Gainesville Holiday Inn Celebrates Conference Center Renovation and New Breakfast Cafe


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The Gainesville, FL Holiday Inn located directly across from the University of Florida campus celebrated the grand opening of their newly renovated meeting space and full-service breakfast cafe, both located on the second level of the “gator country” hotel. The Conference Center and Boardroom underwent a complete renovation from top to bottom and is now fashioned with not only modern amenities like eco-friendly NEST thermostats, but also a sleek, contemporary style to go along with the flexible event venue’s new look.

The inaugural celebration in the new meeting space last Wednesday featured a playful luau theme and catering by the Holiday Inn’s resident restaurant, Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza Pints and Pies. Wearing colorful leis and letting loose in the mobile photo booth  made it easy for the Sales Team and business partners in attendance to connect with each other. It was the perfect opportunity to network and showcase what the new meeting space could provide as a modern event venue in the Gainesville FL area.

_DSC2870.jpgThe Conference Center features over 4,100 square feet of flexible space that can be resized for any event, with a maximum capacity of 340 individuals. Use the entire venue for a large event, or flex it down to a smaller “room” for a size that meets your needs. The Boardroom is just as spacious, featuring an over-sized conference desk and plush seating.

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The new Breakfast Cafe, also located on the second level, is a much-anticipated amenity for hotel guests. The cafe offers everything a hungry early-riser could want – hot, fresh, made-to-order meals that even come with a guarantee. If breakfast isn’t served in 15 minutes, it’s free.

The menu consists of a variety of morning favorites like omelettes, a veggie skillet, biscuits and gravy, and much more. Piping hot coffee at your fingertips? It’s all yours. The cafe is open daily, Monday-Friday 6:00AM-10:00AM and Saturday & Sunday from 7:00AM-11:00AM.

To schedule a tour of the Gainesville Florida Holiday Inn’s brand new Conference Center and Boardroom, please contact Sales today at (352) 376-1661 ext 182. You may also visit the Meetings and Events page to learn more or request information. You will also find a meeting room diagram and capacities sheet for download.


Barrymore Hotel to be one of Zipcar’s new Downtown Tampa hubs


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TAMPA FL: The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk announced today that they will be home to one of downtown Tampa’s newest Zipcar locations, with two Zipcars on-site. Now, when you stay at The Barrymore in downtown Tampa, renting a car only for a few hours or for the entire duration of your stay just got a lot easier.


“The Barrymore is extremely excited to be one of this innovative company’s first downtown locations, bringing more transportation options to the city center and beyond with ease,” stated Larry E. Collier, Jr., General Manager of The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. “We know our guests want the most convenient and hassle-free way to enjoy their visit and we believe Zipcar’s product offers just that.

As an environmentally-conscious business, we appreciate that car-sharing programs can reduce the amount of personally owned vehicles on the road, the demand for gasoline and pollution in the air we breathe.”

zipcar logoZipcar can be described as a “micro rental,” service, but with maximal flexibility. If you need a car for only an hour, rent it for an hour and return it to the same pickup location. If you need it for 5 days, rent it for 5 days.  Each rental includes the cost of gas, insurance, and up to 180 miles per day.

According to Zipcar’s website, 10% of the population is expected to participate in car-sharing in the future instead of owning their own vehicles. Car-sharing can not only reduce humankind’s carbon footprint, but it also opens up the potential for more green space instead of parking space – less concrete jungle and more actual jungle.

The other downtown hubs will be located at the Tampa Convention Center and Skyhouse Channelside (with two Zipcars each). On Wednesday April 27th from 9:15-9:45am at the Tampa Convention Center’s parking lot (on the south side of the center), there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of Zipcar’s new downtown locations. All are welcome to attend.


About The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk: Located along the banks of the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa’s Arts District, the Barrymore is more than just a place to stay but rather a glimpse into Tampa’s unique local arts and culture scene. The 14-story hotel’s prime location on the north end of downtown provides easy access to Tampa attractions as well as the nearby Gulf Beaches.

About Zipcar: Zipcar provides “wheels when you want them,” creating a smarter way to get around the city. Members can drive cars by the hour or by the day, with fuel and insurance included. 

Choose the Update

ImageThere has been a television commercial running recently for the new Toyota Rav 4 that I find to be both humorous and thought provoking.

The commercial features a young couple preparing to leave for a short trip and uses the common perceptions of today’s youth by an older generation to showcase the features of the new Toyota Rav 4. The commercial says, “You say we can’t carry the weight of the world,” while showcasing the large cargo area of the Rav 4. My favorite part of the commercial features the automatic cargo door. The announcer says, “You call us lazy,” and as the actor pushes the button to close the door, he turns to the camera and says, “That’s not lazy, that’s just smart.”

