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. On Nov. 2, Cibola offers a five-course tasting menu featuring traditional Dia de los Muertos fare, such as authentic mole, an assortment of pumpkin desserts and other delightful treats. At LaFrida restaurant at Sunset Beach (an elegant candlelit room decorated with the paintings of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and where I have had exquisite food and wine), the AAA Four Diamond Award winner also celebrates the holiday on both evenings with a special tasting menu. Other Pueblo Bonito resorts offering special buffets of traditional dishes include Sunset Beach’s La Nao restaurant, Pacifica, and Rose’s Mare Nostrum, which overlooks the Sea of Cortez.
Save up to 30% on admission to Discovery Cove (Orlando, FL) through Mar. 10, and while visiting, take advantage of the new Luxury Day Bed shaded rentals, with plush chaise lounges for two adults. Private cabanas are available for groups of six to eight.
After eight years as the world’s first Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV, the luxury boutique hotel is getting a multimillion-dollar refresh of all 182 guest rooms and public areas by the end of 2021. This is one of several projects in development as Caesars Entertainment, Inc. expands its longstanding partnership with Nobu Hospitality – the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper. New Nobu Hotels and restaurants are in the works for Harrah’s New Orleans and Caesars Atlantic City. A new Nobu restaurant will open at Paris Las Vegas. Award-winning global architecture and design firm Rockwell Group has re-envisioned the guest rooms and common areas it first designed in 2013. Rockwell Group has drawn inspiration from kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold epoxy – creating cohesion from collage. This element will create a streamlined and more luxe take on the original design concept. The focal piece of the new guest rooms will be a custom sofa in a dozen different patch-worked upholsteries, from painterly-style prints to muted textured graphics. The redesigned rooms will also feature a quartzite coffee table with a gold base and a cracked kintsugi effect, along with additional lighting. New custom carpet will have aubergine hues, as well as abstract and painterly-style florals – inspired by 19th Century Japanese artist Tsubaki Chinzan – overlaid with gold kintsugi veining. Redesigned guest corridors will feature a custom carpet with rippling forms, suggesting a pond of koi fish that cluster at each guest room door, and patterns inspired by suminagashi – the art of Japanese paper marbling. In addition, the new inset lobby carpet will depict monumental slabs of marble and agate surrounded by gold veining, with pops of gray, rust and blue.
Get your job applications ready. The historic 212-room Floridan Palace Hotel (Tampa, FL) has been bought by 1754 Properties, LLC in partnership with Triangle Capital Group and they will be hiring dozens of employees. 1754 Properties, LLC is an institutional owner, operator and lender of hotels and other real estate based in Weston, FL. The sale includes the 3/4-acre parking lot site at 505 E. Taylor Street in the North Downtown section known locally as NoDo. “With additional employees in place, we look forward to opening the restaurant and wedding group venues at the Floridan by the end of the year. We plan to significantly upgrade the restaurant experience to complement NoDo’s dining scene and deliver the great experience guests and residents have come to expect,” said Joe Kelley, head of management for 1754. Interested applicants should contact Glenn Willocks of 1754 Properties at email@example.com. “We look forward to upgrading this property through a significant new renovation, bringing it to a level deserving of such a grand hotel,” said Joseph Smith, founding partner of 1754 Properties LLC. “We take such historical assets seriously and will be good stewards of the hotel’s intriguing past and its wonderful 1920s façade.”
www.FloridanPalace.com; (813) 225-1700.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (Cherokee, NC) has opened the resort’s fourth hotel tower, The Cherokee, and an 83,000 sf Cherokee Convention Center. Their opening completes the $330 million expansion project, which began in 2018. Brooks Robinson, Regional Senior Vice President & General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos, said the Convention Center nearly triples their previous rentable meeting space. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Principal Chief, Richard Sneed, also shared remarks on the project, stating it will signify a new revenue stream.
