosting opportunity, exposing them to top industry mentors, investors, leaders and executives. For the competition one person from each startup will pitch for four minutes to a packed session room and a panel of judges. Immediately following the pitch, the judges have four minutes to question the pitcher. The start-ups compete for two separate awards: the Judges’ Choice Award with a €2,500 prize and the People’s Choice award, a popular vote selected by the DH360 audience. Additionally, financial infrastructure platform Stripe has shown their support for the future of hospitality technology by becoming E20X Europe 2024’s prize sponsor, offering $10,000 USD in payment processing credit without fees for all participating start-ups and $30,000 USD of processing credit without fees for the Judges’ Choice winner. Applications to compete at E20X Europe are currently open through December 15, 2024. In addition to the European competition HFTP is hosting two other E20X competitions in 2024 at HITEC Charlotte and HITEC Dubai (co-located with The Hotel Show) next June, with applications open. email email@example.com.
February 9-11: Pensacola, FL claims to have held some of the first Mardi Gras parties and parades in the country. The party continues, officially kicking off the Friday after New Years before getting into high gear. February 9, you can catch the Krewe of Lafitte Mardi Gras Parade, downtown, beginning at Spring & Garden streets. February 10 is the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade on Palafox and Government Streets. The 11th is Krewe of Wrecks Mardi Gras Parade on Pensacola Beach.
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 International Live Events Association, Meeting Professionals International and the Society of Professional Journalists. She is now serving on the 2022-2023 MPI Independent and Small Business Owners Advisory Board. 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.karenkuzsel.com; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady. She is also active with Experience Kissimmee CVB and Wedding Venue Map..