When I see this commercial, it reminds me that this generation is now the better part of the leisure travelling public and an even larger percentage of today’s road warrior population.

They are the winds of change. As a hotelier, we have to make sure that we do not allow our preconceived notions about what we were as young people to influence how we serve this new generation of travelers.

They are called the “lost generation,” but nothing could be further from the truth. The young people of today have never been disconnected in their lives. They have grown up with hundreds of television stations, computers in their homes and schools, two income families and an Internet that has never required a telephone line to access. Young people today think Dial-Up is only a punch line for Internet jokes. These millennial youths can now add “surviving the worst recession in American history” to their list of accomplishments. They will only be lost by choice.

Access to information has never been faster and easier than it is today. Connectivity is as key to their well-being and as ingrained in their lifestyle as color television was in ours. No matter how much we believe that unplugging is essential to our generation they insist on connectivity, sharing, and engagement.

Fortunately for us hoteliers, most of the industry innovations are revolving around speed and mobility. We are seeing the emergence of mobile phone check in and checkout, cellular guest room access, wireless network and security advancements, that enable a guest to stay connected wherever they may roam.

I recently heard Oliver Bonke, CCO, Americas for IHG tell a great parable regarding a strategy for maximizing your market share of these new travellers as well insuring you are always one of the most attractive packages on the shelf. He said to “think of your hotels as an app.” Most software companies choose to do new releases and fixes annually, while Apple and Android, through the use of apps, are able to provide upgrades as soon as they are available.

Apps enable these companies to receive instant feed back from the users, put that information into the hands of developers and provide either an instant fix for a problem or and improvement to give the customer what they are looking for in a product.

So, look at your hotel like an app, gather the feedback, take appropriate action and “always choose the update.”

by Larry E. Collier, Jr., Director of Operations for H.I. Development Corporation

Construction starts on $49.5M Hyatt Place hotel in Bayamón

Construction of the $49.5 million Hyatt Place Bayamón & Tropical Casino, which marks the return of the hotel chain to the island after a seven-year absence, was announced March 19, 2012 by developers PRISA Group and McConnell Valdés Consulting Inc. during a news conference at the Science Park in Bayamón.

From left: Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera, Gov. Fortuño, and Federico Stubbe look over the future hotel’s blueprints. (Credit: La Fortaleza)

Flanked by municipal and central government officials, developers said the hotel is slated to open during the first quarter of 2014. The seven-story, 156-room hotel will feature a 2,000 square-foot conference room, a 4,700 square-foot restaurant, gym and pool, among other amenities. Furthermore, the project will have a 17,300 square-foot casino to be run by HI Development Corp. The future hotel will also feature a multi-story parking garage with a capacity for 250 vehicles.

“Hyatt has a close relationship with Puerto Rico, which is why its return to this market, after a seven-year absence, is very significant,” said Federico Stubbe, president of PRISA Group. “This is a vote of confidence the chain is giving local developers, the island’s tourism industry and our people.”

PRISA Group, McConnell Valdés Consulting and HI Development Corp. formed the Bayamón Hotel Company LLC to build the project.

During the news conference, Gov. Luis Fortuño said the new hotel will meet an “increasing demand for alternative accommodations in the area.”

“This hotel will expand Bayamón’s hotel offerings, providing alternatives to the thousands tourists doing business in the city, seeking medical care in the excellent facilities we have here and visiting family or just wanting to do some tourism,” he said.

The Hyatt hotel in Bayamón is slated to open in 2014.

The two-year construction phase of the hotel to be located on Route 167 adjacent to the Science Park and Plaza del Sol shopping center, will generate 485 direct, indirect and induced jobs. Once operational, the hotel will generate close to 700 direct, indirect and induced jobs, hotel developers said.

Newly appointed Tourism Company Executive Director Luis Rivera Marín noted that projects such as the Hyatt Place Bayamón & Tropical Casino will help serve niche markets “including retail, cultural, recreational and medical, given the proximity to renowned hospital institutions in the area.”

Financing for the project is split between a $29 million loan from Banco Popular de Puerto Rico guaranteed by the Government Development Bank’s Tourism Development Fund. Another $7.2 million is being put up by the Bayamón municipal government raised by a municipal lease bond. The developer and investors put up another $13.3 million in capital.

Stubbe said the future hotel focuses on the “urban tourism” concept, a fast-growing category.

“The project seeks to serve guests as well as visitors to the area’s medical facilities, sports enthusiasts participating in events at the nearby venues, as well as those doing business in the area,” said Stubbe. “As local entrepreneurs, we’re committed to developing tourism in Puerto Rico and the opportunity this project provides us as a potential motor for regional economic development.”

Source: Written by  //  March 26, 2012