Louisiana cuisine spices up its entry into Harrah’s Las Vegas by early 2022. Walk-On Sports Bistreaux first introduction to the Las Vegas Strip will include crawfish etouffee, duck & andouille gumbo, and Krispy Kreme Donut bread pudding. It will be the first of 50 in the Walk-On Sports chain to offer a breakfast menu, with staples like voodoo shrimp & grits, beignets, and popular signature cocktail, the Mad Mary. Game Day classics won’t just be on the menu. More than 60 TVs will canvas the restaurant.
In the next three years, three new live entertainment experiences at Caesars resorts in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and New Orleans thanks to a nearly $75 million investment by Caesars Entertainment and Spiegelworld. Coming to The LINQ Hotel + Experience in Las Vegas by the fourth quarter of 2022 is DiscoShow. In the first quarter of 2023, a brand-new theater and resident show opens at Caesars Atlantic City and by 2024, a new theater and show is planned for Caesars New Orleans. The idea was born over lunch at Beijing Noodle No. 9 with Anthony Carano, in his first week as President and Chief Operating Officer of Caesars Entertainment, and Ross Mollison, Impresario Extraordinaire of Spiegelworld, producer of the long-running hit show Absinthe at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Mollison said the three new, custom-built venues and productions will signal the future of live entertainment as imagined by Spiegelworld. “What drives us is combining genre-defying live entertainment, integrated dining, outstanding beverage programs and specially commissioned art to create an intimate, immersive, surprising total night out which is unique to each city.” After three years of development, the much-anticipated DiscoShow will find its Las Vegas home at the new Spiegelworld Glitterloft. Set inside a transformative space, this live show will be unlike any other entertainment in Las Vegas. The audience will be invited to step inside the action with the characters who were there at the birth of disco; into their lives, on the streets, and at the club. The creative team includes acclaimed director Steven Hoggett (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (Movement, West End/Broadway). Spiegelworld will resurrect the historic Warner Theatre in Atlantic City, incorporating its heritage 1929 façade that sits on the center of the boardwalk at Caesars Atlantic City. As part of Caesars Entertainment’s $400 million commitment to its Atlantic City resorts, the Spiegelworld Theatre is expected to open in early 2023. Finally, the new show for Caesars New Orleans will further push the boundaries of adult circus-comedy entertainment, opening as part of the property’s $325 million renovation in 2024.
MY CITY HAS BETTER FOOD THAN YOURS!
Leave it to personal-finance website WalletHub to analyze which city across America has the best and cheapest local foodie scenes as a way of honoring World Food Day on Oct. 16. To determine the best and cheapest, the company compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 29 key metrics, ranging from affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants to food festivals per capita, to craft breweries and wineries per capita. Although Portland, OR took the hot spot, I was surprised that Orlando, FL ranked highest in so many categories (even though it came in second overall). For instance, Orlando has 19.4 times more gourmet specialty-food stores than Pearl City, Hawaii and 18.1 times more restaurants than that same Pearl City. Orlando also has the most ice cream and frozen yogurt shops per square root of population (Hello! It’s still 90 degrees here daily and that’s not figuring in the outrageous humidity.) than South Burlington, VT, which has the fewest. Santa Rosa, CA’s claim to fame is that it has the highest ratio of full-service restaurants to fast-food establishments, more than 3.2 times higher than Jackson, MS. So, we know the top two are Portland and Orlando. The rest of the top 2-? In descending order, they are Miami, FL; San Francisco, CA; Austin, TX; Sacramento, CA; Denver, CO; Las Vegas, NV; Seattle, WA; Tampa, FL; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; Portland, ME; Oakland, CA; Washington, DC; St. Louis, MO; Grand Rapids, MI; Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA; and Houston, TX.
