River rafting with Western River expeditions can earn planners a free trip!

Planners who book a group for a Western River Expeditions’ rafting adventure in 2024 get the entire trip for free.  The charters are for river rafting trips in Southern Utah destinations such as Desolation Canyon and Cataract Canyon as well as through Moab. Early bird bookings have the best selection of departure dates and destinations. User-friendly links also come with supplemental trip information, all designed to make the organizer’s task stress-free. Each group member uses this private link to sign up and pay for their own reservation. “A private charter is a great option for groups ranging from extended family to corporate to non-profit. The benefit of going with your own group is the promise of building deeper bonds through shared adventures with family, co-workers, or others. Salt Lake City-based Western River Expeditions offers one of the few travel experiences that allows everyone to be doing the same thing at the same time in an extraordinary place – with absolutely no distractions,” says Brandon Lake, co-owner and CMO.; (866) 904-1160 (Local: (801) 942-6669);

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica brings romance to couples with a Romance package.

Romance is in the air at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico and the Pacific Ocean resort has an enticing offer if you book a stay by February 28 for travel now through December 19. The promotional Romance package is for two persons, all-inclusive. The adults-only beachfront property with each room having an ocean-view terrace or balcony, includes such amenities as sparkling wine in-room upon arrival; flower petals on the bed; a couples massage at the award-winning Armonia Spa; private dinner for two on the beach; and a golf lesson for two at Quivira Golf Club’s oceanfront practice facility. The romantic perks also include gourmet confections from El Chocolate at The Market at Quivira and a keepsake glass heart made by the San Miguel Blown Glass Factory from recycled bottles sourced from Pueblo Bonito Resorts, completing a circle of sustainability. There are different levels to the Romance package, with pricing dependent on the level and availability.; (800)-990-8259

Wyndham Alltra Vallarta La Costa Restaurant

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.;

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.

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: now through 03/31/2024; 2025: 11/18/2024 – 04/17/2025; and 2026: 11/17/2025 – 03/31/2026.;

Margaritaville Resorts’ Sea Paradise offers a trip for two with resort booking.

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. 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.

Wealth of Wellness package offered at Pueblo Bonito Resorts in Quivira, Los Cabos, Mexico.

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,; (800) -990-8259


Epicurean Hotel finished expansion includes a rooftop terrace.

Epicurean Hotel has completed its $21 million expansion. Located in the Hyde Park district of South Tampa, FL, across from Epicurean’s 137-room main hotel, the expansion adds 51 new guest rooms and suites, a private lobby, meeting space, and rooftop terrace. The new four-story structure features a classic, crisp white exterior, historic façade, and adds two floors of parking with an additional 91 spaces. The project also incorporates two fully restored apartment buildings which are scheduled to open later this spring. “This addition really elevates the streetscape of South Howard, which has become a focal point of Tampa’s booming culinary scene thanks to Bern’s Steak House, Haven, Epicurean Hotel and others,” said Joe Collier, President and Founder, Mainsail Lodging & Development. Referred to as Epicurean’s “second course,” the expanded public areas feature warm woods with cool concrete and stainless steel. An original artwork installation of wine and champagne corks, and a contemporary liquor bottle chandelier adorn the lobby. The 51 new accommodations consist of 31 standard king rooms, eight deluxe king rooms, three two-room suites, and one junior suite. There are also eight historical apartments converted into spacious suites with separate dining and living areas, kitchenette, king bed and sleeper sofa that open in spring 2024. The apartment-style suites feature private balconies shaded by chic black-and-white-striped awnings, all overlooking Howard Avenue. Guest rooms and suites are highlighted by signature butcher block counter tops and soft, sophisticated, earth-toned furnishings and finishes, with a dash of culinary-themed touches in the artwork and other decor. Improved technology enhances the overall guest experience. New meeting space includes the Chateau Room, a 794-sf room (for up to 50 people) and features an eight-foot video wall. The 590-sf Cask Room (30 max) features a built-in plasma TV. Both rooms are highlighted by oversized windows and open onto the 1,138-sf rooftop Vineyard Terrace, a unique option for private receptions and celebrations for up to 130 people. Orlando-based L2 Studios, Inc. is the architect and interior designer for the project. Additional partners include Cooper Johnson Smith Peterson Architects, Inc. for the exterior concept design, and Nelson Construction, the general contractor, both based in Tampa.

(855) U-AWAKEN (829-2536);

Loews Hotels is planning to replace the current Arlington Sheraton hotel (near Choctaw Stadium) with a 500-room, $410 million hotel development in Arlington, TX’ entertainment district, according to a report in The new property is expected to have 25,000 sf of convention and event space. Although a third hotel in Arlington is being planned, focus is on the February opening of the 888-room Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center.

AC Hotel Naples 5th Avenue opened in December. The three-story, 150-room Naples, FL hotel by Marriott offers 2,500 sf of event space, outdoor rooftop pool, and signature rooftop restaurant Limón. The restaurant features a Mediterranean menu. The AC Hotel Naples will be managed by OTO Development.


February 23 is the early date to enter the Ex Awards for the Experiential Marketing Summit, taking place April 24 – 26 at the MGM Grand (Las Vegas, NV). New this year are expanded Trade Show Categories including: Best Overall Trade Show Exhibit Portfolio, Best Trade Show Exhibit Under 50×50, Best Trade Show Exhibit Over 50×50, Best Outdoor Trade Show Exhibit and Best In-Booth Trade Show Activation/Experience. Late entry date is March 1. For questions: Emily Makadok at

Win a Pensacola, FL vacation for two including airfare, swag and prizes from Visit Pensacola partners. Entering The Way to Beach™ competition is easy if you have Instagram. Go to Instagram page @visitpensacola, like the designated reel, and follow Visit Pensacola. Each time you tag someone, you receive an extra entry. Leave a comment and your chance to win increases. You have until January 31 to enter.


Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA) is looking for speakers for their 30th annual conference August 20-22 in Orlando, FL at Renaissance SeaWorld Resort Orlando. They’re looking for speakers who offer inspirational and actionable insights for attendees, which ranges from municipalities to non-profits to Independent Event Planners. Successful past topics have included sponsorship recruitment and retention, marketing and social media strategies, event operations and logistics, volunteer management, technology, and professional development. Members attend to improve their careers through professional development and to gain fresh perspectives and ideas for their events. Deadline to submit Speaker Interest form is February 22. Speakers will be notified by March 12 of being selected.


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.


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.

March 26: The Marshall Tucker Band with special guests, The Georgia Thunderbolts, star in the 2024 Rockin’ on the River Concert Series at Caloosa Sound Amphitheater.

 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.;;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady. She is also active with Experience Kissimmee CVB and Wedding Venue Map..