MAC Chat: An interview with Jacqueline Warda, The Congress Plaza Hotel (Chicago, IL)

by Jessica 10/30/2009 7:09:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 
Hosted By: Jessica Martinez

Sponsored By: 

 
     
 

 


 

Jacqueline Warda is our featured interview for this week. She is the Director of Sales at The Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, IL. 

   For more information visit: CongressPlazaHotel.com

What are some of the key selling features of Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel?
Originally built to accommodate visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, the guest rooms and suites of the Congress Plaza Hotel are truly spacious by today’s standards. In contrast with the more modern hotels, guestrooms are larger, ceilings are higher, bathrooms bigger, and window expanses wider. The abundant public space, large lobby, and long corridors provide a freedom of movement not present in the more constricted area of today’s hotels.

Our LakeView rooms are characterized by their residential ambiance and, of course, the fabulous view of Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, and Lake Michigan. They feature a king or two double beds, high speed internet, and complimentary coffee/tea.

The Congress Plaza Hotel has over 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including an 8,300 square foot Ballroom. The Gold Room at the Congress Plaza Hotel is famous for its architecture and for its place in the history of Chicago. An elegant Chicago banquet facility, the Gold Room was restored in 1997 by the Italian artist Lido Lippi - restorer of the Sistine Chapel - to its original splendor. The elegance of the room is ideal for formal events and is often selected for wedding receptions and banquets.

Why is The Congress Plaza Hotel the ideal choice for travelers?
The Congress Plaza Hotel’s convenient downtown location commands a spectacular view of Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain. It also provides easy access to the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, Orchestra Hall, and Sears Tower; all within walking distance. The downtown business district, shopping, and restaurants, as well as downtown theaters, museums and universities are just steps away. 

Having existed for more than a century, the hotel is considered by many to be a “Landmark of Chicago Hospitality.” The Congress Plaza Hotel is a full service hotel.

In addition to our great location and services, our rates are always competitive and offer great value. For example our Bed & Breakfast promotion includes a full American Breakfast per person.

Why should Travel Agents book The Congress Plaza Hotel for their clients?
Besides the convenient location and truly spacious accommodations for our guests, we pay 10% commission to all Travel Agents in a timely and accurate system.

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with Travel Agents?
Our Great Rate and Value is valid for all new bookings now through January 31, 2010. It includes a 10% discount off of our best available rate. Another great promotion is our Bed and Breakfast promotion. It includes full American Breakfast for each guest.

How can a Travel Agent book The Congress Plaza Hotel?
Via GDS using our codes:

The Congress Plaza Hotel

Amadeus: CHICON
Galileo: 95227
SABRE: 12733
Worldspan: 60136

Great Rates and Values can also be booked on our website:
CongressPlazaHotel.com

Simply go to Reservations, click on the Travel Agents tab and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 

Thank you Jacqueline for taking time to tell us all about The Congress Plaza Hotel. It's beautiful!

Please feel free to submit your comments below. Have an excellent day!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Lisa Gory, Shula's Hotel and Golf Club (Miami, FL)

by Jessica 10/27/2009 3:54:00 PM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 
Hosted By: Jessica Martinez

Sponsored By: 

 
     
 

 


 

This week we are back in my hometown, sunny Miami, FL, where I interviewed Lisa Gory, Director of Sales at Shula's Hotel and Golf Club.

   For more information visit: DonShulaHotel.com

What are some of the key selling features of Shula's Hotel and Golf Club?
Our 205 well appointed guest rooms include pillow-top mattress, complimentary high-speed wireless internet and more. You can play golf at our championship 18-hole course. The Senator Course is recognized as one of Miami's best golf courses.

Book a custom Ritual experience in our Aveda concept spa. We invite you to relax at our warm and inviting environment as we provide you exceptional service. 

You can workout and stay healthy at our 44,000 square foot fitness facility with state of the art fitness equipment and exceptional staff.

Dine at the "Original" Shula's Steak House. Recognized as one of America's best steak houses, Shula's serves Premium Black Angus Beef. 

There is complimentary wireless and high speed Internet access. You can also take advantage of our 20,000 square feet of modern meeting space including 14 rooms and outside venues.
 

