Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Some Guidelines for Staying in a Bed and Brekfast or Inn

Monday, June 13th, 2016

by Linda Burchell Ard

Although staying in a bed or breakfast while traveling in Europe is pretty common, many American have never stayed in this type of lodging facility. During breakfast recently, I asked some guests from England and Germany what they would want to tell Americans about staying in a Bed & Breakfast or Inn.
They said B&Bs are a great way to travel and really learn about areas. The locals always know, among other things, the best places to eat, and the cheapest places to buy gas, and the highway construction areas to avoid. They can also recommend interesting local activities, historic sites and even fun shopping. The properties are well loved and so clean—and the breakfasts are freshly made and delicious. The innkeepers are usually very friendly and welcoming so it is like staying with family.
Then I asked, “How is this different from staying in hotels or motels?”
They said that sometimes, when you are in a hurry and are just looking for a convenient bed for the night, a motel might work better. But many hotel rooms look just the same and some are noisy or brightly lighted. The guestrooms are not relaxing and lack charm.
Feeling on a roll, I continued with, “Some people who haven’t stayed in Bed and Breakfasts are concerned that they might not know the right way to act in a B&B.”
The couple laughed at this question and the wife explained that her husband still didn’t know the right way to act. He just shook his head and agreed. Then, combining their wealth of experience, they clicked off a few simple suggestions:
• Remember that you are staying in someone’s home so you’ll want to be respectful.
• Ring the doorbell, unless directed otherwise, before walking in.
• If you arrived before check-in (usually 4 to 6 p.m.), your room might not be ready. Also, if you are going to be later than you had planned, just contact the innkeeper in case she/he has made plans for the evening or needs to run to the store.
• Every Bed and Breakfast is unique and has different policies so ask the innkeeper. There are often rules about children, pets, parking, smoking, use of alcohol, forms of payment, or cancellation.
• In most Bed and Breakfasts, there are “common areas” for the guests to use and enjoy as well as private areas reserved for the innkeepers, their staff and families. Such areas may be used for storage, office work, meal preparation or just relaxing. It is important to respect the innkeepers’ need for privacy.
I thought their advice might be helpful for other folks who have always thought it would be fun to stay in a Bed and Breakfast but never had the experience.
As I cleaned up the breakfast table, they were getting ready to pack up and hit the road again. Before they left, I got hugs from both of them and I wished them safe travels. They stopped to pat Buster, our friendly farm dog, and take a picture of the Inn. I bet that departing ritual doesn’t happen often at most motels or hotels!
Linda Burchell Ard and her husband Bob are Innkeepers and owners of at Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn, historical bed and breakfast located in the middle of a family owned working farm in Minden, NE. To learn more, visit “” or Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn on Facebook or email You can also check out wonderful Nebraska B&B locations at and enjoy the better way to stay.

Brochure Swap

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

This purpose of this NEBTOUR notice is to help you drop off your travel literature at the Interstate 80 visitor information centers during the 2012 Nebraska Travel Association (NETA) Brochure Swap at the Dawson County Fairgrounds (100 Plum Creek Parkway) in Lexington on May 17, 2012.


Vacation guides from the staffed Nebraska Tourism Division information centers will be on hand to take your brochures for distribution during the 2012 travel season.


Please keep the following guidelines and hints in mind to have a successful drop off:


1.      Keep track of how many brochures you give to each information center at this year’s Brochure Swap. This will give you a good idea of how many to bring at next year’s swap.


2.      If you’ve never previously attended a Brochure Swap, and are unsure how many brochures to drop off, a good range to begin with is 50-100. If the vacation guides need more throughout the season, give them a contact person to call to request additional supplies.


3.      Storage space at the information centers is limited. Vacation guides can decline to accept the number of brochures you want to drop off if they have no room to store large quantities of them, or if they feel their center will not go through as many brochures as you’re dropping off.


