The luxury travel industry has been the core of my business world for many years. In my role as marketing consultant have seen travel companies grow and fall as the trends for vacations and short breaks changed in line with needs for the industry’s most important component – the customer.

From just one holiday or vacation a year, the trend has grown to a pattern of two maybe even three vacations. For those with more disposable income, a sprinkling of short breaks throughout the year has become a typical indulgence… until now.

With the onset of the financial recession from 2008 onwards large families and travelers in their 40-50s were hardest hit in terms of the number and quality of holidays taken. Excited at the opportunities afforded by budget flights and exciting destinations many families looked forward to a few weeks in the sun with cheap food and drink plus the opportunity to pick up some duty free luxuries and a tan.

But the fall out from flight route closures on the cheaper airlines, the rising costs of hold baggage and the affects of currency fluctuations have made larger numbers of potential holiday makers taking the cheaper option and staying at home.

The younger singles market still managed the short luxury breaks to European cities such as Prague and Barcelona and the island retreats of Ibiza and Mallorca. But even this market is being eroded as salaries dip in line with recession. Currency fluctuation and exchange rates have hit the cost of bed and board rises dramatically in the once celebrated destinations. Add in the effect of ‘global warming’ on the conscience of the younger travelers and its easy to see why so many of the budget holiday companies are falling on difficult times.

And what about the luxury end of the market? Believe it or now but some of the top end companies are having a very profitable time. How? They have talked to each other, joined forces and shared resources to help bring their marketing costs down and in many cases their market coverage up.

I have seen groups of top Scottish Hotels who might have been fighting for a customers attention, become a collaborative marketing group whose aim is to sell the destination first and then divide up the spoils among their spa resorts, golf complexes, boutique hotel partners and city centre apartments.

I have also seen small specialist travel agents collaborate by forming a collaborative venture specializing in high end luxury travel destinations – each member having a unique destination or service. With one innovative marketing message they have a louder voice than they might have as individual travel operators.

On the customer side collaboration is also proving very beneficial. Instead of taking lots of individual holidays there is a growing trend for groups who might have booked separate hotels and a similar destination to team up and book a large villa or apartment. Combining their entrepreneurial skills, purchasing skills and cooking skills they are able to eat well, organize great activities while staying at some of the most exclusive holiday destinations.

Ever wondered what kind of intense pressure Christiano Ronaldo must be going through every time he walks on to the field while playing for the hugely popular Manchester United? I know it’s the wrong kind of comparison, but kitchen furniture manufactures are almost always put in similar kinds of unenviable situations. After all, they have been entrusted with the onerous task of resurrecting our stolid kitchens. Wherever they go, their impeccable reputation precedes them. A reputation, which has been painstakingly built on years of selfless service to homeowners across the globe.

Excellence that speaks for itself

One look at furniture created by leading kitchen furniture manufacturers, and you know that you’re looking at something special. The obsession with excellence, emphasis on cutting edge design, unmatched craftsmanship and complete attention to every possible detail, is unmistakable. Then there are those numerous innovations in terms of style and color that make the furniture look almost like an esoteric yet priceless work of art. Be it kitchen dining furniture, kitchen island furniture, kitchen storage furniture or an array of functional cabinets, nothing comes close to the tireless service rendered by kitchen furniture manufacturers. Giving a fresh lease of life to every kitchen is their credo, and it’s clearly espoused in their work.

Wood and more

If you are on a singular mission of adding oodles of aesthetic value to your kitchen, then there’s nothing to beat wood kitchen furniture. That’s a secret every kitchen furniture manufacturer will tell you. Wood kitchen furniture, be it chairs, tables or even stools has the power to add immense value to any space. Unique and distinct in every possible way, each piece of furniture is sure to fill you with not contained enthusiasm and glee. But what if the thought of being Eco-friendly provokes you? Then there are other options that can be explored. Several manufacturers make fabulous looking furniture from medium density fiber board, particle board and laminates. This kind of furniture is enduring, practical and very affordable. Considering that the radioactive stocks of this furniture rarely last, you must consider it rather providential to get something for your kitchen. It’s all that you need to make cooking an absolute delight.

E-commerce and furniture

The emergence of the Internet and the consequent information explosion has revitalized and energized the kitchen furniture industry all over the world. These manufacturers make use of the Internet extensively to offer tailor-made solutions to their clientele. Its just not kitchen furniture that is selling like hot cakes but integrated kitchens, custom-made kitchens, kitchen cabinets and many more food storage alternatives. These manufactures are sure poised for a great leap forward in the near future.

Kitchen furniture manufacturers with their innovative ideas, refreshingly different design and impeccable execution have managed to carve a niche for themselves in the hearts and minds of customers. They have developed an uncanny ability to understand the client’s requirements perfectly and find flawless solutions for them. Only they can ensure the perfect balance between fashion and function, always.

Thinking about the right holiday accommodation for you ? We will discuss ideal holiday villas, good reasons to choose a villa and some of the drawbacks. When choosing a villa what are some of the important but less obvious considerations.

Choosing the right accommodation is the first key to a great holiday.This is not as straightforward as you might think and is worth putting in some thought. At the moment choosing a villa appears to be a very popular choice, there are some pros and cons that you should consider before going this route.

Fundamentally a villa is self catering accommodation. Yes, self evident you might think. Why do you want self catering accommodation?

  • Choice: I can cook what I want, when I want and still eat out too. Useful for say breakfast, especially perhaps with a large or young family (it gives you extra flexibility).
  • The kids can have separate rooms from the adults.
  • There are more living areas – the adults can spend evenings here – while keeping an ear open for the children. Often there will be T.V.s and DVD machines to help keep the kids amused.
  • Private pool? You can have a pool but without lots of other families (hell is other people or hell is other people’s kids – quite likely).
  • More flexibility and cost effective for large groups.
  • Villa can be more picturesque: you can choose locations that are less heavily populated or touristy.
  • Personal privacy.

Some good reasons to choose a villa. Now here are some reason to think again.

  • Self-catering also means all the effort that goes with it: buying the food, preparing the food, cooking the food and cleaning up afterwards. The Last time we did this one of the things we really noticed was the number of times we had to go shopping, we were always running out of something or needing stores for the next meal.
  • There are no chambermaids so you have to tidy up after yourselves.
  • Private pool: will it be up to scratch; how big is it ? What about keeping an eye on the children – there are no lifeguards. A surprising number of people drown every year in private swimming pools.
  • The kitchen is unlikely to be as well equipped as your kitchen at home.

