Orlando, the No. 1 travel destination in the United States, makes it easy to mix business with pleasure with its warm weather year-round, thriving arts scene and thrilling theme parks. Meeting and event planners find The City Beautiful appealing, too, with 150-plus meeting hotels offering a combined 5 million square feet of flexible meeting space to accommodate nearly any size group and more than 127,000 hotel rooms throughout the city. All told, it’s easy to see why Orlando is consistently named Cvent’s No. 1 U.S. meeting destination.
Traveling into the city is as easy as taxi- takeoff-land, with flights arriving at Orlando International Airport from across the country and around the world. MCO has been awarded Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s STAR Accreditation, the gold standard of safe venues, and its South Terminal Complex addition should open in 2022. The cornerstone of the airport’s $3.82 billion capital improvement program, the complex will house 15 new gates, allowing the airport to welcome an additional 10 to 12 million annual passengers.
The industry-leading Orange County Convention Center, located just 11 miles from MCO, also earned GBAC STAR Accreditation. With 2.1 million square feet of exhibition space and 480,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, the OCCC team works with planners to create unforgettable events. For ease of its guests, four hotels — Hilton Orlando, Hyatt Regency Orlando, Rosen Centre Hotel and Rosen Plaza Hotel — offer more than 5,200 guestrooms and direct access to the center via pedestrian walkways or covered walking bridges.
In addition, a number of Orlando-area meeting hotels recently opened or are undergoing renovations to meeting spaces. The area’s newest luxury meeting destination, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa boasts more than 50,000 square feet of event space, including a 22,000-square-foot ballroom. From the rooftop bar, guests can watch the nightly fireworks at Walt Disney World and then retreat to one of the resort’s 516 guestrooms and 81 suites. The new JW joins JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, closer to the Orange County Convention Center.
On the grounds of Walt Disney World Resort, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is a new addition to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, adding 349 guestrooms, including 149 meeting suites. The addition increases the resort’s total meeting space to more than 350,000 square feet, including two brand-new ballrooms and 12 meeting and breakaway rooms, as well as rooftop space to enjoy the warm Florida air and those nighttime fireworks.
Back at the convention center, Tru by Hilton Orlando Convention Center caters to smaller groups with blocks of up to 200 guestrooms and 2,200 square feet of meeting space. East of the convention center, AC Hotel Orlando Downtown features a European-inspired design in its 180 guestrooms and three meeting spaces.
Renovations at meeting hotels and resorts in Orlando include 49,000 square feet of newly renovated meeting space for up to 1,750 guests at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes; the new 215,000-square-foot Peninsula Ballroom and breakout space at Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld; and the completion of a $127 million renovation project at Caribe Royale Orlando that includes 220,000 square feet of total meeting space. Orlando World Center Marriott, undergoing a reimagining for completion in 2022, will see renovations of all 2,010 guestrooms and suites along with 24 new breakout rooms, each encompass- ing 1,200 square feet. At its completion, the resort will boast more than 450,000 square feet of flexible event space.
You know what they say about all work and no play. On the pleasure side of business travel, Orlando’s theme parks offer plenty of activity to keep everyone happy — it’s the Theme Park Capital of the World, after all. Jedis can travel to a galaxy far, far away at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort, which kicked off “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” an 18-month celebration of its 50th anniversary, on Oct. 1. The new Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal Orlando Resort races would-be paleontologists against dinosaurs on Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, and want-to-be wizards take flight just like Harry Potter on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Or cool off a bit on Florida’s first dueling-racer raft slide, the new Riptide Race at SeaWorld Orlando.
Before you go, download the new Visit Orlando app to make getting from meetings to restaurants to theme parks — and much more — easier than ever.
This winter, Lake Nona Wave Hotel will open with more than 12,000 square feet of flexible event space in the tech- and medical-focused community. Two main draws of the community are its 130,000-square-foot Lake Nona Performance Club fitness center and the first-of-its-kind Chopra Mind-Body Zone and Spa headed by Dr. Deepak Chopra. With a keen focus on health and wellness affecting all aspects of our lives, hosting an event at Lake Nona Wave Hotel will prove an all-around win.
Add star power to any event at Madame Tussauds Orlando, in the heart of the city’s convention district. Following an exclusive VIP experience in the attraction, host up to 350 guests in the main hall or 160 in the Stage 3 event space. Afterward, spend time exploring the entirety of the ICON Park entertainment complex, complete with a 400-foot-tall observation wheel.
Get attendees’ motors running at the Orlando Harley-Davidson Historic Factory with an 8,000-square-foot showroom that can host up to 1,000 guests with, of course, an array of Harley- Davidson motorcycles on display. Vroom, vroom!
Mazatlán, Mexico, has long been an attractive home destination for Canadian and American retirees, but, in recent years, young, digital nomads have also discovered the charms of this coastal city, finding inexpensive accommodations, beautiful weather and plenty of bandwidth for working remotely. The laid-back beach scene definitely eases the transition of relocating to Mexico’s West Coast.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) believes business travel is a fundamental force for good and brings the industry together to connect, innovate and set new standards. With members from across the globe, GBTA engages the many voices of business travel to build a collective future, providing a platform for buyers and suppliers to come together, connect with peers, grow their network and shape the future of the industry.
Global Traveler Announces the Winners of the 2023 Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel Awards
For its third year, Global Traveler awards the airline, cruise line and hotel brand best representing diversity, equity and inclusion within the travel industry. Over the past year Global Traveler analyzed many airlines, cruise lines and hotel brands to determine which companies prove most committed to changing the world through diversity and inclusion.
The highly anticipated GT Tested Reader Survey has more reason to celebrate in 2024 than ever before. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our GT Tested Reader Survey awards, with many of the winning brands earning milestone accolades for years of dedicated and consistent service.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
As another phenomenal year of travel comes to an end, it’s time, as always, for Global Traveler to celebrate and award those who do it best as we announce the 2023 winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards. But that's not the only cause for celebration here: We've hit another major milestone, as this marks our 20th year honoring the best of the best inn world of travel!
Next summer, Denver, Colorado, becomes home to the country’s first carbon-positive hotel. The 13-story Populus features 265 modern guestrooms, a ground-floor restaurant, café, flexible meeting spaces, and signature rooftop restaurant and bar. Architecture is designed by Studio Gang, with interiors envisioned by Wildman Chalmers Design.
Experience the life-changing destination of Greece by exploring its island gems in the Ionian Sea. Scattered off the western coastline of Central Greece, to the south of Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands are an island group comprising large and small islands.
Private jet charter service Jettly recently conducted an extensive study to find the most and least reliable U.S. airports in 2023. Analyzing the total number of delays, cancellations and diversions from more than 390 U.S. airports provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the results saw the least reliable airports span all corners of the country.