4.       When choosing which information centers to give your literature to, give it only to those centers heading in your direction, not to those past your location. For example, if your attraction is in Omaha, give your literature to the eastbound information centers, not the westbound ones.


5.      Newsprint literature must be boxed and brochures/magazines must be either boxed or bundled together.


For more information about the Interstate 80 information center brochure drop off: Micheal Collins (402.471.3795,


For more information and to register for the 2012 NETA Brochure Swap, visit the Nebraska Travel Association’s Web site:


Micheal Collins

Tel: 402.471.3795


If a tree falls in the forest and then springs back up as a joke, do the squirrels freak out?


“10 Best Travel Writing Books of All Time”

Monday, January 30th, 2012


We recently published an article that you may be interested in entitled, “10 Best Travel Writing Books of All Time” (

After having followed your blog for a while, I feel that this one article would align well with your blog’s subject matter. I thought perhaps you’d be interested in sharing this article with your readers? Thanks, and keep up the great blogging!

Helen Olson

It’s All About Delivering the Experience!

Sunday, October 30th, 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.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Marko Greisen
Marko Greisen

Marko Greisen knows what we here at Hotel Interactive have been preaching: It’s all about experiences. As co-founder and CEO of the recently created Galavantier, Marko is bringing more than 20 years of experience in the Las Vegas hospitality industry to take advantage of the trends out there in the market.
That is, figuring out ways to get customers to pay more money for experiences. And he’s doing it by giving people what they want; to feel like a VIP and give them access to things otherwise difficult to experience. It’s a winning formula for hoteliers like you to learn from. Here’s how Marko is leveraging the trends.

Explain the premise of Galavantier and where the idea to start this new travel site came from?

The premise of Galavantier is to act as a modern day travel agent utilizing technology to offer Travel Experiences without sacrificing quality over quantity. We felt that online travel sites started looking more like travel Walmarts, basically selling anything they could get their hands on, regardless of if it was a quality product or not.  Yes you can find some of the lowest rates out there on these Walmart style travel websites as long as you don’t care if it’s a murder room e.g, next to the elevator shaft. The idea really started when we realized travelers were overwhelmed with so many options, sifting through countless unreliable reviews, and ultimately end up being frustrated when travel planning is suppose to be fun. We believe most travelers know what they want, it just doesn’t have to be so confusing like it’s grown to be in this space.

Do consumers really only care about the cheapest hotel room they can get?

I would say no unless you’re on a quick business trip. Matter of fact, I think it’s the complete opposite. We believe the leisure consumer is looking for value not cheap.  If a traveler saw for a few extra dollars they could have a larger room, a better sightseeing tour, or get great seats to a show or concert for close to the same price of the smaller room, basic tour and show tickets, it would be foolish not to in our opinion. Now I know we can’t win them all but that’s not what we are trying to do. Plenty of travel sites have been in that race for many more years, however consumers are realizing that their tripping over dollars to get to products worth pennies.

What are customers looking for these days in a vacation getaway?

I would say customers are looking for products that match their personal interest or the occasion; getaways that are memorable and hassle free while being price conscious.

What trends are you seeing with travelers booking experiences through Galavantier and any specific requests?

With us being still relatively new, it’s still hard to measure any definite trends; however we are seeing that travelers like the fact they don’t have to open a new window and search for that particular hotel or vendor they found on our site. As you know, most travel websites make it relatively difficult to get to the hotels or vendors website. We offer direct links to each of our travel partners and encourage you visit their site as well. Just because the package may no longer be available or you see something you would like to book separately, doesn’t mean it should be so difficult to book direct. Transparency is key and that’s how you build trust with consumers. When that customer is really to book a package, guess who they’re coming back to see? I can tell you, the same site that helped them book their last travel hotel or tour.  We are definitely seeing a good amount of special requests, from “can I request a certain view or table location?”, “can I have a bottle of champagne placed in the limousine prior to being picked up?” and “can Galavantier help curate something special for my husband’s 40th surprise birthday?”  We are also seeing that Galavantiers love that fact they really don’t have to pull out cash or pay bills for items within their package after the fact. One example would be, we included all taxes, gratuity and resort fees into the total package cost.

