Luxury Value Is New Product In Fort Lauderdale


Nicki Grossman, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Travel Agent met with Nicki Grossman, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Friday. Grossman filled us in on how the Florida destination is faring during the tough economic climate.

“Luxury value is the new product,” Grossman says. “We don’t have to give up improvements we’ve made to make luxury affordable for travelers.”

Greater Fort Lauderdale has been upping its luxury ante in the past few years, home to a Ritz-Carlton and soon a W hotel, which will open in April. We even learned that Donald Trump has recently finished completion of his property in the city.

To help sell Fort Lauderdale, the destination has enhanced its website to educate agents about selling affordable luxury.

“The message is that luxury is available and we have not eroded the product,” Grossman says. “The only thing different is that we have changed the price.” Those interested in visiting Fort Lauderdale can see major discounts, including 30 percent off winter rates. The website also offers incentives and promotional surprises.

Two other factors that might draw travelers are the growth in traffic at Port Everglades, a major hub for cruise ships, as well as new direct service via Spirit Airlines from Prague, which begins in April. Grossman says the popularity of the seaport might put Fort Lauderdale on the map as an affordable pre- and post-cruise vacation spot.

In an effort to attract travelers to the state in general, Greater Fort Lauderdale is partnering with Marriott and Hilton properties in Orlando, where travelers can split vacation days between the two destinations.

On the green-certification front, Travel Agent got an exclusive that the destination's LEED-certified convention center will begin working on Silver status this year.