Archive for December, 2011

the world of food has changed dramatically

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Glenn Hausmann with Hotels Interactive states, “the world of food has changed dramatically over the last 15 to 20 years. With the popularity of the Food Network, people have gotten seriously savvy about what they eat, and what they are demanding. Their level of expectation and knowledge of better food is up, but now they are concerned about how they are spending.”

Visit for the best food.

Nebraska Golf Trips Make Great Gifts

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Nebraska Golf Trips Make Great Gifts


LINCOLN, NEB. (DEC. 1, 2011) — The holiday season is the perfect time to give family and friends the gift of Nebraska golf. As colder temperatures settle in, golfers in the Midwest turn their thoughts to planning spring and summer golf trips, and Nebraska is being touted as one of the best destinations for exceptional golf and exceptional value.


In a recent article in Midwest Golfing Magazine, publisher Jay Royle summed up his trip to the state this way: “…Nebraska is quickly becoming a top-notch golf destination. Actually it already is; it just doesn’t get the recognition the Cornhusker State so richly deserves. I know I’m telling everyone to get to Nebraska and play some golf!”


Nebraska is home to well-known nationally ranked courses, such as The Prairie Club and Wild Horse Golf Club, and plenty of outstanding and affordable public and semiprivate courses are worth considering when planning a Nebraska golf trip. Several courses have joined together to offer special packages, including Play the West, Golf the North and the Nebraska Golf Trail. Individual lodging and golf packages are also available at some courses.


The Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division has made it easy for golfers planning a Nebraska golf getaway. A list of golf courses in Nebraska, sample trip itineraries, and links to articles and videos about Nebraska golf are available at Reviews of several Nebraska golf courses, including photos and videos, can be found at And the GolfNebraska Facebook page is a place to connect with golfers and share links to news about golf courses and events in Nebraska.

Visit for a complete golf package!

Using the Social Media for Tourism

Monday, December 12th, 2011

for December 2011

Using the Social Media for Tourism

The major upheavals that took place across the Arab world this year are once again proof of the power of social media.  The social media proved to be a major communication vehicle that spread across the region like wildfire.  The social media have not only changed the face of politics but also have a major influence on the world of travel and tourism.
There can be little doubt that the explosion of social media impacts every form of business including the world of tourism.  Social media such as facebook and myspace, provide instant ways to reach thousands or millions of people, twitter is a fast way to get a few words out, and social media, such as linkedin connect people interested in business relationships. The social media allow people to speak about great and not so great experiences, to become instant critiques and via youtube to even become instant stars.  In the world of tourism there are two major uses of social media.  Tourism’s and travel’s customers have created social media networks in which they share reviews of hotels, restaurants and/or attractions.  These people often post stories about their experiences, both good and bad and as these websites become more prevalent they also impact not only a locale’s reputation but also the way that we need to market and advertise. 

To a great extent this is word-of-mouth advertising taken to a new level.  Tourism entities, be they attractions, hotels, transportation systems, restaurants or communities may use social media as a personalized form of advertising.   The use of the social media can help your tourism entity to enhance its buzz and create credibility at a low or no cost to the provider.  The essential point to remember is that like tourism, social media exist to bring people together. To get some great (or better) results from your social media consider some of these ideas:

-Do not doubt the impact of the social media. The social media present a whole new world of instant communication.  To a great extent the social media work in real time situations. That means that there they have no system of checks and balances; both truth and fiction, praise and libel can spread across the world almost instantaneously

-Be aware that the social media can be both an aid and a threat.  Not only do good people use the social media, but now misinformation, and plans for criminal behavior or, as seen in the Middle East, even revolution can be disseminated in mere seconds from one end of the globe to the other.

-Know which form of social media works best for you.  The term social media covers a wide range of possibilities.  Know which form of social media you are using and which audiences its targets. Myspace and Facebook can be compared to mass media newspapers, as they have no one specific audience.  On the other hand, blogs and content sharing networks may target a specific segment of the population.

-Consider Video sharing.  This is a great means to show off your attraction or community. Once again, the key problem is that you have no idea where it will be going or who is seeing the flim. On the hand, video sharing, like all social networks is for the most part free advertising and there is always the chance that the video may end up becoming “viral” and being seen by millions. 

Use the social media to drive people to your website.  Make sure that your website does what you want it to do.   Too many websites have so much text that they have become impossible to use. Make your website “clean” and user-friendly, but the principal pieces of information in easy to locate corners. For example, often websites hide telephone numbers. Thus a person going to the website so as to call for additional information simply ends up frustrated.  Consider adding a blog and link to facebook on your website.

