Your Money-Saving Guide to Holiday Vacations

Traveling over the holidays doesn’t have to be an ordeal. In this series, we’re sharing expert advice to help you use your credit cards to travel smarter and focus on having fun.

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SKY Airline

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Hospitality Management

Post-Pandemic Travelers Driving Demand for Private Villa Rentals

Article | July 4, 2023

It would be an understatement to say that the recent pandemic is ushering in a seismic shift for the travel trade, which suffered a collective gut punch as COVID-19 unrelentingly raged across the globe. New health and safety protocols, crisis management plans and other operational touchpoints are being overhauled to help those in—and dependent upon—the travel industry better pivot and adapt to the unforeseen. For travelers, priorities and sensibilities have also evolved on multiple fronts. For one, various reports extrapolate how privacy has become the new luxury. In fact, a “Covid Travel Outlook 2021” travel sentiment survey by Indagare found that travelers “feel more comfortable renting a home or private villa for added privacy” and that “more than half of those surveyed said that they are 54 percent more likely to rent a home than they were prior to coronavirus, preferring to ‘Stay at homes not hotels,’ for added security and peace of mind.” Other reports tout the key advantages of private luxury villa accommodations, with privacy and exclusive use entrenched among them. Amid the surge in category popularity, travelers must also consider ways to aptly vet luxe private villa options amid a burgeoning field. According to an Indagare.com story outlining the benefits of “going private,” proximity is one overarching booking factor noting that “for some travelers, a house close to town or affiliated with a nearby resort or hotel provides the perfect combination of exclusivity and access (to restaurants, coffee shops, fitness classes, etc.). Others prefer staying someplace further removed, opting for a home with fewer amenities or a lavish villa with every convenience under the sun.” The article also points out another critical aspect that, all too often, is taken for granted: availability. The story cites the reality that “accommodations can fill up months or even a year in advance,” which some more spontaneous wanderers might not expect. Relative to post-pandemic issues, the story further cautions that “this year, with exclusivity at an unprecedented premium and fewer destinations open to international arrivals, early planning is crucial. One reason: Many travelers are opting for longer stays, now that remote work and Zoom classes are ubiquitous, meaning there’s less turnover. For these extended trips—workcations or staycations—having strong WiFi, reliable phone service and separate areas for being productive are key factors when choosing the right rental.” With this and other public discourse helping spur private villa reservations, I sought to connect with one purveyor in the space that is making due strides: Destinations in Paradise. This boutique agency offers a suite of architectural five-star private villas in four locales: The Big Island and Kauai, Hawaii as well as Los Cabos, Mexico and Mendocino, California. Having personally experienced this company’s brand of haute hospitality on the Big Island, I sought to connect with the founders—David Cohen and Howard Appel—for some clarity on how they’ve apparently adapted so well in the post-pandemic era. Here’s what they had to say. MK: So, first, let’s talk about the properties, themselves, and also your company at large. What sets Destinations in Paradise apart from other luxury home and private villa purveyors in the various regions where you operate? Cohen: It's essentially our caliber of white glove service, which is highly personalized and with the very best amenities that can be provided. The company was started because we wanted to have some fun, as Howard and I had been retired a while. We wanted to give people, especially those desiring privacy and security, the kind of high-caliber experience that we would expect. When someone arrives at one of our homes, they're greeted and welcomed with enthusiasm and everything to elevate the experience is there. This includes the best linens, a house full of flowers and arrival gifts. In Mendocino, we leave fresh-baked goods and wine. In Mexico, our guests are greeted with cold towels and margaritas. Plus, any special requests are accommodated. Even when guests depart, we give them a thank you gift for having booked a stay with us. Overall, it’s a very personalized experience. It’s akin to having a member of the family come and stay. You get up early in the morning, make them breakfast and generally make them feel at home … that this is their home for the duration of the visit. The difference is that it's a five-star experience at every touch point. Appel: We, ourselves, like to travel in luxury and, as we started acquiring the properties, we realized that this is a great opportunity to offer to other people the same kind of treatment we enjoy. It's the way we all would love to be treated. And we think we offer it differently and more special than others. The business sort of just fell into place as bookings escalated and we started to acquire additional properties. MK: In the luxury travel space, much is said about the importance of personal touches to elevate the experience. So, can you provide an example of things you all do in this regard to go over-and-above for high-end luxury travelers? Cohen: Here's one interesting example about the Mexican property, for example: It's two acres of the most