Whereto take your group and what to do when you get there are intriguing possibilities challenging planners. Looking to add some sizzle to your summer happenings or freshen up your fall offerings?

Scallop scooping at The Plantation at Crystal River

Scallop scooping at The Plantation at Crystal River

 Fast Facts: Fleming’s is already one of Orlando’s premier steakhouses. Like a smooth creamy peppercorn sauce ladled on top of a charred filet, Fleming’s in the Sand Lake Road location adds sizzle to their steaks with a discount designed to encourage large family gatherings, corporate executive boards and rehearsal dinners. Book any event by June 15 for at least 15 guests and get a $50 dining card for every $500 spent on the event. Andrea Chang, Private Dining Director, 407-352-5706, PDSandLake@FlemingsSteakhouse.com

Also, Pilar’s Martini Bar is expected to open this summer, next to the historic Garden Theater in Winter Garden’s quaint downtown. Whether an intimate corporate group or a group of friends, one doesn’t have to travel to Winter Park or Orlando to find boutique restaurants, trendy shops, greenscapes and an intimate atmosphere that invites evening strolls along a tree-lined boulevard.

 Pick your perks. You don’t have to be fan of Jersey Shore to head to New Jersey or even to be passionate about Philadelphia to ponder the Eastern coast for your next group booking. Choose from select dates and properties, and such a deal Marriott International will offer you. The more you spend, the better the value. You have until Dec. 31 to book and until Mar. 31, 2013 to fulfill the commitment. Oh… you’d like to know the specifics?

 One complimentary room for every 35 actualized rooms

 Two upgrades at group rate

 Double Marriott Rewards Points

 Complimentary Internet in Guest Rooms

 10% off F&B in Outlet (not valid on room service or alcohol)

 Additionally, depending upon the total spend of the group, they can receive these additional benefits:

Spend $10,000-50,000 and pick two of the following:

 10% off catered F&B*

 10% off in-house AV

 50% off on one Internet line in a meeting room

 Upgrade to one hot food item on a continental breakfast

 Upgrade to a premium bar

 One night gift certificate for future stay with breakfast

Spend $50,001-$100,000 and pick two of the following:

 10% off catered F&B*

 10% off in-house AV

 50% off on one Internet line in a meeting room

 Upgrade to one hot food item on a continental breakfast

 Upgrade to a premium bar

 One night gift certificate for future stay with breakfast

 3% rebate to master

Spend $100,001 and pick four of the following:

 10% off catered F&B*

 10% off in-house AV

 One complimentary Internet line in a meeting room

 Upgrade to one hot food item on a continental breakfast

 Upgrade to a premium bar

 Two night gift certificate for future stay with breakfast daily

 4% rebate to master (max $15,000)

 One complimentary round trip airport transfer

 One complimentary VP Suite on peak nights

For additional information on qualifying dates, terms, and conditions, visit http://www.marriott.com/specials/promotion.mi?promotion=group_offer_236

 War hurts. It kills, maims and disrupts normal behavior patterns in even the most previously-calm soldier. This is not a news flash. What is less talked-about and even less done-about is the horrific impact war’s devastations imprint on families and friends. As the proud daughter of a retired Air Force father and a retired Army Major brother (both of whom fought in wars), I personally applaud the just-begun Callaway Homecoming Initiative (CHI), designed to assist returning combat soldiers in reconnecting with their families. The joint partnership with Emory University, Fort Benning’s Maneuver Operations center for Excellence, and Callaway Gardens, offers these military families an expense-free chance to de-stress and find peace in the idyllic Callaway Gardens, located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Participating families can compete in outdoor team events, take classes on how to assimilate back into a peacetime environment, and take time to golf, fish, bicycle or hike. CHI families will stay in Callaway Gardens’ Southern Pine Cottages, set in a secluded woodland environment and equipped with screened porches, full kitchens and fireplaces.

Not acquainted with the beauty and serenity of Callaway Gardens’ butterfly conservatory, horticultural center, discovery center, chapel, inland beach, and nature trails on 13,000 acres in Pine Mountain, GA? This environmentally-stroked venue, which includes a 4,610-acre forest preserve, caters to groups with nearly 80,000 square feet of meeting space, 685 guest rooms, restaurants, and shops, and don’t forget… world-class golf courses.

Follow the program on Facebook at Callaway Homecoming Initiative and on twitter using @CHI_Georgia. For more on the Callaway Gardens Homecoming Initiative: P.O. Box 2000, Pine Mountain, GA 31822; info@callawaygardens.com.

 Think of The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa’s new VIP Meeting Planner Package as a sumptuous meal topped off by a decadent dessert and then delivered with compliments from the chef. You’re already getting a 1:50 comp ratio, complimentary transportation to Silver Sands – The Nation’s Largest Designer Outlet, and luxury airport transportation for up to five (5) VIP’s for your group. Book new business in the Destin, FL resort through June 28, hold your meeting through Dec. 27, and then gander at the tasting menu from which you get to choose a (possibly) calorie-free option:

 Hilton Signature Welcome Gift delivered to the guestroom

 A Beach Bonfire for either a team building or family entertainment

 $500 credit to a Team Building Exercise run by the hotel’s Recreation Department

 $500 credit to a Kids Krew evening program while Mom & Dad attend a Catered Diner at the hotel

 Exclusive One(1) Hour Wine Tasting Reception

 A one day Internet Café Package; complete with coffee, tea, decaf, chef’s special break items, and three computers with WI-FI access

 A $500.00 gift to the Sea Turtle Conservancy in the group’s name

And here’s the part where we say, “And there’s more….:

 Meeting Planner’s get to choose one of these options for themselves:

 One (1) hour massage

 Three (3) day/ Two (2) night certificate

 $150.00 Amex Gift Card

800-559-1805; 850-267-9500; Fax: 850-267-3076; Info@HiltonSandestinBeach.com

 I’ve picked blueberries and strawberries. Climbed trees for apples. But never have I scooped scallops. Is it easy to spot those multiple blue eyes peeping up at you from shallow depths? What would I do with them once they’re nabbed? This tempting offer from The Plantation on Crystal River says that not only will the resort provide a guided scalloping tour with one of the area’s top captains (mask, snorkel and fins included), but their chef will actually grill and serve your catch along with some appetizing sides. For those more experienced than me, you do have the option of bringing your own boat. The Plantation will provide the ramp launch, trailer storage and seawall tie. Scallop season only runs from July 1- Sept. 10, so don’t delay. The eco-friendly resort is surrounded by the natural springs of King’s Bay, pristine lakes, wildlife refuges and state parks. The Plantation features a full-service marina, 18-hole golf course, 9-hole executive course, and Aveda spa as well as recently renovated accommodations. 800-632-6262, http://www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com

When you make that call to “scoop up” on any of these offers, please tell them where you read about their promotions.

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries. She is a Contributing Editor-Writer for Prevue Magazine and is an active member of ISES and MPI, for which she is on the Membership Advisory Council and the Industry Advisory Council. She writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, Karen has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; www.ThePsychicLady.com

Advertisements