Luxury has an ever-evolving definition, and we spoke with Debi DeBenedetto, group sales manager of Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades to see how luxury is defined by the destination and what this means for groups.
How is luxury defined by your destination & what are a few touch points for groups?
DeBenedetto: Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades on Florida’s Paradise Coast offer an “affordable luxury.” Attendees can have a taste of elegance from a variety of sophisticated boutique hotels and beach, spa and golf resorts. While most affordable in the summer months, our prices during the winter months are very competitive with other warm-weather destinations. The award-winning beaches, the delectable menus, the world-class resort spas, the championship golf and world-famous Everglades all are incredible experiences that set this small town area apart from other destinations.
How can planners of large-scale meetings and events personalize a luxury experience?
We have large resorts like JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton and the Naples Grande who will customize events just for your groups. Sometimes small groups may feel lost in larger hotels but still want the resort experience. Ballrooms, outdoor venues and breakout rooms with state-of-the art technology can all be utilized to create meeting spaces that cater specifically to your meeting’s size, needs and niche.
We also boast medium-sized boutique hotels with waterfront and downtown locations that are perfect for groups of 10 to 150. They can call develop special packages and customized features like adult-only pool party sections, “boatel” board meetings, team building activities and CSR events. And at our boutiques, your meeting will be their sole focus, so it’s like having your group’s own the hotel.
We also have many offsite venues. We can get you out on the water, in the beautiful botanical garden, or on an adventure in the world-famous Everglades. Send us your RFP and the CVB will explore and create options for you and your special group.
How can planners leverage F&B, local environments and wellness programs to create VIP experiences for groups?
The group sales team in Naples and Marco Island has a plethora of information about the destination’s award-winning dining. With farm-to-table ingredients, Florida’s year-round fresh produce and seafood, international cuisine and more, there are a variety of incredible menu options for attendees. Healthy choices abound as we focus on the Blue Zones project, transforming well-being in Southwest Florida through efforts with hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, schools and community policy. The CVB can help you create a wellness event with the area’s Blue Zone project and utilize resort facilities, educational speakers, wellness activities, flexible menus and healthy breakout options.