Are people more likely to buy into a trip if everything is planned in advance for them?

I would say there is a portion of people who would prefer the hassle free travel package but there are also some people know what they want and just need help getting it done.

How critical is giving customers “access” to activities and events they couldn’t do otherwise?

Well that all depends on that person’s lifestyle. For some it’s very critical and others not so much. The good thing about Galavantier is we do everything in our power to make each experience within a package unique. Say for example, a well known restaurant that doesn’t typically offer a prix-fixe menu but has personally created one for our Galavantiers that includes a personal table side visit by the actual Chef. Now some would say that’s just something not everyone has access to. We say everyone should have access to that. One happy customer means 10 more potential customers. I have yet to meet anyone that feels they have too much business, especially in this economy.

How do you make sure customers get enough value in an experience so they are not so price sensitive?

Value comes in many degrees and not just in price. We take the approach of acting on behalf of the traveler, doing everything in our power to secure the best rates possible without devaluing the travel package. Our motto is quality for less and it’s to the advantage of the travel partner to help us get there. Generally someone who wants something cheap is traveling on a budget and is unlikely to spend more on additional hotel amenities. The heads in beds concept may work great for the swinging door travel product but we are a big believer in creating evangelists who are the best and loyal customers that keep coming back.

How do you get customers to use social media to share great experiences you provide?

That’s easy. Who doesn’t want to share something that was unique or was a once and a life time experience? Several years ago prior to Facebook and Twitter, if you did something that was amazing, you shared it with your friends and co-workers through word of mouth. Today all it takes is uploading a photo or a simple tweet and status update which gets shared to all your friends, near and close.

How can hoteliers profit from creating unique packages and experience?

Well I think some hoteliers are limited to what they can do when creating a unique package or experiences. However if they get creative, I believe they can offer something to travelers beyond filling rooms and drive more revenue while developing a loyal customer to their brand. You can look at it two ways, if a consumer is looking for a cheap room rate, either they are on a tight budget or are trying to save money to spend on other things or not at all. Either way, they’re likely looking to do more for less. If a hotel created packages beyond the usually in-room F&B credits or access to the fitness center, I believe they would see more consumers staying and spending on property.

Right now the focus is on Las Vegas but how are you handling expansion into other markets and what do you look for in partners in the future?

Las Vegas is always going to play a big part of Galavantier because there is always something exciting and fun to do for all walks of life. We are already looking into other destinations for travel partners that provide superior customer service and a truly great product. When looking for a potential travel partner, we send a Galavantier team member unannounced to dine, stay, or enjoy their products and services. This way the potential travel partner isn’t giving us the royal treatment to score points. We want to see and experience it from the consumer’s eyes. If the experience doesn’t live up to our expectations, we pass on approaching them. If they meet our expectations, we want to share everything about them.

What separates Galavantier from the heap of online travel sites?

Other than what I’ve already mentioned above. What separates from many of today’s travel sites is simply that we curate every travel experience offer as if was a package we’d purchase ourselves. Each travel experience package is carefully curated and each package within the package is fully vetted before it’s featured on the site. That means, if a room is less than 500-square feet, we don’t sell it. If the tour operator has a less than perfect safety record, we don’t offer it. If we get several complaints from our customers about a particular travel partner, we ask them to address the issue. If the same problem continues and isn’t resolved, we no longer feature their products and services. Since all our travel products are hand-selected, we don’t allow banner and display ads on Galavantier. We feel if you’re on the site, that’s the best advertising available on Galavantier. By representing the traveler and not the hotel or vendor, we look to secure the best rates possible for quality products without breaking the bank.  Another thing to mention is we don’t expect our customers to pay resort fees upon arrival. All our package prices included tax, gratuity and resort fees. Basically the price you see is the price you pay. Many travel sites try to show the lowest price possible. Before you know it, you’re booking it and between taxes and fees, you’re spending another $30 per night. Let’s not forget the $10-$20 resort fee per night once you arrive and check in to the hotel. No one likes surprise charges nor does Galavantier.

