TravelHost Celebrates 50 Years

Reaching 50 used to mark the beginning of old age however #50isthenew30 for TravelHost, Inc. as it celebrates its 50th anniversary! During the past half-century, TravelHost has been used by over 3 billion travelers as an informational source to find local attractions, events, plan trip itineraries and discover new venues for fun and excitement. 

It all started in the mid-sixties, from founder and Chairman of the Board James E. Buerger. He had established weekly newspapers that included television magazine inserts in Texas. A local hotel manager requested 500 of those TV magazines to place in the hotel rooms. James Buerger had an idea and that is when the in-room travel communications guide targeted for local cities was born. In 1967, TravelHost had become an indispensable aid to travelers across North America. As the nation’s first in-room hotel magazine, travelers were getting quality information about the businesses and visitor attractions on dining, entertainment, maps, shopping, relocation, sightseeing and other activities in each local city. It was the 1970’s that TravelHost was expanding through a system of local ownership as it became the first to pioneer the national and local formula in the publishing industry. TravelHost successfully grew to establish itself as the number one magazine in the hotel magazine industry in the 1980’s. TravelHost was sold to Bill Schroeder in 2013 who expanded the company from a strictly publishing business into a multi-dimensional, multimedia business.

Publisher and Owner Ina Lee created TravelHost of Greater Fort Lauderdale in 1980. Her publication is now recognized as the best TravelHost in the country out of 50 other editions. Ina Lee expanded TravelHost into a fully integrated media company with an extensive digital and social media footprint. As Greater Fort Lauderdale is celebrating TravelHost's 50 years of publication, we're looking back at Ina Lee’s most iconic accolades:  Tourism Icon, City of Fort Lauderdale Walk of Fame; Citizen of the Year, City of Fort Lauderdale; recipient of the Carolyn Michaels Leadership Award, and Small Business Leader, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce; Broward Days Advocate of the Year and founder of Winterfest.

TravelHost will celebrate its 50th anniversary at The Old River House on Feb. 8th from 6PM to 9PM, by invitation only. Icons and Classics in the Tourism Industry being honored include: Carolyn Michaels, Jim Pancallo, Hugh Taylor Birch, Heiko Dobrikow, Kaye Pearson, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Marine Industries Association of South Florida, Sawgrass Mills, Flamingo Gardens, Shooters Waterfront, Museum of Discovery & Science, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Parker Playhouse, World Famous Parrot Lounge and ACR Electronics, Inc.

The Old River House, a Greater Fort Lauderdale national historic landmark has stood proudly in the same place for over a century next to the New River. In its current location since 1903, the first largest building on the east side of the property originally became the Bryan family’s home. Overtime The Bryan's home had been a fixture of hotel hospitality for travelers passing through Fort Lauderdale on their way home to other destinations, which became Fort Lauderdale’s first hotel, the “New River Inn”.

Philemon built two other homes on the same site for his two sons and their families where they lived until the 1970’s. The “east house” that belonged to Tom Byron is now where the bar, veranda and private rooms are located; the larger “west house” that belonged to Reed Byron now encompasses the patio, porch, balcony, and four interior rooms. The homes were converted into a single restaurant in 1983 and was originally named “Bryan Homes.” Many years and renovations later the restaurant was renamed as The River House. Closed in 2009 due to disrepair, a multi-million dollar historic renovation of Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk area, the property was leased, renovated and reopened in the summer of 2017.




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23 Jan 2018

By Carissa Sadler