GMBHA Lively Conversation with Catering Experts 8.9.2017

We had another great Catering panel yesterday! This year marked our 4th Annual Catering Panel and we decided to switch it up a bit and invite not only our Directors of Catering but their “go-to” team member. We heard from our amazing panelists and their stories.

Millennials are changing the catering world in regards to wedding/event planning. At MENIN properties, they are seeing more of modern wellness and their clients tend to more focus on inner beauty. Instead of the traditional welcome cocktail, their client might want to have a “green” cocktail instead. At 1 Hotel South Beach, they are seeing an increase in destination weddings but millennials stray away from the typical 5 hour wedding and instead focus on their guests and how to make the weekend an experience. “Millennials want to break tradition and would opt in for an experience rather than tradition” Monica Ciffoni, The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove stated. From a culinary standpoint, Chef Ashley, Sous Chef at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, shared with us that millennials are interested in healthy, vegan or more creative menu. Chef loves to work with the couples to create a menu that’s more personable to them. Miami has a great LGBTQ community and it’s so important to make them feel welcomed at our hotels but having the information and collateral that would fit their needs.

Technology has become a leading factor in our lives. We asked our panelists to share with us ways they incorporate social media to help increase revenue. 1 Hotel strives on sustainability and tried to embrace nature but the hotel encourages their guests to take a step back and embrace each other. In the end, social media is a huge deal and they work with other outlets to help gain exposure. 1 Hotel South Beach created an app within the hotel staff where share employee schedules and pictures. InterContinental Miami also utilizes their own in-house app. Their app gives them to ability to report any changes with an event or with scheduling issues. Their clients are also able to request anything they might need for their event through the app that goes directly to the hotel team. Kevin Tobe, Hilton Downtown Miami, expressed that having an iPad is key now a days. Having images to show the couple or group gives them more a visual of how the room will look.

Many thanks to our fabulous panelists for being on our panel! Special thanks to Ann Keusch, VP/Publisher, Southeast Region, BizBash, for co-moderating once again!

PANELTOP (L-R): Ana Maria Rego, Director of Meetings & Event Services, InterContinental Miami; Isaac Seville, Director of Banquets, InterContinental Miami; Ann Keusch, Vice President/Publisher, Southeast Region, BizBash; Wendy Kallergis, President & CEO, GMBHA; Michelle Marchetti, Director of Social Catering, 1 Hotel South Beach; Chef Ashley Stanton, Executive Chef, The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove; Bottom(L-R): Kevin Tobe, Director-Catering & Convention Services, Hilton Downtown Miami & Hilton Bimini Resorts; Natalia Plasencia, Associate Director of Catering; Hilton Downtown Miami & Hilton Resorts Bimini; Ana Fleitas, Director of Events, MENIN Hospitality; Michelle Hunter, Senior Catering Sales Manager, MENIN Hospitality; Monica Ciffoni, Director of Catering Sales, The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove & Key Biscayne; Chris Talluto, Director of Banquet Operations; 1 Hotel South Beach

Please click here for event pictures.

Many thanks to our in-kind sponsors!

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Miami-Dade County announces its local TV, Film and Entertainment Production Incentive Program

MIAMI (July 18, 2017) —

In keeping with its mission to maintain Miami-Dade County as a top production destination, the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources’ Office of Film and Entertainment is launching a local TV/film and digital entertainment production incentive program.

The program intends to help support individual film and entertainment projects that will benefit the industry workforce and boost the local economy and will be available starting August 1.

Productions will have to meet certain requirements to benefit from the program. Among those are the following:
• The production must spend at least $1,000,000 in Miami-Dade County on payroll (for Miami-Dade County residents only) and other expenditures.
• At least 70% of the entire production project must be produced in Miami-Dade County.
• Each production project is required to hire a minimum of 50 main cast and crew (employees) that are Miami-Dade County
residents and must include at least one student/recent graduate who is enrolled at or recently graduated from a local college or university.
• Salaries for Miami-Dade County residents hired must be a minimum of the current living wage as defined by County law.
• At least 80 percent of vendors utilized on the production project must be Miami-Dade County-based registered businesses.

The rebate for qualifying productions would be a maximum of $100,000 per project. Each project’s eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and each project/grant agreement will be require approval by the Board of County Commissioners. Grants will only be disbursed after the project is completed and proof that all requirements were satisfied has been submitted.