For more information about Galavantier please visit

Webinar Invitation: Corporate Responsibility Reporting in Travel & Tourism

Saturday, October 29th, 2011
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Webinar Invitation: Corporate Responsibility Reporting in Travel & Tourism

Jeremy Sampson, Sustainable Travel International via to me
show details Oct 19 (10 days ago)
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Free Webinar: Register Today!
Corporate Responsibility Reporting in Travel & Tourism
Hosted by Eric Ricaurte, Industry Specialist in Sustainability Reporting

Nov. 3, 9am PST/12pm EST:

Reporting has emerged as a common and increasingly important component of sustainability and corporate responsibility. Externally, reporting increases transparency and accountability. Internally, reporting helps systematize approaches, programs and performance measurement for key issues surrounding sustainability.

Reporting is undertaken by diverse organizations within travel and tourism, created for a wide range of stakeholders who use reports to understand how they can approach the challenges currently facing our planet. Reporting helps bring consistent measurement across industries and time, professionalizing the way sustainability is tracked and accounted.

Reporting is growing in diverse sectors, including hotels, airlines, cruise ships and tour operators, and becoming increasingly important to government agencies and NGOs.

Tourism destinations also face increasing reasons to embrace sustainability reporting. The market for sustainable events is growing, with several key factors weighing in on the event organizer’s destination decision. Reports can help promote responsible investment, help other policymakers and leaders understand characteristics of the industry and demonstrate the competency of destination managers. At the same time, destination-level reporting is still nascent, and leading destinations have opportunities to become leaders in this area.

At first glance, reporting may seem daunting, but standardized frameworks and methods are available to support the expansion and integration of reporting into current corporate responsibility platforms.

Webinar attendees will take away:

1. Most common reporting frameworks and their uses
2. Reasons to report
3. Commonly found approaches to reporting
4. Best practices in reporting
5. Opportunities for destination reporting

A 15-minute Q&A will follow the initial presentation.

Even if you can’t attend live, please feel free to register anyway, since all registrants will receive the full presentation via e-mail afterward.

About Sustainable Travel International

STI’s mission is to positively impact communities and travelers worldwide through a hands-on approach to sustainable tourism development. In partnership with destinations and the travel trade, we provide innovative, market-driven solutions that leverage our industry experience and relationships to connect constituents of all sizes.

Visit our website to learn more about how we can work with you!

Golf Nebraska Campaign in Full Swing

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Golf Nebraska Campaign in Full Swing


LINCOLN, NEB. (July 12, 2011) — Nebraskans know their state is home to great golf courses. The Golf Nebraska campaign is taking that message beyond the state’s boundaries to attract more golfers from around the region to play — and stay — in Nebraska. It’s a project of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division.


“Nebraska is among Golf Digest’s top 10 golf states,” said Christian Hornbaker, director of the Travel and Tourism Division. “And golf is already a $260 million business in Nebraska. We want to grow that part of our state’s economy by attracting more visitors to play our outstanding and affordable public and semiprivate courses.”


Television commercials and website advertising are targeting golfers in surrounding states, encouraging them to “Get Driving” to Nebraska for a golf vacation. The campaign also includes emails sent to golfers throughout the region and an expanded Web page at A mobile Web page includes a list of courses and possible trip itineraries at


Social media sites also offer golfers new ways to learn about Nebraska golf courses and engage other golfers. provides course reviews through the eyes of avid golfers who share their impressions of the courses they play and the people they meet. Blog postings with photos and videos will be added throughout the summer.