With this in mind we have put together some points to think about if you are choosing a villa.

  • If one of the main reasons to go on holidays is to get away from the daily chores in life -then a hotel does this more effectively.
  • Location – if you are going to be self catering check the location of nearby shops
  • Check information on nearby resorts and beaches. this will give you a feel for the area. The last villa we stayed in was excellent but good local restaurants were thin on the ground as it was next to the German version of Magaluf.
  • Pool – try and check on size and quality. This gives rise to more complaints about villas than any other factor.
  • Be aware if you make a private booking through the internet: you will probably have pay by cash. Therefore you will have very little recourse in the event of complaints.
  • If you are planning to eat out a lot it could be more cost effective to go half or full board at a hotel even with 2 or 3 rooms.
  • Inspections of all villas and cottages is only as reliable as the local laws and the strength of any inspections provided by the company you book through. There could be unforeseen hazards and dangers in the property you book (ranging from faulty boilers, dangerous electrics to cracked and broken paving).

For further discussion about the ideal holiday accommodation for you visit Findholidays4u.com.

If we haven’t put you off booking a villa, then to ensure that you have maximum comeback and the best chance of getting the quality of villa or cottage you require then book through operators with a reputation to lose. In my next article I will discuss the pros and cons of staying in hotels and some of the main considerations when searching for your ideal holiday hotel.

There are so many things that one has to take care of when planning a holiday; choosing the destination, finding the best airfares, making a list of to-do things, finding suitable accommodation, packing your bags, etc. Of all these, finding the right accommodation is crucial as it can make or break your holiday experience. Depending on one’s needs and budget, there are several options to choose from – like hotels, holiday apartments, luxurious private villas, or, if the budget is tight, some people opt for hostels. Many people who have a decent holiday budget are often in a dilemma about whether they should go for a private villa or a holiday apartment. Both are great options and by the look of it it may seem that there is not much difference, but in reality the subtle differences between these two accommodation types can make a great difference to your holiday experience.

To start with, let us first understand exactly what villas and holiday apartments are comprised of.

Holiday apartments basically range from studios to, at most, three bedroom units and are generally within small complexes. Like hotels, they offer a shared pool facility. Such an accommodation option comes with a functional kitchen or kitchenette that can come in handy if you would like to do some of your own cooking. Cleaning services by maids are offered by most while some apartments also offer an additional cook service. All in all, a holiday apartment is much like a hotel except they have a kitchen for guests to use.

On the other hand, a villa is usually a free-standing private residence which is often rented to holiday makers for certain periods of time. The sizes of villas and their features and amenities may vary considerably depending on the location. For example, villas can range from one to eight bedrooms, and they often come equipped with a private pool, fully equipped kitchen, large terraces, spacious living rooms, dining areas, patios and lawns. Some also have a kids’ playing area or recreational rooms. Most villas often provide full staff for housekeeping, cooking, etc.

A villa holiday makes for the ultimate luxurious and opulent holiday experience. It offers you the comfort and amenities that only few accommodations can match. Imagine not having to put up with the constant noise from other guests staying in the same holiday apartment complex. Imagine having a swimming pool all to yourself, and not having to follow any pool timings. A villa is essentially a home away from home. The best part is that a villa need not cost you significantly more than a holiday apartment. Whatever little extra you might have to pay is justified by the amenities and facilities you can take advantage of in a villa. In fact, if you are holidaying with a large group, the difference in cost can be nullified easily by splitting the cost.

There are times when the holiday experience matters most and if you can get it by paying a little extra, it makes total sense. For a memorable holiday experience choose a villa holiday over a holiday apartment any day.

Location

Being a part of the French West Indies, St. Barts is located in the north of the Lesser Antilles near St. Kitts/Nevis and St. Martin/Maarten. Being located at 17.55 North and 62.50 West, this island is basking along the water on the way from Paris to New York.

It is a small island with a size of only 8 square miles. The name of its capital city is Gustavia. The main language is French along with some English spoken people.

Being a volcanic island, its rocky surface is inappropriate for agriculture. However, its craggy coastline fringed with radiant sand makes it one of the hottest tourist destinations. It has a parched tropical maritime weather with hurricane threats from July to November.

Culture and History

St. Barts has a history of being ruled by Carib Indians and then by European colonial powers. The history has a touch of Swedish heritage too, as this island was a Swedish outpost during the 18th century. However, apart from the name of the capital city Gustavia, only a few Swedish remainders can be found today. In reality, the island is heavily influenced by French style. Here, the humble locals and the monied tourists are amalgamated in a chic but discreet setting.

Attractions

St. Barts does not offer superficially attractive visual images. In fact, you have to taste it in order to explore the true attractions of this place. However, it is not totally devoid of sightseeing. You can visit historic sites in Gustavia including the Fort Gustav and the Wall House Museum. In order to have a glimpse of the traditional Norman culture, you can take a visit to the fishing village of Corossol. The Inter Oceans Museum, which has a huge collection of seashell, is also worth seeing. Apart from that, St. Barts offers a number of water activities that you can enjoy at any time of the year.

Beaches

It will not be an exaggeration if you call St. Barts an island of beaches. More than 20 beaches are lying in this small area. Each beach has its own attractions. So, you can choose to visit one or a few according to your mood and purpose. Here, you will have bustling beaches like Grand Cul de Sac and St. Jean; private beaches like Gouvernier, Grand Saline, and Flamands; truly secluded beaches like Anse Colombier; nudity-allowed beaches like Grand Saline and Anse du Gouverneur; and family friendly beaches like Marechal and Shell Beach.

Nudity-allowed, topless, and clothing-optional beaches are favorite tourist spots. Topless sunbathing is allowed even in family friendly beaches. However, public nudity is not allowed on the island.

Events and Festivals

In St. Barts, a few Swedish holidays along with a number of French ones are observed locally. The locals have an inclination for music, films, and sports. The annual music festivals are held in January and August and the Caribbean Film Festival is celebrated in April. The St. Barts Volleyball Cup Tournament in July also draws huge crowds. Apart from these events, Mardi Gras or costume parade in February, Book Festival in March, Voiles de St. Barts or yacht racing in April, West Indies Regatta or the Caribbean sailing festival in May, Feast of the Community in July, Sainte Barbe or grand parade in December, etc. are a few among other important festivals and events.

