Travelistic, Experience Rewards and other “strangers” or some usefull stuff

February 26, 2007 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Europe, hotels, internet, news, video | Leave a comment

Going through different web pages and RSS feeds I gathered some interesting and usefull stuff both for hoteliers and travelers. So here we go:

  • Travelistic.com – as they claim themselves “videos for travelers”. Site contains both professional (like BBC) and amateur videos of places, events and hotels.
  • Subway Maps – now this may be very usefull place. Site contains subway maps of cities all over the world. Maps are printable as PDF or Word documents.
  • HotelClub has anounced survey (competition or award if you wish) for Best Great Britain and Ireland`s hotels. Tell them about your favourite hotel and You may get one of the prizes. Nominations are open till March 31. You can vote for three hotels, like 1st choice, 2nd choice and 3rd choise, rating rooms, cleanliness, location, staff and other features.
  • TripAdvisor has nominated Westin Excelsior, Florence (from Starwood Hotels group) to be Best Service -Europe hotel. Of only we could fully trust TripAdvisor`s reviews…By the way, TA has it`s own blog now.
  • 2006 Travelers' Choice - www.tripadvisor.comVivatour 2007, travel trade exibition in Lithuania happens 2nd – 4th March in Vilnius.
  • Online travel giants such as Expedia.com, Priceline.com and Travelocity.com says, that their sales are growing in Europe market for 20 and more percents. Such growth has several reasons. One is that Europeans were slower at using internet for online travel purchases, but now they are catching up. Second, Europeans travel more than Americans and Europe is huge market itself. Third, Europe`s travel market is fragmented with many small lodging and travel companies. These companies have found out the power of e-comerce.  

“Small hotel chains that don’t have the wherewithal to reach intended customers have finally discovered the power of the Web,” said Scott Kessler, an equity analyst for Standard & Poor’s.

Merchant hotel dealings — buying rooms in bulk from hotels and selling them at discounts to consumers on Web sites — is also picking up in Europe. This is helping online travel agencies, which have seen this practice wither in the U.S. as large hotel chains balk at offering deeply discounted rooms.

More at Investors.com here

  • Hilton Hotels has launched new rewards category, Experience Rewards. It`s new level in hotel loyalty programmes. Hilton Honours members with those rewards can use points for different experiences, from sky diving to private yoga lessons, for example. Seems, that for now it`s only for USA market.
  • Two new web pages for Europe hoteliers considering online booking possibilities. Check out Kayak.com and Lonely Planet. Kayak has launched Kayak.co.uk and signed cooperation with Amadeus to provide cheaper airline deals for Europe. Lonely Planet has launched Lonely Planet Haystack. It`s LP author reviewed and recomended online accommodation booking service. They got more than 1000 properties in more than 58 countries and list is growing. As they say

We launched Haystack because we believe that travellers want to find and book accommodation that is unique and that they can trust. We also want to offer travellers the opportunity to book accommodation at places that you won’t find anywhere else on the internet.

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5 tips and info for feeling safe with your hotel keycard

February 24, 2007 at 11:44 am | Posted in hotels, list, tips | Leave a comment

An old mass e-mail in USA has made a myth, that hotels put guests personal information (including credit card number) on hotel keycards. It`s a myth! It doesn`t happen. Neither in USA nor in Europe. Hotel keycards are more safe than ordinary keys, because it`s not easy to open doors with electronic key system and keycard doesn`t have a room number on it.

What information keycards hold? Room number and check-in/check-out date (not visible). Sometimes also your name. That`s all.

How the keycard system works? Hotel can put information on keycard in two ways:

1) Hotel has reservation system with integrated key system. In such case, information to key goes automatically. As well as hotel employees may see when someone enters or leaves the room, if they have additional modul for such programm.

2) Hotel has separate key system. In such case, key is made with no connection to reservation system. Usually only check-in/check-out and room number is put on the card.