The GolfNebraska Facebook page is a place to connect with golfers who play Nebraska courses or want to travel to Nebraska for a golf getaway. Visitors will find news, photos and videos about Nebraska golf at Anyone who plays Nebraska courses or is considering a golf trip to the state is welcome to share their thoughts, experiences and questions about golf in Nebraska.


Nebraska has more than 200 public and semiprivate golf courses. Several have been recognized by national golf publications for their design, scenery and value.

Fighting the impact of flooding on tourism in Nebraska

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Fighting the impact of flooding on tourism
Whitepaper will help you reach out to travelers, media

LINCOLN, NEB. (July 12, 2011)—Communities, attractions, businesses and outfitters across the state are being affected by flooding and the perception of flooding. In some cases, the rumors are worse than the actual flooding.


The Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division is getting the word out that Nebraska is accessible, safe and open. We are working with the Omaha World-Herald on a series of stories featuring attractions and events in communities impacted by flooding, and we are working with state, regional and national news outlets to re-enforce the message that Nebraska is “open for business.”


The Division is using its social networking sites to tell travelers about all the great things there are to do here and how few have been closed because of flooding.


We also want to give you the resources you need to proactively communicate with travelers through relevant media outlets. To assist you in this effort, we have written a whitepaper on “Three Ways to Effectively Promote Your Tourism Business This Season.” It outlines three easy-to-implement strategies for effectively communicating with travelers and the media during times of crisis. You can download it here:

Together, we can work to turn this potentially negative situation into a positive opportunity for growth.


Survey: Companies prepared to spend more on business travel

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Survey: Companies prepared to spend more on business travel

By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

Updated 5/10/2011 12:12 PM |

Companies are prepared to spend more to send people on the road for business, newly released survey findings indicate.

  • Jets at Ronald Reagan International outside of Washington.

By Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images

Jets at Ronald Reagan International outside of Washington.

The GetThere survey of corporate travel managers at top businesses and organizations around the globe finds that 61% of those who responded expect their travel spending to grow from 1% to 10% this year over last. That’s a big bump compared with 2010, when roughly a third of managers reported only a slight increase in their travel budgets over 2009.

The increased budgets reflect both a recognition that travel is necessary to make money, the survey’s sponsors say, and that it’s going to cost more to do it, given the rise in airfares and hotel room rates.

“They do see they have to travel more to grow their business,” says Suzanne Neufang, general manager of GetThere, an online corporate booking tool used by companies around the world that is part of Sabre Travel Network. “But they also see costs are going up — fares and room rates — and so their budgets have to keep up.”

Business travel was one of the first casualties of the recession. Companies slashed budgets and grounded workers to survive the downturn. But GetThere’s findings mirror estimates earlier this year by the Global Business Travel Association that indicated corporate travel has bounced back. In turn, airlines have steadily boosted ticket prices, including the most expensive fares often bought by corporate trekkers who need to fly at the last minute, or want a seat in a premium cabin.

Fares are continuing to rise to keep up with the cost of more expensive fuel. Meanwhile hotels, which also suffered during the deep travel slump sparked by the economic downturn, are trying to boost revenue by increasing room prices.

Still, the days of the limitless expense account appear to be over. “The focus on savings that came as a result of the recession is still there and still very strong,” Neufang says.

Businesses, for instance, are considering day trips to avoid paying for overnight hotel stays. “For the most part, most companies are back to their travel spending pre-recession. What has changed is they’re trying to get more out of every trip.”

Companies also are picking and choosing which airline fees they’re willing to pay.

The survey finds that while 95% of companies will reimburse workers for their first checked bag, there was a 16% dip in the number of businesses this year that will reimburse the fee for checking a second compared with last year.

By contrast, 20% more companies are reimbursing for use of in-flight Internet, and 13% more businesses will give employees back what they paid for an on-board meal.

