Woof-woof! Is That a Dog I Hear In the Room Next Door?

Well, if you’re staying at any number of local hotels, it very well could be. You see, Orlando has definitely embraced the newest members of the traveling world, that being the pampered pet community. Yes, hotels have gone to the dogs. And cats. And while I hesitate to think of what other types of animals people travel with these days. . .for now, let’s just concentrate on the ‘normal’ ones and leave the exotic and creepy pets where they should stay which is in the wild, or at the very least a zoo. I mean, at home with their owners. Yeah, that’s what I meant.

So, let’s suppose you have a beloved dog or cat and can’t leave home without this pet. And let’s also assume you travel in style so, of course, Fido/Princess/Lassie/Boo would expect nothing less for his or her vacation either, right? Where to go? No seriously, where should you go, specifically here in Orlando? Believe it or not, we have plenty of choices. Some that may even surprise you.

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Do We Have Enough ICE in Orlando for Everyone Yet?

I think not, because everywhere you turn this time of year you discover a new ‘ice thingie’ here in town.

In the mid 70’s when I first arrived on the Orlando scene, it was just the occasional tiny ice rink that would pop onto the scene around the holidays, kind of like those Teflon ones you find on some of the cruise lines. Then RDV opened their Sports Complex in Maitland including the Ice Den and voilà, next thing you know we have an actual hockey team here in Otown. Soon, the great, big sprawling Gaylord Palms Resort Hotel opened and immediately began featuring an incredible annual ICE! exhibit which just gets more creative and bigger (and more expensive, as a fellow Hype Orlando blogger recently posted) every year, followed by the city of Winter Park adding their popular ice rink for public skating. Next up not one, but two ice bars in the tourist corridor on International Drive. Ice Bar Orlando, located right on the Drive, and Minus 5 Ice Bar, which you will find at Pointe Orlando. So, what next? An ice show with professional skaters for all to enjoy based at a local hotel? RC_Holidays on Ice logo

Why yes, thank you!

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Winter Came Early for Me This Year

Terry Matthews-Lombardo

And the above picture is proof positive!  In case you can’t tell by the huge smile on my face, that was A-OK with me even though I had to travel about three hours in air time to find the fluffy white stuff.  You see I live in sunny Florida so any chance I can get […]

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The Four Seasons – Luxury, Ambience and a Food Truck?

That’s right, a food truck.  Who knew?  For most people (myself included) familiar with the Four Seasons message of over-the-top luxury, the tag-along of a food truck would never be in the same sentence.  Yet here I am writing about both.  One from the standpoint of ‘been there, experienced that’ and the other, well, guess […]

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Would These Events Scare You?

Having some fun this week in the spirit of Halloween, so I’m sharing some shortened versions of “scary event stories” that have happened to professionals, myself included, who work in this industry. To be clear, these stories are all true. But, in the spirit of ‘protecting the innocent’, I’m not divulging any names/places. Not now. Not never!

What I can tell you is that as a veteran planner in this industry, there’s no need to make this stuff up because crazy things really do happen all the time, everywhere meetings and events are held. And yes, even here in Orlando. Just ask any one of the over 200,000 hospitality employees that live and work here.

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Can Airline Safety be Sexy?

Whether or not you’re a frequent flyer or just occasionally visit ‘the friendly skies’ (I know use of that quote dates me but seriously, that’s what we used to call them and hey, news flash – before 9/11 many flights actually were consumer friendly and enjoyable), you’ve probably seen some of the recent safety videos offered up by most of the major carriers.  Although I’m not sure who went first, I think it might have been Virgin Airlines with this sexy, funky, crazy version released last year and now seen by over 9 million people.

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Welcome to the Experience Economy

Keeping up with industry buzzwords, I learned recently that we have left the SERVICE economy behind us and are now in the EXPERIENCE economy.  (Technically, this happened a few years back.  For data and details, check out the book The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore that was last updated in, um. 2011. Full Disclosure:  Not the first time I’ve been late to the party. Just sayin’ .) Anyway, here in the wonderful world of hospitality we still believe that service is king, oh yes we do! But, the current challenge is to find more and better ways of providing excellent service experiences at the same time that we’re embracing unemotional systems, policies and procedures.

To put it in a hospitality-hotel nutshell, if you’re smoking your iPhone and are addicted to technology (yes, you out there, currently tapping your thumbs on your you-know-what), do you really want or care about that smile delivered with your room key at hotel check in, or would you prefer to bypass human interaction at the front desk and unlock your room with an app that you’ve downloaded on your very own hand-held piece of legal crack (aka iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia Lumia, or whatever you’ve got)?

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One of Orlando’s (many) Hospitality Heroes

Some have theme parks named after themselves.  Others, hotels. Some refrain from using their personal moniker when naming their creations, at least until the time is right.  Robert Earl is one of them.

Known in Orlando (mostly) for being the British brains behind Planet Hollywood, many are surprised when they hear his empire includes Buca di Beppo, Earl of Sandwich shops, and so much more.  Today we’ll cover part of the ‘and more’ because now Robert can add TV show to his resume.  And apparently, the time is right since he’s chosen to call it Robert Earl’s Be My Guest.  Premiering this very month on the Cooking Chanel, Be My Guest follows Robert’s continual quest to take us on culinary excursions, but this time we’re leaving Orlando (although not in every episode) and doing some traveling.

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Which Way to the Lobby Bar?

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I do love me a good hotel lobby bar, and yes, living here in Orlando we’ve got a plethora of great ones to choose from, so lucky us!  But I wonder how many locals take advantage of this chic and oftentimes cultured opportunity?  What’s that, you’re asking?  Where’s the ‘opportunity’ in a local having to shed the flip-flops (please?) and drive all the way out to park themselves in the middle of the insanely populated tourist and convention flow (eeuw!)  just to pony up to a bar?  Let me count the ways…

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Welcome to the Hospitality Hive!

First of all, a BIG THANK YOU for visiting the Hive!  I’m honored that you’ve peeked inside to check me out, and hopefully we’ll get to know each other through an open exchange of dialogue that we’ll keep ‘buzzzzzzing’ about (pause for long groan while wondering if this author is going to overuse that overly dramatic descriptive word; then switch to happy face after receiving author’s personal assurance that it simply won’t happen – that’s a TML promise!).  After all, this industry is first and foremost about, well, hospitality, which is loosely defined as friendliness.  So that explains why so many who enter this line of work describe themselves as ‘people-persons’, right?  (Well, at least that’s what it said on their resume, sigh. . .)

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