• Gladi

The Florida Comeback

Florida is on the brink of a “comeback,” and this team is ready to share what enjoying tourism once again looks like

Left to right: Adilen, Aubrey, Nora, Ilia

ORLANDO, Fla. - It’s no secret that tourism has always been one of the driving factors of Florida's economy. If you work in Florida you know the importance of tourism. If you work in hospitality, you likely dealt with financial burden last year from a job loss or other factors when the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States.

For Central Florida friends and co-workers, Nora Arezina, Aubrey Gregg, Adilen Perez, and Ilia Melendez, this scenario is all too real as the hospitality professionals were all involuntarily furloughed in March 2020. As hotels and restaurants started to close and meetings and conventions were canceled, these seasoned event professionals all found themselves without a job and watching in awe as their beloved city closed, seemingly overnight.

The group has a special place in their hearts for hospitality and they have always been avid supporters of Florida restaurants, hotels, shops, and attractions. They were no strangers to posting their Orlando experiences on their personal social media accounts. When the state entered into phase three of reopening and businesses began to re-open, the team started researching safe ways to visit Florida attractions again. They came up short and quickly realized that there needed to be a better resource for visitors and locals to know which businesses were open and how those businesses are safely welcoming back guests.

It was over a bottle of wine, or perhaps two as they jokingly admit, that The Florida Comeback (TFC) project was hatched. The Florida Comeback is a platform designed to help visitors and locals navigate Florida's various experiences during these unique times. The name ties into their competitive nature and the team's desire to “dig deep,” and show how Florida hospitality will come out victorious.

“It was the first time we had seen each other since March and we were talking about how Florida was opening but we saw very little being shared on social media as to what experiences looked like,” TFC recalls. “We looked [online] and websites were sharing a wealth of information on what to expect when adventuring in Florida but we wanted it to be more relatable, more real-time… We decided we needed to answer our own questions about getting “back” out to experience our Florida.”

The team came up with a series of questions to explore in their perfectly coined “Comeback Reviews." Here is a sample list of questions they ask themselves when doing a review.

What are the parking rates and are there parking restrictions, is the valet closed, how close are the cars being parked?

Do they have a curbside pickup?

Is outdoor seating available?

What is the average wait time for a ride and how are parks handling distancing in lines for rides?

What is the recommended coffee at a coffee shop and how can someone get their favorite coffee in a contactless manner”

Are there mask requirements for children?

When you visit their Instagram page you will find a vast collection of experiences cultivated, personally by at least one of the founders. The highlights on their page are conveniently sorted by cities, experiences, outdoor adventures and they even have a new highlight titled "come back to work" where they post hospitality jobs. The guides page is organized by similar attractions or location categories. As you would expect, they have a theme park guide, restaurant guide by city, things to do by city, and even a clever “Florida Donut Guide.”

“All four of us will say we love the hospitality industry but the paths we have taken to grow in the industry and the pieces of the industry we enjoy personally are all different which makes our project fun and for everyone,” TFC shares. “We are not just focusing on hospitality as most would think which is your hotels and restaurants. Hospitality is about guests, visitors, and strangers and it is the experiences that those people have when they are anywhere and for us, anywhere in Florida.”

Their differences in personality and differences in their hospitality experiences are what make The Florida Comeback a unique platform. They take pride in personally experiencing everything they post about and writing about it firsthand.

"We want to be known for our detailed and trustworthy content that leads to great experiences for our followers.”

“Every experience that we post is our experience. If we don’t feel that the experience was great then we will not post about it. Our brand is about focusing on great experience service but not putting businesses down because we had an un-great experience,” they shared. “The personal experience is important to us and we will plan each month on new experiences we can share.”

TFC also takes into consideration that families are looking for creative solutions for family outings around Orlando and have built into their reviews things to do that are free or inexpensive. They referenced the Showcase of Citrus in Clermont, Florida as an example of an inexpensive outing, where the entire family can have fun walking the citrus groves and “...enjoy spending the day outdoors together.”

Left to right: Adilen, Aubrey, Nora, Ilia

Although just getting started, TFC proudly has over one-thousand followers on Instagram and continue to grow their reach every day. They hope to create a website in the coming month and continue traveling around Florida sharing their experiences. As they look towards the future the possibilities are endless.

“Our two goals for 2021 are building a resourceful website with in-depth experiences, city guides, and support of more local businesses. The second goal… is to start collaborating with other brands that align with our focus, passion, and great service. We want to be known for our detailed and trustworthy content that leads to great experiences for our followers.”

Follow The Florida Comeback on Instagram @thefloridacomeback


Thanks for Reading! If you'd like to submit to be an Innovator or know someone that should, click here and complete a submission form.

For more inspiring Innovator stories by H&F Redefined, visit our blog, and learn how furloughed and laid off professionals from around the world are redefining themselves. We also offer Lifestyle content, Seasonal Solutions, and Industry Insights.