This is both hello and goodbye to all my Hospitality Hive readers! Sorry to report that the Orlando Sentinel made a recent decision to end the run of all our Hype Orlando blog columns effective April 30, so this is it.
The Hospitality Hive was created in 2014, and since then I’ve shared close to 100 blog posts covering topics that ranged from tacky tourists to really cool hotel events to the invasion of Chinese travelers in Florida. I shared my fun and educational experience as a pie judge for the American Pie Council annual competition and my enjoyment at attending a beer tasting dinner, which by the way was also educational but heck I’m not going to lie, mostly about fun. I told you about ice carving competitions held poolside at The Rosen Centre Hotel and shared with you details about my chosen profession which is as a meeting planner.
At first all I saw was that beautiful smile because, once launched, it pretty much occupied the majority of his face. But then I was drawn in by his eyes, although I’m not exactly sure what color they were as I couldn’t get over how they just seemed to be sparkling. Yep, this man had a serious twinkle going on from deep within those eyes making you wonder just exactly what they had seen.
As we met for the first time I naturally offered my right hand which he took with his before drawing me in to his chest for the most comfortable hug, the kind you just want to close your eyes and fall into having found a safe haven from whatever else was going on in the world around you. It was almost as if he sensed that you needed a good hug at that moment in time and that alone was the reason he had gotten up that morning to fulfill your wish. Weird, right? Eventually, the embrace ends. You take a step back, and in that one tiny moment you notice his arm has a tattoo. Suddenly things get awkward because you don’t know whether to actually look at that tat or quickly turn away to pretend you never saw it. That it couldn’t possibly be what you know to be true. In the end, you know what you saw, and it takes every ounce of strength you can muster to pull yourself together and continue on with your very first meeting of Henri Landwirth.
Anybody out there curious about what will await us when we check into a hotel room of the future?’
I am, which is why that headline caught my eye from a recent industry read. Sure enough, some trends are fairly easy to predict because we’re already dealing with some of these projected changes (remote check in via a mobile app and/or self service kiosks, keyless room entry, etc.). But others might surprise you. . .
Because I travel a lot, I get to stay in and explore many different types of hotels. In fact, you could say I’ve seen the good (Hello, JW Marriott!), the bad (did I actually stay at a beach dump called the Very Pleasant & Happy Hawaiian Inn?), and the exceptional (please don’t make me go home Mr. AAA and 5 Diamond Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs! I can’t bear to ever leave you…)
And even though many things in a hotel room are predictable, I’m still frequently pleasantly surprised when exploring a new room, even if the hotel is part of a standard chain where you would expect consistency in every room you visit. But I’ve found that what sets most hotels apart are the small unexpected touches that make you stop and pause, many times with a smile.
Working in the world of meetings and conventions where exciting things are always happening, I tend to take some things for granted. Perfect example was when I recently explained to an out of towner that all of the four groups I had just managed here in Orlando had chosen to have evening events at one of ‘the Big Three’.
“Huh?” was the reply from the puzzled friend.
“You know, Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Orlando. Each client had a special event at one of them.”
“Wow! You can host private parties at those places?”