Online Travel Resources – Know What To Expect On Your Next Vacation

When it comes to holiday hotel-stays, the smallest details often account for the most in terms of making the experience extra special. And while we continuously expect a certain level of service during a hotel stay, such details can still come as a pleasant surprise!

Most of us have a story – or few – to tell about outstanding service we’ve received from a hotel: perhaps a member of the hotel staff went beyond their call of duty to deliver impeccable service, or a particular aspect of the hotel’s facilities really impressed you. Or, maybe the notable gesture was as simple as taking a few extra steps to make you feel at home or an extra-special greeting to welcome you to the hotel. It could even be a gesture as ordinary as leaving your favourite chocolates under your pillow! Whatever the feature or service, your hotel-stay experience was better because of it.

When such experiences arise, they’re certainly worth talking about. After all, if a hotel experience made an impression on you, it might very well do the same for another guest. But how likely is it that your praise will go beyond the ears of friends and family?

These days, it’s very likely; and it’s just as easy for you to learn about others’ travel experiences. That’s because a number of online travel resources and leading hotel accommodation providers, now allow past, present and potential customers to access online forums and post travel experiences – enabling you to easily voice opinions and travel recommendations, as well as make informed travel decisions based on other people’s encounters. One such service is Homewood Stories, which is operated by the Hilton Group of hotels.

Such sites have proven to be a huge success with both past and potential travellers – and it’s not hard to see why. While a hotel’s website can inform potential customers of the hotel’s facilities through descriptions and images, only an account of a guest who has actually stayed there can relay information from a truly validated point of view. Moreover, hotel guests who have a first-rate experience at their chosen accommodation have a means of informing potential travellers of their recommendations, opinions and travel tips.

So next time you’re looking for a hotel stay that stands out, or you simply want to share your remarkable hotel find, you can do so conveniently! After all, knowing what to expect on your next vacation is always worth talking about.

Advantages of Having an Auto Club Membership

There are a number of auto club memberships available these days and a common question for the consumer to have is, ‘Will the benefits of having a membership offset what it costs me to be a member?’ Figuring out whether an auto club membership will be worth the cost can be tricky because you may never have to use some of the benefits, but like an extended warranty plan on a major appliance – if you do end up needing it, you are sure glad that it’s there. Let’s take a quick look at what often comes as part of an auto club membership to get a better feel if they are worth your out of pocket cost to join.

Roadside Assistance
This is, in most cases, the single best benefit of an auto club, and you may never even have to use it. Most auto clubs offer twenty four hour assistance if your car breaks down for any reason. If you run out of gas, if your car overheats, if the battery is dead or if you blow out a tire and are stranded on the side of the road, day or night, rain or shine, you just call the number on your membership card and a representative from the auto club will be out to provide assistance. Whatever your annual membership fee may be, if you are stranded in the middle of no where in sub zero temperatures having someone come out to rescue you is well worth it.

There are some things you should look into about your auto clubs roadside assistance before you buy though. With some auto clubs you need to pay additional money for certain services provided or you end up paying a premium for the parts needed to get your car back on the road. You want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your membership money when it comes to the roadside assistance.

Travel Discounts
If you fancy yourself a world traveler, but you don’t have quite the disposable income that many world travelers do, a membership in an auto club could be a dream come true. Many auto clubs, like AAA for example, offer their loyal customers incredible discounts on all phases of travel booked through the club. As a member you’re entitled to big savings on vacation packages, plane tickets, guided tours and hotel rooms. Even if you don’t log a ton of miles in your car every year, if you plan on doing a good deal of traveling then an auto club membership could certainly be worth the cost.

Other Amenities
If the roadside assistance and the travel discounts just aren’t enough to convince you that an auto club membership is worth the cost, there still may be a few things to change your opinion. Many auto clubs offer their members special discounts at auto repair shops, some offer free tour guidebooks, maps and have representatives that will help you plan an upcoming trip.

So is an auto club membership worth it? The simplest answer is absolutely, if you are going to use it. The amount of money you can save on the travel, as well as all of the other potential discounts certainly make a membership in an auto club a good investment. If you book a trip or two, use the reps to help plan your travel route, purchase your plane tickets and make use of the discounts to repair your car you should be able to save much more money than the memberships cost you, but the biggest advantage you’ll get from the auto club membership is the piece of mind that comes with being taken care of regardless of what trouble you encounter on the road.