TECHNOLOGY TAKES CENTER STAGE
These entertainers can’t get their feelings hurt if no one pays attention, but then, how could anyone ignore a robot that dances, struts across a tradeshow floor, or interacts in a playful manner with guests? Meet Showbots, presented by Brad Wilson Talent. The engaging robots have already made appearances at major theme parks, conventions, and fundraisers in more than 46 countries.
Smile, you may be on television. Filming for HITEC TV, an online video content channel focused on the hospitality technology industry, debuted at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) conference in Dallas, TX, held Sept. 27-30 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), the producers of HITEC, worked in partnership with HospitalityNet and Hospitality Upgrade to produce the channel content. Known as the world’s largest and oldest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand, HITEC aims to arm hoteliers with the education and technology needed to build momentum in the post-pandemic world. HITEC TV was created to maximize the time industry professionals would have to connect with key hospitality segments and stakeholders during the annual conference. “We are thrilled to be co-producing HITEC TV with HFTP,” shares Henri Roelings, the founder of Hospitality Net. “Our industry has faced incredible challenges over the last 18 months. By bringing together the most innovative minds and products in hospitality, this initiative will forge our path to a post-pandemic recovery and long-term success.” Each televised selection was broadcast online more than once and featured in HITEC’s daily newsletter. The segments were also available across multiple social media channels.
Looking for something to spiff up your photo overlay for photo booths? Pixilated now offers more than 100 photo booth design templates to either inspire your own designs or just to tweak what you have. They’re built onto Canva so they’re easy to access, design and export.
The National Football League Alumni needed a one-of-a-kind, end-to-end solution to support its largest event of the year, the 42nd annual Super Bowl of Golf, so they turned to DestinDIY®. “The DestinDIY® one-stop shopping features were particularly appealing to us,” said Krissy Garrett, Director of Chapter Relations for the NFL Alumni Association. “Our guests can book hotel, flights, ground transportation and even their practice round tee times on one platform.” The back end helps planners improve their efficiency by up to 70%, saving time with a single-source digital tool designed to manage both group and individual bookings while also capturing revenue from shared commissions. Co-founded by Wayne and Anita Beaubien, e-DestinAccess is a meeting and event management technology. DestinDIY® has the flexibility to fully integrate multiple services, including HotelPlanner, FlyUs, Carey International, Tiqets and QuickBooks, to deliver a turnkey platform. Planners can create custom, dynamic event experiences with the ability to book group/individual rooms, air, exclusive Covid-19 at-home airport pickup and drop-off service, airport transfers and local activities. According to Garrett, the DestinDIY® back end allows each NFL Alumni Chapter to manage their own event accounts, including apparel and signage orders, and accounting reports. This is especially valuable, she added, since the system aggregates all accounting in one place, which will simplify preparation for the year-end audit. Training is underway for each of the NFL Alumni Association’s 43 chapters to easily brand and customize its own platform, as well as set up organizational hubs or individual events. NFL Alumni hold events ranging from golf tournaments to clay shoots, galas to board meetings, player, and cheerleader reunions—all of which are customizable on the e-Destin® platform. Researching and choosing local vendors enables regional NFL Alumni chapters to strengthen local economies and keep money with small vendors in each area. Additionally, DestinDIY® provides a user-friendly planner dashboard that includes electronic proposal, contract generation, electronic signature, online registration, transportation scheduling, electronic departure notices and daily itinerary functions. In addition, financial forecasting, and cost reports, including program spreadsheets and final invoicing, are all available in real time.
www.e-destinaccess.com; (800) 605-5597.