gorgeous landscaping that you've ever seen. Even though it's in the middle of a desert, we are desalinating seawater using solar power, so the yards and the landscaping and the flowers are all very lush, but still desert-type plants. The interesting thing is that Howard and I have worked together for close to 40 years and, until we actually got into this business, I had no idea that he had this artistic flair. The landscaping at all of the houses is beyond spectacular. My own personal favorite is the Mendocino home, which has the equivalent of an English country garden. You can just go and sit in there and read a book, sitting in the fresh air with beautiful butterflies and bees buzzing around. The Hawaiian property is the same; it’s just gorgeous, perfect Hawaii. Appel: It's important to note that these homes are indoor-outdoor homes. We want to make sure we carry the luxury on both sides. If you actually do a search of our home in Cabo on Google Earth, you can easily spot it because it's the only significant patch of green anywhere along the east scape. This kind of lush, natural beauty is just one of the many ways that we cater to our guests relative to the luxurious aspects both inside and outside of the homes. MK: You touched on some of it already, but what are some other special amenities and activities that you offer in, and around, the homes that are available to guests? Appel: One key aspect is that each home comes with a concierge service. Our guests can partake in any activity in the local surroundings. We try to offer the opportunities within the local community and try to personalize that. In Mexico, it might be premiere deep-sea fishing, surfing and paddle boarding. In Mendocino, we're about 30-minutes from Anderson Valley, so we can arrange for private wine tours. Especially during the recent pandemic, to help our guests have fun but also avoid big crowds was important to us. Of course, the homes in Hawaii and Mexico have beautiful pools, swim-up bars and each property has its own set of unique amenities on-site a like solar-lighted tennis court. In fact, when we travel to Mexico—in the seven or eight times we've been there—I think we've left the property twice. There's no reason to go elsewhere because everything is there with you. Whatever you want to do, whatever the guests would like, we can make it happen. MK: Speaking of the pandemic, obviously the past year and a half has been tough for the travel industry, so how have the recent health concerns impacted your business with respect to private villa versus hotel, resort or other kinds of accommodations? And, also, the guest experience while actually visiting a property? Appel: We took COVID very seriously from the beginning and, yes, 2020 was a hard year for us. We lost almost all of our business, but we used that down time as an opportunity to continue to enhance the homes. Even now, when guests come to one of our properties, they're greeted in a manner that best assures their health and safety. We have our house managers maintain their distance and use masks, of course. But, during the guests’ stay, we also make sure we work around their calendars to not intrude on their stay there. We take it very seriously. And, in fact, when a guest leaves, we have a minimum 48 hours between guests so we can properly clean and sanitize the home for the next guest. MK: Many people often associate private villa experiences more with leisure travel versus business. But I know Destinations in Paradise properties are also utilized in business—especially when there are privacy, exclusivity and health-related preferences. Plus, of course, the properties are also perfectly suited for corporate events, retreats and even utilized as incentives and rewards for employees and business partners. So, tell us about these kinds of corporate benefits. Cohen: Even though the houses are focused on providing a safe, comfortable environment for families and extended small events, we do also host small, medium and large-scale corporate events at the houses. Whether it's a two-person law firm figuring out how they're going to run their businesses remotely, to a large distillery that wants to try and get their name out for a new product for, say, tequila in Mexico, our homes are an apt venue. Of course, we host weddings and social media is prompting bookings from people like rappers who want a place to chill out and rethink what their next shows or postings are going to be. And we've hosted philanthropic events like releasing baby turtles in the beaches of Mexico to address species endangerment. For that, a university in Mexico held a business meeting at our property, and as a gift we paid and supported their release of 600 hatchlings. Howard has also had some dealings with movie studios that are interested in hosting either corporate get togethers and business strategy meetings. And, in at least two instances that I can recall, they’ve considered using the homes as part of a movie production. I should also mention that each of the homes have the ability to cater for large and small groups. If we bring chefs in, that event never ever needs to leave the property. The house in Mexico, for instance, has two kitchens that are fully capable of catering to as many people as the property can accommodate, which is substantial, but each of the homes have the ability to cater internally and not rely on outside services. Appel: All the homes offer businesses a unique opportunity to host meetings and events, from the very large as in Mexico, to even Mendocino for smaller gatherings. They’re all unique and offer the privacy, security and comfort that private villa venues offer—all, of course, with our discerning five-star touch.

