Archive for May, 2013

Hot Trends, why Vacation Rentals are cool

May 21, 2013

Whenever I am relaxing with a group of friend they always get around to the subject of travel and they pick my brain about what is “hot” in the marketplace.  Over the past few years there have been more deals available than travelers to occupy them, but not so much in 2013.  First of all, airfares are crazy high right now and it is really cutting down on the type of long distance family travel this summer.  People are still going, but they have to dig a lot deeper into their pockets if they want to board a plane.  The one constant area of growth for this year is in the area of vacation rentals.   What is a vacation rental you ask, it is more like a hotel/apartment than your standard hotel accommodations.  In many cases they are substantially less money that hotel rooms and they allow you a lot more room and flexibility and they are usually concentrated in great locations at all the major tourist destinations.  Here is what I see as the major benefits provided by using a vacation rental for your next trip.

Benefits of Vacation Rental

  1. Size matters: larger accommodations at the same or lower cost as a regular hotel room.  If you travel in a large group of friends or with extended family, a vacation rental apartment is a practical option.

 

  1. Location, location, location: Good locations near local attractions, restaurants and transportation.

 

  1. You gotta eat:  Most of our vacation rentals come with a fully equipped kitchen and private dining space which means you can save money dining in and plan meals around your family’s schedule.

 

  1. Home away from home:  A vacation rental apartment for a family means parents do not have to worry about their children being in another room down the corridor. A vacation rental apartment will function like a second home, making it easier for you to monitor your children.

 

  1. Laundry: This is a huge benefit. Most vacation rentals have a washer/dryer in them. This means you can pack less and save on baggage fees if you are flying. You can also do laundry mid-week, or if you are like me, do all of your laundry while on vacation, so you come home with two big suitcases full of clean clothes! (Don’t forget to bring laundry detergent with you.)

 

 

  1. Selection:  No one offers you a wider selection of vacation rentals to choose from than Skyauction.com.  We have them, all over the world at amazing discount prices.

Many vacation rental destinations in the USA are easily accessible by driving which is also a huge benefit to traveling families.  Just pile the family in the car and off you go.

Skyauction.com has been offering a huge variety of highly discounted vacation rental units for many years now.  We have sold many hundreds of thousands of weeks all over the world but many in your favorite USA destinations.  Orlando, Las Vegas, California, Atlantic City, Williamsburg, and up and down both coasts and to many, many places in between, we have something for everyone that will save you money and provide a great vacation that you can indeed afford! Image

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The airline business is having their 1980’s dreams come true.

May 18, 2013

Back in the early and mid-1980’s the airline business was reeling from deregulation, fuel prices and emerging low cost competition. The world as it had been know in this industry was turned upside down by a Government who while hiding behind the benevolent stance of increasing competition and lowering prices for the consumer, was really playing Russian roulette with this country’s transportation system. It was never a mystery to me that many of these “consumer advocates” went on to become low cost airline entrepreneurs. It was kind of like creating your own game where you understood that no established player really would be capable of competing due to many of your previous actions. In my opinion, there should have been a bit of a grace period for airlines who had been pressured into purchasing equipment to help out ailing manufactures by the very same government. Some of these junk planes were the gas guzzlers that made profitability over the next 10 years virtually impossible.
There were other factors, of course, that proved to condemn some airlines from the very outset. Politically palatable CEO’s, like at Eastern Airlines (one of my Alma Mata’s) were not business savvy enough to run a small store, never mind a multinational transportation company. I witnessed, first hand our marketing reaction to our fresh and nimble, new competitors and it was like an elephant chasing a chicken, if we caught it we could kill it, but you weren’t ever going to catch it. Those of us doing the actual chasing were well aware of that fact but our politically savvy friends at the top thought consumer loyalty actually applied to air transportation in the pre-frequent traveler world. (Foolish men) “People love us and our service”, was my favorite quote from our CEO. What he didn’t realize was that they loved saving their own money more. We were clandestine to bleed from every spending orifice until alas, there was no more blood to give. Changing mindsets, labor agreements, chairs at the top were too little, too late and Eastern’s post mortem serves as a lesson in how not to run an airline in the deregulated world.
Many other carriers lived to fight on with the understanding that the world changed and they would need to evolve as well. Several of the issues we struggled with would finally be tackled, things like: frequency on unprofitable routes, travel agents’ commissions, labor cost and fuel efficient aircraft. The world kept turning and with frequent fuel cost spikes airlines have finally gotten the consumers attention by cutting, cutting, cutting service and forcing them into a position of competing with fellow consumers for precious few seats to many popular destinations. In 2013 load factor numbers are spiking to all-time highs, and that is the sweet spot for any carrier, less flights, and the same amount of passengers means higher fares, simple. If you combine this with all of their new fees and lack of new competition on most routes you have the very scenario we dreamed about back in 1985. Oh yeah, cutting travel agents was also a big part of that dream. We just didn’t have any way to deliver tickets directly back then so the invention of the “E” ticket and Internet booking took care of this quite nicely.
So for everyone that supported deregulation you now see what you have created, an industry that finally is controlling their own skies, with no one to rein them in. They can maneuver you to book how they want, when they want, and provide you no more than a high altitude bus ride, for which you will pay much more than you did just a few years ago. Oh yeah, checking that bag, eating that snack, having a drink, that is all going to cost you as well. All this while the employees you count on to clean and maintain your aircraft are paid thousands less per year than in 1985.
Less flights, less service, more travelers, lower costs, no commissions and a free an unencumbered ability to do whatever you like, ah dreams do come true after all…..

