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HOTEL HAPPENINGS & PROGRAM PROMOTIONS – MAY 2021

Galactic characters welcomed to Pensacola International Airport in Florida

I read a lot of news, from the morning Orlando Sentinel newspaper to various professional organization and general news feeds. It would be easy to buy into just one side of reported events, but when one story says the world is returning to normalcy and that tourism and event numbers are exploding, but the next story says the virus is still rampant and if we don’t continue being careful it will worsen… what is one to believe? As an optimist and psychic for events (did you know that part about me?), I am all in for believing that the second half of this year will be far better for the greater number of people than the past year+ has been. So there. You can help. Start by envisioning where you, your family and friends, and your business will be in just a matter of months. Would love to hear your expectations and successes!

HOTEL HAPPENINGS & PROGRAM PROMOTIONS – MARCH 2021

Sunset on a dude ranch.

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.

EVENT INSIDER: the flames licked closer to my hair

The flames from the large stand-alone heater flicked closer to my hair with each breezy gust. I have thick, long curly hair. One errant spark and both my hair and the nightmarish trauma witnessed by the guest seated across from me would turn this corporate event from a fun, relaxing tropical party in the hotel gardens, to absolute disaster.

The close call could have been so easily prevented.

If only the party coordinators or hotel wait staff hurriedly removing dirty plates and glasses strewn on linen-topped tables had thought, “Hmmm. I wonder if we should move those patio heaters a tad further from seated diners. The flames seem to be escaping their confines with each wind gust.”

HOTEL HAPPENINGS & PROGRAM PROMOTIONS – FEBRUARY 2021

Villa La Datcha has sleeps 20 in 10 bedrooms.

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.

COOKING FROM LOVE: QUICKIE TOMATO, AVOCADO & SALTED PEANUT SALAD

Tomato, Avocado & Salted Peanut Salad

Russ is not big on my all-but-the-kitchen-sink salads. Yes, he can pick out the items he’ll eat, but every once-in-a-while (or in our household, more often than not), I rely on ingenuity to create dishes that will appeal to both of us. That’s how this Tomato, Avocado & Salted Peanut Salad came about. They are all ingredients he enjoys. (A can of cocktail peanuts sits by his side of the loveseat to continually munch on while watching TV).

EVENT INSIDER: pandemic slowdown spurs new businesses

A short while back there was a viral-bound joke that if vaccination site managers wanted to have their operations, appointments and follow through go smoothly, they should turn to meeting and event planners. The joke continued that not only would the task be done skillfully and to everyone’s satisfaction, but all those seniors who had endured standing in long lines, (sometimes throughout the night), unsure if they’d even score a shot, would have been served snacks, a drink and maybe even a chair. I was likely among the meetings & event Insiders who didn’t see the surface humor in the proposition. I had discussed that same “duh moment” ad nauseum with industry friends and my husband and wondered why no one in charge hadn’t already figured that out. Who better to strategize all the minutia of appointments, parking, cue lines, qualified staff, and follow up visits to fulfillment, than a planner?

HOTEL HAPPENINGS & PROGRAM PROMOTIONS – AUGUST, 2020

Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina is one of many properties in the Fort Myers-Sanibel area that are offering incentives for meetings. Photo by Beaches of Fort Myers-Sanibel.

HOT DEALS!

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).

HOTEL HAPPENINGS & PROGRAM PROMOTIONS – LATE JULY 2020

Ella Mae’s Diner is in the new Luminary Hotel. The hotel is hosting a job fair.

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.

COOKING FROM LOVE: SPANAKOPITA

Finished spanakopita as a side dish or snack.

Once upon a time I catered international cuisines. I had an Israeli Chef then as a partner, so preparing Middle Eastern delights became a focus of our business. One of the dishes I learned then and have always enjoyed making and eating since is spanakopita, a Greek-based dish that includes spinach, feta, filo or puffed pastry. I have made small triangles or thin roll-ups for appetizers, larger versions for side dishes, or have layered a 9×13 pan with many sheets of buttered filo piled atop one another, added my filling, and then topped with more layers of filo.

Yesterday I was in the mood for using my hands other than to lift weights to strengthen my bone density. As I perused my refrigerator, pantry shelves, and freezer, it was as if all the ingredients for spanakopita yelled, “Pick me, pick me.”

HOTEL HAPPENINGS & PROGRAM PROMOTIONS – JULY 2020

A second chance at new life for the Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was how she looked in 1953 when first erected. Look below for the newly rebuilt pier.

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.