Super Bowl fans to spend more on parties, gear this year

If you are having a Super Bowl party this year, you are probably going to spend a little more on food, supplies, and team gear.

CULVER CITY, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: The Super Bowl trophy on display during the NFL Media Event, the day before Kickoff to the 2015 Season on September 9, 2015 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: The Super Bowl trophy on display during the NFL Media Event, the day before Kickoff to the 2015 Season on September 9, 2015 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

According to the National Retail Federation, football fans are expected to spend slightly more than they did for the Super Bowl in 2015.

Viewers and partygoers will spend an average of $82.19 on food, décor, team apparel and more, up from $77.88 last year, according to the federation’s Super Bowl Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

» RELATED: 5 best sports bars in Palm Beach County to watch Super Bowl 50

Total Super Bowl-related spending is expected to top $15.5 billion.

“Two great teams going head-to-head and a historic game celebrating the 50th Super Bowl could make this one of the most-celebrated football games we’ve seen in some time,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We expect retailers will be aggressive with promotions on food and decorations as well as athletic wear and electronics in the coming days as they look to entice those planning to watch the Super Bowl.”

An estimated 188.9 million football fans plan to watch the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers battle it out for the Super Bowl 50 championship title on Sunday, up from the estimated 183.7 million who planned to watch last year, the federation said.

“The excitement around the Super Bowl this year should help retailers and restaurants kick off 2016 on a positive track,” Shay said.

Of those watching the game, the federation’s survey found:

  • 34.7 percent say the football game is the most important part of the day (85 million) while 17.7 percent say the commercials are (43.4 million), and another 4.5 percent say enjoying the fun food is the most important for them (11 million);
  • 43.3 million fans are planning to throw a Super Bowl party (17.7%) while another 70 million say they’d rather let their friends and relatives do the hosting and attend one instead (28.6%);
  • 79.8 percent of partygoers and viewers will purchase food;
  • 7.7 percent of Americans are planning to purchase a new television to enjoy the game – (similar to last year’s 8.8 percent), which could amount to an estimated 8.6 million new televisions;
  • 11.1 percent of those planning to watch the game will buy new team apparel and/or accessories – an estimated 20.9 million new items purchased;
  • Nearly eight in 10 (78.6%) Americans say they view the commercials during the Super Bowl as entertainment, while 17.5 percent say they make them aware of advertisers’ brands, and 10.3 percent said they influence them to buy products from the advertisers.

New York Post declares Palm Beach County is “actually cool”

Brace yourselves, Palm Beach County residents.  An influx of New Yorkers may be headed south to check out our hip restaurants and boutique hotels.

Construction continues on the Hilton West Palm Beach next to the Palm Beach County Convention Center on September 14, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Construction continues on the Hilton West Palm Beach next to the Palm Beach County Convention Center on September 14, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

In a big, bold headline on Tuesday, The New York Post proclaimed that Palm Beach County is “actually cool.”

The article was widely distributed by Palm Beach County tourism leaders, who heralded it as a major win for the region.

The article highlights several area attractions and boutique hotels, including the new 400-room Hilton West Palm Beach, which is set to open this week next to the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

It marks the second time this month that the county’s tourism industry has been in the national spotlight.  The Wall Street Journal this month ran a feature story about Delray Beach’s tourism offerings.

Construction on Brightline’s trains advances

The shell of the first passenger train coach car that will carry passengers on All Aboard Florida’s Brightline rail service has been completed at Siemens’ manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif., the company announced Tuesday.

Shell of the first Brightline train. Photo provided by Brigtline
Shell of the first Brightline train.
Photo provided by Brightline

More than 70 employees at the facility have worked on the 85-foot-long coach car, using more than 50,000 welds to fuse it together, according to a news release issued by Brightline. The shell will now go through a finishing process, preparing it for final assembly, the company said.

» PHOTOS: See more images of Brightline’s first passenger car

“With the completion of the first coach car shell, we are bringing our vision for a truly unique train service that will transform travel in Florida one step closer to fruition,” said Mike Reininger, Brightline’s president. “The Siemens team has been working diligently and we are thrilled to mark this milestone as the finishing of this car progresses and the manufacture of additional cars continues.”

Initially, the company will have five four-car trains, each capable of carrying 240 passengers. By June 2018, Brightline will have 10 trains with seven cars each. Those trains will be able to carry 356 passengers.