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Hospitality Management

How finance teams can proactively manage travel spend before it happens

Article | July 18, 2023

Controlling how employees spend company money on travel has been one of the biggest historic challenges for finance teams. Most company spend is governed by purchase orders, with payments made in relation to specific invoices from the company’s own bank. The data is available transparent and can be analyzed to spot any inconsistencies. But controlling travel spend, which is most company’s largest discretionary spend area, is much harder. Employees increasingly organize their own travel, empowered by corporate self-booking tools for search, booking, and payment. This can help with visibility, particularly if the corporate uses lodge or virtual cards to pay. However, pre-trip spend like air and hotel bookings only represent 50-60% of the money spent on travel. What about the rest?

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Hospitality Management

Trends and Opportunities in Hospitality Management Careers

Article | July 19, 2023

Embrace the opportunity in hospitality management careers. Make a difference in tourism to benefit businesses & explore rewarding pathways within sustainable hospitality and tourism industry. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Current Trends in Hospitality Management Careers 2.1. Technology Integration in the Hospitality Industry 2.2. Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness 2.3. Personalization and Customization 2.4. Focus on Wellness and Health 3. Importance of Skill Development and Training for Hospitality Management Careers 4. Emerging Opportunities for Hospitality Management Careers 1. Introduction Embarking on a career in hospitality management opens the doors to a captivating world of endless possibilities within a dynamic and continuously expanding industry. Whether aspirations are rooted in hotel management, restaurant operations, event planning, or tourism, the hospitality sector boasts a multitude of diverse roles and avenues to explore. To embark on this exciting journey, a combination of formal education, practical experience, and a service-oriented mindset is paramount. By acquiring the necessary skills, forging connections with industry professionals, and staying attuned to the latest trends, one can strategically position oneself for a fulfilling and ever-evolving career in this thriving field. 2. Current Trends in Hospitality Management Careers 2.1. Technology Integration in the Hospitality Industry The pandemic accelerated consumers' adoption of technology in hospitality industry, while hotels quickly embraced new tools like contactless check-in systems and branded applications. However, a significant digital skills gap persists among hospitality workers, with nearly one in three lacking necessary AI, machine learning, and content-driven marketing competencies. Trends in the hospitality industry presents a tremendous opportunity for individuals seeking a career in hospitality management. Upskilling in digital roles highly sought after by hotel brands, such as digital marketing, cybersecurity, e-commerce sales, data analysis, social media management, mobile app development, and digital guest experience management, can pave the way for a thriving career in the industry. Combining a hospitality management course with specialized training in digital marketing or ICT equips professionals to excel in the digital hotel economy. As the hospitality industry continues integrating technology, skilled individuals with digital expertise will play a vital role in driving innovation, enhancing guest experiences, and staying ahead of the competition. 2.2. Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness 90% of employees believe that companies should prioritize positive impacts on the planet as much as they prioritize profits. Moreover, consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental issues. A survey among 72,000 Hilton guests revealed that approximately 33% preferred hotels with environmental and social programs, emphasizing the significance of sustainability. (Source: ehotelier) Therefore, many hotels embrace sustainable practices, leading to a global shift towards the low-impact hospitality industry. The rise of green hotels contributes to a more environmentally conscious sector and creates additional employment opportunities for hotel staff. The demand for specialized green skills, such as auditing, compliance oversight, and change management, further reinforces the need for specialization in this expanding field. Sustainable hotels and eco-tourism offer a growing array of career options for individuals passionate about the environment, travel and hospitality sector. By pursuing a career in this sector, professionals can contribute to preserving the planet while capitalizing on the increasing demand for sustainability-focused services. 