RUBELL HOTELS introduced a 20% commission policy
at all three of its hotels for stays between June 1 and Sept. 30.
The hotels are the Beach House-Bal Harbour and the Albion and
Greenview, both in Miami Beach's South Beach district. Bookings
must be made directly with Rubell and the code word "double" must
be mentioned by the agent. For information, call (877) 782-3557 or
send an e-mail to [email protected].
CAR RENTAL UPDATE
• Alamo Rent a Car, in a move to reduce the waiting time at service
counters and minimize no-shows, will allow customers to prepay
their rentals. Initially, the program will be available at 19
locations including six airports in Florida: Miami, Fort
Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers. A 25%
discount offer is tied to the prepayment option. For information,
call (800) 4-AGENTS.
• Payless Car Rental System, St. Petersburg, formerly all
franchise, now owns and operates two outlets as a result of buying
out James L. Shapiro, its former franchisee in Orlando and Tampa.
The two sites, involving some 1,400 cars, will continue to operate
as usual with the same staff. But they also will be used for
introducing Payless to prospective franchisees, for staff training
and for product testing. For information, call (800) PAYLESS.
THE MIAMI BEACH City Commission is to decide on
May 22 whether to renew its $5 million per year contract with the
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
GOV. JEB BUSH will be the featured speaker
during the May 29 luncheon at the Travel Industry Association of
America's Int'l Pow Wow in New Orleans.
XENTURY CITY, an Orlando area developer, was
selected by the Osceola County Board of Commissioners to build a
$100 million, midsize convention center with 250,000 square feet of
exhibit space and 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Follow-up
negotiations between the county and the developer were in progress
at the time of this report. The convention center would be situated
near the Gaylord Palms Hotel. Xentury City was co-developer of that
hotel, which opened in February. The new center would be anchored
by a separate, 1,000-room, 30-story hotel (most likely a Starwood
brand). Groundbreaking could occur as early as November, and the
completion would be in February 2005.
• Spirit Airlines on May 9 launched the first wave of expanded
service to Florida. It began nonstop service from Denver to Fort
Lauderdale and San Juan to Orlando. The carrier also added
connecting service from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale and one-stop
service from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale and a new daily nonstop
between Chicago and Orlando. From Oakland, it added a one-stop
flight to Fort Lauderdale and daily connecting service to Orlando
and Tampa. Starting May 23, Spirit adds a third daily flight
between Detroit and Fort Lauderdale. Starting June 13, a second
daily flight between Denver and Fort Lauderdale will be added.
• National Airlines will add a third daily roundtrip on Nov. 21
between Miami and Las Vegas.
• Delta Express on June 1 will add two flights from New York
(LaGuardia) to Fort Lauderdale for a new total of six roundtrips
daily. It also will add one flight from New York (JFK) to both
Orlando and Tampa, for a total of four roundtrips daily to Orlando
and three to Tampa. As of May 4, Delta also expanded its Saturday
service between New York (LaGuardia) and Fort Lauderdale, Orlando
and West Palm Beach.
IN THE KEYS, a U.S. Navy Landing Ship Dock will
be sunk in 130 feet of water, six miles off Key Largo, to be used
as an artificial reef. The site is part of the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary, The 70,000 divers per year expected to
visit the wreck should translate into an economic impact worth $14
million, according to the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce.
CONVENTIONAL THINKING: Greater Orlando, with
more than 107,000 hotel rooms, could easily accommodate the
four-day Republican National Convention in 2004, but area
politicians turned down a request from the GOP to submit a bid,
based on advice from Tom Ackert, director of the Orlando-Orange
County Convention Center, and other business leaders. The problem?
It would be difficult to raise the estimated $60 million that it
would cost to play host to the GOP because of lost tourism revenue
stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The costs would have
covered modifying the convention center for the GOP's needs,
delegate security, ground transportation and insurance. On the
other hand, Greater Miami, also recovering from Sept. 11, would
welcome both parties parties. Its bid to the Democrats was
submitted some time ago, and by June it will make a formal bid for
THE TRIBAL COUNCIL of the Seminole Tribe of
Florida broke ground Monday on the 750-room Seminole Hard Rock
Hotel & Resort at the Seminole Hollywood Reservation in
Hollywood, at Stirling Road and U.S. 441. The property will have a
115,000-square-foot casino. Hard Rock Cafe Int'l, Orlando, also is
the tribal council's partner in a 250-room hotel and
90,000-square-foot casino set for Tampa. Both projects are to be
completed during 2004.
HOTEL DEAL: On stays through Oct. 31 the Blue
Moon, Essex House and WinterHaven Hotels, Miami Beach, all Coral
Collection affiliates, offer a South Beach Sizzling Summer Special.
Under the offer, guests who stay for three nights paying $345
double receive a fourth night free; those who pay $500 double for
five nights, get two more nights free. For information, contact
each property, respectively, at (800) 724-1623; (800) 553-7739 and
SET TO HOLD a soft opening today is the
long-delayed, 422-room Royal Palm Crowne Plaza in Miami Beach. The
property, at Collins Avenue and 15th Street, is a project of
African-American developer RDP Royal Palm Hotel Ltd., with
management handled by Six Continents Hotels. For information, call
(305) 604-5700 or check the Web site www.royalpalmcp.crowneplaza.com.