Why is Shula's Hotel and Golf Club the ideal choice for travelers?
We are
conveniently located just outside the city of Miami, approximately 12 miles from Miami International Airport (MIA) and approximately 22 miles from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL). We are also minutes from many popular sights and attractions such as South Beach, Land Shark Stadium (Dolphin Stadium), and Miami Beach.

Why do you think Travel Agents should book Shula's Hotel and Golf Club for their clients?
Shula's Hotel is a destination designed for the business and leisure traveler alike. As one of the last independent Miami resorts, our focus is to provide you world-class service while you make our hotel your home away from home. Constantly providing travelers with a variety of different rates and specials throughout the year, Shula’s has something for everyone. 

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with Travel Agents?
Our Great Rate and Value promotion is valid through December 31, 2009. The promotion rate is $99.00 and includes one $25 certificate to the original Shula’s Steak House and one $20 certificate Shula’s Steak 2 restaurant. These rates are 10% commissionable.

How can a Travel Agent book Shula's Hotel and Golf Club?
Via GDS using our codes:

Shula's Hotel and Golf Club

Amadeus: MIA001
Galileo: 30998
SABRE: 12160
Worldspan: 0005

Great Rates and Values can also be booked on our website:
DonShulaHotel.com

Simply go to Reservations, click on the Travel Agents tab and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 

Thank you Lisa  for telling us more about Shula's Hotel and Golf Club. I'll meet you at the "Original" Shula's Steak House, then maybe we can go play a round of golf!

Please feel free to submit your comments below. Have an excellent day!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Maria Moreno-York, Hotel Felix (Chicago, IL)

by Jessica 10/23/2009 4:48:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 
Hosted By: Jessica Martinez

Sponsored By: 

 
     
 

 


 

The windy city is my next stop where I interviewed Maria Moreno-York, Director of Sales - Business Transient at Hotel Felix, Chicago, IL.

   For more information visit: HotelFelixChicago.com

What are some of the key selling features of Hotel Felix Chicago?
Great Location! Hotel Felix is a new, Eco-Friendly hotel with a great location. We also offer spa services and a full service restaurant. 

Why is Hotel Felix Chicago the ideal choice for travelers?
Hotel Felix Chicago offers travelers the convenience of complimentary wireless throughout the hotel. We also offer complimentary use of business center and free local calls. We offer warm and plush accommodations and are walking distance to North Michigan Avenue.

Why should Travel Agents book Hotel Felix Chicago for their clients?
In addition to the great accommodations and amenities I mentioned for their clients, we are also offering travel agents15% commission when booking our "Great Rate and Value" promotion.

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with Travel Agents?
Our Great Rate and Value is valid for all new bookings now through January 31, 2010. For the guest, this promotion includes 20% off of our best available rate. When booking this offer, we are currently offering 15% commission for Travel Agents.

 

How can a Travel Agent book Hotel Felix Chicago?
Via GDS using our codes:

Hotel Felix Chicago

Amadeus: ORD366
Galileo: 92691
SABRE: 102227
Worldspan: 15366

Great Rates and Values can also be booked on our website:
HotelFelixChicago.com

Simply go to Reservations, click on the Travel Agents tab and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 

The next time your clients want to visit the windy city, consider booking them at the Hotel Felix Chicago. Thanks for joining me today, Maria! 

Please feel free to submit your comments below. Have an excellent day!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Amir Almir, Gables Inn (Coral Gables, FL)

by Jessica 10/21/2009 6:16:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 
Hosted By: Jessica Martinez

Sponsored By: 

 
     
 

 


 

This week we interviewed Amir Almir, General Manager of Gables Inn, located in beautiful Coral Gables, FL.

   For more information visit: TheGablesInn.net

What are some of the key selling features of Gables Inn?
Gables Inn features a convenient location, free WiFi, free breakfast and free cable TV.

 

Why is Gables Inn the ideal choice for travelers?
Gables Inn is centrally located. We are 10 miles from the beautiful beaches, 7 miles from the Port of Miami and 8 miles from Miami International Airport. 