2.3. Personalization and Customization Customers in today's market seek tailored experiences that cater to their unique preferences and needs, prompting hotels and hospitality businesses to prioritize personalized offerings. The rise of technology has played a crucial role in enabling personalization at various touchpoints. From personalized welcome messages to customized recommendations based on guest preferences, hotels harness data and advanced analytics to deliver exceptional and individualized guest experiences. This trend creates exciting opportunities for professionals seeking to excel in hospitality and tourism careers. Roles such as guest experience managers, data analysts, and CRM specialists are in high demand as businesses strive to provide personalized services to their guests. Additionally, expertise in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data analysis, and guest profiling can significantly enhance career prospects. By staying updated on emerging technologies, honing customer-centric skills, and understanding the importance of data-driven decision-making, hospitality professionals can thrive careers in hospitality industry that are focused on personalization and customization. Embrace this trend, and position yourself at the forefront of delivering unforgettable, tailored experiences in the hospitality industry. 2.4. Focus on Wellness and Health The pandemic has led people to be health conscious, and therefore, they have started prioritizing it, resulting in the growth of people prioritizing health with massive US $1.7 trillion market. With an expected growth rate of 44% in 2022, wellness is the fastest-growing segment of the tourism sector. With this explosion of consumer interest, hotel brands are expanding into the wellness space and acquiring reputable spa, wellness and fitness brands. Hyatt, for example, recently received Two Roads, Miraval and Exhale, and IHG acquired Six Senses. For hotel professionals , this trend opens up a new potential career opportunity that combine expertise in the wellness area with skills relevant to the hotel industry. For those who are passionate about wellness and health and like the idea of a career in beautiful locations and settings, this might be the right pathway in the hospitality and management career. 3. Skill Development & Training Importance for Hospitality Management Careers The hospitality industry is known for its focus on providing exceptional service and creating positive guest experiences. It is a people-oriented sector that relies on the skills and efforts of individuals to ensure customer satisfaction. Skill development is paramount in this industry as it encompasses diverse skills necessary for running a successful enterprise. Hospitality is a deliberate and sustained effort to maintain mutual understanding between organizations and the public, adapting to market requirements. As one of the fastest-growing sectors in the global economy, the industry faces the challenge of aligning its skills requirements with the evolving labor market. With approximately 10% of the global workforce engaged in the tourism and hospitality-related industry, skill development becomes a crucial concern for every entity operating as a hospitality service provider. Effective skill development programs and training initiatives enable professionals to acquire the necessary competencies to excel in their roles and deliver exceptional guest experiences. By investing in skill development and training, individuals in hospitality management careers enhance their abilities and adapt to changing customer demands. Continuous improvement in skills ensures that professionals meet guests' diverse needs and contribute to their organizations' success. 4. Emerging Opportunities for Hospitality Management Careers The hospitality industry is rapidly growing and evolving, presenting exciting career opportunities. To adapt to changing dynamics, the sector emphasizes the importance of skill development and training. The global health crisis has acted as a catalyst for innovation and technology adoption, enhancing customer experiences. Hospitality education has transformed to meet industry demands, ensuring a talented workforce with relevant skill sets. Aspiring students can explore diverse career prospects in hospitality, culinary entrepreneurship, revenue management, media, e-commerce, client servicing, lifestyle consulting, and health & wellness. Bespoke hospitality has expanded beyond traditional hotels, offering personalized experiences like luxury staycations, glamping, and high-end cruises. Culinary entrepreneurship thrives on creativity and unique dining concepts. The health and wellness segment is rapidly growing, focusing on improving customers' physical and mental well-being. Media and technology play significant roles, with social media engagement, e-commerce platforms, and virtual experiences shaping the industry. Customer service, revenue management, and 'human' skills like critical thinking and communication are highly valued. Skill development is crucial for success in the ever-evolving hospitality field. Professionals who embrace continuous learning and stay abreast of industry trends will seize abundant career opportunities in this dynamic sector. 5. Key Takeaway Careers in the hospitality industry offers various opportunities in hotel management, restaurant operations, event planning, and tourism. To succeed in this dynamic field, skill development and training are essential. Emerging trends such as technology integration, sustainability, personalization, and focus on wellness present exciting avenues for hospitality professionals. Digital skills are in high demand as hotels adopt new technologies and emphasize digital marketing, cybersecurity, data analysis, and guest experience management. Sustainability is a growing focus, with green hotels and eco-tourism creating opportunities for professionals with auditing and change management skills. Personalization and customization are key as hotels leverage technology to deliver tailored guest experiences, requiring expertise in guest management and data analysis. The wellness industry is also booming, offering potential career paths for those passionate about health and wellness.