“The local industry has been asking for the County’s assistance by enacting a local incentive program and now they have it,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez. “This is a vital industry for our local economy, and we want those who are a part of it to be able to work and live here, and not have to move away in order to pay their bills.”

“Miami-Dade is committed to bringing back an important industry that positively impacts all of our County,” said Commissioner Sally A. Heyman (District 4), who sponsored the Resolution.

“We are excited to be able to offer this local TV/film and digital entertainment production incentive program to the industry,” said Sandy Lighterman, director of the Office of Film and Entertainment. “We anticipate this program will be able to stem the loss of our crew, acting talent and supporting businesses.”

Miami-Dade County is an ideal destination for film and entertainment projects. From diverse locations, experienced crews and local talent base to superior infrastructure, it boasts of a dynamic, flourishing production industry that employs approximately 10,000 full and part-time workers and has an annual impact of over $1 billion to the local economy.

For more information on the TV/film and digital entertainment production incentive program, visit the Office of Film and Entertainment.

GMBHA & HSMAI Women in Hospitality Panel 7.11.2017

We are always so excited to partner with HSMAI for our annual Women in Hospitality Panel! Our event gets bigger and bigger each year and we were so happy to have our event at FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management (we, of course, had to have our panel in a classroom!). We had a wonderful group of Women on our panel. It was so great to hear from our Women Leaders and listen to how they balance their work life and family life to what advice they would give university students.

DSC_7123-MMeet our panelists & moderators!
(Front-l-r)Silvia Camarota, Director, Market Management-Florida, Expedia; Wendy Kallergis, President & CEO, GMBHA; Simone Champagnie, Executive Director, Development, FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism; Jessica Kramer, VP, Business Development, ALICE; Fatima Thompson, Associate Director of Business Development, Hotels, STR; Lourdes Hainlin, Vice President, Partner Services, Forbes Travel Guide; (back, l-r) Connie Kinnard, Vice President, Multicultural Tourism & Development, GMCVB & Lindsey Norris, Regional Partnership Manager, VISIT FLORIDA

FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management shared with us the importance of CPR training and introduced the Analise Dlugasch Memorial Endowment. This program is to help raise awareness and aims to teach life-saving skills to every hospitality management student at FIU. The ultimate goal of the program is to have the program adopted by the hospitality industry in South Florida.
We were able to raise over $400 dollars in our raffle that will be donated directly to the Analise Dlugasch Memorial. For more information on this program or to donate, please click here .

We also had a great group of local vendors participate at our reception. Special thanks to StartUP FIU Food for organizing these great (and delicious!) vendors to participate.

Thank you to Greathouse Gourmet, Frice Cream, Sweet Jalane’s, Happylicious by Betsy, High 7 Teas, Marlem’s Coquito, Dipsa Snacks & Meringue Factory



MLB All-Star Week Meet the Commish!

We had a great time at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce All-Star Luncheon this past Monday. It was great to hear from Rob Manfred, Commissioner|Major League Baseball at our very own Marlins Park!

img_51201.jpgMatthias Kammerer, Managing Director, The Biltmore Hotel; Curtis Crider, General Manager, Sonesta Coconut Grove; Wendy Kallergis, President & CEO, GMBHA; Robert Hill, General Manager, InterContinental Miami






 Summer boredom officially “over” in Miami as new, family-friendly publication produced by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and HCP Media promotes child and family-oriented tourism in Greater Miami & the Beaches.

 MIAMI, July 7, 2017 – As part of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s mission to cater to visitors and their families during their visit to Greater Miami & the Beaches, the 2017/2018 Greater Miami & the Beaches Family Fun Guide was created to showcase Greater Miami’s many attractions, amenities and services for the whole family.

The 2017/2018 Greater Miami & the Beaches Family Fun Guide marks another successful collaboration between Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and award-winning publisher HCP Media. New for the 2017/2018 edition, copies of the guide will be included inside the July 14, 2017, edition of the Miami Herald delivered to select zip codes.

Featuring the brand-new Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science on the cover, this colorful, portable and informative guide focuses on Greater Miami’s best attractions, kid-friendly hotels and services, as well as scheduled and ongoing events that showcase Miami and its Beaches as the family-friendly destination it has always been.

“The 2017/2018 Greater Miami & the Beaches Family Fun Guide is one of our more fun publications to create,” says William D. Talbert, III, CDME, President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We have thoughtfully put together this guide to promote Greater Miami as a top destination for families, including those traveling with members with special needs and of all abilities. Greater Miami is one of the most welcoming and accommodating cities for visitors who are traveling with little ones and who wish to experience a global destination that truly offers something for everyone.”

