REVIEW OF 2016
Posted Monday, November 28, 2016
(Our Eighty-fourth Year Anniversary)
The Association held seven monthly lunch meetings with speakers on such topics as:
• “The new Hilton West Palm Beach and its Future with the Convention Center” with John Parkinson, GM, Hilton West Palm Beach and Dave Anderson, GM, Convention Center.
• “Funding of Future Cultural Capital Projects from Part of Proposed One Cent Sales Tax Increase” with Rena Blades, President and CEO Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
• “Update on Upcoming Sports Events and the New Baseball Spring Training Stadium” with George Linley, Executive Director, Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
• “All Aboard Florida and Brightline” an update with Carol Henderson, Director, Brightline.
• “Discover’s 2017 Marketing Plan” with Jorge Pesquera, President of Discover The Palm Beaches.
• “An Update on The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches” with Brady Ballard, GM.
• Allied Members gave Presentations to Introduce their Companies at all these luncheons.
• For the sixth year in a row, we also held an Allied Members’ Spring Reverse Trade Show, in conjunction with our March lunch meeting.
The Annual Hotel Day was held at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport in October and comprised of a Job Fair, an Allied Reception and Trade Show and the President's Lunch at which scholarships and awards were presented to students. For details see overleaf.
Hotel of the Year was awarded to the Hilton West Palm Beach and John Parkinson, General Manager.
Allied Member of the Year was presented to Brightline and Carol Henderson, Director.
The Fifteenth Guest Service and Support Service Employees of the Year awarded by the Association were selected from candidates nominated by their hotels, and were awarded respectively to Michael Wright, Front Desk Supervisor, Hilton Garden Inn, Palm Beach and Josie Pierre, Lobby Attendant, Hilton Suites Boca Raton. Each was presented with a check for $1,000.00 and a commemorative plaque, with the other nominees receiving certificates of achievement.
The Twenty-third Annual Golf Tournament was held at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter with a team from Allied Member Finn Marketing being this year's trophy winner. We had an excellent tournament and netted, with the raffle, auction and our Super Raffle, almost $20,000 for the Education & Scholarship Fund.
In December, the Association held its Seventeenth Annual Holiday Party at the Hilton Singer Island Resort, comprising of a luncheon reception with food and beverage in abundance and “top-class” entertainment, including Santa Claus with gift donations to the Marine’s “Toys for Tots Campaign”.
Throughout 2016, we continued to keep our political representatives at the local, state, and national levels appraised of the status and needs of the Palm Beach County hospitality and tourism industry. Of special local interest was the One Penny Increase to the County’s Sales Tax approved to be implemented in January, 2017 to fund capital projects for the School District, the County and County Municipalities totaling a maximum of $2.7 billion over the next Ten Years. The Association expressed its position in favor to the County Administration and Commission on behalf of its members.
The Association continued its participation with other civic organizations as a member of the Palm Beach County Business Forum, and reviewed many of the issues such as taxes, immigration, visa requirements, equine sports development, ADA standards and the gambling issue.
The Association's hotel membership held this year to 43 properties representing 6,422 rooms. Allied membership remained relatively stable from last year with 83 members.
The Association remains in a healthy financial condition and attained its zero based budget.
Support for Discover The Palm Beaches and the Tourist Development Council were major focuses of attention of the Association, its Board and members throughout 2016.
This year the Clifford Scholarship was presented to Leah Rondinelli, Florida Atlantic University. The Association's own scholarships ($500 to each recipient) were presented to four students: from Palm Beach State College – Axa Contreras & Jeremy Riley and from Florida Atlantic University – Mikhail Guseynov and Mariah Kennedy. Three further awards of $600 each were made to the Tourism, Hospitality & Resort Management Magnet Program at Palm Beach Gardens High School and the Tourism & Hospitality Management Career Academies at Forest Hill and Olympic Heights High Schools.
The Hospitality Workforce Program, whose overall goal is to coordinate and support education and training for our industry in partnership with others in the community, continues into its sixteenth year. This year it is again solely funded by the Association. Initiatives with regard to: classroom presentations at county high schools; internships and “job-shadowing” for hospitality students; the identification of needed hospitality training and education at our local educational institutions; the support of the Tourism & Lodging Career Academies and Magnet Program in the three high schools and the programs at college and universities; seminars for employees; the Eleventh Student Tourism & Hospitality Conference held at the West Palm Beach Marriott, attended by over 130 students in October were all part of the program. We continue to maintain the number of high school and college/university/institute students taking tourism and hospitality educational courses in Palm Beach County, which currently number just under 1,000.
The “Fourteenth Compensation, Benefits & Employment for the Palm Beach County Lodging Industry” was compiled and distributed in June 2016, again all electronically this year. Surveys were also available for the Dade and Broward Counties’ lodging industry.
Career opportunities through HotelForcePalmBeach.com continue to be offered, as a benefit of hotel membership of the Association, for up to six job openings listed per property at any one time. A Job Bank for those seeking employment in our industry has also been developed and has proved to be an excellent recruiting resource. A monthly average of over 200 jobseekers a day go to the website in search of opportunities and the number of jobs presented on the website in the last 15 years came to over 5,000.
The website (www.hotelassociation.com) continued to be updated with a number of additions and refinements to enhance the benefits to the membership and those looking for information on the Palm Beach County hospitality industry including our Facebook page.