“They’re looking to enable travel but still have savings,” Neufang says.

The survey, taken at the end of last year in anticipation of this, received responses from more than 60 companies and organizations, most of them based in North America.

“Expressing Gratitude to our Guests” by Dr. Peter Tarlow

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010


Expressing Gratitude to our Guests

On an ever-increasing basis the careful observer of tourism and travel hears phrases such as: “remember when travel used to be fun?” or “I used to love to travel and now I dread it!” Few people will disagree that the fun and elegance of travel and tourism has now given way to the mundane and world of hassles. Often the travel and tourism industry blames the events of September 11, 2001 for many of its ills. Certainly September 11th plays a role in the decline of travel and tourism, but perhaps tourism and travel professionals need to ask ourselves if this decline is also not due to factors very much within our control. There are exceptions to this rule, for example many hotels have gone out-of-their way to improve service over the past few years. Free wireless internet and breakfasts have become almost standard fare. Many hotels offer a welcome cookie or other sweet to guests, and the classical checkout times have been modified to meet the needs of the business traveler. Despite these improvements the travel and tourism industry has a long way to go if it is to regain its customers’ confidence. One of the ways to do this is to demonstrate to our customers that they are more than needed, that they are appreciated. When our visitors feel appreciated they have a higher tendency not only to return but also to recommend that other frequent your establishment. Appreciated customers often view themselves as part of your team and will go out of their way to help you develop new ideas to make your business even more successful.
Tourism & More suggests that everyone in the travel community consider some of the following ideas.
-Have an appreciative attitude. All too many people in tourism have come to think of their customers as the enemy. The best customer appreciation policies simply will not work if you forget that were there no customers, passengers, or visitors you would be out of business. It is important that our mindset is one in which we are grateful for every customer.

-Remember that tourists do not need to return. Often tourism professionals speak about the value of the repeat customer, but do nothing to gain the customer’s loyalty or desire to return. No matter in what area of tourism you work, develop a new or creative way to get visitors to want to return to your establishment.
-Put your best foot forward. Frontline personnel set the tone of a tourism experience. It does not matter if that person works in a hotel or on an airline, at a ticket booth or as a waiter or waitress. It also does not matter if the person is a repeat customer or a new one, treat every single customer as it’s the first time doing business with you. Putting your best foot forward goes a long way making your customers feel worthwhile
– Treat your frontline people as kings and queens. These are the people who are the “face of tourism”. Visitors do not care about the policies developed at the head office. What they care about is how they are treated and if they have a problem, if that problem will be handled in an efficient and kind manner. For this reason, choose your frontline people carefully. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert or shy but these people are not meant for the frontline. Choose people who like people, who are gregarious, kind and tend not to become high strung.

– Go out of your way to host as many customer appreciation parties as possible. Have a party to celebrate a new product, a new store opening, or just a party to celebrate your gratitude toward your customers. Appreciation parties do not need to be lavish; often cookies, a soft drink, coffee or tea will be sufficient. What really counts is the atmosphere that you create that says: “we care!

-Use the customer’s preferred names in conversation after the first conversation. Try to figure out if the person wishes to be addressed on an informal first name basis or on a more formal basis. Us the name that makes the customer feel the most comfortable. Remember that being appreciative is not about you, but about the customer.

-Develop a “friends and family” event where both employees and your best customers get special rewards. Remember that it is best to give something smaller to everyone than to exclude someone. People often feel better or get more upset about the small things than the big picture.
-Send a thank you card, email or letter for every purchase somebody makes. In today’s world, emails are almost instantaneous and act not only as a way to show appreciation, but permit follow=up dialogue and branding re-enforcement.
-Ask yourself if you are doing the following: When there is a problem do you become defensive or do you ask what you can do to make this person feel better? How often do my employees and I smile? Do I bring my home troubles to work? Do I make people feel so good about my business that they want to return? Have I shown a customer today that he or she is a special person?

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