The job market is much better than has been pondered, worried over, and misrepresented according to the latest numbers released Nov. 5 by the U.S Labor Department. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 531,000 in October, beating the estimate of 450,000, states the report. “This is the kind of recovery we can get when we are not sidelined by a surge in Covid cases,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement site Indeed. “If this is the sort of job growth we will see in the next several months, we are on a solid path.” Best of all for the hospitality, leisure, and meetings & events are that these industries have regained 2.4 million positions lost during the pandemic as more than 164,000 Americans have now returned to restaurants and vacations.
DAY OF THE DEAD HOLIDAY IS NOT HALLOWEEN
Yes, I know people dress up for Halloween in makeup and clothing that reference the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), but for Mexicans, the two holidays are vastly different. At Pueblo Bonito resorts (Los Cabos, Mexico), the holiday is celebrated with unique dining options that honor the memory of departed family members and friends. The Day of the Dead is commemorated on Nov. 1 – 2 (All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day according to the Christian calendar) to coincide with the fall maize harvest. Dia de los Muertos has been recognized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization) on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. I have never celebrated Dia de los Muertos, but the food offerings sure make me plan for it in the future. At Cibola at Montecristo Luxury Villas, located high on a bluff overlooking the ocean, breakfast will feature Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto, a traditional sugary roll dotted with anise seeds and decorated with skulls and bones made from dough. The bones might be arranged in a circle, as in the circle of life.
Meetings Mayhem is what happens when you tumble dry the principles of Murphy’s Law with surprising mishaps experienced by hospitality, meetings and events, and entertainment industry experts, and then have a professional meeting planner collect and fold them into a passion project ready-made as a “how to respond to nightmare scenarios and come out a winner” book. I vacillated between laughing out loud and gratefully moaning, “Thank goodness it wasn’t me in that situation!”
You don’t have to be in the aforementioned industries to appreciate that “no matter how well you plan, there is always something beyond your control that can drastically upend at the last minute.” What author and professional meeting planner Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP demonstrates is that no matter how dire the situation might seem, the anecdotes contained within the pages of this easy-to-read 182 pages are an amusing guide for what-to-do-if…
FLORIDA HOTELS “RAISE THE ROOF FOR HURRICANE IDA RELIEF”
They came. They ate and drank. They donated to the tune of $7,000 in the one-night “Raising the Roof for Hurricane Ida Relief” program. Patrons of four Florida rooftop bars: EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge (Epicurean Hotel in Tampa); Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar (Fenway Hotel in Dunedin); Vantage Rooftop Bar (The Karol Hotel in Clearwater); and Beacon Social Drinkery (Luminary Hotel & Co. in Fort Myers) donated half of the evening’s sales to directly support of those impacted by the storm. The $7,000 was given to the American Red Cross. “It came together fast, but we wanted to give our guests and neighbors a way to quickly and directly help those affected by Hurricane Ida,” said Joe Collier, President of Mainsail Lodging & Development. “It was great to see so many come out at our four hotel rooftop bars to support the cause, with some guests making private donations, including one $1,000 donation from another local business.” To donate: www.RedCross.org.
RENAMED, RENOVATED AND THE BRAND NEW
The kickoff won’t be until February 2025 for the New Orleans Saints and Caesars Entertainment rebrand of New Orleans’ iconic downtown stadium as the Caesars Superdome. The 20-year, exclusive naming-rights partnership means the Caesars Superdome will host all Saints home football games, and Super Bowl LIX to be played in February 2025. The building will also host the 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four, the annual Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff contests, a variety of concerts and hundreds of other annual events including Essence Festival, the Bayou Classic football game between Grambling State and Southern University, the New Orleans Bowl and the Louisiana State High School Athletic Association Football Championships. Caesars Superdome will stand as testament to Caesars’ commitment to the New Orleans Saints and to the city of New Orleans as it embarks on a $325 million renovation to transform Harrah’s New Orleans into Caesars New Orleans. “This partnership sends a strong message about the positive future for the New Orleans Saints, Caesars Entertainment, and the entire state of Louisiana,” said Saints Owner Gayle Benson. “
Sexual Discrimination in golf packages? You’ll have to read on to see which resort chain only thinks men golf. Venue alert: new hotels and renovated properties are vying for your business. The Galapagos say, “Welcome back”!
OPEN AND READY FOR BUSINESS
The two-year, $158 million renovation and expansion of the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center (Kissimmee, FL) has been completed. More than 100,000 sf of meeting space and 306 guest rooms in the new Gulf Coast Tower have been added. Gaylord Palms has 482,745 sf of meeting space, with 76 event rooms and 10,000 sf in the largest space. Florida Exhibition Hall, Florida’s largest in-hotel exhibition facility has 178,500 sf of flexible space. The new meeting spaces add 30,000 sf of breakout space and 30,000 sf of pre-function space. The expansion includes the 306 additional guest rooms, 13,000 sf outdoor terrace and function space, parking garage, and expanded pool offerings. Added fun for adults and youth: the new Crystal River Rapids ride has twists and turns through varied currents amid limestone rock walls in the Cypress Springs Water Park.
If you are new to my Hotel Happenings & Program Promotions monthly (or more often) blog series, then welcome. I began this originally because I worked for a hospitality, meetings & events magazine that focused on events, destinations, technology, food, wine etc. Life had other plans in store, and soon after I created this blog to further and expand my audience, from just “industry” folk to some leisure travel readers. Pre-Covid-19’s global disruptions, I wrote about my personal travel experiences with the intent of telling you what you might experience and to show off my husband Russ’ fabulous photography that captures destinations’ assets. I am a foodie who isn’t snooty. I love to cook and bake, so my blog site has a Tasty section for restaurant reviews, my recipes, and reviews of cooking shows I have judged. I’ve missed the sharing and now that the world is steadier on its healthier direction, I intend to present as many relevant events, resort deals and openings, new technology and other news of this nature as I can. Share your news. Share your comments.
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!
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.