The Essential Hotel Guest – When Your Opinion Matters

As you’re planning a trip, the options for accommodations can be overwhelming. Combing through hotels and picking the best options based on your price, location, hotel supplies and amenities preferences isn’t easy. As you review hotels, keep in mind that most will meet or beat a competitor’s rate. Finding several hotels in a given area with similar rates, amenities and hotel supplies is normal. Hotels know most people want the best room they can afford even as they differ in terms of preferred amenities, rates and locations.

Survival in the hotel industry means delighting guests with unique, high quality hotel supplies, conveniences and other helpful extras. The managers of hotels realize that maintaining high occupancy rates depends on satisfied guests, exceptional customer service and useful amenities. Achieving consistently high occupancy rates is essential for a variety of reasons. This is where you come in. If there are hotel supplies you’d like to see, let the hotel know. If you were delighted with your stay, you’re more likely to pick the same hotel from the available hotels next time you visit. Conversely, if it was a nightmare, you’re not apt to return.

People travel for a variety of reasons, visiting friends and family among them. Complimentary toiletries and coffee service are among the hotel supplies and amenities that matter to some while others are satisfied with a hot shower. When you travel you’re likely to see a variety of hotel supplies depending on where you stay. While there are hotels that have pared down the amenities they offer to save on expenses, most hotels have realized that cutting back on amenities might affect occupancy rates and have made necessary cuts in other areas. They realize that guests notice lower quality or fewer hotel supplies.

Hotels are keenly aware that a free continental breakfast and plush towels are among the amenities and hotel supplies consumers expect. They can affect your decision to reserve a room and therefore they can affect occupancy rates. That’s one reason why which hotel supplies a hotel buys matters. Another common amenity that hotels and lodges offer is a free continental breakfast as a value-added amenity. Breakfast can be anything from do-it-yourself waffles to full breakfast buffets. Regardless of the presentation, as with other amenities and hotel supplies, it’s meant to impress you and reflect better value than the competition.

People travel for business and pleasure no matter the state of the economy which affects hotel occupancy rates. Families may stay local while others will travel further away but spend less. Businesses of every size are reducing the off-site training they do and scheduling fewer conferences at hotels. Managers of hotels know that they won’t be sold out on a regular basis and that keeping occupancy rates high at all times isn’t usually realistic. Having said that, hotels make every attempt to keep you happy because you’re their guest and what you think matters. At the end of every day, your thoughts and preferences affect their business.

How To Choose A Travel Agent You Won’t Regret

When it comes to making travel arrangements a travel agent can either make the process a dream or a nightmare. If you travel on a frequent basis finding a good travel agent that is reliable and trustworthy can be as important as a financial planner or a dentist. Here are a few tips to help you find a good one that won’t have you pulling your hair out while you are trying to plan a relaxing vacation.

One of the reasons for enlisting the services of is the fact that they can generally get better deals than the public due to the relationships they have formed with travel related companies such as airlines, hotels, and rental car companies. Their ability to get better deals is a great reason to use them but I like to use a travel agent just for the convenience. I can just call them up and tell them where I want to go and they will call me back with three or four choices to consider.

Like anything else, the key to finding a travel agent you can rely on is research. You can start out by asking friends and family for referrals of travel agents that they have enlisted the services of. Another excellent tool at your disposal of course, is the internet. With the internet you can find a list of agencies in your area and peruse their sites along with reviews and testimonials of their service. Look for forums and message boards where travelers talk about traveling and their experiences with travel agents. Even though everyone will have different opinions you can rest assured that a travel agent that gest good remarks from most people will be someone you can work with.

Another key indicator that can help in your search to find a good travel agent is whether they belong to the American Society of Travel Agents. The reason this is important is that allows the travel agents the ability to network with other members of the group such as cruise lines, airlines, hotels, and many other travel related companies. There are also certain minimum qualifications that must be met and maintained which means that the person involved will be more conscientious than one that is not a member.

It is perfectly right and acceptable for you to interview the prospective agent and ask questions of their qualifications and experience in order to make up your mind if they are the right agency for you and that they will be able to satisfy your travel needs. You should also ask them for references of clients who have used their services so you can get a third part’s take on them. By doing these things as you look for a travel agent it should help you to find one that will be good for you.