Hotel offers agents 15% through April


MIAMI BEACH -- The 254-room Ramada Miami Beach Inn introduced a 15% commission for travel agents on all stays completed by April 30. According to Bernard Resnick, the hotel's management consultant, the property, along with many others in South Florida, is slowly recuperating from the loss of significant business because of the Sept. 11 terrorist acts.

Bernard Resnick, veteran Miami Beach hotelier, checks out the Ramada Miami Beach Inn's Crown Room, where buffet service is provided to groups. About half of the Ramada's business before the attacks was international tour groups, Resnick said, making it dependent on airline passengers originating in Europe, Latin America and Japan. Ralph Reyes, vice president of sales and marketing, continues to maintain steady contact with those operators, Resnick said.

Corporate and convention business accounts for another 15% of the revenue, he said. Before the attacks, the hotel's average occupancy peaked at 92% for the first seven months of 2001, Resnick noted. The Absolutely Free Car promotion, still in effect, helped the hotel achieve the 92% occupancy, he said.

The promotional rates are $89 to $119 per night, single or double, through Dec. 20, and $135 to $150 from Dec. 21 to April 30. In addition to the guest room, the hotel provides an economy Alamo car for each night (the car can be picked up at the airport) and a casino cruise on the Princessa (with $5 in chips thrown in). Guests must be 25 years or older to rent the car. The gambling cruise sails from Bayside Marina.

What also has helped sell the hotel everywhere, Resnick said, is its location, at 4041 Collins Ave., only a few minutes' drive from the South Beach nightclubs, cafes and Lincoln Road Mall. The mall has taken on an international flavor, Resnick said, because of the visitor mix.

Resnick, who has been involved with Miami Beach hotel operations since the 1960s, said that casino gambling would still be desirable as another guest activity. He recalled that Miami Beach hoteliers during the 1980s were anxious to get casino gambling legalized, but their attempts failed. However, in the 1980s, South Beach had not been fully developed, he said.

The casino issue has been dormant because of South Beach's ability to deliver the "blocks and blocks of action" that visitors seek, he explained. The Ramada Miami Beach Inn extends a 50% discount to agents and tour operators on their personal stays. They generate about 45% of its business. For information, call (800) 4-RAMADA or (305) 531-5771.

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