Orlando attracts South Floridians to stay


ORLANDO, Florida – Hotel occupancy was down 56% in November 2020, according to Visit Orlando, and now venues across the city are getting creative to entice South Floriders to hit the turnpike.

As actors playing pirates clashing their swords and singing princesses, Niko Nickalaou, Creative Director for Special Occasions at Gaylord Hotels said, “We design these shows to be socially distant.”

Nickalaou hopes you consider a road trip in a couple of hours.

The team is working hard to attract South Florida residents to stay during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Overall, we’re looking at how we can offer something so unique that is different,” said Nickalaou.

The annual pirate and princess weekends now run through mid-March at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando. The idea is to address children through colorful stories and parents with a speakeasy.

“”[What parents consider is] How do I get some moments for myself and how do we get the kids to enjoy something where they are entertained? “said Nickalaou.

Walt Disney World hosts the fifth annual EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, which celebrates the art of visual creation, performance, and culinary art.

“”[You can] learn how to draw some of their favorite characters, “said Kartika Rodriguez, general manager of EPCOT Operations.

During the special event, you will have the opportunity to try art as food.

“The finished product is absolutely visually stunning and delicious,” said Rodriguez.

Your favorite part?

“I like the murals by numbers. I think this is a fun way to get involved and feel like, hey, there is a piece of art that is still here and on display at the festival,” said Rodriguez.

Universal Studios announced Thursday that their annual Marti Gras celebration will begin in early March.

Anything to get people to stay and play in Orlando. But it’s an uphill battle.

Visit Orlando reports that hotel occupancy was 77% in November 2019. At the same time in 2020 it was 34%, 56% less than in the previous year.

On that Thanksgiving Day in Visit Orlando, hotel occupancy was close to 40%. For comparison, Discover the Palm Beaches stated that our local occupancy was close to 50%.

At Christmas, the Palm Beaches grew 55% while Orlando stayed flat.

During New Years Eve, Palm Beach County grew over 65% and Orlando saw a surge to over 50%.

But then comes a bath.

Industry insiders, unwilling to be identified, said January and February are typically convention season for hotels due to the weather, and this year it is virtually non-existent. Some Orlando resorts are reporting numbers with an occupancy rate of just 3% in early January.

Tourism guides hope the numbers will recover as the spring break approaches, the COVID-19 vaccine spreads more widely and the summer break begins.

For the moment they hope you will take a socially distant stay.

“It is really important for this time that you can still create memories that you may not have had,” said Nickalaou.

Palm Beach Hotel Deals from Explore the Palm Beaches

PGA National just announced a winter flash sale that offers travelers a 20% discount through March 31, 2021.

The “A Key to Paradise” package from the Brazilian court

The Palm Beach boutique hotel, available until April 2021, has launched A Key to Paradise, an extended stay package tailored for those who want to stay in paradise for one to six months while keeping social distance with the Comfort and privacy of a home away from home. Monthly starting prices for one, two, three, or four bedroom suites are $ 17,000 + in November and $ 23,000 + in December through April 2021. A shared work area equipped with data protection pods and a “business butler” support with tasks such as printing and scanning contribute to the socially distant layout of the accommodation, contactless housekeeping and the unique concierge service. Multiple entrances and discreet exits allow guests to access each suite without entering the central lobby or elevators. For children, the hotel has curated off-site activities twice a week for fun and educational experiences. It was the first hotel in Palm Beach County to receive GBAC to ensure a safe environment and the highest standards of cleanliness. STAR ™ Certification by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council The property has a dedicated on-site risk management manager to ensure full compliance ensure new prevention protocols and guidelines.

The Colony Hotel’s “Welcome Home” package

Experience this pink retreat just steps from Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue and the Atlantic Ocean with The Colony’s Welcome Home package. This offer has been specially designed for a luxury long-term stay and includes a daily breakfast for two, free parking for one car, customized Matouk bed linen and a monogrammed towel set. Personalized bed linen and towels are placed in the room or suite prior to guests’ arrival. The rooms are serviced at will and comfort. Both Matouk linens and towels are the property of guests after the visit and can serve as keepsakes to remember their time in Palm Beach. A minimum stay of 30 nights at the standard price is required. Custom monograms, thread selections and specifications must be made 30 days prior to the desired check-in date. This package is valid until spring 2021. Prices start at $ 270 per night. Full room and taxes are due 30 days prior to arrival and are non-refundable.

Oceanside Education of the Boca Raton Resort & Club

The stunning resort property created Oceanside Education, an interactive family enrichment and education program designed to make distance learning easier for everyone. As part of this unique program, the resort has set up bespoke educational suites at its Boca Beach Club. The lively suites, which are connected to adjoining guest rooms, offer families a private environment for their children that inspires learning, creativity and fun. Each suite has five different learning and productivity areas including the Tutor Zone, Heads Down Zone, Lounge Zone, Invisible Zone and Rocker Zone. The resort’s education concierge offers hands-on extracurricular activities on and off the property, such as surf lessons, boat and fishing charters, golf and tennis clinics, and day trips for all ages. The enrichment activities cost à la carte and can be reserved directly with the education concierge. The Oceanside Education Suite is available as an add-on to a two-night stay at the resort starting at $ 199 per day. Boca Beach Club rooms start at $ 499 per night.


Janet Smith