John Lennon Statue Arrives at The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk

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October 30, 2014: The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk installed a life-size statue of the late John Lennon in front of the downtown Tampa Arts District hotel yesterday. The statue, which depicts Lennon in stride, coat and hair flowing in the wind, stands at the west front end of the hotel, within direct view of the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The installment of this work coincides with the arts ambiance The Barrymore Hotel embodies – a passion for culture, creativity and most importantly, art.

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Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort to Become Guy Harvey Outpost’s Third Location in Florida

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October 22, 2014

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, FL: The Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort and its management company, H.I. Development Corp. have announced the hotel located on the shores of the nation’s oldest city will be transitioning to a Guy Harvey Outpost property, set to be completed by the end of Summer 2015, with everything ready to go in Fall of 2015.

The Holiday Isle Oceanfront is a favorite destination for many beach-minded travelers with its prime location and laid-back Florida ambiance. The hotel features 153 guest rooms, including pet-friendly accommodations, and over 4,000 square feet of banquet and event space. The hotels grounds will be completely refreshed and enhanced, along with launching a new “sea and farm” to table style restaurant.

Guy Harvey Outposts embody the iconic Florida atmosphere with a focus on the beach, boating, fishing and diving while inspiring travelers to experience unique destinations and support sustainable tourism. Guy Harvey also has properties in Islamorada and St. Pete Beach FL.

A New Chef for the Tampa Hotel’s Waterworks Bar and Grill

rustyWaterworks Bar and Grill at the newly-named Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk (formerly the Howard Johnson Plaza), are very excited to welcome such superior talent and professionalism into their kitchen. Executive Chef Rusty Evers has extensive experience in the culinary industry, including owning and operating a prestigious catering company known as The Art of the Feast. Her unique, impeccable style has graced the tables at many upscale events over the past 20+ years throughout the states of New York, Louisiana and Florida.

Rusty has completely revised the menu at Waterworks to include never-before-seen items infused with her New Orleans flair and gourmet touch. Waterworks’ menu will now change seasonally, featuring what’s fresh, in-season and local, when possible. Specials are featured on the weekends as well as daily. Each time you visit, you’ll get the opportunity to try something different. Whatever inspires Rusty that day will be on your plate. In other words, “every meal is a celebration.”

Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort to Host 17th Annual Give Kids the World Fundraiser

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ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, FL – The Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort announced today that it will be hosting their 17th annual fundraiser to benefit the Give Kids the World charity organization on November 8, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. The hotel will host a variety of poolside activities for the event including exciting live auctions, silent auctions for hotel stays across the state of Florida and beyond, plus raffle drawings. Live entertainment will be provided and refreshments will be available for purchase.
Sponsorships are available. Contact the Holiday Isle Oceanfront Sales Department for more information: 904-471-2555 ext. 101.

About Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort
Enjoy the benefits of comfortable beachfront hotel accommodations while being only minutes from the charming and historic town of St. Augustine, Florida. Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort offers an ideal beachside location, a friendly and courteous staff, large outdoor swimming pool and free high-speed wireless internet, all at an affordable price.

About Give Kids the World
The Give Kids the World Village is a non-profit resort created to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses by treating them to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations. The Village is situated on 70 acres, located near Central Florida’s most popular and loved attractions where these children and their families can experience the magic of wishes come true.

HOWARD JOHNSON PLAZA TAMPA DOWNTOWN TAKES ON NEW IDENTITY AS THE BARRYMORE HOTEL TAMPA RIVERWALK

By H.I. Development Corp.
September 4, 2014

TAMPA, FL – The Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa Downtown announced it has changed its name to The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. Located on the banks of the Hillsborough River and managed by H.I. Development Corporation, The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk offers a unique experience in a boutique atmosphere, with a fresh new vibe on the scenic Hillsborough River.

“The Barrymore” name is a tribute to the hotel’s focus on the performing and visual arts, inspired by the hotel’s location next to the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts and in the heart of downtown Tampa’s Arts District.
The new logo for The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk is a reflection of its refined, yet casual ambience, with a reference to the flowing waters of the Hillsborough River indicated by the “waves.”

About The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk
The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk is located on the east bank of the Hillsborough River and directly across the street from the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The 14-story hotel boasts a focus on downtown Tampa arts and culture with boutique-inspired atmosphere in the heart of downtown Tampa’s growing Arts District.

About H.I. Development Corp.
Founded in 1959 by Mr. Robinson Callen, and under the direction of Andre P. Callen today, H.I. Development specializes in development and management within the hospitality industry. H.I. Development and its affiliates have been developing and operating nationally known franchised and independent hotels in the United States, Caribbean, and Europe for over 50 years. It is one of the foremost privately owned hotel management and consulting companies in the United States. In addition to domestic hotel development, acquisition and management, heavily concentrated in Florida and the southeastern United States, H.I. Development has managed international hotels, with a strong presence in France, which holdings were divested in the late 1980’s, and through an affiliate, holdings in Puerto Rico, including launching the El Tropical Casino brand, famous island-wide. Throughout the years, H.I. Development has also successfully provided hotel management and services for unrelated ownership groups, including lenders. For more information, please visit http://www.hidevelopment.com.