Last week, All Aboard Florida began vertical construction on a rail repair facility in West Palm Beach that will service its Brightline trains when they begin shuttling passengers between South Florida and Orlando next year.

The facility, just north of downtown West Palm Beach, will be used to repair, maintain, clean and store Brightline’s trains, company officials have said. About 50 people will work at the 12-acre site at 601 15th St., which is also expected to serve as an office for the company’s conductors, engineers, and onboard service staff.

 

 

More than a dozen PBC hotels win AAA’s Four Diamond award

More than a dozen Palm Beach County hotels and bed and breakfasts have earned AAA’s Four Diamond award.

The coveted ratings are among highest honors from the travel group.

Three local hotels – Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan, the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, and The Breakers in Palm Beach – received AAA Five Diamond rating.

Fourteen others earned AAA Four Diamond award.

Eau Palm Beach (provided)
Eau Palm Beach (provided)

“This area is known as the best way to experience Florida, so it’s no surprise that multiple hotels in The Palm Beaches have received the prestigious AAA Five Diamond and Four Diamond Ratings,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “Our hotels consistently provide guests with truly exceptional experiences.”

Every year AAA reviews more than 28,000 hotels including resorts, historic inns, B&Bs and other hotels.

Of the 118 hotels that received Five Diamond awards, 12 are in Florida.

Roughly 1,500 hotels earned Four Diamond awards. Of those, 136 are in Florida.

“These unparalleled properties offer the best possible way to vacation,” Pesquera said. “Genuine hospitality is truly a way of life for us. It is wonderful to see our hotels attain this level of recognition.”

Here is the list of local Four Diamond winners:

Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria ResortBoca Raton

Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria ResortBoca Raton

Waterstone Resort & Marina: A DoubleTree by HiltonBoca Raton

Delray Beach MarriottDelray Beach

Jupiter Beach Resort & SpaJupiter

Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside PlaceJupiter

Sabal Palm House Bed and Breakfast InnLake Worth

The Brazilian Court HotelPalm Beach

The Chesterfield Palm BeachPalm Beach

The Colony Palm BeachPalm Beach

Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – Palm Beach, a Kimpton HotelPalm Beach

PGA National Resort & SpaPalm Beach Gardens

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & SpaRiviera Beach

Casa Grandview Historic Luxury Inn Cottages and SuitesWest Palm Beach

 

 

 

Free South Fla Fair tickets to those who donate food this weekend

Want to go to the South Florida Fair for free? Bring some non-perishable food items to the Palm Beach Outlets on Saturday and you’ll receive one free ticket.

Here are the details from a news release announcing the event:

Fireworks go off over the midway during the opening night Ride-A-Thon at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach on January 15, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Fireworks go off over the midway during the opening night Ride-A-Thon at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach on January 15, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Who/What: Palm Beach Outlets and the South Florida Fair are partnering for a worthy cause. They’re collecting non-perishable food items during its Food 4 Funevent to benefit the Palm Beach County Food Bank.

Those who donate at least two items will receive one ticket to the South Florida Fair that is good for free admission on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday during the fair, which runs from Jan. 15-31 at the South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach. The ticket limit is two per person. This year’s fair theme is “Discover the Palm Beaches, powered by FPL.”

When: Sat., Jan. 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Palm Beach Outlets, 1751 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, West Palm Beach

Public information: Call Palm Beach Outlets at (561) 515-4400 or South Florida Fair at (561) 793-0333.

» Not able to make it to the mall on Saturday? Here are seven ways you can get discounted fair tickets.

Amazon: Cyber Monday sales up by more than 40 percent

More than 23 million items were ordered worldwide from sellers on Amazon on Cyber Monday, an increase of more than 40 percent from the online marketplace’s 2014 Cyber Monday sales, Amazon announced on Tuesday.

Eligible tax-free items purchased online during the holiday will remain tax exempt even if delivered at a later date.
Eligible tax-free items purchased online during the holiday will remain tax exempt even if delivered at a later date.

The company said its “Fulfillment by Amazon” service delivered more than 1 billion items worldwide in 2015.

During the holiday season, individuals and businesses selling on Amazon sold to more than 80 percent of Amazon customers worldwide who ordered a physical item, the company added.

