Posts Tagged ‘vacations’

When common sense loses out…

July 18, 2013

 

After being in this crazy tourism business there are a few unstated rules you understand but never fail to ignore.  One of the understood principles it that travel is a subjective experience and what is great for one really sucks for someone else.  There is little you can do to prepare yourself for the inevitable complaints about something you have sold hundreds of times before flawlessly, only to have it blow up on you when you least expect it.

Review sites point out this in a very dramatic fashion.  I know that of course, many of these sites are loaded with brilliant, glowing endorsements written by contracted staff or “ghost reviewers”. By the same token many of the glaring bad reviews are written by competitors employing “blog saboteurs” whose only role is to make the other guy look really bad.  On some occasions however, the actual guest sees everything in a very different way.  Perhaps he is used to staying at Ritz Carlton, but just decided to check out the motel 6 for this particular trip.  Just maybe they got such a good deal they thought, “What the hell” and purchased something outside of what they would do normally.  Either way, it is usually quiet impossible to tell as with all things blog, track record could be completely fabricated and fictional or totally non-existent.

I have written on the dangers of review sites before, yet they grow in strength and numbers every day.  I have even made the mistake of directing customers, friends and family to do their own research prior to purchase only to end up with shock, surprise and dare I say, crap as a result.  Aren’t we all responsible for our own choices?  Is there anything objective about travel other than getting someone to a place, getting them a room and services they paid for?  Even these elements aren’t a slam dunk, usually due to what someone “thought” they would be getting.  How it looks when you are there may not be entirely the picture you had in your mind’s eye.  Travel is about the experience, and expectations and perceptions are just that, not real.

I know it is wrong to rant, to blame others for their misconceptions and expectations.  Dream on, book that $1,000 per night hotel room for $100, I am sure it is the same, exact thing!  Maybe, just maybe value isn’t at all in the place or the food or the room, maybe it is in the experience you have with those you are travelling with or those you meet along the way.  That is the only real reason to travel, after all.

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Do us all a favor and spend some money on a vacation this summer.

June 20, 2013

Aren’t we all just a little tired and in need of a nice vacation.  It doesn’t really have to be anything lavish or even expensive, just some time away from our everyday existence and out of ear shod of the 24 hour news cycle.  Is it just me or could we all do with a few less glances at our smart devices over the course of a few days?  I think the answer is definitely yes, but how can we do that without an intense amount of work to find a deal in a hurry.  Shall I look through the stacks of emails I have from every purveyor of travel for whom the word; deal, is a relative term.  I have my top 10 deals, top summer deals, top group deals, my socially delivered deals, which one shall I choose? 

I know what you are thinking, that it is easy for me because I am in the industry, I have an inside track on what is what and where is best.  Unfortunately, I think like a consumer and I have only one real criterion when choosing a vacation, value for money spent.  This makes it easy, I look for what I want to do, potentially a destination and then I work backwards to really see what value I can get for the money I am about to spend.  I don’t want to spend $10 for something worth $5, so sometimes cheap trips don’t hold any real value at all.  It is easier to recognize value at the highest end of the market because these “deal” sites don’t regularly bang around bargains for 5 star resorts so when I see value there, I know it instantly.  In fact, this is a large part of the reason we have so much success at Skyauction.com with our higher end product lines.  People recognize the value and they relish the opportunity to save real money on products not normally found shopped around as a “daily deal”.

Value for money spent, I want everyone to remember those words of wisdom.  To me, it means getting the most out of every vacation dollar. The most of what you want on your precious time off.  So whether you want more beach or better beach, or more activities, or less activities, you should size up what you pay against what you receive.  I think most people end up with a vastly better understanding and experience when they don’t let price drive their decision making process exclusively.  You can pay less but are you really getting what you want, or even what you pay for?

So do us all a favor and go on a trip this summer and remember what I told you, discounts are nice, but don’t ever discount what you really want.