As I said keycards are more safe than usual keys, but You can make them more safe with these 5 tips:

1. Don`t keep the keycard in your wallet. I know, often keys are as small as credit cards and easy to put in wallet, but wallet can be stollen. There is small possibility than thief may try to open hotel rooms with your key and get lucky.

2. If possible, when leaving hotel, leave your keycard at reception, so You won`t loose it in crazy dance 🙂

3. Be accurate with your keycard. They do breake, they aren`t from metal.

4. At check-in ask receptionist what to do, if you loose or breake keycard to escape unpleasant moments afterwards.

5. And don`t leave your keycard outside the door (not all hotels have all in one hotel management system where you put your card in holder to switch on the light, so you might forget it in door locker.

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New way how to present a hotel

February 23, 2007 at 3:17 pm | Posted in hotels, marketing, video | Leave a comment

There are hotels, that follow up new kinds of media, as well as there are hotels, that still don`t have a homepage or information in booking sites, such as hrs.de, hotels.com or even countries` booking sites, for example, hotels.nl. Those who follow up have made nice homepages with photos, informations,online booking, advertise themselves in other sites, use online competitions, give aways etc.  to drive traffic. Some have put in their sites building and room plans, information about city or district, 360 degrees view of rooms. But that`s not all that can be done. Newest feature is vodcast. It`s used in advertising now: check Exclusive Resorts ad here on the right side. Rhinefield House hotel has even made short video tour. Buxted Park hotel has went further and offer video weddings – good for guests that can`t make to wedding place. Nice idea and there might be followers.

There is also HotelView, where people can see videos of hotels all around the world. Europe hotel videos here.

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How the lovely hotel beds look like.

February 23, 2007 at 10:28 am | Posted in Europe, hotels | Leave a comment

Hotel Elysee Prague

 Hotel Il Melone

book Ballymun Plaza Hotelbook Ballymun Plaza Hotel

Ballymun Plaza Hotel

Hotel Elysees Regencia

 Hotel de Noailles

Naktsmītnes (Hotel Bergs****, viesnīca)

 Hotel Bergs

Lovely hotel beds can be classic or modern, but they have to be the most important part of the room with the same style. Bed should be comfortable and welcoming, and it has to have lights around it, so guests can make intimate lightning or read in bed.

What`s Your lovely hotel bed?

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Help guests in minus 30

February 22, 2007 at 11:23 am | Posted in guests, hotels, Latvia | Leave a comment

It`s almost – 30 C.  for the second night in Latvia and, of course, our guests have problems with starting cars in the mornings.  It can be very frustrating not being able to leave for work or other purpose. To help our guests we agreed with transport manager working in an enterprise just next to us, that we will call him if necessary and he will come to pull in frozen cars. Yesterday he pulled one car, this morning he pulled three cars (out of more than 20 guest cars). Guests were happy, we satisfied 🙂 Such help is very important to us, because we have got lots of business people and workers (with cars) staying overnight regulary.   

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Want to own a 5 star hotel in Riga?

February 20, 2007 at 12:48 pm | Posted in hotels, Latvia, news | Leave a comment

If You want to own a 5 star hotel in Riga, Old Riga to be clear, then there may be such possibility. Local municipality has decided to sell Hotel de Rome (right now run by SIA Latvian – German joint venture REHO, who also run Hotel Konventa seta), says Dienas Bizness (local business newspaper). Till now there are four applicants: REHO, Baltic Hotel Group, Domina management and Baltic Development Group. Date of auction is not appointed yet,`cause REHO wants to prolong lease agreement and says that municipality hasn`t informed REHO about altering the contract 2 months ahead.

Hotel de Rome is five star hotel in very centre of Riga, renovated in 2001 with 88 rooms, sauna, conference and banquet rooms, restaurant Otto Schwarz(one of the best luxury restaurants in Riga). I have been in this hotel and shall say that it`s really 5 stars, maybe only needs new, modern plasma TVs in rooms.