Consider creating social media parties, where people can meet and chat about your locale, and exchange information with you.  For example encourage your visitors to share photos or videos of their tourism location in your community. You might even provide a prize or award for the best photo or video of the year. The key to social media is personalization.   What you want to do is make your social media part of the tourism and travel experience and not merely another piece of marketing or information.

Use the social media as a way to get as much feedback as possible.  One of the number one problems in tourism is getting good feedback.  Use the social media as a creative way to allow people to tell you what they really think.   Use techniques that allow people to interact in a way that allows them to feel they are part of the process and have a stake in your success.

Strata with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Smoked Mozzarella – Recipe

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Strata with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Smoked Mozzarella – Recipe

Strata with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Smoked Mozzarella
Strata with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Smoked Mozzarella

Strata: a baked egg dish filled with cubes of bread and whatever awesomeness you can muster. I.e. it has all of the appeal of a quiche, but without the slight hassle of pie crust. Also, the starch from the bread tends to stabilize the custard, so you have a somewhat wider safety margin between unset eggs and overcooked, rubbery eggs.

Today’s version features a big pile of caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms, flavored with fresh tarragon, garlic, black pepper, and nutmeg. The caramelized onions take a while to produce, but you can make this whole dish the night before a brunch, refrigerate it, and then just bake it off in the morning while you and your guests drink coffee and pray that whatever mess the kids are making in the other room isn’t irreparable. Hey, it seems awfully quiet in there! 

 Strata with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Smoked Mozzarella
Serves 6

  • 4 medium white onions, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • Butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced generous 1/4″ thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon (packed)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 7 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated or cut into small cubes
  • 4 1/2 cups artisan bread, 1/2″ cubes (slightly stale is fine)
  1. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, which will fill it practically to overflowing, and 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Cook, stirring ocassionally, until they are reduced to gooey brown awesomeness. You’ll probably need to lower the heat part way through to avoid burning. The whole process will take about an hour, and when you are done you’ll have a generous cup of caramelized onions.
  2. Remove the onions, add another 2 tablespoons of butter, raise the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms, garlic, and a big pinch of salt and saute until slightly softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a casserole that is about 9″ x 11″ x 2″. (Unless you are making this in advance, in which case don’t preheat the oven now, duh; refrigerate the dish after step 5 and allow about 10 minutes extra time when baking from cold.)
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, chili flakes, tarragon, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and generous quantities of pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the onions, mushrooms and cheese.
  5. Put the cubed bread in the casserole and pour the egg mixture over it. Toss to distribute well.
  6. Bake until the custard is set and the top is lightly browned, about 40 minutes. It should feel reasonably firm when touched in the center and there should be no jiggle to it, but don’t overbake or the eggs can become grainy.
  7. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes, then serve either hot, warm, or near room temperature.

SBA’s Web Chat to Focus on Tax Essentials For Small Business Owners

Monday, December 12th, 2011

SBA’s Web Chat to Focus on Tax Essentials For Small Business Owners

Published: Monday, Dec. 5, 2011 – 8:19 am

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2011 — Thursday, December 15, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., EST

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — With the end of the 2011 tax year right around the corner, small business owners can help prepare themselves for the upcoming filing season by clicking in to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s free December web chat for tips on potential year-end tax savings.


Chat participants can get valuable information on how to prepare now with useful tax savings tips and a set of red flags on mistakes to avoid.

WHO: Edward S. Karl, vice president of Taxation for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, will host SBA’s free December web chat on “Tax Essentials for Small Business Owners.”  Karl will answer questions about tax deductions and credits business owners can use to reduce their tax payments, as well as other tax-saving tips.

WHAT: SBA’s web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they can submit online in advance and during the live session.

WHEN: December 15, at 1:00 p.m. EST            Karl will answer questions for one hour

HOW: Participants can join the live web chat on Dec. 15, and also post questions in advance by going online at, and clicking the web chat event under What’s New.

Internet Address:

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook & Blogs

CONTACT: Cecelia Taylor,             +1-202-401-3059

SOURCE U.S. Small Business Administration

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The Many Sides of Enviro-Conscious Travel Attracting eco-savvy guests can increase a hotel’s business.

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The Many Sides of Enviro-Conscious Travel

Attracting eco-savvy guests can increase a hotel’s business.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amy Carniol

Ecotourism. Nature Tourism. Green Travel. Sustainable Tourism. Responsible Travel. Today, these buzz-terms are on many guests’ lips, and often they are used interchangeably – and incorrectly. When hoteliers lump these movements together, they can miss out on opportunities to attract a more diverse and abundant customer base.

Many hoteliers have adopted some green practices, such as starting recycling programs or supplying fresh air to guests with open windows rather than using air conditioning. But moving to more involved steps and tying them together into a marketing program is a logical next step.

