Word in hospitality, meetings & events industries is that business is returning. Slower than any of us would prefer, but it’s like Spring emerging from Winter: tender green shoots begin popping out from tended soil, buds unfold into colorful flowers, and love (personal or business—your choice) is in the air. I hear from many of my business relationships that inquiries are increasing. Bookings occurring more for fall than immediate. Some friends expecting to be travelling again soon for conferences, and yet, there are still huge question marks about safety protocols at meetings and events. Would love to have your input on what you think has made any events you’ve hosted be successful.
My plants are confused. I hear there’s a lot of that going around. A week ago in Central Florida temperatures averaged 60 and the evenings dipped into high 30s or 40s. This week the lows are in the 60s and the highs in high-70s to high 80s. My plants don’t know whether to hibernate or bloom, as some are doing. Just spoke to someone in Texas who was in the midst of that horrendous below-freezing weather a couple days ago and today her area is in the high-70s. The rapid variance of temperatures is just like the world news. Recovery is imminent, airlines and cruise lines preparing for tourism crush, and COVID-related infection and death numbers are plummeting. Those stories contrast sharply with other current news that says tourism won’t recover until 2022 or 2023, and the new U.K and African viruses are more deadly and spreading quickly. What, and whom, to believe. I think the solution is: we believe what makes us feel better. So, my advice is to find something positive on which to focus and just do your best to make it happen.
Welcome to the New Year, when we all are hoping that our world’s health, outlook and economies rebound with vigorous speed and stability. I have faith in us. Throughout the pandemic, I have been renewed by stories of people who have switched industries, founded new businesses, reached out to others, or have received the help needed. I’d love for you to be interactive with this blog. Send me your news of destinations, events, or what topics are of concern. Comment on what I have written. Contribute ideas on what direction or information you would like to know. I will do my best to deliver. I have been privileged to be accepted onto the Independent Small Business Owners Advisory Panel for Meetings Professionals International. Have been on many local chapter committees and on the Board of Directors, as well as many other global advisories. I “feel” like this group will be invigorating, challenging, and resourceful… All great words I want to insert into my, and yours, everyday life. Be healthy, focused and productive.
GRAND OPENINGS & REOPENINGS!
The restaurant is new. The seafood fresh and prepared classically in the new Silver King Ocean Brasserie in the Luminary Hotel & Co, the latest property from Mainsail Lodging & Development and the first Autograph hotel in the Fort Myers-Naples (FL) area. Centered on an open kitchen and overseen by Executive Chef Kiel Lombardo and Chef de Cuisine Matthew Mohler, the 60-seat restaurant has 40 additional outdoor seats. The décor includes modern elements such as a flowing silver and copper artwork installation inspired by the restaurant’s namesake, the “Silver King” Atlantic tarpon, as well as silver accents, rich woods, marble, and velvet. Chef Kiel has embellished the menu with Marinated Charred Octopus, East Coast Oysters, Potato & Caviar, New York Strip Dry Aged Prime, A5 Japanese Beef, and whole fish dishes.
The Cromwell is back. The hotel and casino is the last of Caesars Entertainment properties on the Las Vegas Strip to reopen. What makes this property unique is “In addition to The Cromwell being the only standalone boutique hotel, it is now the first adults-only hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip,” said Senior Vice President and The Cromwell General Manager Ken Janssen. Guests of all ages are welcome at GIADA, the award-winning restaurant of notable chef Giada De Laurentiis. Book The Cromwell by November 23 for select travel dates through September 2021 and receive up to 30 percent. Use code FALL20
Journey Mexico, known for representing luxury villas in elite Mexican locales, has noticed that families and group of friends are being motivated to book longer-term stays, motivated by a need to get away to work and play without being surrounded by unwelcome company. Corporate and social clients are now asking for upgraded technology, technology purchases (e.g monitors, routers), private tutors, private transportation, extra-curricular activities for after school, and exciting weekend planning. Their recent offerings reflect that need. For instance, the 12-bedroom beachside Casa Tau in the exclusive Punta Mita area sleeps 27. Abutting a jungle, it comes with a bilingual staff of an estate manager, four butlers, sous chefs, and 12 full-time room attendants. An open-air palapa with front-row access overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The villa recently hosted the new Netflix reality series, “Too Hot To Handle.” There’s a 75” TV, fully equipped gym, and the stay includes access to nearby attractions and venues.
Fall has dropped in the United States. I heard that in Denver, CO the temperature on the weekend was 101 and by three days later was to plunge to the 30s and snow. Where I am based, we are still dealing with the sauna bath known as Florida summer that sometimes seems like that last 10 pounds on a diet—nothing you do can make it disappear! For some reason, my husband keeps saying “It’s Fall… things should be cooling down from the humidity-soaking 100+ degrees we still face daily.” I remind him that I have worked Halloween gigs (as my alter ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady) wearing sleeveless blouses because temperatures have barely taken a dip into the low 90s.
Book your meeting by December 22 and stay by December 31, 2020 at any of these participating Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, FL properties and receive a $3 room rebate per actualized room up to $5,000. Created by the Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), the program for new bookings (only) will also cover destinations besides those in Lee County. Fort Myers venues include 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 the new Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection (which is slated to open in September). Captiva Island properties include South Seas Island Resort and ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort. Two Fort Myers Beach properties are Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina and DiamondHead Beach Resort. Other meetings properties are: 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).
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.
The most difficult job I have ever had as a writer is to get the first sentence written. That one simple idea encapsulates my path for where the remainder will follow. It’s like taking a journey, with one foot in front of the other, but until you take that first step, you will only idle in place and never move forward. So it is today, as I begin this next post.
Globally, we are still entrenched in Covid-19 or in the aftermath for those nations fortunate enough to have had strong leaders and the backbone to do what was strictly necessary to flatten that darned curve. Many of us though, are still seeing deaths soaring, jobs and businesses being lost (perhaps permanently), and entire industries having to reinvent themselves (and we thought online sales were outshining brick & mortar stores before Covid). My first attempts to begin this post all seemed too depressing, sad, and without hope. It is not what I want to convey.