Sports

St. Barts offers a range of sports activities for both the tourists and the locals. You can enjoy hiking, tennis, volleyball, etc. along with participating in training of archery and martial arts. It is also a fertile ground for enjoying water activities. In fact, a St. Barts trip cannot be imagined without enjoying a range of water sports like snorkeling, jet ski, diving, sailing, bottom boat, kite surfing, and surfing. It is also a good place for big game fishing lovers.

Hotels and Resorts

The hotels in St Barts are mainly independently owned that are built on small properties with dozen rooms or more. In fact, the largest hotel of this island has not more than 76 rooms. However, St. Barts offers a special opportunity that none other Caribbean Island does. You can rent a private villa here apart from booking a hotel room. However, keep in mind that there is no bargain on the rates, which can be ranged from modest to stratospheric.

Some resorts offer a range of finest spa services of the world. Professional beauticians lead these spa parlors. So, you can expect nothing but exclusive spas from them.

Restaurants

As a true bridgehead of French cuisine in the tropic, St. Barts offers an array of upscale French and Creole restaurants to its residents and visitors. Apart from seductive French style and casual Caribbean, simple culinary traditions are also prevalent here. St. Barts is actually a destination for good food lovers where they can go anywhere from small family restaurants to great gourmet ones. You can taste a number of different foods ranging from traditional cuisine made of vegetables and fish to fusion cuisine prepared by blend of different cooking styles around the world. The regular dish of local people is roasted or fried pancake that is taken with fruits, vegetables, and fish found on the island.

It has some reservations-only restaurants too mainly for the celebrities who want to avoid cameras. Local markets and shops are also popular, as a number of people prefer living in rented villas and either cook themselves or employ cooking staff.

Nightlife

St. Barts is not popular for holding party events. However, some hotspots are there where young and rich people can spend fun time. The capital Gustavia has the famous Le Select bar in which Jimmy Buffet got the inspiration of his song ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’. Gustavia has a number of discos too including Le Petit Club, Le Feeling, Yacht Club, and Casa Nicky. However, to most people, a St. Barts nightlife means taking a late night dinner before returning to their private villa.

St. Barts is ideal for an excursion, an island trip, or a cruise at sunset. It has its own charm and personality with pure arcs of white sand fringed by turquoise warm water and rich marine life sheltered by coral beaches and seagrass beds.

One of the most important rooms in your home is the kitchen. Furnishing your kitchen appropriately will give it a social environment. You can always create some quality time in your kitchen with your friends and relative. The kitchen has many uses ranging from entertaining guests around the kitchen table to cooking. The furniture you put in your kitchen will have great impact on the appearance of the room. Thus, when you venture into kitchen furniture stores, ensure you select the right furniture.

You could visit different kitchen furniture stores and compare the items on offer. You could buy the furniture online. As you evaluate the various options, consider the available space in your kitchen. Also have your budget in mind and search for furniture options that fall within your budget. What are the main types of kitchen furniture you are likely to need? You will probably need some kitchen chairs, kitchen carts, tables, bar stools and racks. Having the right furniture will make it easy for you to carry out kitchen chores comfortably.

Ensure that the kitchen furniture is made from the right materials. You could be in need of a kitchen cabinet from the kitchen furniture stores. Start by examining the face of the cabinet. These are the parts that are visible from the front of the cabinet. The wood that has been used should be of high quality. Examine it to ensure that the wood does not have some knots, sanding scars or some grain irregularities.

When you are investing in kitchen tables, ensure that the table is large enough. It should accommodate your family members as some people eat breakfast and other meals on the kitchen tables. The surface of the table also matters. Tables with an impermeable surface are preferable. Spillages are very common in the kitchen. Permeable tables could get stained when drinks pour on them. Tables that are resistant to stains will give you more freedom and help you work at ease.

What technique should you use to choose the best furniture in the kitchen furniture stores? How about testing furniture before you finally buy it? If you are buying some kitchen chairs, sit on them and assess their comfort. Most furniture dealers will allow you to test the furniture to enable you make an informed purchase. You could go for ready made or custom made furniture. The ready made furniture is readily available in the online and onsite stores. The custom made furniture is developed to meet the specifications of the buyer.

Illinois’ capital city and the largest city in the state, Chicago is a very well known city in the US and the world. A prominent economical hub of the Midwestern region in US, it houses the world’s second busiest airport, Chicago O’Hare. It also is home to some of the biggest corporations like Baxter International, Abbot Laboratories, etc. Financial institutions flourish in this part of the world with the presence of the very famous ones like Federal Reserve Back of Chicago, Chicago Stock Exchange, etc. With such a strong economy, it attracts a lot of relocations from various parts of the world giving rise to a flourishing real estate market.

People coming into the city typically look for a good place to leave and most likely will chose apartments that have all the basic amenities to lead a comfortable life. Most of the Chicago apartments offer all kinds of latest amenities that one can possible ask for at reasonable monthly rents.

If you are looking for Chicago apartments, then it is ideal for you to search on the Internet because you will come across numerous options that perfectly fit your budget. Chicago apartments offer all the latest amenities that you can expect from modern state of the art condos and villas. However, it is better to choose a studio apartment in some of the best areas across the city because of transportation and easy accessibility.

Chicago, Illinois apartments are quite reasonable in terms of rent, if you compare with the tons of features they offer. You can choose N. Wolcott Southeast studio apartment for which you will only have to pay around $815.00 per month. This studio apartment provides free cooking gas and you will have to pay security deposit for half month. It has 2-1/2 large studio rooms along with hardwood flooring, high ceilings, bay windows and big closets. It is close to Winnemac Park and has close by train stations. This apartment has all the latest amenities such as intercom security, digital cable, storage lockers, playground, full time janitor, ownership and management facilities, excellent public transportation, close to restaurants and shopping malls, parking zone, etc. This apartment is one of the best among the Chicago, Illinois apartments.

Three bedroom large apartments in Chicago will cost you little more than the previous one. The rent of these apartments can be anywhere around $895.00 per month. You can check out 4623 N. Lincoln apartment with square-one bedroom having hardwood floors and tall windows. This apartment is situated close to restaurants, train stops, Welles Park. This apartment is located right in the heart of Lincoln Square having spacious 3 room one bedroom along with kitchen, dining room and excellent storage facility. These 3 room one bedroom apartments in Chicago has all the latest amenities like the studio apartments except these are more spacious.

