Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: September 4, 2002

THE COLONY BEACH & Tennis Resort, Longboat Key, introduced a cash bonus for travel agents, whereby individual agents receive $75 (on top of the agency's normal commission) for every three-night or longer booking made at published rates by Sept. 20 for stays completed by Oct. 31. Guests also receive a welcome gift on behalf of their agent and the hotel. Bookings must be made directly with the hotel's travel industry sales managers at 800-4-COLONY, Ext. 2, or by e-mail to [email protected].

ALSO IN AN agent-friendly mood is Palm Island Resort at Cape Haze, which set pay of 12% on new bookings for stays completed by Dec. 15 (except over Thanksgiving). Bookings should be made by phone, (800) 824-5412. According to Dick Dunham, director of sales and marketing, the resort's Web site, www.palmisland.com, will be upgraded over the next two months with an Internet booking capability.

MEANWHILE, Sonesta, which has hotels in Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove, set 15% pay on all stays of two nights or longer during September. For clients, the bonus is a free upgrade to an oceanview unit. Rates are from $99 per room, per night, double, at the Sonesta Hotel & Suites Coconut Grove and from $149 per room, per night, double, at the Sonesta Beach Resort Key Biscayne. For information, call (800) SONESTA.

ONLY 112 SHOPPING DAYS 'til Christmas... A version of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be coming to the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando -- but well after Thanksgiving. Called the Macy's Holiday Parade, it will be scheduled every day, around dusk, between Dec. 13 and Jan. 5. The parade will kick off along Hollywood Boulevard and terminate with the lighting of a Christmas tree in front of the Macy's facade at the park's New York City movie set. At Universal, floats and some of the gigantic cartoon character balloons will be used after they strut their stuff at the famous New York event. In addition, local and out-of-town high school bands will be invited to participate.

INDUCTED INTO the Florida Tourism Hall of Fame during the recent Florida Governor's Conference on Tourism held in Kissimmee were hoteliers Bob and Iris Larson, who opened the first properties near Walt Disney World during the early 1970's; William C. Peeper, president of the Orlando-Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, who was credited with helping make central Florida a major destination for business meetings; and Tom Waits, president and CEO of the Tallahassee-based Florida Hotel and Motel Assn., who was cited as a pivotal force in the creation of the Florida Commission on Tourism and its tourism marketing concern, Visit Florida.

LODGEPODGE
• The Edgewater Beach Resort, Panama City Beach, introduced a one-night Breakfast and Birdies package valid for stays through Dec. 30. Rates from $129, double, include a two-bedroom golf villa; a round of 18-hole golf; a golf cart; range balls; breakfast; use of the health club and spa; cleaning of golf shoes and clubs; and course transportation. Agents earn 10% on the room portion. For information, call (800) 874-8686.
• The Marco Beach Ocean Resort, Marco Island, offers a two-night Romantic Beach Retreat package valid Sept. 27 to Dec. 19. A rates of $520, double, covers a suite and daily continental breakfast. A golf package also is available. For information, call (800) 260-5089 or check the Web site, www.marcoresort.com.

THE NATIONAL CAR RENTAL CENTER, a sports arena in Sunrise (near Fort Lauderdale), is expected to change its name because of ANC Rental Corp.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November and its inability to pay the full $2.2 million for the annual right to use the name of its subsidiary on the center. The center is home to the Florida Panthers hockey team.

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