$15,000 SCHOLARSHIP FOR ENTREPRENEURIALLY MOTIVATED STUDENTS IN WASHINGTON D.C & BALTIMORE METRO AREAS
Nov. 30 is the deadline to apply for the Innovators of Progress one-year pre-accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurially motivated students. Applicants must be at least 18, enrolled full-time at a U.S. accredited college, university or trade school in the Washington D.C or Baltimore, MD metro areas, as well as attend any of Maryland University System Institution, and be a full-time resident within the Washington DC or Baltimore metro areas. The one-year program provides up to $15,000 comprising of seed capital, tuition assistance, and internships. InnovatorsofProgress.org began the program to identify motivated students seeking to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset and provide them with financial aid and seed capital for their progressive ideas in science, technology, engineering, math, healthcare, finance, infrastructure/civil, education, literacy, and business (“applicable industries”). This program is designed to support students that plan to pursue a full-time career in innovation upon graduation. funding provided is non-dilutive. The application (due by Nov. 30) takes 30 minutes or less to complete. For full eligibility requirements: https://innovatorsofprogress.org/about/
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA) needs you. They need your time, energy, and your willingness to join a committee planning events for the 2022 calendar year. If you are interested in serving on and/or discovering more about on any of the following committees, fill out the application on https://www.ffea.com/f/48 and someone will reach out to you. Two new committees are Sustainability and Membership. Other committees are Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force; Ambassador; Sunsational Awards; Entertainment Showcase; Hospitality; Educational Program; Silent Auction; Tradeshow; Emerging Leaders; and Marketing.
Call for Mentors, Trainers & Educators who have a minimum 10 years of experience in the Exhibition, Conference, Trade Show and Meetings industries to share knowledge for National Trade Show Alliance conference attendees. New date for the Virtual Conference and Sponsor Showcase is Dec. 16, 2021, from 9 – 5 pm.
Contact Laura Palker, Laura@nationaltradeshowalliance.org
WINTER TRAVEL – SURVEY OF SAFETY FACTORS & CREDIT CARDS
More than 40% of people would pay extra to be on a 100% vaccinated flight or to stay at a 100% vaccinated hotel/resort according to the 2021 Winter Travel Survey undertaken by personal-finance website WalletHub. “We’ve seen cities have success with vaccine mandates. Applying the idea to travel – at least as a specialized service where certain flights or hotel rooms are reserved for the vaccinated – could prove to be a moneymaker for airlines and hotel chains,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. The survey brought out some interesting factors, such as 30 million Americans say they can’t afford winter travel and 27% say they won’t travel before the end of 2021 due to fears of Covid. Yet, when the same survey focused on credit cards, it revealed that Millennials are 4x more likely than baby boomers to apply for a new credit card in order to save on winter travel perks. Of course, how much can be earned by using a card, and whether the cost of an annual fee is enough to get better perks is dependent on which card one chooses. “Whether or not it’s worth paying an annual fee to get better credit card perks ultimately depends on how much you have to spend and what you get in return, but 1 in 3 consumers believe it’s a worthwhile investment as far as hotel and airline credit cards are concerned,” said Gonzalez. “If you travel often, paying an annual fee for a hotel or airline credit card with better perks is more likely to be a good idea. Otherwise, there are a lot of good travel rewards cards with no annual fee.” When credit cards’ fees and benefits were assessed, Chase Sapphire Preferred came out on top for winter travel because it currently has an initial bonus worth $1,250 in travel for spending $4,000 in the first three months. Gonzalez says the best tactic is to compare, compare, compare. “Compare prices for hotels, airfare, and any other transportation, accommodations or activities you have planned. Compare destinations to find the best value. And don’t forget to compare credit card offers, too. You could easily save $500+ with one of the best credit card sign-up bonuses.”
Oct. 21 – 31: Pensacola (FL) Interstate Fair at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds, 6655 Mobile Highway, Pensacola, FL 32526. www.pensacolafair.com; (850) 944-4500
Oct. 22: Beach-O-Ween at Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, 1 Via de Luna Dr., Pensacola Beach, FL 32561. www.visitpensacolabeach.com; (850) 530-3349
Nov. 4 – 15: The 37th Annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival featuring more than 200 nationally acclaimed songwriters in venues along the Florida/Alabama Gulf Coast. https://www.frankbrownsongwriters.com/; (850) 492-7664
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 20121-2022 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.