It’s located on the main road to Key West in the most prestigious city in the US, Coral Gables.

Coral Gables offers the Venetian Pool, Historic retail areas, Coral Golf Course, Theatres, fine restaurants and University of Miami. 

 

Why should Travel Agents book the Gables Inn for their clients?
Travel Agents should book their clients at Gables Inn because of the quality and the size of our rooms. We also feature the lowest prices for the area.

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with Travel Agents?
We are actually offering a really great promotion right now. It's called our "Great Rate and Value" promotion. It is valid through December 31, 2009 and offers a discount of 20% off BAR.

 

How can a Travel Agent book the Gables Inn?
Via GDS using our codes:

Gables Inn

Amadeus: MIA296
Galileo: 30365
SABRE: 54367
Worldspan: 07296

Great Rates and Values can also be booked on our website:
TheGablesInn.net

Simply go to Reservations, click on the Travel Agents tab and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 

Thank you Amir for participating in MAC Chat. Coral Gables is such a beautiful area and it has so much to offer. Gables Inn is very centrally located and a perfect choice for travelers. 

Please feel free to submit your comments below. Have an excellent day!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Mary K Twomey, Essex Inn (Chicago)

by Jessica 10/19/2009 6:35:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 
Hosted By: Jessica Martinez

Sponsored By: 

 
     
 

 


 

This week we are featuring a great interview with Mary K Twomey, Director of Sales and Marketing for Chicago’s Essex Inn.

   For more information visit: EssexInn.com

Jessica: What are some of the key selling features of Chicago’s Essex Inn??
Mary: Recently renovated rooms feature LCD flat-screen TVs, wireless internet access, sleek desks with a large work space, iPod and MP3 compatible alarm clocks, refrigerators, coffee/tea service and irons and ironing boards.

A 24 hour business center with computer workstations, a printer, and a high-speed internet connection.

Complimentary all season rooftop pool offers views of the lake, a fitness center with modern treadmills, lifecycles, weight machines, and free-weights.

A complimentary shuttle that makes stop at the Art Institute, Navy Pier, John Hancock, and Museum Campus.

On site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Jessica: Why is the Essex Inn the ideal choice for travelers? 
Mary: Within walking distance to the public transportation including trains and buses. One of the closest hotels to the McCormick Place convention center. Minutes from the financial district 

 

Jessica: Why should Travel Agents book the Essex Inn for their clients? 
Mary: Along with our ideal location, amenities, and service, we frequently run specials that are designed to benefit both the traveler and the travel agents such as our current Great Rates and Value promotion. 

 

Jessica: Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with Travel Agents? 
Mary: Our Great Rate and Value is valid for all new bookings now through March 31, 2010. For the guest, this promotion includes a 10% discount off of our best available rate as well complimentary WiFi. We are also giving travel agents 15% commission on these bookings rather than the standard 10%. 

 

Jessica: How can a Travel Agent book Chicago's Essex Inn?
Mary: Via GDS using our codes:

Chicago's Essex Inn

Amadeus: CHIEXI
Galileo: 92291
SABRE: 5022
Worldspan: CHIES


Great Rates and Values can also be booked on our website:
EssexInn.com

Simply go to Reservations, click on the Travel Agents tab and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 

 

Thank you Mary for sharing all these great details about your hotel. Next time I visit beautiful Chicago, I know exactly where I will be staying!

Please feel free to submit your comments below. Have an excellent day!

 
     

MAC Chat: An interview with Mariely Maduro & Johanny Jiminez, South Seas Hotel & Avalon Hotel ( Miami, FL)

by Jessica 10/13/2009 5:50:00 AM
     
 

MAC CHAT
A series of 5 minute interviews featuring travel industry leaders. 
Hosted By: Jessica Martinez

Sponsored By: 

 
     
 

 


 

This week we are featuring a great interview with Mariely Maduro and Johanny Jiminez, Reservations Managers at the South Seas Hotel & Avalon Hotel, Miami, FL.

   For more information visit: SouthBeachHotels.com

What are some of the key selling features of the South Seas & Avalon Hotels?
The South Seas and Avalon Hotels offer a one of a kind oceanfront location with direct access to the soft sandy beaches for which Miami Beach is famous.