If you are willing to spend more than the studio apartments and 3 room one bedroom apartments, then extra-large one bedroom apartments in 4239 N. Hermitage can be ideal for you. These types of Chicago apartments for rent will cost you around $1295.00 per month. This apartment is more like a gorgeous castle having huge one bedroom, formal dining room, huge walk-in closet and brand new kitchen counter top. It is situated near to Cubs Park.

You can also opt for a studio apartment in W. Winnemac, which is a ready to move in apartment. It will cost you around $785.00 per month, which is very close to Winnemac Park. One bedroom apartments like the one in W. Belle Plaine is one of the most desirable apartments to live, which is situated nearby Kedzie Avenue Brown Line train station. It is can cost you anywhere around $835.00 per month. These Chicago apartments for rent have all the modern facilities that one can possibly ask for.

The kitchen wall design could always be decorated in such a way that it exudes a feeling of coziness, warmth, homey, and inviting mood. The space offered by the kitchen area is also a big deal that you have to take note of. For you to carry on with the spacing scheme of your kitchen, try looking at these tips and notes.

Try hanging the pans and pots there on the kitchen wall. This is most appreciatively done if your pots and pans come in pairs or sets. You need to simply place hooks there on the walls and then hang those handles with the bottoms of the utensils facing downwards. This is also one good way of organizing and saving some space there on the kitchen area. The best place to hang them is above the cooking stoves.

Put the hotpads and the potholders on the wall too. If you prefer not to put on display your pots and pans, then just have your hotpads and potholders hanging. They may act as good ornaments for the kitchen too provided that they are clean.

Place the trivets on the kitchen wall. Antique trivets would look good on the kitchen walls. Match the colors and patterns of those so that they create a good sight.

Other utensils that you may hang on the kitchen walls are the can openers, coffee mugs, measuring spoons, measuring cups, and a lot others. Not only do you save space but you keep them within reach as you work your way in the kitchen.

Another way of working on with the kitchen wall design is by having the kitchen wall tiles. There are plenty of kitchen wall tile designs too. You could choose from the vertical or horizontal arrangement of the kitchen wall tiles and have the colors clearly blending onto with the backsplash.

One interesting kitchen backsplash to use is the ceramic kitchen tile placed in between the plain field of tiles with unique styles and colorful patterns. You could employ different colors that would match with each other so that your kitchen wall would look as creative as possible.

Kitchen wall designs are of your own choice. If you wish to be creative, you could always do so. Experiment and enjoy the mood exuded by your kitchen at all times.

Want to get paid to travel? There are dozens of careers in travel that are not only rewarding, but also pay well.

Some of these opportunities involve finding a salaried or hourly wage-paying job, like becoming a traveling nurse, an airline hostess or pilot, a traveling chef, a cruise ship worker, yacht crew member, a massage therapist or hospitality worker at a resort.

There are several other travel careers that are easy to enter, let you go wherever you please, make money as you go, and even earn royalties for years from the work you do today.

Not only that, but you have the choice whether you want to make this your full-time occupation, or only a part-time travel job, when you have the time and desire to see the world, and make money doing it.

Get Paid to Travel Career #1: Lead Tours for Fun and Profit

Do you have an interest like yoga, wine tasting, cooking (or simply eating), writing poetry, painting, coffee, art history, or snorkeling? If you have a hobby, an academic interest, or particular expertise, you can find people with similar interests to pay you to take them on vacations with you.

Know something about wine? Lead a tour of wine country in Argentina, Italy, South Africa, even Morocco or China.

Get paid to lead tours to your favorite places in the world, or to the places you have always wanted to go.

Though you do not need to become a travel agent to lead tours for profit, you can make more money if you do have the ability to book the airfares, cruises, and accommodations of your clients yourself.

Get Paid to Travel Career #2: Make Travel Videos

Video sharing sites like YouTube are very popular, and resorts will pay you to create videos for them in the hopes of getting more business.

There is very little barrier to entry in this field, and not much competition. In fact, you can get started with a Flip recorder, or even the video camera on your phone. If you have $400 or $500 to invest in a quality digital video camera, you can make even more profit by creating travel videos to sell on Amazon.

You will need a laptop and some video editing software – and the desire to have complimentary stays at some of the world’s best resorts while they pay you to work!

Get Paid to Travel Career #3: Write Travel Articles

If you can write a postcard, then travel writing may be the career for you. Many publications look for short reviews of restaurants and hotels from new writers. Then, as you become more established, you can get paid more for longer articles.

Better yet, often resorts, hotels, restaurants, and other travel-related businesses will offer you their services at no charge in return for a review.

In most cases, you can republish the same article a number of times, drawing a check each time the article is printed in a different publication.

You might at some point want to write a travel guidebook, for which you could earn royalties. You can also publish your articles on web travel directories that share advertising revenues with writers.

Get Paid to Travel Career #4: Sell Your Travel Photos

There are several ways to make money with a career in travel photography.

You can combine travel writing and photography to earn more by submitting photos with your articles.

Also, you can upload your photos to online stock photography sites, and every time someone buys your photo from the agency, you earn a commission.

Even if you don’t have your own website, you can sell your travel photos online in a number of ways. You can sell prints of all sizes, posters, postcards, calendars, screen savers, even t-shirts and coffee mugs with your images on them.

You can also sell your work as fine art from the walls of coffee shops, restaurants, and galleries.

Get Paid to Travel Career #5: Start a Travel Publication

With your own website and newsletter, you can combine as many of the above methods as you want. You can publish only the content you create – articles, photos, and videos – or you can invite others to submit their work to your site, too.

Having a quality website gives you instant credibility and immediately establishes you as an expert in your field, whether it’s luxury travel, cruises, coffee, yoga, wine, or any other interest.

You can make money through advertising, promoting your tour business, selling your photos, and by referrals to hotels and other travel businesses.

These five careers in travel can not only help you get complimentary stays in resorts all over the world, but they also allow you to actually get paid to travel.

THERE’S ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO THE STORY!

I’ve been a medical traveler for many years now and have had numerous occasions to review a large number of Travel Company web sites. Most of them contain some type of Q & A section that explains how they work and what they offer. I’ve found that the information given, while accurate, is very incomplete.

Most of what I’ve learned about the medical travel industry has been learned through the proverbial School of Hard Knocks. It occurred to me recently to write an article that expanded on the usual information given on medical travel websites, an article that presented (as Paul Harvey used to say) the “Rest of the Story.”

And so…here we go!