“This publication has always been popular and highly sought-after, not only by visitors but also by our own residents,” states Marisa Beazel, President & Publisher of HCP Media. “HCP Media is proud to showcase all that Greater Miami has to offer families and remind our residents, especially parents with kids who are home for the summer, that Greater Miami has thrilling and spectacularly unique attractions. Plus, some of our most iconic hotels cater to families with unique amenities that keep kids entertained, while allowing parents to enjoy a relaxing vacation. The structure and format of this book is especially user-friendly for visitors and busy families on the go.”

The 2017/2018 Greater Miami & the Beaches Family Fun Guide features 40 pages of rich content, informative listings and a playful design that focuses on Greater Miami’s kid-oriented attractions, hotels, amenities, helpful resources and fun events happening all over Greater Miami.

The 2017/2018 Greater Miami & the Beaches Family Fun Guide is available at visitor centers, upon request and will be delivered to specific areas receiving the July 14, 2017, edition of the Miami Herald.

About The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is an independent accredited not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for leisure, business and conventions. For a vacation guide visit our website at or call 1-888-76-Miami (US/Canada only) or 305-447-7777. To reach the GMCVB offices dial 305-539-3000. Meeting planners may call 1-800-933-8448 (US/Canada only) or 305-539-3071 or visit To get further engaged with Miami and the Beaches, join the conversation by following us on our social media channels at,, and

About HCP Media
As communication experts, HCP Media, a division of McClatchy, creates innovative, market-leading, cross-platform solutions that stay ahead of consumers’ evolving media habits. A custom media and promotion company, HCP offers a wide variety of engaging print publications, developing and producing over 100 custom publications for hotels, airlines and other clients. The company’s reach extends beyond the travel niche and into the global luxury market, including en-suite cruise line publications and luxury lifestyle magazines. Additional custom products include multilingual destination guides, in-room hotel books, in-flight magazines, travel videos and websites, as well as accompanying sales, marketing and promotional programs. The company also produces commemorative coffee-table books, healthcare publications, program guides and other customized publications.

Beyond the written word, HCP’s top-tier marketing and branding products include custom event marketing, strategic social media and blog content, marketing publications, and materials for national and global companies targeting affluent, sophisticated consumers. Together, these turnkey, top-quality print and digital marketing solutions reach more than 80 million active travelers annually and 5 million unique monthly visitors on its combined websites. In addition, HCP’s work has been recognized with more than 275 prestigious awards for editorial, photography and design.

InterContinental Miami – luxury hospitality in the heart of the city

What are the main factors attracting visitors to Miami-Dade County, and how can it build on its strengths to attract more people?

Miami-Dade and Downtown in particular have come a long way since I moved back to Miami to become GM of the InterContinental Miami in 2009. I remember when the streets around the hotel were empty once the clock struck 5 pm, but now there is activity at all hours of the day. The residential growth of the past decade has had a positive effect on our neighborhood, because tourists are naturally drawn to areas where locals spend their time. Today, downtown is a destination for business and lifestyle, and it’s up to us to manage that growth. We’re making strides through investments in our new science and art museums, improvements along Flagler Street and innovative projects like Biscayne Green, but challenges still exist as we look for new ways to improve access and mobility. Traffic is problematic, major events cause road closures, and we need to upgrade our public transit systems, which is something that visitors from around the world expect when they arrive in a world-class city.



How well has the hospitality industry weathered the recent problems of Zika and falling currencies in traditional overseas markets?

Last year, we experienced only a nominal impact from Zika at the InterContinental Miami. Two corporate events were postponed by risk-averse groups, but our leisure travel business remained intact throughout the summer and 2016 was another strong year for us. Since then, we’ve been working year-round with the authorities and our hotel peers to create and implement a 10-point plan that will make sure we’re ready to mitigate any mosquito-borne threat that South Florida faces in the future. We’ve also managed to sustain our strong occupancy amidst a strong dollar. We credit this to our hotel’s popularity among business travelers and groups hosting large meetings and events.

To what extent does the current growth of hospitality and home-sharing apps such as Airbnb create competition for the traditional hospitality sector? Is there enough regulation to keep the playing field even?