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Hospitality Trends

Why Working in Hotel Management is a Nightmare!

Article | January 3, 2022

If a kid comes to me nowadays and tells me about his passion for working in the hotel industry, he goes back home with a dream to become a pilot. I am not saying that the hotel industry is the worst kind of industry currently existing in today’s environment, but I am also not denying that. Now, no offence to the hoteliers. You guys rock! It is no joke to work on a New Year Eve and see other people celebrating it while you guys make it happen. You have my respect! But I am probably not that tough. It took me a whole trial and error approach to declare this industry a nightmare for me. But I have so many of my friends still working in hotels and loving every second of their life. (At least that’s what they tell me.) So why were our experiences so different? Why do I know that so many people are not really made for this industry? And what does it take to be a hotelier? I will try to answer these questions through my experience and observations. Why Hotel Management? It is that one question that is the most common and important one. Before taking any big decision, one should be asking a similar question. But what was my why? Allow me to rewind my journey. I was in my 12th with commerce stream, and I was going through that self-enquiry phase. What after this? There was no 13th, nor did I enjoy accountancy too much to do it until I die. So I used to surf the internet and explore different career options almost every day. That was one of my significant hobbies during that time. I used to evaluate my choices, and very soon I understood that I had limited options in the commerce field. So it was arts then? But what was the median salary in that sector? After a lot of research, I realised the median salary in the arts sector was ‘disappointing’. But still, if not that, then what? What was I going to do with my life? It was then that I saw the picture of a cruise ship and remembered 'Titanic'. It was then that I imagined the luxury of a 5-star hotel. It was that moment where I was about to make one of the stupidest decisions of my life. I had never stepped into a kitchen nor showed the slightest interest in making any dish. I never really fancied cleaning glasses, nor did I like managing people under me. I also didn’t know absolutely anything about what was this industry all about. But I dared to share it with my sister, and she was like, wow! It sounds so different! I told this to my friends, and they were like, wow! We always knew you would be doing something different! I told this to my father, and he told me students have to clean toilets during the internship, and I shouted, ‘But that’s not a big deal! Anyone can do that!’ Dad said, ‘Do whatever you want to do then, my son.’ Well, so what did I want apart from freedom in my life at that point? Maybe maturity? Oh! Screw that! So I gave the entrance exam and got a decent rank. I desired to stand in the lobby of a 5-star-hotel and meet salacious women. I was pretty sure that many women would choose that industry apart from me. That was enough motivation! So yes, my reasons to choose the hotel industry was very logical and thoughtful, suffice to say. What Happens in a Hotel? The hotel industry is one of the most glamorous industries out there. Everything is so clean, eloquent, expensive, and pretty. People come to a 5-star hotel, are warmly welcomed, served drinks; they are provided comfortable beds to sleep in, and they enjoy their stay and endless services. Then they simply check out. My only mistake while considering this option was that I wouldn’t be treated like one of those ‘People’ there. In our very first lecture, the term ‘Guest’ was taught to us and how we are not them. We are the ones who would serve them. We would be the waiters, the cooks, the greeters, the bartenders, etc. We wouldn’t be drinking with them but watching them while they would be cavorting. That was a shocker! So many things happen in a hotel, and hoteliers make those things happen. They do all the hard work. The Bakery Chef would spend hours decorating the cake, which the guests would smash on each other's faces. The housekeeper would clean the bathtub while the guest would take five more baths after that. The front desk agent would be greeting the guest during check-in, and the guest would throw tantrums because of his arduous journey. Suddenly my bubble broke, and I realised what I really signed for. I signed for an everyday vacation in hell. Who Survives? I think adulthood is about that realisation when you get to know that bread isn’t free. And what buys that bread isn’t that easy to get. And how much that thing matters to you is going to decide how happy you are going to be in your life. If I was that guy who had grown up watching Masterchef and experimenting in the Kitchen all my life, then a Gordon Ramsey could have come out of me. If I were a fastidious guy who wanted everything to be clean and perfect, then an entrepreneur or a manager could have come out of me who would have tried to do that during his job. If I were a guy who loved making people smile, then interacting with guests while serving the food or taking their check-ins would have been the best things out there for me. You get my point! There are so many things that could have made hotel management an ideal career choice for me. It really is a glamorous industry, and it can provide satisfaction as a career option to some people out there. But that wasn’t the case with me. Sadly that wasn’t the case with many of my batchmates and colleagues of mine as well. After completing my three-year graduation, four-month industrial training, and one-year job as a Front Desk Agent, I quit. Nor could the managers inspire me, nor any other incentives that the industry had to offer. My future looked as grim as the life of an insect (No offence to you if you are an insect.) So yes, be wise before choosing this industry because this industry demands a lot! It is one of the most selfless jobs out there, and you have to be prepared for the nasty feedbacks after all your hard work. So do some self-inspection (Unlike me) if you are stuck in this industry or are planning to do so. And if you love where you are right now, then as I said, you have my respect.

