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Alfond Inn General Manager Interview


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A great interview with Deanne Gabel, the new general manager of the Alfond Inn. It also has some nice interior shots, which I hadn't seen before. I'm especially pleased to see her local background and the emphasis on local hires and ties both to the college and Winter Park, and a great shout out for diversity. Awesome job all the way around by Rollins  and the management company on this.



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Agreed - I really do like the local emphasis I'm seeing in general across the metro whether it be restaurant, hotel, heck even Disney went local with the downtown Disney remodel.  What I also find interesting is that as Orlando's identity continues to evolve, it moves further away from any resemblance or emulation of South Florida (not a knock on S.FL - it is nice to have a variety of cities with different characteristics).  I'm excited to see how Orlando steps out on it's own over the next decade.

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That's a great point, praha. A couple of thoughts:


(1) For a long time, most of the powers that be at Disney were from elsewhere, generally California. Most (Dick Nunis, we're looking at you) thought we were a bunch of rubes. Starting with Al Weiss and really escalating with Meg Crofton, we have local folks in charge at long last. George Kalogridis and is a Winter Haven native and UCF alum who continues this trend. (This reminds me that I need to do another post on how we've missed a prime opportunity to build the imagineering industry and provide incentives to make Orlando the center of that business; recently, I saw a firm that was doing work on one of the attractions that is based in High Springs. High Springs, really?)


(2) Perversely, I think the total disconnect between the state government and Florida's cities has also helped. It used to be that a lot of folks just thought of Florida as one entity, with south Florida getting the bulk of the attention. With Tallahassee having become so useless, the regions of the state have had to go their own way by default.


(3) I have lived in more than one place that have had a chips on their shoulders about moving into the "big leagues" of cities. As Atlanta grew (and grew and grew), it was always whining about things New York had that it didn't. In Nashville in the early '80's (before it boomed thanks to all the new car plants), I often laughed at how they compared themselves unfavorably to Orlando (Epcot had just opened) and Charlotte. Nashville is also a textbook case of realizing you have to play to your strengths. For years, the power structure tried to downplay the Music City image (they wanted to be known as the "Athens of the South, you see - none of those honky tonk types in Belle Meade, please.) Meanwhile, anyone outside the area who thought about Nashville at all only thought of it as the home of country music. Finally, the city's promoters gave up, embraced the music (although they expanded the definition way beyond country,) and now Nashville is one of America's "hot cities" - a place everyone wants to be. It's a cautionary tale for those who want to dismiss the tourism industry for which we are known worldwide.

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