SALARY

Travel Company: On their web sites Travel Companies usually state a salary range that they offer depending on the type of position, your area of expertise and your experience.

Rest of the Story: What you are initially offered for a travel assignment is usually not the top dollar that is available for that assignment. Most travelers merely accept what they are offered believing the “deal is the deal” for that particular assignment. I used to do that too… but not any more!

You especially limit your chances of getting the best salary for your assignments if you choose to register with only one travel agency. When you do that, you give away all leverage to negotiate for better pay. I am always registered with multiple travel companies so I can compare several potential assignments at once and negotiate for the best over all packages.

There are numerous other “pitfalls” when it comes to getting the most compensation for your travel job. For example, it behooves you to clarify the stipulations for receiving certain types of bonuses and whether you must work solely for one company to earn those bonuses. Again, if you work for only one company, you may unknowingly forfeit higher compensation in other areas of your benefit package in order for the company to offer you those bonuses, in which case they can hardly be called a bonus.

Remember, you can always, “work your best deal,” (negotiate) with several companies while still remaining highly professional. In addition, knowing how to ask for more will telegraph to a recruiter that you know your business and will position you to receive the best offers.

HOUSING

Travel Company: Travel companies always state they will provide you with fully furnished housing while you are on your assignment.

Rest of the Story: You may be asked to share a two bedroom apartment with another traveler, even a stranger, who is working at your same location unless you know you can request a one bedroom separate apartment.

Some travelers have been “required” (because they merely accepted this arrangement) to live in an extended stay facility for the entire 13 weeks of an assignment. This is very cramped quarters and becomes extremely wearying after just a couple of weeks.

I have seen travelers deal with other conditions that were very undesirable such as having their housing located too far from the hospital. I had this experience on one assignment (before I learned to clear all that up in advance!). Each morning I had to make my way through 10 miles of early morning rush hour traffic to reach the hospital.

In addition, fully furnished means different things to different people. If you don’t know what to ask for in advance you can be stuck with things like a poorly furnished kitchen (only a few sad looking pots and pans for cooking) as well as sparse and unattractive furniture (an ugly green sofa and purple chair spring to mind).

Knowing what your options really are and how to ask for them is paramount to having a comfortable, safe, convenient and enjoyable living arrangement. Multiple considerations are there for the asking, but you definitely have to ask. By clarifying in advance what I need and expect, and by applying simple to learn negotiating techniques I’ve perfected over time, I now receive the very best housing accommodations on all my assignments.

GENERAL BENEFIT PACKAGES

Travel Company: All travel companies offer a variety of benefits besides housing and salary which can include per diem pay, travel expenses, bonuses, clothing and equipment reimbursement, insurance, continuing education, 401 K’s, etc.

Rest of the Story: Travel benefit packages are definitely not all equal! For instance, one travel company’s insurance coverage may not start until 30 days after you have begun your assignment versus a policy offered by another company that becomes effective the first day on the job. These and numerous other “small print” concerns can come back to bite you if you’re unprepared!

I’ve also talked to nurses who were never offered per diem pay (the average is $30.00 a day or $210.00 a week) but others were receiving it simply because they asked for it! Some were told they could elect to have per diem pay but would receive fewer benefits in other areas if they chose that option. However, that was not the case for other travelers who refused that trade off. I know I continually receive per diem pay on ALL my assignments without sacrificing any reduction in other areas of compensation.

To make your travel experience the most lucrative and enjoyable, it pays (literally!) to know what is available as well as how to access those top of the line benefit packages.

TRAVEL PROVISIONS

Travel Company: Travel companies offer a variety of ways to cover your travel expenses. If you are required to fly to your assignment, your flight costs will be paid in advance and your travel itinerary arranged for you plus a rental car will be provided once you arrive at your destination. If you are desirous of driving your own car to your job site, you will receive mileage compensation and/or a flat fee amount for travel expenses.

Rest of the Story: Travel companies can save a lot of money by booking you on flights that leave or arrive at undesirable times of the day or night or that re-route you all over the place, necessitating you change planes frequently.

I had that experience early on in my travel career (oh what a novice I was then!), when after 3 stops, and long layovers, I finally landed at an airport at 1 am in the morning that was a full two hour drive away from my job site! Just to add to the misery, after that two hour drive in the middle of the night I arrived to find the hotel booked for me was the ultimate rat’s nest with a stuck heater system that turned my room into an unbearable steam bath.

I also have some rather interesting stories about the type of cars that were rented on my behalf (tin can anyone?). Fortunately I’ve learned how to avoid all those nightmares and now travel comfortably and at reasonable hours.

The point is that if you don’t know your way around the available travel options, plus know how to negotiate for the best travel considerations, you can have some pretty nasty travel experiences.

JOB LOCATIONS

Travel Company: Travel companies paint a somewhat glamorous picture of the places you can travel and the wonderful experiences you can have.

Rest of the Story: If you’re a traveling novice there is a very good chance you will end up in some out of the way place or hospital that is anything but glamorous. Travel companies are anxious to fill whatever positions that present (after all, that’s how they make their money!) and so they can offer less than desirable job locations to those who don’t know how to navigate the system. That certainly happened to me the first time I took a travel position. I landed in a miserable little town with a very boring job assignment. It made for a very long 13 weeks!

Just knowing you might get dealt the “low end of the deck” if you’re new to the game can help you avoid something really dower. However, even seasoned travelers are often not getting the best assignments that are available. Thankfully, over time I’ve learned what to ask for and what to avoid, and more importantly, how to spot a bad job location no matter how many bows are on the package.

THE BEST JOBS

Travel Company: Travel companies accurately state that a recruiter will contact you about a job opportunity and will give you a general overview of the job, its requirements, and what salary and other benefits are being offered. You will also have an opportunity to ask whatever questions you wish concerning the position.

Rest of the Story: Recruiters are going to provide the basics of the potential job assignment to you but they are not going to go into any great detail unless it is in direct response to your questions. You should also be prepared to ask pertinent questions of the hospital representative if you should decide to interview for a position presented to you by the recruiter.

I remain astounded at the number of even experienced travelers that either do not ask many questions concerning a potential job assignment or don’t know what to ask to find out the “nitty gritty” of what the job really entails. As a result, there are many travelers who are quite “surprised” (and not in a good way!) about the real facts once they reach their job destination. And of course, like it or not, they are bound by a legal contract to fulfill their assignment.