To help define these individual movements, Buyer Interactive spoke with Irene Lane, founder and president of Greenloons, which provides enviro-conscious consumers and vacation planners with information on earth-friendly travel. Here, Lane discusses eco-friendly travel, ways to attract eco-savvy guests, and how understanding the nuances of these customer segments can help hoteliers increase their business.

Why is eco-friendly travel important in the hotel industry?

Specific to hoteliers, eco-friendly travel demand is growing at a rapid pace and can no longer be ignored. Worldwide, the green travel segment is estimated to be growing 5 percent annually, representing 6 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and reflecting 11.4 percent of all consumer vacation spending. Moreover, more than two-thirds of U.S. and Australian travellers, and 90 percent of British tourists, consider active participation in the protection of the environment and support of local economies to be part of a hotel, lodge or tour operator’s responsibility. According to TripAdvisor’s 2011 Travel Trends survey, 47 percent of vacation planners take eco-friendly factors, such as their own carbon footprint or green hotel policies, into consideration when deciding on a vacation destination or activity, and 20 percent are expected to be more environmentally conscious in their travel choices overall. Travelzoo found also that more than 90 percent of travelers prefer to stay at an eco-certified hotel if price and amenities are comparable to a non-certified hotel. Even AAA has added an “eco” icon to its tour books.

Can you discuss the differences between Ecotourism, Sustainable Tourism, Responsible Tourism, Nature Tourism and Green Tourism?

Ecotourism is about supporting the conservation of natural areas and wildlife, minimizing air and water pollution as well as tourist waste, offering safe and enriching or educational visitor experiences, respecting the cultural tradition of the host destination, maintaining and enhancing the landscape so as to avoid physical or environmental degradation, maximizing opportunities for local prosperity for the host destination, and efficiently using scarce or non-renewable resources. Most of all, it’s about having fun and unique vacation experiences.

Sustainable Tourism does not deplete resources and allows for a smaller number of tourists to experience nature so as not to disturb the animal’s normal mating, feeding, or migratory patterns. It differs from ecotourism in that there may be no focus on the preservation of the natural habitat or economic benefit to the host destination.

Responsible Tourism attempts to minimize the environmental degradation of the host destination. An example is a wilderness camping trip using Leave No Trace ethics. Unlike ecotourism, responsible tourism might not take into account the economic benefit to the host destination.

Nature Tourism focuses on enjoying wildlife in its natural habitat. Examples include jungle lodgings in the Amazon or cruise ships that view penguins in Antarctica. The difference between ecotourism and nature tourism is that nature tourism trips may not have an educational component to them, may not be environmentally sustainable or responsible, and may not economically benefit the host destination.

Green Tourism applies to any activity or facility that operates in an environmentally friendly way. Examples include a rainforest lodge with composting toilets and solar powered lighting. These lodges may be centrally controlled by a large corporation and therefore not necessarily benefit the host destination nor focus on conservation education or the preservation of wildlife.

Why is it important for hoteliers to understand the distinctions between these terms?

So as not to add to the confusion consumers already have about the eco-travel industry. Hoteliers should understand the distinctions so that they can determine how they may want to market themselves and how to expand their service or concierge offerings to this growing market.

What are some more involved measures that hotels can take to appeal to this segment?

Although implementation of these measures require more planning, the following eco-friendly methods are quickly becoming stringent criteria for eco-hotel certification programs:

● stemming of common allergens
● using alternative or renewable energy sources (i.e. solar power for all hot water needs)
● conserving energy with light timers in all hallways
● managing composting programs
● using non-disposable and durable service items
● offering organic, locally harvested food in dining outlets
● educating guests about the hotel’s green practices (and green membership programs)
● using xeric gardening methods
● supporting a local conservation or educational effort in a meaningful way

What is the one key takeaway that you can give hoteliers who want to increase their appeal to eco-savvy travelers?

There is a business value in investing in defined resource conservation practices with respect to energy and water use, waste disposal, and environmental protection. The good news as well is that there are some reputable green hotel certification programs, including the Green Key Eco-Rating, Green Globe and LEED Building programs, which allow for an occasional inspection of a hotel’s sustainable operations in over 20 different areas.

Check out

It’s All About Delivering the Experience!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

It’s All About Delivering the Experience!

Customers want what they want when they want it. The idea is to bundle it all together and get them to pay for access to experiences they’d never have otherwise without your help.

Most Bed and Breakfast owners are experts in delivering that experience. Go to and get some advice from other B&B innkeepers and collaborate with each other!

Why We Love Being a B&B Owner

Monday, December 12th, 2011

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