Defending your online reputation: Why I hate Internet Crybabies and Liars.

May 4, 2013

In the beginning, there was the Internet, and it was good.  I mean, it was mostly good if you put aside all the scam companies, disorganized startups and miscellaneous charlatans who grabbed land in those early days.  Real companies struggled to understand the landscape, compile technology resources and evolve traditional businesses to fit this new marketplace.  I don’t know anyone that went through this metamorphosis who would question how easy it looked, but how difficult it really was.  Learning was all about trial and error and we quickly learned that any mistake you made will follow you around like scars you accumulate from the battles you been in.    

While that in and of itself isn’t all together a bad thing, what is bad is the scars you accumulate from the tales told by people whose only real claim to knowledge is their vivid imagination of events that have never really transpired.  That is right my friends, many Internet reviews, testimonials and condemnations are full blown, concocted lies, fabricated to support events which have NEVER really transpired.  It seems that people will do and say just about anything to help them in supporting positions of complete and utter illegitimacy.  These Internet consumers seem to feel that character assassination is their legitimate right as long as they end up with the desired result that suits their needs.  I wish I had a dollar for every email I have fielded that said, “if you don’t do this, I will write a negative review on every Internet site I can find”.  Usually, these complaints gravitate around people who through their own actions ended up in a physical place or a financial place they didn’t want to be in.  Is the phrase, “non-refundable and non-changeable really arbitrary”?   Do you really expect compensation when you buy clothes and then don’t like how you look in them?  Would you go to a store and stomp your feet when that box of cornflakes just didn’t blow your mind at breakfast?  Yet, this is what we deal with all the time and to make matters worse these email strong-men freely lie to us, to online complaint sites and to arbitrary, “consumer rights” sites like the BBB.  Like the boy who cried wolf, they have truly destroyed any and all credibility these sites have ever had.  The only word that comes to mind in the way of description is, extortion, holding your very reputation hostage to get something they want when they truly aren’t entitled to it.

The point of my rant isn’t to say that there aren’t legitimate complaints that good people post to help others who will follow in their stead.  There are, and every company, no matter who, makes mistakes and mistreats customers and should be held to a reasonable standard of quality assurance.  It is the job of every commercial company to strive to please customers, communicate clearly and to present an ethical, morally correct policy of simply treating others as they would be treated in their place, in my humble opinion.  It is the obligation of consumers not to buy into the old credo, “the customer is always right”, even if they know they are simply lying to get something they aren’t entitled to.  Don’t feel that lying to get something you want is ever right or fair or legitimate, simply because it is a company you are dealing with.  Treat others as you would have them treat you in their place and you will never go wrong.

I have stack of emails I have compiled over 15 years that I have long threatened to make into a coffee table book of actual, factual statements made to my company that would blow the mind of even the most creative storyteller.  People will say anything to support the end result desired.  I have read about things about people’s personal lives that should never be put in writing and I know things about medical conditions that I didn’t think were physically possible, all in the name of a refund.  Some customers were victimized by fictitious storms and acts of nature, while other have had issues with the fact that there were “too many Latinos” on the island of Puerto Rico.  These customers, disguised behind legitimate registration screen names, have bashed our company on “complaint” sites and with credit card companies telling tales of “misrepresentation” and “services not delivered” while repeatedly warning us of their “campaign of complaint and reputation assassination” if not granted their desire for returned money.   Of course, we always win our battle with credit card companies because we can display every single step taken during the purchase process and we always return funds when we make mistakes, which since we are human beings, does happen from time to time.

Now there are steps companies can take to shield themselves from some of these “negative reviews”, things like purchasing a membership to the BBB, which keeps hidden the number of complaints you receive.  You can also “defend your reputation” by overwriting the negative reviews with a barrage of positive ones which in my opinion is just as illegitimate as customers who lie. You can always tell the honest companies as the ones where the reviews aren’t all positive but continue to do business and aren’t afraid of the comments they receive.

So read on my friends, don’t let the Internet muscles of some stop you from making value judgments based on your own instincts.  Do you really think that even the most legitimate and honest companies don’t have a few pissed customers?  Wouldn’t we all like a means to getting our money back on any purchase for any reason, be it subjective or objective?  All of us would like that option but most would not resort to lies and character assassination to achieve that goal, in fact most people, customers display integrity even when experiencing legitimate problems.  It is those people who give me hope, and keep us going when we suffer the injustice perpetrated by a few, dishonest Internet Crybabies.