Just by asking the number of staff that will be working on your floor or in your department, the number of patients or tests you will be expected to oversee or perform, and the ratio of permanent and travel staff, you can begin to get a definite feel for what you will encounter. Recently while considering a position, I was able to ask those questions plus several others that revealed there had been a recent “uproar” in the department with people leaving in mass, leading me to decide not to jump into the fray.

I am always being treated to the latest horror story concerning jobs that were anything but what they were thought to be. That doesn’t have to be your story if you learn the right questions to ask in order to get the real picture.

IN CONCLUSION

As you can see, knowledge is power! Without it, you’re in for a very bumpy ride in the medical travel world. I’ve explained just a few Q & A areas where travel companies are only giving you the basics of the process. Unfortunately, relying on “just the basics” will have you collecting a few horror stories of your own!

A perfect kitchen furniture is not bought because it just looks beautiful in the furniture shop just to find out that when you brought it in your house it looks ugly in your kitchen, and what’s worse is that your family members are not happy about it.

What does it take to find a perfect kitchen furniture? All we need is just 5 easy steps.

1. Ask what are your family’s preference.

The kitchen, like all other parts of the home, has to be decided as a family, not an individual because all the members of the family use and benefit all that there is inside the home. Ask your family members what furniture should be bought. If two or more declines on your choice ask why, then change your preference if they are correct. This is to make sure that no changes will happen after you bought the kitchen furniture and also helps you with your budget.

2. Measure the size of your kitchen.

Measure the area of your kitchen then bring it with you when you are buying your kitchen furniture. For a hassle free buying, draw a layout of your kitchen to visualize the actual location of your chosen furniture.
If you are to replace your old kitchen furniture, measure the size of the furniture to match the replacement furniture that you will buy.

3. Prioritize essential items first.

Kitchen counter, kitchen rack, and dinnerware are just some of the kitchen essentials. In order to gain idea about the essential kitchen furniture and accessories, ask yourself these questions:

Is it possible if the kitchen doesn’t have it?
Can it be used for cooking?
Can it be used for preparing the food? If it does what are the usual foods that your family want?

4. Choose furniture with a fireproof finishing

A fireproof kitchen furniture does not keep make our kitchen be immune in fire but it helps keep the fire from starting by preventing smaller flames to spread out. Fireproof kitchen furniture are expensive but it pays to be prepared.

5. The furniture should match the kitchen theme.

Creating a new kitchen or doing some kitchen improvements? It pays to keep the whole kitchen setup clean. Do not just buy a furniture or accessory because it looks beautiful when you see it in the store. Match the theme of your current kitchen so that the furniture or accessory will not look out-of-place. A furniture or accessory, no matter how beautiful it is, will look ugly if it is not a match to an organized theme.

It is the hope of many people, whether for personal or professional reasons, that they will be able to learn English easily. The very idea of learning a new language can often make even the most capable learners nervous. Fortunately, there are people who learn English well every single day, and with the right planning and work, you can be one of those people

Make a Plan
Although no one can guarantee that you will be able to learn English easily with any one particular method, it can definitely be guaranteed that without planning in advance, you will not learn English very easily at all. Whether you plan to learn English by natural methods such as watching English television, listening to English radio, and conversing with people in English as much as possible, or you prefer a more study oriented approach such as taking an English course, or perhaps a combination of the two methods, if you don’t have a clear plan and goals, learning English will not come easily.

Organic Language Acquisition
Organic language acquisition is a natural method of learning a language the way a child might learn to speak his or her native tongue. This is a very natural language learning method, and if you are able to totally immerse yourself in the English world, you will certainly be able to learn English easily. Immersion in the language requires that you do not speak any language other than English. To practice this method, watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazines and newspapers, cooking from recipes, and following various verbal and written instructions, should all be in English. This is particularly effective for non-English speakers who have recently moved to an English country.

Curriculum Based Language Acquisition
For those who prefer a more structured environment when learning English, curriculum based language acquisition might be a good choice. Many people are able to learn English easily by enrolling in an English class, using at-home English learning computer software, or listening to an English language instructional course on CD while driving in their cars. There are also many workbooks, flashcards, and self-tests that can be used to support this method of learning English

Combination Approach
For most people a combination of the above two approaches is the fastest and best way to learn English easily. If a person only goes to classes but never engages in real-life conversations, they will have a very difficult time becoming totally fluent, and a person who is immersed in a language verbally but never learns the specific grammatical rules will not be able to use his or her English in a professional setting very effectively. Therefore, if possible, the English learner should engage in a curriculum based approach to learning English, but should also be sure to engage in conversation with and listen to native English speakers as much as he or she can manage in order to facilitate the quickest learning possible.

Quick Tips
If a person is determined to learn English easily, he or she should also be sure to adhere to certain guidelines that will help them in their mission. First, be certain that your family, friends, and colleagues all know that you are trying to learn English, and that whenever possible, they should speak to you in English rather than your native tongue. Secondly, do not focus on just a single element of language acquisition at the expense of others. For example, it is not advisable to only attempt to speak the language but neglect to read it, write it, or listen to it being spoken. In order to be successful at obtaining fluency, a person should be attentive to all the different language elements.

Because English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the entire world and can be instrumental to a person’s personal and professional success, it is no wonder that there are so many people intent on learning to speak it with fluency. With the right planning and a lot of determination, anyone can learn to speak English quickly and easily. Combining an immersion approach with a curriculum based program will afford almost anyone the right foundation for a lifetime of speaking English. As long as the English makes a concrete plan with a set goal and adheres to it, he or she will be speaking English in a very short amount of time.

Ava has flute lessons at 4:00. Dad has a doctor’s appointment at 5:00. And you have no clue what you’re going to whip up for dinner. As a member of the sandwich generation-those who care for both their children as well as their aging parents-you’re in a unique situation. You’ll feel stress in your mind, your body, and even your pocketbook. This guide will help you assemble an eldercare solutions team that can make you feel a little less sandwiched.

Non-medical in-home care
In-home care providers are a favorite solution for many children caring for aging parents. These companies offer a wide variety of services designed to enhance to help your parent in the tasks of everyday living. Professional in-home care can provide assistance with bathing or toileting. They can also perform light housekeeping, such as changing linens or unloading groceries. What’s more, these companies offer companion eldercare solutions services. That means Dad has someone to play checkers with while you’re at a day-long conference.