4 Travel Deals: Buy it or Bid for it? You be the judge.

March 22, 2013

It was not all that long ago that the travel industry was pinned down to one standardized method of distribution. Not that working through travel agencies is a bad thing but the quality of the service varies wildly and without any warning. You have some great industry minds who manage and run agencies and you have a lot of people who think working in travel is a sexy, glamorous way to make a living. (It really isn’t) What you have is a big wide world of possibilities and no one can really expect any agent to know it all, all the time.
Along comes the Internet and prospective travelers can not only do unlimited research they can also work with companies directly whose expertise can be narrowed down to their area of interest. It is safe to say that someone who sells Greece for a living knows a thing or two about it. So consumers, more and more, are purchasing based on their own criteria and not worrying about whether or not their local agent is selling them something simply because they are making some additional money in commission one product or another.
As empowering as it is to have real distribution choices, there are limited choices when it comes to finding the products you want to purchase for less money. If you really want a deal, you simply can’t rely on most of the sites that promise you as much. Daily deal sites are a joke when it comes to their travel offers. Most tour companies have to build in commissions whether or not they are distributed via a travel agent and rock bottom, net price online giants are battling more and more with hotel companies that simply won’t let them discount. So what’s the solution? I think it is auctioning.
For over 14 years we have been offering a wide array of top quality, brand name products at auction each and every day. We have quietly and efficiently saved people tons of money over our tenure. We are considered an “alternate distribution outlet” and hence, are not subjected to some of the rules other distributors find themselves constrained with. It all depends on whether the consumer wants to engage in the purchase process that requires them to study, understand, price and bid for the products they want to buy. I mean, people are saving hundreds on a single trip so, why not?
Check it out for yourself?

4 Travel Deals to Oasis Resorts

March 11, 2013

Can I pay a bigger compliment to a hotel than gracing them with my own vacation?  While I am not sure that everyone would think so, I do believe, at the very least my family has always been quite satisfied.  Mexico, despite the constant bad news and horrible press it has gotten is one of the very best destinations for you vacation dollars, in my humble opinion.  I would never take my family to a place that I felt is extremely dangerous or even dangerous beyond other comparable destinations.  You can stay home, watch the cable news networks and literally become so scared and paranoid that you would never venture out of your front door.  The key to traveling safely is awareness and preparation and some of the other well placed commandments I mention in an older blog piece.  Shall I quote?

  1. Know where you are and stay where you belong:  roaming outside of those areas with infrastructure for tourism is risky in Mexico, just as it is in Chicago so don’t go looking for adventure or you might find more than you want.
  2. Don’t buy Drugs:  Yes, don’t buy drugs because usually the people selling them aren’t really the kind of people you want to hang out with and flash money and valuables around.  Many Americans are victims due to their attempts to purchase illegal drugs.
  3. Don’t let the party get out of control:  Getting drunk is bad.  Getting drunk in a foreign place is worse so if you have to party out of control do it in your hotel room not in a public place where others are scouting out potential victims.
  4. Don’t use ATM’s in public places:  Hello, hang a sign on your neck that you have money.
  5. Chill with a group of people:  People that are by themselves, especially at night are more likely to be prospective victims than people in large groups.  This is especially true for women.  Don’t go for long walks alone at night unless you are Chuck Norris.
  6. Spring Break:  Yes, a lot of the crime and deaths in the Cancun area arise from out of control young people who forget life is long, and the party a marathon, not a sprint, so be cool.
  7. Don’t go anywhere with people you don’t know:  Like your Mom told you, strangers can hurt you, better not to trust them then to make a regrettable mistake.
  8. Things are different here:  Everything from the money, to the roads is different than you are used to.  You can’t just expect everyone to abide by rules you are used to so adapt, be alert and be advised that you should expect the unexpected in the streets and on the road.

Sorry to be redundant, I just thought it was worth mentioning again.

 

With the uncleanliness out of the way, let’s talk about a group of hotels in Mexico that I believe offer you an opportunity to have a great trip at a great price, Oasis Resorts.  These hotels are well run and recently revamped, not just in the bed linens and paint department, but in the very spirit of the resorts themselves.  Grand Oasis Cancun has been transformed into a quasi-Vegas style resort, with a Mexican twist.  They have gone from sleepy, seaside mega hotel to the very pinnacle of entertainment for the entire area.  They are bringing in top name entertainers of all types and they have nightly shows that turn the giant pyramid shaped atrium into a choreographed, acrobatic hot spot.  Big names like “Snoop Lion” and DJ Paulie D are rocking this place right now!  So if you’re up for a party, this is the place to be.

Oh yeah, the beach is great, the service is in the upper range of Cancun resorts and the value for the money you spend to get there is phenomenal. 

So if you want to party Oasis style check out some deals that can get you there for less!ImageImageImageM

4 Travel Deals Vacation Rentals

March 7, 2013

We know that Vacation Rentals offers travelers some of the best values on accommodations to be found anywhere. With spring and summer coming and so many families looking to “hit the road” we want to make sure you get the most for your money so you can bring along the whole gang and not go broke just paying for hotel rooms. There are thousands of low cost vacation rentals waiting for you in most of the popular destinations, not just in the US but all over the world. These accommodations can range in number of bedrooms and kitchen sizes so you can get as much or as little room as you might need. In destinations like Orlando there are so many locations to choose from at prices that are sure to fit any budget. So if you are looking to save money on your next family getaway, make sure you take a look at all that vacation rentals have to offer before staying anywhere else.Image