Florida suppliers offer value-added incentives for fall


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As a result of a decline in visitors since Sept. 11, suppliers are offering value-added incentives that make Florida a bargain for visitors this fall. In addition, there are numerous override commission opportunities.

Shown at the Boca Raton Resort & Club are Esther Escobar (center), manager of Liberty Travel's Plantation office, and (back row, from left) Michael Kairalla, the hotel's director of leisure sales; John Tolbert, the resort's vice president of sales and marketing, and Linda Blum, manager of Liberty's Delray Beach office. In the deals department, Continental Airlines Vacations is offering a $100 food and soft beverage credit on three-night-minimum packages to 38 Orlando area hotels. Bookings must be made by Nov. 15 for travel completed by Dec. 15.

Under the plan, $50 is to be used at one of 13 restaurants at Universal Studios or Universal's Islands of Adventure. The other $50 is for food, soft drinks or merchandise at Planet Hollywood or Downtown Disney. Also, clients booking a full-size Alamo car will be upgraded free to a convertible. (The blackout period is Nov. 21 to 24.)

Continental Airlines Vacations is paying from 10% to 14% on Orlando sales, with 1% bonuses for CRS bookings. For details, call (800) 634-5555.

US Airways Vacations set a $50 discount per reservation on all Florida air-land-hotel-inclusive trips. Bookings must be made through VAX Vacation Access, at www.vacationaccess.com, or the CRS, for travel through April 30. The operator's vendor code for CRS use is USV.

At Turnberry Isle Resort, Aventura, the All the Best for You package, from $249 per night, single or double, covers room, spa use, breakfast buffet, shuttle services, tax, service fee and a $50 credit per day for on-site dining, drinks, golf and tennis. The plan is valid on stays through Dec. 20. To book, call (800) 327-7028.

As for override pay, 20% is being offered by five Grand Theme Hotels on room sales for stays through Jan. 13. The hotels are the Celebration in Celebration; the Doubletree Castle, Sheraton Studio City and Westin Grand Bohemian, all in Orlando, and the Casa Monica in St. Augustine. For details, call (800) GRAND-123.

The Sonesta Beach Hotel, Key Biscayne, also pays 20% on all sales booked by Dec. 15, regardless of travel date. A two-for-one room offer (at $195 per night) is available on stays through Dec. 21. For details, call (800) SONESTA.

On the Space Coast, through Dec. 21, the Kennedy Space Center is extending free admission for up to two children ages 14 and younger with each adult admission. This deal coincides with the arrival of a Smithsonian exhibit (on loan through April 30) called "Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe." In related news, 14 Space Coast properties hiked commissions on stays now through Jan. 31.

The Days Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, and the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Palm Bay, are paying 12%. The Comfort Inn & Suites (if booked directly with the hotel), Days Inn Oceanfront, Best Western Ocean Inn, Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach, Courtyard by Marriott, Days Inn Oceanfront, Ocean Suite Hotel, Sea Esta Villas and Wakulla Suites, all in Cocoa Beach, are paying 15%. Also paying 15% are the Royal Mansions Resort, Cape Canaveral, and Best Western Space Shuttle Inn, Titusville. The Ramada Inn & Suites KSC, Titusville, is paying 20%. For information on the area, call (800) 93-OCEAN.

In the Florida Keys, there are value-added deals such as extra free nights, rooms from $40 per weeknight and credits for dining and spa treatments. In addition, some hotels are paying overrides.

Islamorada properties offering 15% pay are: Star of the Sea, for stays through Jan. 31, except Dec. 20 to Jan. 1, (800) 664-2961; the Tropical Reef Resort (any dates), (305) 664-4891, and Port of Call Townhomes, on weekly stays through Dec. 15, (888) 587-0508. The 15% pay policy applies at Key West's Westwinds Inn on stays through Dec. 23, (305) 296-4440, and at the Grand Key Resort on stays through Dec. 25 when booked through the CRS or at (888) 310-1540.

Meanwhile, 20% pay is being extended by the 500 Ocean in Marathon, a vacation home complex, on stays through Dec. 20. Call (866) 500-0660. For information on the Keys, check the Web site at www.flakeys.com, or call (800) FLA-KEYS.

In addition, a $99 (plus tax) package covering room, breakfast and dinner for two on stays through Dec. 24 is available at Banana Bay Resorts in the Marathon, Key West, St. Petersburg-Tampa and West Palm Beach areas. Agents earn 10% on the total. For details, call (800) BANANA-1.

At the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the one-night Best of Boca and Bed and Breakfast packages will remain in effect at the minimum price through Oct. 31. On Oct. 1, the Best of Boca rate normally increases to $655 per couple.

Best of Boca, priced at $386 per couple, covers room; breakfast and dinner; unlimited golf; unlimited tennis; the Boca Tots and Boca Bunch children's programs; valet parking, and $300 worth of on-site discounts for dining, recreation and merchandise. Children ages 15 and younger stay free with adults.

The Bed and Breakfast plan starts at $139 per night, double, (normally $190), covering room, full breakfast and $300 worth of on-site coupons. For information, call (800) 327-0101.

In Fort Walton Beach, the Best Western Beachfront, at (850) 243-9444, is offering rooms from $69 a night, while the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, at (800) 874-8962, has a $99 rate with breakfast. Both deals expire Oct. 31.

Under a $79-a-night offer from the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Okaloosa Island, there is a free third night offered for each two nights paid. The offer expires Dec. 24. For details, call (850) 744-8686.

Finally, National Airlines passengers flying to Miami get the third night free at either the National Hotel or Miami Beach Ocean Resort, both in Miami Beach, if they arrive any Monday or Wednesday through Oct. 24, or any Tuesday through Oct. 30. For information, call the Miami Beach Ocean Resort at (800) 550-0505.

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