Adult day care and other senior activities
From day trips to the local tourist trap to water aerobics, you can find a number of local services to keep Mom or Dad active. Church groups and social service agencies are two good sources for activity-related eldercare solutions. Your local agency on aging can also provide a list of resources for you to contact.

Family and Friends
Many of us have a circle of family and friends-and when it comes to caring for aging parents, it’s important to tap into that resource. Have a family meeting to decide how each person can help. Maybe your retired Aunt can become Mom’s taxi service. Perhaps your spouse can take over cooking one night a week. Teens can take on responsibility, too, by picking up prescriptions or taking over one of your typical household chores.

Even if your family consists simply of you and your aging parent, you can still find solutions to make your life less stressful. For instance, ask a neighbor to watch a movie with Dad while you slip away for dinner. If help with household stuff will help make caring for aging parents easier, ask a church youth group if they’d be willing to trim the fire bushes. Have a neighbor with a ladder? Exchange a home-cooked meal for clean gutters.

Professional Services
Caring for aging parents comes with a price tag, especially if you’re part of the sandwich generation. Experts estimate it costs more than $16,000 a year to pay for child care and elder care. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of professionals who can help guide you through the numbers. Consult a financial advisor who has experience in eldercare solutions.

Remember to ask your parents about getting legal advice regarding living wills and medical powers of attorney. Putting these documents into place now, when your parent is still relatively health, can save the family future heartache and conflict when a serious illness strikes.

Don’t let the stress of raising children and caring for aging parents take its toll on your life. By planning and finding the right kind of help, you can find an eldercare solution you and your aging parent can live with.

There are some rooms in the home that are more important than others. The kitchen stands out as just such an essential space, where a lot of time is spent and where the room itself is put to fairly rigorous use on a daily basis. With such constant use, everything from cleaning to cooking anything that can be done to improve the experience should be done.

It stands to reason a kitchen should be a nice space in which to work. The kitchen is one of those rooms that makes a big difference to how you feel about your home, if only because it is used so much. A nice kitchen, especially one that you can sit and relax in while eating breakfast or talking to your partner while he or she cooks dinner makes all the difference, not just in your home, but in your mood and even your energy levels.

Having kitchen furniture fully fitted, so that all the cabinets fit in like jigsaw pieces and are flush with the walls, is standard practice. It is the usual route taken when decorating a kitchen, though not the only possibility. Major benefits include the fact that the kitchen has more space opened up, more storage space, and of course has a tighter overall appearance.

Asides from the tightly packed fitted kitchen, there are also free standing kitchens. These use individual items of furniture and have the plus that they can be moved around. The downside to freestanding kitchens is that they waste a lot of space. In the olden days, all kitchens followed the freestanding furniture model, but as time progressed fitted kitchens became the standard. Certainly it can detract greatly from the value of your home if the kitchen isn’t fitted due to the way it’s seen by home buyers and agents as being a modern essential.

Being easy to assemble, factory produced kitchen furniture has become very common and can be installed very quickly by trained professionals. It is made from very ordinary materials, which reflects in the reasonable pricing. Usually MDF, dowels and furniture glue are the main components. These come together to form the necessary layout around which the fitted kitchen is based. Mass produced kitchen furniture is not only cheap, but due to being packed flat is easy to ship to location.

More pricey than regular fitted kitchen furniture are bespoke kitchens where a designer will tailor every aspect of the kitchen to the customer’s preference. The only down side to this service is the price.

No fitted kitchen is complete these days without a kitchen cart as a supplement to the more rigid design of the fitted units. Such a cart adds a great moveable feature to what is of course a very static thing.

Not every kitchen is able to accommodate one, but a kitchen island is a tremendously good way to enhance the kitchen, add extra worktop space, and add an ad-hoc dining area to boot. Many of these come with a bar area for people to sit at one side and cabinets on the other. Not to mention the benefits that extra worktop space create.

Kitchens are of course an important part of modern life. We have not yet transitioned beyond them in the imaginative ways envisioned in technology of the future shows circa the nineteen fifties, but instead of becoming obsolete, kitchens have become a more important part of our lives.

Why should I use a travel agent to book my trip instead of booking it myself on the internet? This is a question I had to answer recently for a potential client with whom I was speaking to for the first time. As a travel professional, I get this type of question a lot.

In this article I will reveal to you how I answered this question and how you can benefit from using the services of a professional travel agent versus booking your own travel online using a travel search engine.

1. Save time.

Sure you can spend hours, days, even months researching destinations and going from website to website in order to plan your own travel itinerary, but why would you want to do that? Time is a precious commodity that we can never get back. While you are spending all this time doing research and going from website to website to see if you can get a better deal, you could have more easily picked up the phone to have a travel agent do this research for you.

Professional travel agents are trained to do this because it’s their job. A travel professional can do all the research, coordinate all the logistics, and put together a complete itinerary for your trip in a fraction of the time you can do it for yourself.

2. Use the agent’s knowledge and resources.

Travel agents are trained travel professionals. It’s their job to know the ins and outs of popular travel destinations. Although there is a ton of information on the internet readily available to the public, travel professionals have first-hand knowledge of many or most of the destinations you may choose to visit.

Secondly, travel professionals often have resources to inventory, special offers, and discounts available only to travel professionals to offer their clients. By using an agent, you’ll be able to take advantage of these resources.

3. The travel agent advocates for you should something go wrong on your trip.

Let’s say you have booked a flight and hotel online on one of the highly-advertised travel sites. Bingo! You’re all set. Or are you?

You check your confirmation and realize that you booked the wrong date. So you call customer service and you wait and wait; then finally you get a customer service representative who then tells you that there’s a fee to change your reservation. Okay so you pay the fee, after all you don’t have much of a choice.

The day comes for you to catch your flight. You get to your destination, but your luggage does not. The airline has lost one of your bags. So you’re stuck again with a problem, and call customer service again. You get to your hotel to rest from your long day, and find that your hotel room isn’t ready. Here you go again.

Now I’m not implying that a travel agent could have prevented all of this, but as a member of the travel industry, travel agents have special relationships with travel vendors. A complaint call or letter from a travel agent is more likely to get an expedited response than a letter from you, because of the agent’s relationship with the travel vendor.

I know what you’re thinking. You think that you’ll pay more to use a travel agent. It’s an incorrect assumption to think that using the services of a travel agent will be more expensive than booking your own travel online. Although some agents charge a service, the benefits of using a professional travel agent far outweigh the risks of not using an agent.

