Archive for December, 2010

Putting the “Travel” Back in Business Travel

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

One Travel

Travel writer
Posted: December 2, 2010 12:05 PM

Putting the “Travel” Back in Business Travel

You see them at the airport and in the hotel lobby, frequently toting a leather laptop bag. Perhaps you are even one of them, the business travelers, those that don’t travel just to travel but rather for their jobs. The men are usually in a suit or nice shirt, walking around the gate with Bluetooth in ear. The women have on the classic pantsuit usually with Blackberry in one hand and coffee in the other.

Since Up In the Air, these travelers were placed in the limelight, but they still never seem to stop moaning about where their job takes them or the lack of time they have to see a destination. Rather than complaining about heading out to Omaha or Kansas City, business travelers can make their not so glamorous destinations worthwhile.

Research Ahead of Time: Business travelers often forget to research beforehand. The reality remains that you won’t have time to research once you get to your destination due to filled-to-the-brim work schedules. Read up on everything you can find before you leave, whether it is events in town that week or classic things to do. If you have an idea of what the place offers, perhaps you will be more inclined to leave the hotel room or conference center.

Embrace being alone and wander around: After the meetings are finished for the day, a common complaint of business travelers is that they are often alone and have no one to explore the city with. Get over being lonely or alone and head out on your own. Find the best area to stroll around or park yourself at a café or bench. Go European and people watch.

Feast on Local Cuisine: Even if you are in the middle of America, the cuisine of a place can be the most exciting aspect to travel. Business travelers have to eat just like everyone else. Seek out the restaurants that locals go to by looking at city magazines. They can lend ideas on where to eat. You can also ask around at your hotel or find a local with a nose for food to offer suggestions. Food can add a great deal of color to otherwise beige business travel.

Add An Extra Day If You Can: If your company decides to send you to London or another glamorous locale, add on an extra day or two after your meetings and work if you can. Some business travelers don’t see the world outside hotel rooms and cubicles. If you are headed somewhere you want to explore more, try to go home a day later than expected.

Make Time for Sightseeing: Many business travelers are on a tight schedule, but once the meetings are finished, head out for some sightseeing. Even if it is the biggest ball of yarn in America, go see it. The kitschy sights are just as important to getting a feel of a place. They are also those sights you won’t find in glamorous destinations. Business travel can be fun if you just know where to look and take the time to do so.

NTC Partners with Agencies to Present Adaptive Paddling Workshop

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

NTC Partners with Agencies to Present Adaptive Paddling Workshop

The Nebraska Trails Council recently partnered with agencies to present a day and a half workshop on Adaptive Paddling. Mike Passo, an instructor for American Trails, led the workshop which examined ways an agency can offer water trails that accommodate people of all abilities.

Passo explained that the first step in making a water trail more accessible is providing information about a site’s characteristics. Detailed descriptions about launch/access sites, water flows, potential hazards and available facilities, allow individuals to assess whether a trail is best suited to their needs. Emphasizing abilities rather disabilities within this information creates an inviting and nondiscriminatory environment for public use.

Passo demonstrated how inexpensive adjustments can be made to existing launch sites to improve transfer and accessibility. To further illustrate his ingenuity he provided a collection of adaptive paddling equipment, the sum total of which cost him less than the bag he carried them in. Developing innovative uses for everyday items provides paddlers comfort on the water.

The educational workshop was successful thanks to partnership efforts between Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Papio-Missouri Natural Resource District and National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

Karen Anderson of NPS would like to thank Fremont Parks and Recreation Department for information about the put-in site and for picking everyone up at the take-out point and getting them back to Fremont.

Panhandle Trails Website

The Nebraska Panhandle is a treasure trove of outdoor recreation opportunities set amidst the rugged beauty of buttes, canyons, small peaks, streams and forests.

When Tom Schimo, an avid hiker, transferred to the area seven years ago, he was thrilled to find himself in a hiker’s paradise. However, he was disappointed with the difficulty of finding information on area trails.

Through persistent communication with the U.S. Forest Service, state park and wildlife management area personnel, he soon acquired a basic knowledge of hiking resources in the panhandle. Missing information was filled in through detailed studies of topography maps and extensive internet searches.

Realizing there were probably others out there interested in finding all this information under one website lead to the creation of the Panhandle Trails website. The site allows hikers and bicyclists to search opportunities to evaluate which trail will best suit their needs. A photo gallery is also provided.

