Area hotels, visitors’ bureau putting plans in place after COVID closures

‘Miami Shines’ campaign will target local and regional markets

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – As tourism officials are getting ready for the day that they can welcome back visitors, South Florida hotels are drafting safety protocols.

Tom Prescott of the legendary Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables said calls to the property for hair and nail services are above normal. Right now, according to Prescott, they are booking June appointments and he is hopeful that is when they can re-open.

"We have seen some interest starting to come in. While there is demand for rooms, most demand is for spa services," Prescott said.

Social distancing protocols are already in place at the hotel's golf course that's was recently allowed to open. On the docket now? What a pandemic-era luxury guest experience could look like.

Some of the ideas Prescott shared are that rooms may not be serviced as often as they once were and perhaps turn-down service would no longer provided.

“Maybe the mini bar is not in your room and you need to ask for it. Someone provides it but doesn’t walk in. Things of that nature may change. We are making those decisions now . . .” He said they are waiting on guidance and developing safety procedures based on advice of the medical community ."

And they are monitoring consumer confidence. "I think we will have to see when people will be on planes again. Our top priority and people we are going after are in our own backyard," Prescott said.

Rolando Aedo of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau said knowing people could be wary of flying, the CVB has started a new campaign, "Miami Shines" with the message of "We can't wait to welcome you."

Aedo said the campaign will be launched when hotels are allowed to open.

"We are anticipating sometime in June, hopefully early June, restaurants and hotels will be allowed to reopen gradually," Aedo said.

The campaign is mostly geared to locals and regional drive markets craving a quarantine-escape-style staycation.

"Especially if you have been locked up in your house for several weeks. I am sure there is that pent up demand to get out," Prescott said.

Another bright spot, according to the Greater Miami CVB, is that group business hotel bookings, which drive Miami’s hotel market are already up by eight percent for October.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."