Guest can relax in the comfort of our newly renovated rooms with our Flat Screen TV's with HD service, I-Pod Docking Stations, Egyptian cotton sheets, plush down comforters and waffle robes.

Breakfast is on us at the South Seas and Avalon Hotels with a deluxe European breakfast buffet awaiting you each morning!  

Why are the South Seas and Avalon Hotels the ideal choice for travelers?
The South Seas Hotel's oceanfront location on Collins Ave. and the Avalon Hotel’s beachfront location on Ocean Drive are just steps away from South Beach's boutique shopping and exciting nightlife!

The South Seas Hotel is located 2 blocks from the Miami Beach convention center.

Both properties have on-site lunch and dining options at either our award winning A Fish Called Avalon or Pilikia by the Pool.

We welcome all of our guests to lay back and relax in one of our cushioned teak lounge chairs by the South Seas pool or take a nap in our hammocks under the lush tropical foliage under our palm garden.

Why should Travel Agents book the South Seas and Avalon Hotels for their clients?
Both hotels offer oceanfront location in the heart of it all, with luxurious amenities, for an unforgettable experience.  We design specials to benefit both the traveler and the travel agents such as our current Great Rates and Value promotion.

Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with Travel Agents?
Our Great Rate and Value is valid for all new bookings now through December 30, 2009. For the guest, this promotion includes $20.00 off of our best available rate as well as complimentary European Breakfast and WiFi.

How can a Travel Agent book the South Seas and Avalon Hotels?
Via GDS using our codes:

 

South Seas Hotel Avalon Hotel

Amadeus: MIASOU
Galileo: 74433
SABRE: 20624
Worldspan: 25174

Amadeus: MIAAVA
Galileo: 31878
SABRE: 26399
Worldspan: 15728
Great Rates and Values can also be booked on our website:
SouthBeachHotels.com

Simply go to Reservations, click on the Travel Agents tab and register. Go to Promotional rates and look for Great Rate and Value. Please enter Rate Access code MAIL to access this rate. 

Thank you Mariely and Johanny for sharing all these great details about your hotels. I can't wait to visit them!

Please feel free to submit your comments below. Have an excellent day!

 
     

Turkish Delight-Ritz Carlton Style with Platinum Seminars

by mailpound 10/7/2009 10:04:00 AM

Turkish Delight- Ritz-Carlton Style

By Dana C. McPherson, MCC PLSI

As a child I read a lot. One of my favorites was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. At the beginning, the Queen of Narnia tempts Edmund with Turkish Delight. I had never heard of Turkish Delight but it sounded divine. Edmund eventually betrayed his family and sold his soul for Turkish Delight. Years later in Istanbul I had my first taste of the fabled Turkish Delight. Nice, a little chewy, reminding me of bubble gum; hardly worth selling your family or soul out for this confection.

Recently, at the Ritz-Carlton in Istanbul, that changed. Disembarking after a Black Sea cruise on Oceania with fifty other luxury travel agents we were training, we had a 20-minute ride to go the pittance of half a mile to get there. Reaching the Ritz-Carlton, various porters and doormen greeted us by name, a sure tonic for the ride. Once in the massive marble lobby, Mr. Brown checked us in while I explored. I was taken with the amazing views of the Bosphorus and Asia across the water. A small table in the lobby held several elegant jars with copper lids stuffed with Turkish Delight. Immediately I reached in with tongs taking a small rose colored candy, about the size of a dice, and plopped it into my mouth. 

Ritz-Carlton Istanbul Lobby

Turkish Delight served in 
the Ritz-Carlton Suite

                                 

From that moment I wanted more and understood Edmund selling out his family for Turkish Delight.  Unlike any confection I had ever experienced, it was supple and delicate with lingering flavors dancing on the tongue for hours (if you waited that long to try another flavor).  After eating 3 or 4 pieces, we finally went to our suite.