Hotel`s market value is estimated 16,5 – 19 million lats (23,5 – 27 million EUR). Of course, municipality hopes to get more in auction. Let`s see. I`m afraid that either municipality will argue with REHO for long or auction wil happen very quietly without much publicity.

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Pictures from Tourest 2007

February 19, 2007 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Estonia, fairs and events | Leave a comment

I already wrote about travel trade fair in Estonia. And now here are some pictures from participating hotels etc. (via Eiropa.lv):

Saaremaa SPA hotel – Estonia

Hotel Eiropa – Latvia

Tallink – by ferry to Estonia

Sixt – rent a car

Visit Estonia – official Estonia`s tourism organization

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Some news roundup

February 15, 2007 at 4:36 pm | Posted in books, hotels, marketing, news | Leave a comment

The Hospitality Sales&Marketing Association International has a baby – online communities for special interest groups, for example, revenue managers.

Bill Gates becomes hotelier? Who knows, but he is one of the investors buying over Four Seasons. People talk about it here and here.

Jens Thraenhart has posted about new book “Profits and Pitfalls of Online Marketing: A Legal Desk Reference for Travel Executives”. Might be usefull for hotel marketers.

Need inspiration for going green? Learn from Bloomfield House, London. They do more than just recicling.

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Where to show off your hotel

February 15, 2007 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Europe, fairs and events, hotels, list, Russia | Leave a comment

I have already written about two travel trade fairs Balttour 2007 (Latvia)  and Tourest 2007 (Estonia), but there are more travel fairs to come all over the world. Here is the list of most of Europe travel trade fairs according to Exponet:

  • February 21 – 25: Reise/Camping 2007 (Essen, Germany)
  • February 22 – 25: BIT 2007 (Milano, Italy)
  • February 22 – 26: C-B-R 2007 (Munich, Germany)
  • February 23 – 25: Golf 2007 (Essen, Germany) – for golf hotels and resorts
  • March 2 – 4: Basler Ferienmesse 2007 (Basel, Germany)
  • March 2 – 4: Where Cultures Meet 2007 (Lodz, Poland)
  • March 7 – 11: ITB Berlin 2007 (Berlin, Germany) – world`s leading travel fair
  • March 13 – 14: British Travel Trade Fair (Birmingham, GB)
  • March 15 – 18: World Tourism and Travel Fair (Paris, France)
  • March 29 – April 1: Travel 2007 (Budapest, Hungary)
  • April 17 – 19: IMEX 2007 (Frankfurt, Germany) – for conference centres
  • April 20 – 22: Lato 2007 (Warsaw, Poland)
  • September 20 – 22: Hotel 2007 (Branska Bystrica, Slovenia)
  • October 4 – 5: ICI 2007 (Milano, Italy) – for conference centres
  • Otober 12 – 13: Travel Trade Italia 2007 (Rimini, Italy)
  • Ocotber 17 – 20: Tourism Expo 2007 (Sophia, Bulgaria)
  • October 19 – 22: Wellness World Exibition 2007 (Milano, Italy) – for SPA hotels and resorts
  • November 1 – 4: Philoxenia 2007 (Thessaloniki, Greece)
  • November 12 – 15: World Travel Market 2007 (London, GB)

If I`ll be lucky, I go to ITB Berlin.

For those interested in travel fairs in Russia click here, for those interested in travel fairs in CIS, list is here. Te soonest fairs are Tourism.Leisure.Hotels 2007 (April 11 – 14, Kishinev, Moldova) and Baikaltour 2007 (February 28 – March 2, Irkutsk, Russia).

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Travel fair in Estonia

February 15, 2007 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Estonia, fairs and events | Leave a comment

February 16 – 18 Estonia`s travel trade fair Tourest 2007 is held in Tallinn. It`s not as big as Balttour (Latvia), but still worth visiting, especially because it`s organized in different way – there are going to be some destination presentations on main stage as well as games, auctions etc. Participants are from Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Lithuania, Namibia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, Ukraine, Poland, Turkey, even two hotel groups from USA. More information here.

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