Tom is often asked what are the best hikes in the Panhandle? According to Tom the Pine Ridge has the most public access, but the most unique hike is at Toadstool Geologic Park, near Crawford. The three mile Bison Trail takes hikers through incredible rock formation in soft stone canyons, with a great archeological excavation site located near the south end of the trail.

Other opportunities include a 15 mile network of hiking and biking trails at Chadron State Park. All the trails have been improved and are now well-marked and kept mowed. Bead Mountain, near Scottsbluff, has recently been opened to the public and has great potential for off-trail hiking.

A big thanks to Tom for all his hard work. You can check this website at:

State awards $1 million in grants for civic, cultural and convention centers

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

State awards $1 million in grants for civic, cultural and convention centers

LINCOLN, NEB. (Dec. 2, 2010) — The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) is awarding nearly $1.1 million in grants to six municipalities for the development or improvement of civic, cultural and convention centers.

The grant amounts, projects, and municipal governments receiving grants are:

$318,000 Carnegie Building Civic and Cultural Center, Beatrice

$ 36,859 Opera House, Clarkson

$ 27,600 Community Building, Crawford

$305,000 Christensen Field Indoor Arena, Fremont

$250,000 Community Theater, West Point

$150,000 Czech Cultural Center, Wilber

“These projects help attract nonresidents to a community as well as enhance the local quality of life of residents,” said Richard J. Baier, DED director. “They are important public facilities for the ongoing health and well-being of communities.”

Revenues for the grants come from the Local Civic, Cultural and Convention Center Financing Fund, administered by DED. The Nebraska Legislature created the fund in 1999 at the same time it approved state financing assistance for the development of the Qwest Center in Omaha.

A municipality receiving a grant from the fund must own the civic, cultural, or convention center for which grant assistance is sought. The grant amount can be for up to 50 percent of the cost of construction, renovation, or expansion of the center. The maximum grant amount is also determined by the municipality’s population.

Dr. Peter Tarlow’s Tourism Tidbits

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Encouraging people to give the gift of travel

For many people the Chanukah & Christmas season is a time of giving. One of the great gifts that a person can give to another is the gift of travel. Travel serves as a perfect gift in that it allows the receiver to use it at a time that works for him/her. Travel gifts open up new horizons and provide memories that can last a lifetime. Encouraging people to provide the gift of travel is not only good business, but acts as a subtle form of marketing. To make travel the perfect gift, however, some preplanning is also needed. In this special edition of Tourism Tidbits we provide you with ideas as to how to make your travel experience the least hassle free possible, either as a giver of travel or as a receiver.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to showcase your community and/or attraction. It is also a time when if things go wrong there will be a great number of people with and for whom you will need to do damage control.

-Do not overcharge. Everyone understands that during the holidays prices will rise a bit, but gauging is never a good idea. The few extra dollars that you will make by raising prices unfairly will be more than offset by negative publicity. Instead, offer holiday specials. Consider these to be part of your advertising campaign. Nothing promotes your industry better than good word-of-mouth advertising.

-Remember that your employees are people too. These are people who are giving up their holidays for others, and while they may be receiving extra pay, no amount of money can compensate for lost time. Treat your employees with extra respect; prepare them for longer than usual hours and visitors who are tired, frustrated or even angry.
-When in doubt smile! The holidays are supposed to be about fun, family, and memories. Travel should also be about those very same things. Even when people have had to deal with the hassles of travel, train your employees to go out of their way to smile, be cheerful and do something extra nice for people.
Making travel a personal gift item.

Another good marketing tool is to encourage your local citizens to consider travel to your locale as a personal gift option. Even in these difficult economic times, may of people will be spending a great deal of time trying to find new and innovative gifts and travel gifts not only provide for friends and family to see each other but also aid your local economy.
There are numerous ways that you promote your locale as a travel gift. Many travel agencies will be more than happy to work with you. Before promoting the gift of travel to your locale remember the following:
-Make sure that you locals check with the people receiving the gift to determine which dates will work for him/her/them and which dates will become a problem. Help locals to know when airline prices are reasonable and promote travel to your location when the hotels are in their low season.
-Make sure that the person giving the gift is aware of about how much the gift will cost the receiver. It is not helpful to give an airline ticket or a free night stay at a hotel if the person cannot afford to get to the destination and/or stay at a destination’s hotels. Make sure to match the gift with the receiver’s ability to pay for the other parts of travel.