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Spotlight

SKY Airline

We are an airline of right people, close, courageous and committed to our vision of being the best low cost airline in Chile and the Southern Cone of America and getting more people to fly, democratizing the way we travel, connecting people, families and business.

Related News

Travel Technology

Sonesta's Travel SOS Offers Relief for Holiday Travel Disruptions

Sonesta Hotels | November 06, 2023

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has launched a new service called Travel SOS to help travelers during holiday travel disruptions by providing information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or online using a promo code, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Despite potential limitations such as room availability and location coverage, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Sonesta International Hotels Corporation launches a new service, Travel SOS (Sonesta Overnight Stay), aimed at easing the stress of holiday travel disruptions. The service provides stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels during the busy holiday season. Travelers can access the service via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online. The initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, offering peace of mind to travelers across its diverse portfolio of 17 brands and over 1,200 properties. Chris Trick, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sonesta, reportedly conveyed his optimism about the Travel SOS solution. He emphasized that Travel SOS exemplifies Sonesta's dedication to delivering superior service to travelers, especially during peak and challenging travel periods. He noted that the service, accessible via phone or online, offers up-to-date information on over 1,200 Sonesta properties, thereby providing travelers with reassurance. This allows them to relax and fully enjoy the holiday season. The new Travel SOS service launched by Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has its own set of potential drawbacks and benefits. On the downside, the service might be limited by the availability of rooms at Sonesta hotels, especially during peak travel times. If all rooms are booked, the service may not be able to provide the desired assistance. Additionally, the service might be less useful for travelers who are stranded in locations where Sonesta hotels are not present. On the upside, the service is designed to ease the stress of holiday travel disruptions by providing stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. This is useful throughout the holidays. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Furthermore, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Travel SOS is crafted to be accessed with dial-to-book or click-to-book options, a dedicated Travel SOS hotline and a promo code STAYSOS for online reservations using Sonesta’s website's offers’ section.

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The holiday villas changing the way we travel

Telegraph | January 21, 2019

It was a misty Thursday morning, with the low Tuscan hills’ muted tones in the distance, when we set out with a six-year-old Lagotto Romagnolo in pursuit of something my children both love and hate. Truffles – the fungus, not the chocolates – are catnip in my house when they come in the form of musky oil on crisps (£3.95 at our local deli). On pasta, they’re less well received. But Antonia (six) and Henry (four) were suitably impressed with the set-up: a hipster and a farmer in pursuit of a high-value product; if there was a scent of earthy delights, there was also more than a whiff of a Famous Five mission. We followed Paulo, president of the local truffle-hunting association, who was dressed in camouflage and accompanied by his dog, Millie, past a cemetery and into the hills, where we met our translator, Lorenzo, the landowner, who had abandoned a tech-focused life in cosmopolitan Siena to get back to nature (well, the sort of nature where one wears skinny jeans and Ray-Bans) with his family. Millie had been in training from the age of two months: Paulo hid morsels of truffles under the ground or in the grass, making a game of chasing down this fragrant harvest.

