contrary to the current trend, he’s actually seeing hotels that
won’t book room nights and meeting space beyond three
“Some of them are actually turning down the long-term
business—especially on their ballroom space—because they
don’t want to lock in 2016 rates when the prevailing rate for
that space in ;ive years might be higher than it is right now,”
Nevertheless, Meister says, none of the new rules about
booking room nights and meeting space are necessarily set
Meister says he had to move a meeting that had been set
for the Loews in Miami Beach because the hotel was doing a
remodeling, but he happened to ;ind a hole in the schedule of
another hotel in Miami Beach that may be a ;it.
“You’ve just got to be quick and ;lexible and ready to jump
on an opportunity when it presents itself,” he says.
Schreiner says the general rule of long lead times for hotel
bookings is not the only thing different about the meeting
business in Florida right now.
“We have actually seen hotels displace meeting business in
favor of leisure traveler bookings (because of the higher rates
for rooms booked individually by leisure travelers) and for
the ;irst time ever, we have seen hotels that will charge you for
your room night on a site inspection if you don’t book an event
with them at the same time as the site visit,” she says. “They
tell you that if you do book an event later with them, they will
credit your site visit room cost back to the master account for
the event you book at their hotel. That’s something new. It’s a
whole new environment in the industry right now.”
But along with the higher room rates and longer lead
times needed for bookings in this environment, the current
marketplace means hotels are more pro;itable and have the
money to do more remodeling, expansion and construction of
new properties. And planners like that.
“I’ve seen studies show that groups would much rather
have new hotel experiences than they had the previous year;
attendance goes up in a new venue,” Levy says. “We need
more new hotels.”
Nicole M. Unger, CMP, director of sales for Alliance Nation-
wide Exposition & Event Services in Orlando and also pres-
ident of the MPI Greater Orlando Area Chapter, says the
demand for Florida as a destination also extends into the
trade show business.
“All of our events are up by about 10 percent,” she says.
“That’s what the exhibits industry has been predicting and
we are seeing that happen now. We are seeing the rotational
pattern (of exhibitions) coming to Florida more frequently,
which leads me to believe that the overall package here, as
well as the desirability of Florida as a destination, is leading
exhibitions to choose Florida more frequently.”
Unger says the same general trend—the need for long-
term booking, for example—applies to the trade show side of
the business just as it does to the meetings and conventions
Orlando. Universal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels &
Resorts are building the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. It will be
the fifth onsite hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, with 1,000
guest rooms and suites with a casual Caribbean theme, built
around a lagoon and towering waterfall. The resort is expected
to open in the summer. It will also open the new Loews Meetings Complex, which will offer 247,000 square feet of contiguous meeting space between Loews Royal Pacific Resort and
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.
Also in Orlando, the Rosen Plaza has renovated all 800 guest
rooms and the Rosen Shingle Creek is redoing all 1,501 rooms.
Rosen Plaza also has a unique new restaurant, Zayde’s, with an
RCF and Orthodox Union-supervised Kosher kitchen, as well as
Walt Disney World Resort will complete a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. Featuring
an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands, this new expansion will double the number of
shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore to
more than 150 establishments.
This summer Sea World Orlando plans to open Mako, a new
200-foot-tall rollercoaster. It will be Orlando’s tallest, fastest and
longest roller coaster, reaching speeds of 73 mph as it races
along 4,760 feet of steel track. Sea World’s new hypercoaster will
be the centerpiece of the newly themed two-acre plaza. The
surrounding realm will be fully shark themed, providing guests
with the opportunity to learn about the impact humans have
on sharks and why these animals are critical to the environment.