Discovering which style not only goes with your personality, but also with your fashion sense is difficult for many women. Unless you are really confident in yourself or majored in fashion, choosing colors, clothing pieces, and accessories to complement you is a daunting task. Here are some ideas to help you in your pursuit of fashion.

First, what colors do you normally wear? Almost every woman has colors she naturally gravitates towards, whether it is slimming, classic black or neon lime. Knowing which colors you often wear can help you determine which colors you should choose for accessories and where you could branch out. There are four basic fashion types. You might be wholly one style or a mixture. That is part of the beauty of fashion; there really are no wrong answers.

Do you like pastels, pink, tangerine, baby blue, ivory, and cream? Then you are probably a romantic style. Nichole Kidman is one notable celebrity whose fashion sense is very romantic. Romantic personalities like hearts, lace, sparkles, and anything traditionally associated as “girly”. To add more romantic accessories to your closet, focus on simple gold pieces such as lockets, delicate scarves, lace gloves, and ruffled bags.

For those who prefer natural colors such as greens, browns, gray, beige, and similar shades, Meg Ryan is your inspiration. Casual and comfortable, this is called the natural style. Jewelry with stones or beads will probably be most appealing to you, and simple, practical handbags like a messenger bag will be your best friend. If you want to be more “adventurous” with your style, look for bags in colors such as squash mustard which will still match your color scheme while allowing you to look daring.

Audrey Hepburn’s style can only be called classic. Ageless pearls, structured black bags, and timeless red lips are all characteristics of a classic fashion style. If you fall into this category your closet will likely consist of timeless basic pieces in navy, gray, black, white, cream, and red.

Many women fall into the category of the brighter the better. Wild, bright colors, prints, and a willingness to try almost anything is typical of a bold style. Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga are two very different examples of this style. Purple and metallic accessories are perfect for you if your style falls into this category. Large is also part of your fashion statement. Big earrings, pendants, chunky bracelets, and oversized handbags are a great way to express your energy and enthusiasm for life.

Trends in furniture are always fluid and changing just like most other home decor trends. Each year, new and recycled designs, patterns, hues, and visual combinations are declared as the season’s hottest trends in home decor and interior design. Because of this fact, home staging is also impacted by recent trends in home decor as potential buyers are possibly looking for familiar elements or arrangements that they expect to see in contemporary homes.

While home staging is geared towards depersonalizing the house and making it as neutral as possible for as many possible clients as possible, it does benefit from the integration of current home furniture trends. A staged property that features intelligently-selected furniture items that reflect popular trends in home design will be able to go head-to-head with other listings that are also staged for contemporary home buyers. This is more of a priority for homes in general areas that younger residents are flocking to, or in urban, professional districts where apartments or condominiums are the usual types of dwellings.

The following furniture trends are making waves in 2017:

Creative patterns and designs in couches and chairs. For sofa couches and living room chairs, prints and designs have become quite popular once more, especially if set in white backgrounds such as walls. You can throw in some solid-colored accent chairs with a sofa set with design patterns to create a visual contrast.

Beds equipped with storage spaces. Modern bed designs combined with drawer boxes or under-bed storage spaces are trending again, with a great number of home buyers choosing to downsize from larger homes or opting for practical options.

Antique and handcrafted furniture combined with modern arrangements. Many contemporary home furniture designers and experts are experimenting with the meshing of old and new furniture pieces. Antique furniture pieces or handcrafted artsy items from different countries are now considered as popular accent or functional additions to furniture arrangements.

Consumers are staying away from big and overpriced furniture. Consumers are choosing to be practical and look for furniture pieces that are smaller but cost-efficient, particularly furniture that are functional without taking up too much space or costing an arm and a leg.

White is in style. White is back, especially as background color or for furniture finish. They are simple to arrange and combine with other colors of furniture items, and makes the area bright and airy.

People need home offices. Workplace trends are also shifting, making it more usual for people to work part-time or full-time from their residences. Desks, chairs, and workstations that combine function and comfort are particularly attractive to today’s homeowners.

Your home furniture plays a vital role in making your style statement. Decorating a perfect house starts with selecting good furniture. So if your first choice is not perfect, then the end result might not be as fulfilling as you want. If you want the furniture to have class and durability, then investing in stylish home furniture would be the best choice.

What you choose to furnish your home is a reflection of your personal taste. This makes it important for you to first be clear on how you want to decorate your home, what kind of furniture you want to buy and how you want to go about it. Furniture is available in different varieties for all kind of rooms. Be it for the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom or even the patio, furniture of different sizes are needed most of your basic needs. Whatever type of furniture you decide to purchase; it should emphasize the character and style of your house.

Stylish home furniture comes in various designs, size, shape, structure and materials such as wood and metal. Though wood furniture is generally accepted as the best, metal furniture can also be a good substitute if the budget is low. A living room is an area where you host most of your parties and entertain guest, thus a lot of attention should be given there. As first impression is the last one consider the kind of sofas, coffee tables, TV stands and cabinets, end tables and other decorative accessories very carefully. They should not only be attractive but comfortable but most importantly go well with each other and also be careful not to overcrowd the living room.

The dining area is another important corner of your house which the guests are likely to visit. The furniture for this area in particular should ooze elegance. The dining table set should not only be visually attractive but also comfortable. Many homes have their dining room and kitchen combined. In that case you will have to make sure that the kitchen and the dining area have a common theme. All the miscellaneous, serving tables and the dining table should fit in such a way that it allows you easy movement around the place.

The bedroom is for your personal space. It should be designed in such a way that you can shed the entire day’s tiredness in a minute and relax in peace. Especially your bed! As soon as you fall on it you should be able to experience heaven. That’s the reason why people spend heavily for luxurious beds because there is nothing better than a good night’s sleep. Apart from the bed your room also needs armories, dressers, night tables and some more storage furniture.

If you have kids around then you’ll have an additional room to be taken care of. Kid’s room furniture comes in attractive designs and styles. Apart from the indoors if you have a beautiful patio then get the chance to work with material like wicker and metal. Decorate it with benches, plant stands, love seats, coffee tables and anything which fits in well with the outdoor theme.

So now that you have many reasons to accentuate your house’s beauty from within and outside, bring home stylish modern furniture and enjoy all the extra attention.

This is rightly named as the age of traveler centrality and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

  • full business itinerary details
  • up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
  • transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
  • travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
  • complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
  • currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are traveling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler centrist can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Concluding

Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. A rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.