-Encourage people to give travel gifts to your community that create positive memories and a desire to return. It does not matter what giver likes or may think the other person ought to like, rather make sure that the travel gift reflects the receiver’s lifestyle and shows off your community in the best light. Know if the person to whom you are giving the gift likes adventure travel, urban travel or perhaps countryside travel. You will get the best results from gift travel if you can encourage the givers to match the travel experience to the receiver’s psychological profile.
-Do not be afraid to encourage the people who live in your locale to use air miles as a way to bring people to your community. Once the person is in your community, s/he will be spending money and adding to the local economy. How the person gets to your community is less important than what the person does once there. Although many airlines charge for transferring miles, but allow you to “purchase” a trip for another person for free. Do not transfer miles but rather purchase the trip for the person who is to receive the gift. Remember that paid airline tickets usually are not refundable and charge for date transfers, most tickets bought with air miles are much more flexible.
-If inviting friends and relatives from another country, make sure that the person has a passport and meets all visa requirements. If you are dealing with US citizens, remember that all US citizens need a passport if they are traveling by air or sea. That same requirement is true of many other nations.
-Purchase the gift around the other person’s likes and dislikes. If giving an urban travel gift, provide a special add-on. Travel is about memories. When encouraging your local citizens to give the gift of travel, aid them to turn these trips into special memories. Make sure that your citizens understand that special memories need not be expensive. For example, a bottle of wine or a fruit basket will set the stage. Lots of communities have local theaters or sporting events that are fun and add a bit of local color. Always remind people to chose events for their guests that fit the receiver’s lifestyle.
-Make sure that the person receiving the gift has an opportunity to let your local tourism office know what he or she thought of your community. Feed back from gift travel is especially helpful in knowing your community’s strengths and weaknesses. When people come to your community make the gift of travel more than merely seeing and doing new things, make it about sharing memories and a desire to return again and again.

Responsible Travel Report– The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Responsible Travel Report
The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter

Dear Fellow Traveler,

Let’s face it, most travel providers genuinely want to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, but the vast majority are confused about how to start. They are bombarded with conflicting messages about what ‘green’ means and an overload of confusing information about how to ‘be green’.

The good news is that sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and it has never been easier to start that journey than it is right now. That’s because STI has just launched our new Partner Program, an affordable, easy-to-use suite of tools and services to help travel providers of all shapes and sizes embark upon the road to running more sustainable and more profitable businesses right away.

Better still, the new Partner Program provides the tools companies need to market themselves to the rapidly growing legion of travelers who truly care about sustainability.

To learn more about the Partner Program and other exciting developments at STI just scroll down and keep reading. Enjoy!

Safe and happy travels,

Matt Kareus
Director of Sales and Marketing

Holiday travel: 29% will cut trip short or shack up with relatives, poll says

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Holiday travel: 29% will cut trip short or shack up with relatives, poll says

By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

The economy may not keep holiday revelers at home this holiday season, but odds are high that if you are traveling, you”re probably eager to save a buck or two.

A new poll, in fact, says that 29% of holiday travelers say they’ll cut their trip short or even shack up with family and friends to avoid a hotel bill.

* TWITTER: Follow Hotel Check-In
* ALSO ONLINE: 60% use social media to stay in touch from road
* ALSO ONLINE: What’s on your hotel ‘wish list’ – Apple TV? iPad?

Other holiday travel patterns highlighted in AOL Travel’s new poll of 1,001 Internet users who will travel for the holidays this year:

* 40% say the economy is “somewhat” affecting their plans, while 18% believe the economy affected them “very much.”
* 55% say they’ll cut back on expensive activities due to the economy.
* 70% say they’ve had their holiday plans disrupted by airline delays and cancellations with almost 7% never actually making it to their destinations.

Regardless of the money saving strategies that many travelers will deploy this year, travel experts still expect a big holiday travel season this year.

Holiday travel spending is expected to increase by nearly $4 billion this year vs. last year to near pre-recession levels, USA TODAY has reported. Another poll by Maritz Research Hospitality Group says that 28% of Americans plan to travel between Thanksgiving and New Year’s – that’s up from 23% last year. And despite the desire to save money, the Maritz poll said these travelers plan to spend an average of $349, or 41%, more on their holiday travel vs. last year.

The AOL Travel survey was survey conducted by Data Specialists between Nov. 2 and Nov. 5.

Readers: Are you trying to save a few bucks when on the road this holiday season? If so, what’s your strategy?

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