A charming lady escorted us to our room.  She opened the door and we stepped into 2,600 gorgeous, amazing, square feet (View the Suite).  We stay at the Ritz-Carlton 25-30 nights each year when joining a cruise to conduct our seminars or attending trade shows.  The office overlooked Europe, the talking Jacuzzi tub had Bosphorus and European views, the dining room gazed at Asia, the living room and bedroom had Bosphorus views too.  In Istanbul we’ve stayed at many luxury properties but this was breathtaking.  I expected staff to pop out asking if we needed anything and they did.

Ritz-Carlton Suite Living Room

Ritz-Carlton Suite Bedroom

The dining room sat 10, encouraging us to invite guests. We invited the cruise director from the Oceania Nautica, Dottie Kulasa, and her husband, comedian extraordinaire, Tom Drake. Their ship was overnighting and they said they would be delighted to put on the Ritz. 

Ritz-Carlton Suite Bathroom View

Ritz-Carlton Suite Dining Room

Shopping all day at the Grand Bazaar we returned to the Ritz-Carlton Club for champagne. One glass led to two and two to… well anyway, Dottie and Tom arrived and were announced by the charming ladies of the Club. We enjoyed some delicious Meze (appetizers) in the Club and caught up. 

Grand Bazaar Istanbul, over 4000 shops

Ritz-Carlton Istanbul Club

Martin Kleinmann, the GM was in the Club greeting guests and made our guests feel at home. We proceeded upstairs to our suite and gave them a tour of our palace. The chef of the hotel was there to personally greet our guests and ask what they would like for dinner. We told him to decide and proceeded to enjoy the view and have some lovely California chardonnay. The coffee table was overflowing with an amazing display of various flavors of Turkish Delight. Dottie and Tom tried several pieces and were hooked. There is something about being at a Ritz-Carlton overlooking four Sultan’s palaces and enjoying the view from your own, however temporary. The Food and Beverage manager personally supervised the dinner which was beyond words. I am not certain how many bottles of wine were served but all the guests were definitely enjoying the experience. Dottie and Tom left and returned back to the ship and sailed away the next afternoon. This memory will be with all of us for a lifetime. 

At the spa the next afternoon, The Laveda, our experience was equally rewarding and relaxing. The Turkish bath or hamam was a religious experience at the Ritz-Carlton but that is another story.

Laveda Spa Hamam

Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

The moral to this story is that this is what you can do for your clients. When booking a cruise, please do them the favor of booking them a pre and post hotel so they may further enjoy their adventure. Most clients are loyal to one or two hotel brands. Platinum Seminars enjoys the Ritz-Carlton worldwide and the perks that go with that. Once your clients stay with a luxury brand with frequency, they are recognized and rewarded. Make sure they are using all the benefits of the credit cards they carry. AMEX offers many benefits for Centurion and Platinum members. I am told Visa and Master Card offer similar benefits to their high end clients.

Cookies, Ritz-Carlton Style

Stay with a brand that is loyal to your clients and to travel agents in return. You should also be experiencing luxury properties first-hand so you can more confidently recommend the properties. Your client’s memories of their trip are priceless and you as their agent are in position to continue making those special memories for a lifetime.

I still have some Turkish Delight in the fridge and it is calling me, beckoning me to sit in a quiet place and savor a memory that was 40 years in the making. After it warms to room temperature, I will take the journey to Narnia and see what other adventures and mischief I may find.

Just as Turkish Delight takes seven years for an apprentice to master making it, an agent should learn about luxury every day and make it a part of their life. Turkish Delight is only made from a few simple ingredients; sugar, cornstarch, cream of tartar and flavoring. A luxury experience contains simple ingredients as well; exceptional service, outstanding location/property, unique amenities and a reputation to deliver all of these on a consistent basis.

I look forward to seeing you in Narnia or onboard one of our cruise seminars.  The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul would be a wonderful place for you to stay when you attend ASTA’s International Destination Expo in Istanbul next year.  Experience it, Sell it!

Platinum Seminars trains over 2500 travel agents how to sell luxury on over 250 sail dates a year.  The training is traditionally conducted onboard the cruise lines.  Experience a Platinum Seminar and see how you can make your clients memories Platinum.     www.platinumseminars.com

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