“It’s never been easier for sellers, local merchants and artisans to grow their businesses on Amazon. With targeted advertising tools like Sponsored Products, access to Amazon’s fulfillment and customer service expertise through FBA, and new marketplaces like Handmade at Amazon and Amazon Home Services, businesses of all sizes can easily reach millions of customers around the world,” said Peter Faricy, VP for Amazon Marketplace. “2015 was a big year for sellers on Amazon. In fact, sellers added more new selection and shipped more items than in any previous year. We’re excited to build on that momentum as we continue to innovate on behalf of sellers and customers.”

 

Agreement reached to bring Tri-Rail to All Aboard Florida’s station in Miami

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority on Friday unanimously approved an agreement that would bring TriRail to All Aboard Florida‘s station in downtown Miami — a move that would ultimately allow the commuter rail service to run between Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.2_rails__de__chemin_de__fer1_

Of the 50 daily TriRail trains, 26 are expected to travel to All Aboard’s Miami station.

Under the agreement, a handful of organizations and government agencies based in Miami-Dade County would set aside $43.61 million to pay for a rail line connecting the CSX tracks, which Tri-Rail currently runs on, to the FEC corridor.  The money would also be used to link Tri-Rail to All Aboard’s MiamiCentral station.

Before the plan can move forward, the state’s Department of Transportation must also pledge an additional $17.2 million to fund the connection.

 

October hotel bookings grow in Palm Beach County

The hotel occupancy rate in Palm Beach County grew slightly in October, while the cost of a nightly hotel stay continued to climb.

Travellers dining and shopping at PBIA
Travellers dining and shopping at PBIA

In October, there were 499,255 nightly bookings available in the county’s hotels and motels, according to the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council. Roughly 345,500 of those nightly bookings were sold to out-of-town visitors and other guests.

The bookings mark a 2.9 percent increase over Oct. 2014, according to the council.

The cost of a nightly hotel stay in October was $132.27, up 5.6 percent from Oct. 2014.

Meanwhile, the countywide hotel occupancy rate stood at 69.2 percent in October, up just under a percent from Oct. 2014.

WestJet starts new service at PBIA

WestJet touched down at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday, offering twice a week service to Toronto. WestJet plane at PBI 2

The low-cost carrier’s inaugural flight between Palm Beach County and Toronto Pearson International Airport arrived at about 10:30 a.m. with 96 passengers on board. The Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 series aircraft was one of WestJet’s two “Magic Planes” which feature custom paint jobs displaying Disney characters.

Canada is the county’s largest international tourism market, with visitors from the north making up about 46 percent of the international tourists who come to Palm Beach County.

This year, airlines are expected to offer roughly 49,500 seats between Canadian cities and PBIA. That number is expected to grow to nearly 60,000 next year, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization.

WestJet plane at PBIOn a weekly basis, airlines offer more than 3,500 seats into PBIA from Canada. Between Jan. 30 and April, charter flights are expected to offered nearly 6,000 seats from Canada.

“We are hopeful that this will be a successful flight and will generate additional service into the airport from Canada,” Bruce Pelly, the director of Palm Beach County’s Department of Airports, said of WestJet’s new service.

Robert Palmer, WestJet’s manager of public relations, said Florida is a key destination for Canadian snowbirds and tourists. WestJet offers 105 weekly flights from 12 Canadian cities to 6 destinations in Florida.

But Palmer, who flew to PBIA on the inaugural flight,  said the airline hopes the new service will also bring Palm Beach County residents to Canada.

“We are looking forward to not only bringing Canadians back home, but to bringing some of you to Toronto and beyond,” Palmer said Friday.

WestJet will operate twice weekly — Monday and Friday — between PBIA and Toronto  The seasonal service runs through April 29. Palmer said bookings on the flights “look strong.”

Palm Beach County tourism leaders heralded the new flight.

“We’re thrilled that WestJet is providing another easy and convenient direct flight option for our Canadian visitors,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches. “The highest percentage of our destination’s international tourists are traveling from Canada, because we truly offer what Canadians are specifically seeking in a vacation. We’re confident that with our significantly increased marketing and sales investment in the Toronto market, this additional direct flight option will result in increased Canadian visitation. This WestJet route will encourage even more Canadians to discover what makes The Palm Beaches the best way to experience Florida.”