Miami is reportedly one of Airbnb’s top-five markets in the country, and that’s no surprise given our rise as a global destination. Some have sought to ban these services outright, but that’s unrealistic. The reality is that we’re already co-existing with home-sharing services. The difference is that a property like InterContinental Miami appeals to business and leisure travelers seeking the comforts of a luxury hotel – from daily housekeeping and a top-notch restaurant and bar downstairs, to a pool deck overlooking Biscayne Bay and a luxurious spa. Short-term rentals may cater to a specific niche in the market, but there’s no substitute for the exceptional hospitality that a full-service hotel can deliver. That being said, we need to protect our visitors and residents by ensuring short-term rental properties are safe and regulated appropriately. Also, we must preserve the tourist tax revenues that conventional hotels have been collecting for years and which support critical services.

How much of an impact would the reducing of Visit Florida’s budget have on the tourism and the meetings and convention industry in Miami?

The budget was in jeopardy, but the elected officials in Tallahassee saw the value of marketing Florida’s brand around the world. We are deeply thankful for Gov. Scott’s support, as well as the support of Florida’s legislature for fully funding Visit Florida in 2018. The state legislature’s decision to fund Visit Florida means that Florida, and Miami in particular, will continue to attract millions of tourists every year, strengthening this city’s already thriving hospitality industry and growing its local economy, including new jobs.

With a growing amount of hotel rooms in the Downtown area, how can the InterContinental differentiate itself from the competition? What are the midterm goals, plans and outlook for the InterContinental in Miami?

There have been new hotels opening their doors around downtown Miami over the past few years, so we’re always looking for new ways to keep our competitive edge. Earlier this year, we remodeled and relaunched Toro Toro, complete with a new menu, an expanded lounge, and a new private dining room, “El Matador Room”. We’re also introducing new technologies. One of my favorites is an app called Zingle that allows guests to request any service – from the morning paper to milk and cookies – from their smartphone. We even host a local competition each year to choose new skyline dancers for our digital canvas (we take nothing for granted!). The InterContinental Miami has been operating for almost 35 years and many of our team members have been with us for more than half that time. I like to think that longevity and consistency define who we are and set us apart in an increasingly competitive field. Looking ahead, we’re going to keep our focus on providing exceptional hospitality to our business and leisure travelers, while ensuring the services and amenities we offer stay creative and innovative.

What can be done to further promote the meetings and conventions industry in Miami?

Miami knows how to host a large event, be it the Super Bowl, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Art Basel, Ultra Music Festival, and more. We’re also making sizable investments in our local infrastructure through the renovation of Miami Beach Convention Center, improvements at Miami International Airport and the launch of the Brightline rail system, both of which will make getting to Miami easier. Now we’re working with our partners at the GMCVB to spread the word out and send a message that Miami is a great destination for business and vacation.

For more information on InterContinental Miami, please visit

Click here to view article

GMBHA Heart of Hospitality: Giving Back to our Community Panel 6.20.2017

We had an amazing event yesterday at the beautiful Miami Marriott Dadeland. We started our program with Special Guest Speaker, Peter Slatin, Founder & President, Slatin Group & Co-Founder, Slatin Media Group. Slatin Group provides education and training to improve communication and interaction with special-needs customers in any business environment. Click here for information regarding this program. We were also joined by Clio Knowles, VP of People, Virgin Hotels to share with us the importance on how to accommodate all guests. At Virgin Hotels, Clio trains and educates her staff on how to provide exceptional service to every single guests that walk in their hotels.

We also had the pleasure of hearing from our local charities. Special thanks to New American Workforce, The Hospitality Institute, American Cancer Society and Vets for Success for sharing your passion and drive for these organizations. Below please find more information.Click here to view pictures from our event. 

New American Workforce
Abbey Chase, Program Coordination,
Click here for information

American Cancer Society
Sarah Glenz, Senior Director-Mission Delivery,
Click here for more information

Miami-Dade College – The Hospitality Institute
Laura Drosdowech, Laura
Click here fore more information

Dress for Success/Vets for Success
Jeff Wahl,

Our panelists were fantastic! It was great to hear from everyone and hear about their careers and how they started in the Hospitality industry. Many thanks to our amazing panelists,Beth Foster, Vice President, Human Resources, Brightline; Amy Haug, Regional Director of Human Resources, sbe; Bobbie Mesa, Director of Human Resources, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach; Katherine Saborit, Director of Human Resources, W South Beach; Charlie Serrano, Director of People Development, EAST, Miami.

Special thanks to Miami Marriott Dadeland team and to Maribel Vazquez, General Manager, Miami Marriott Dadeland for hosting!

Thank you to our sponsors!

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