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Random holiday generator: a new city break service to surprise destinations

Guardian | January 09, 2019

I’m standing on a bridge, taking in the panorama of the Plaza de España in Seville. I’m in this spot because a month ago I received a cryptic postcard from a stranger instructing me to travel to the Spanish city. I’m not a kooky assassin who receives her assignments via postcard like Villanelle in Killing Eve, it’s just that I’ve signed up to new subscription travel service BRB, which every four months sends its customers on a city break to a surprise destination. Hoping to appeal to a generation that listens to music via Spotify, watches films and TV on Netflix and probably has at least one gym membership they’ve forgotten about, subscribers to BRB pay a monthly fee (£49.99 for a solo traveler and £89 for two people) to unlock a three-day, two-night city break every four months.

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Travel Technology

Sonesta's Travel SOS Offers Relief for Holiday Travel Disruptions

Sonesta Hotels | November 06, 2023

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has launched a new service called Travel SOS to help travelers during holiday travel disruptions by providing information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or online using a promo code, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Despite potential limitations such as room availability and location coverage, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Sonesta International Hotels Corporation launches a new service, Travel SOS (Sonesta Overnight Stay), aimed at easing the stress of holiday travel disruptions. The service provides stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels during the busy holiday season. Travelers can access the service via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online. The initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, offering peace of mind to travelers across its diverse portfolio of 17 brands and over 1,200 properties. Chris Trick, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sonesta, reportedly conveyed his optimism about the Travel SOS solution. He emphasized that Travel SOS exemplifies Sonesta's dedication to delivering superior service to travelers, especially during peak and challenging travel periods. He noted that the service, accessible via phone or online, offers up-to-date information on over 1,200 Sonesta properties, thereby providing travelers with reassurance. This allows them to relax and fully enjoy the holiday season. The new Travel SOS service launched by Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has its own set of potential drawbacks and benefits. On the downside, the service might be limited by the availability of rooms at Sonesta hotels, especially during peak travel times. If all rooms are booked, the service may not be able to provide the desired assistance. Additionally, the service might be less useful for travelers who are stranded in locations where Sonesta hotels are not present. On the upside, the service is designed to ease the stress of holiday travel disruptions by providing stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. This is useful throughout the holidays. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Furthermore, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Travel SOS is crafted to be accessed with dial-to-book or click-to-book options, a dedicated Travel SOS hotline and a promo code STAYSOS for online reservations using Sonesta’s website's offers’ section.

Read More

The holiday villas changing the way we travel

Telegraph | January 21, 2019

It was a misty Thursday morning, with the low Tuscan hills’ muted tones in the distance, when we set out with a six-year-old Lagotto Romagnolo in pursuit of something my children both love and hate. Truffles – the fungus, not the chocolates – are catnip in my house when they come in the form of musky oil on crisps (£3.95 at our local deli). On pasta, they’re less well received. But Antonia (six) and Henry (four) were suitably impressed with the set-up: a hipster and a farmer in pursuit of a high-value product; if there was a scent of earthy delights, there was also more than a whiff of a Famous Five mission. We followed Paulo, president of the local truffle-hunting association, who was dressed in camouflage and accompanied by his dog, Millie, past a cemetery and into the hills, where we met our translator, Lorenzo, the landowner, who had abandoned a tech-focused life in cosmopolitan Siena to get back to nature (well, the sort of nature where one wears skinny jeans and Ray-Bans) with his family. Millie had been in training from the age of two months: Paulo hid morsels of truffles under the ground or in the grass, making a game of chasing down this fragrant harvest.

Read More

Random holiday generator: a new city break service to surprise destinations

Guardian | January 09, 2019

I’m standing on a bridge, taking in the panorama of the Plaza de España in Seville. I’m in this spot because a month ago I received a cryptic postcard from a stranger instructing me to travel to the Spanish city. I’m not a kooky assassin who receives her assignments via postcard like Villanelle in Killing Eve, it’s just that I’ve signed up to new subscription travel service BRB, which every four months sends its customers on a city break to a surprise destination. Hoping to appeal to a generation that listens to music via Spotify, watches films and TV on Netflix and probably has at least one gym membership they’ve forgotten about, subscribers to BRB pay a monthly fee (£49.99 for a solo traveler and £89 for two people) to unlock a three-day, two-night city break every four months.

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