Dietary Dilemmas

Are you currently dieting? Have any food allergies? Require special preparation for certain foods? Do you need Kosher, Glatt Kosher, or Halal meals? Are you a pescatarian, or perhaps just a picky eater?

If you’ve registered to attend anything recently that includes a group meal function you’ve probably seen a question on the response form asking if you have any dietary concerns. This is because it is now a serious offense to ignore some of these requests. So serious, in fact, that people with specific food allergies are protected by law under the American’s With Disabilities Act, aka the ADA.

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Hospitality Trends for 2017

Do you consider yourself trendy? I can’t say that I generally fall into that category (pause while wondering exactly what I was thinking when I bought into the bellbottoms and hot pant fads way back when. . .), but – professionally speaking – I do try to stay on top of what’s hot and what’s not as it pertains to the hospitality industry because I make my living planning meetings and events. So it’s important when clients ask me, “Hey, what can we do that’s different this year?” that I don’t respond with “teambuilding!” [hint: that’s so last year!] Or, “how about a corporate social responsibility project!” [ditto] While there is nothing wrong with either of those activities, if you’re working the meeting circuit well, been there/done that.

So, now that we’ve crossed over into 2017 (do I hear a Halleluiah? Yes I do!) for anyone in the meeting industry here in Orlando we are gearing up fast and furious for a busy convention season ahead. Heck, even as I write this I’m juggling no less than seven large meeting projects that will all take place within the next six weeks. And three of them are full week long programs making for a very tight and busy schedule for this planner. Which is why I’m finding myself doing some research on food trends so that I can make some snappy banquet decisions with the (hopeful) end result of impressing my clients.

So, what am I choosing?

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InSain for iBrand!

Since we’re all in the middle of various levels of holiday insanity at this point, I thought I’d share a little gift buying tip with you. And this one involves making a purchase for yourself instead of ‘person #17’ on that never ending list. That’s right. As the final countdown begins to the busiest holiday dedicated to conspicuous consumption of the year I’m proposing you take a minute and remember who is most important in your life. And, if you don’t answer ‘me/myself/I’ then perhaps you haven’t quite had enough of that spiked eggnog yet.

So, pour yourself a favorite adult beverage and settle into a big comfy chair as you read along with me about why you need to buy yourself a copy of the just released book, iBrand: The Next Generation, by Pam & Olivia Sain, aka wife and daughter of Gary Sain, the [deceased] former President and CEO of Visit Orlando.

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A Grateful Salute to a Local Hospitality Hero

It’s November, just a few days before Turkey Day, and now that we’ve all survived (I think?) that over-the-top nauseously nasty election, sigh, I wanted to make my Thanksgiving post about something meaningful, so yes, this WILL NOT have anything to do with politics.

You’re welcome.

Under the category of ‘local do-gooders that go above and beyond in serving humanity’, we have a home town guy walking among us who continues to raise the bar on how one man can and does continue to change the world in significant and meaningful ways. Even better, he does so quietly, with leadership, grace, and because ‘it’s the right thing to do.’

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Want to Know What the World Thinks about USA Elections?

So here’s the truth. I’m writing this from my cabin on a luxury cruise – an outside cabin with a deck, mind you – while we’re cruising somewhere in the Asian waters. Let’s just say we’re somewhere between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and leave it at that, OK? Why am I being vague? Well, here’s the thing. I signed a confidentiality agreement with this client. In fact, I’ve signed a whole lot of them during my lengthy and successful career in this industry. What does that mean?

​Basically, I need to be quiet about my clients, and since I’m a talker, well, that’s not easy. But you know what? I’ve been doing this a very long time and so far, so good. Me keepy mouth shut – me keepy happy clients. And that’s how it goes for me.

​What’s that you say? Why is this necessary? Why can’t you just tell all?

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When the Phone Rings…

Do you answer?  I know that sounds crazy, but it seems like answering an actual phone call has almost become a lost art these days.  With so many people relying only on texting, chatting, IM and voice mail to get their messages across, that leaves so few of us left that really do enjoy a conversation.  And yes, I […]

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Things Were Just Great at the OK Corral!

Sometimes you just gotta step out of your comfort zone, and that’s exactly what husband and I did last weekend when we took a road trip down to Okeechobee, FL for a visit to the OK Corral. More specifically, the OK Corral Gun Club. Yep. You read that correctly, but before I give you the details, let me just set this little road trip up for you by saying this was for a family reunion celebrating a special birthday. And since the hosts of this event live in Okeechobee their venue choice made perfect sense. But still, the ‘back-story’ is worth telling because, well, it went something like this:

I receive a IM message with the initial invite. My response: “Ok, we’re in. Where and when?”

Reply: “Here, at the OK Corral,” which I, being an uniformed Orlando City Slicker, thought was just a cutesy name for their homestead in Okeechobee.

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9/11/01 – The Power of Numbers

Time that the burning towers stood

09/11/01 – 8:46AM.