How Using Hashtags in Your Social Media Posts Can Get You Free Ice Cream

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The title of this post sounds funny, but it’s actually kind of true.

The hashtag, formerly known as the “pound sign” for us old school folks who only know it as the opposite of the star key on a corded telephone, has evolved and taken on a new identity in this age of information available at our fingertips. If you have remotely used any social media website, you’ll notice many posts contain a word or phrase preceded by the hashtag. For social media newbies, the hashtag’s purpose is to group together conversations of a common topic and make them easier to find by users.

In this case, the Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa Downtown’s use of the #CoreTour hashtag brought the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream truck to their hotel. The famous ice cream maker gave out free samples of their brand new core flavors on their nationwide promotional tour.

So how did a little ol’ hashtag do all that?

It all started with the morning Facebook browsing session by H.I. Development’s Creative Marketing Specialist, Kimberly Moore, to see what was current (or, “trending”), and if anything was worth re-sharing. She came across a post by another community page mentioning that if you were to go on Twitter and “tweet” to the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Truck (@BenJerrysTruck) with your desire for the truck to visit your office but you had to include the hashtag, “#CoreTour” in the post. Ben and Jerry’s obliged and on Monday, May 12, the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream truck set up an appointment to visit.

This social media campaign arranged by Ben and Jerry’s is a great example of just how effective social media can be in advertising. Kimberly shared the news with all the followers on the Howard Johnson Plaza’s page, other business pages and people commented, liked and shared the post, showing it to all of their followers. She also shared the information on Twitter, where the post was “re-tweeted” and “favorited,” all creating multiple stories, or virality.

“It’s basically just a big chain reaction,” explained Kimberly. “One one person likes it, all their social media following sees it, then if someone from their following re-shares, their following sees it and so on. The more times any action is taken up on a post on a social media website, whether it be a share, a like, a comment, a favorite or a re-tweet, it’s all generating more and more exposure. I’ve noticed we’ve gained some followers in an organic fashion (non-paid advertising) due to the popularity of the Ben and Jerry’s truck paying us a visit.”

And just think, it all started with just one little “pound sign.”

 

Increase Customer Satisfaction by Being a Good Listener

It may sound like a simple rule, like something we’re taught in elementary school to increase our listening comprehension skills in our crucial developing years. When I mean being a good listener, I don’t mean just listening well enough to take ample notes in class just to recite them on an exam later. I’m referring to listening in order to understand – essentially comprehension, but taking it to the next level when a customer has an issue. Nobody wants to see this scenario unfold, but applying some simple listening tips can make the experience turn out better for you and your customer.

In my years in customer service (over 10 years), which involves retail and call center environments, I’ve learned a lot along the way about interacting with the life source of any business: the consumer. They’re our blood and and breath, and really our reason for existence. Failing to listen to what they need can be a recipe for a not-so-tasty supper.

I learned some valuable listening tips when I was working in the call center. This training, I believe, can be applied to not only a telephone sales environment, but any kind of business, especially if the customer encounters a problem (which we always strive to avoid!). Taking a good listen is key to having a happier customer.

Again, there is a vast different between simply hearing and listening – truly digesting their words, listening intently with no distractions and empathizing. To be a good listener you must clarify, summarize, empathize and resolve.

Let’s talk a little about each point:

Clarify. I’ve found that in order to help the consumer the best, the first steps is to clarify the issue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a better picture of what is going on. Was it something that could have been prevented? Was there already a solution your customer was unaware of?

Summarize. I don’t mean reiterate word for word, but by summarizing what your customer just told you shows that you were not merely nodding and smiling. You took the time to show them you listened and that you want to help. You want to fix it and offer to help as best you and your company can. 

Empathize. Validate the emotions the customer is experiencing; let them know you understand. You may feel it on the inside, but showing it on the outside lets the customer know what’s going on in your head (and heart, of course). 

Resolve. Offer to make it right, however it’s fit for your business to do so.

Being a good listener doesn’t only apply to actual in-person conversations; it can be applied to responding to guest reviews on travel sites like Tripadvisor as well. Always respond promptly and offer for the customer to call and further resolve any issues, because no one likes an un-pretty review. 

If they’re telling you what a great job your company is doing, express some gratitude! Responding to positive reviews is just as important as responding to mediocre or negative ones.

No matter what type of review it is, be thorough with your responses and make it personal. They chose your company to do business with; now give them a reason to do it again.

Sometimes saying “sorry” isn’t enough in today’s market. You have to stand out from the crowd and by tuning up your listening skills, you may be off to a good start.

 

Kimberly Moore is the Creative Marketing Manager for H.I. Development Corporation.