09/11/01 – 9:02AM.

Everyone of age remembers where they were and what they were doing “when the world stopped turning on THAT September day.”  (cue Alan Jackson and Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning).  And today, as we mark the 15th anniversary of 09/11/01, it’s important to focus on some of the numbers that came out of that tragedy.  Some numbers you might be familiar with:

343 dead firefighters. . . 23 dead NYPD. . . 37 NY Port Authority employees. . .2350 first responders and other precious souls from all walks of life

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Are You Overbooked?

I know I am, and I’m guessing you are, too.

But let’s suppose for a minute that we’re a hotel or restaurant that is filled to capacity.  Then the term ‘overbooked’ is a good thing, right?

Well, maybe not always.  At least that’s one chain of thought as presented in a book I’ve just finished reading titled, appropriately, “Overbooked – the Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism.”  Written by Elizabeth Becker, a former NY Times correspondent as well as a Senior Foreign Editor at NPR, the book puts forth a different vision of the industry that many – approximately one of every ten people around the world,  myself included – call home in terms of the job market.

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Orlando Tourism Continues to Move On

Well ‘it’ finally happened. Orlando, formerly known as both The City Beautiful and The Happiest Place on Earth was finally tested, and when I say tested I mean that in the worst possible scenario. While there’s no point or need to rehash what happened to OTown over the course of one crazy-sad mind blowing weekend full of shocking gun violence and a singular gator stunner, here in the Hospitality Hive we think what’s most important moving forward is exactly that.

Moving forward.

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Ready for a Mediterranean Cruise?    

It’s summer, so why not take a little trip?  Here’s the catch – you’ll be traveling with me (also husband, but mostly me, okay?).  You see, I’ve penned a little travel narrative about the Mediterranean Cruise we took in the summer of 2013 to celebrate our, gulp, 35th wedding anniversary.  Yep!  35 years together, and […]

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16 Stories – Departure Day                 

Happy 35th Wedding Anniversary to us – let’s get this party started! Funny Things that Happened on the way to Europe First there was this whole dialogue about the impracticality of traveling with linen clothes, starting with the day husband finally did some pre-cruise shopping which was, no joke, one week before the trip.  He […]

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16 Stories from 18 Days – #3 London          

Just one of the many sites we skipped in London! DAY 2 Friday, June 14 – London – Seeing London as a Site Skipper                Yes, you read that right.  We are officially ‘site skippers’.  But no worries, we still have a great time traveling no matter what we do or don’t do on the journey.  […]

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Paris – Where All Roads Lead to Baseball      

DAYS 3 & 4 – June 15/16 – PARIS from the continuing story of  How I spent My Summer Vacation of 2013 Day three actually began in London where we – and our rolling luggage – walked across the street from our fabulous hotel into St. Pancras International Train Station (www.stpancras.com) which appeared to be […]

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16 Stories – Paris and Monte Carlo             

DAY 5 – Monday, June 17   Are we there yet??             Waking up on our final morning in Paris to the sounds of a heavy rainstorm including loud, rolling booms of thunder, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite French word that I would finally get to use today.              “Ou est mon […]

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16 Stories – All Aboard!             

Day 6 – Tuesday, June 18 – Regent Cruise Lines, Seven Seas Mariner               What’s not to love about starting the day with an endless breakfast buffet in a gorgeous European hotel venue and meeting interesting new acquaintances as you size them up for ‘worthiness’ as potential travel companions prior to boarding your Mediterranean […]

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Day #7 – Bongiorno, Italy!   

Day 7 – Wednesday, June 19 – First Stop:  Portofino, Italy With our cruise ship anchored in Portofino Bay, we took our breakfast dining al fresco alongside the incredibly alluring panorama of coastal scenery, and I simply couldn’t get Andre Bocelli off my mind.  You see, back at home just a few short months earlier […]

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Day #8 – Tuscany       

  Thursday, June 20 –  Lovely Lucca! Have you ever pictured yourself enjoying a leisurely afternoon in Tuscany, perhaps shopping and sipping wine?  Well, did that vision ever include you riding a bicycle?  Up until today, I must confess, mine did not, but all of a sudden here we were getting sized up for our […]

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Day #9 – When In Rome. . .         

This picture of the Vatican was NOT taken on this trip because, well, remember when I told you we are sight-skippers? Yes we are, and yes, we did.  Friday, June 21:  Civitavecchia/Rome Big decision for us today, and the contemplation actually had begun several days earlier.  You see on a cruise, one has to make […]

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16 Stories – Sorrento & Capri         

  DAY 10 – Saturday, June 22:  Sorrento/CAPRI where  Lemons= Limoncello=Happiness           First of all, let’s all get a piccolo glass of limoncello in our hands as we read this little story because as world-savvy travelers, you do know that this area around Naples, specifically Sorrento and the Island of Capri, is where that luscious-lemony-liquid […]

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