If you are using TripAdvisor as your primary source for hotel ratings you might as well roll a pair of dice to rate the hotel. To show you how wacky TripAdvisor ratings are, a travel magazine pointed out how the famous Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado is rated 4.5 on Trip Advisor. And at the same time, TripAdvisor rates the Staybridge Suites, Hampton Inn, and the Radisson Hotel the same 4.5. Give me a break. The Broadmoor is one of the iconic and historically significant resorts in the world and TripAdvisor says it is the same quality as staying at a Hampton Inn. At best the Staybridge Suites and Hampton Inn are 3.5-star hotels. Some could argue that The Broadmoor is either 4.5 or 5 stars, but comparing it with a Staybridge or Hampton Inn makes the ratings of TripAdvisor a joke at best or at worst make someone wonder if there are not some financial shenanigans going on with TripAdvisor.
Hidden Resort fees can add up to $45 a night to your hotel bill –
A majority of hotels and resorts in tropical destinations today are charging daily resort fees on top of your daily room charge. In theory, these fees pay for access to the pool, sauna, workout rooms and other hotel amenities whether you use these services or not. Hotels in Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean and even Las Vegas have for years been adding these fees as travelers check into the resort. Resort fees can range from $10 per room, per night to $45 per room, per night. Just recently hotels in New York City started charging a mandatory $25 a night “destination fee”. If the truth be told these fees are just one more way to extract money from hotel customers similar to the wi-fi fee that everyone hated. Now that the wi-fi fees are beginning to die the slow death they deserve perhaps this will allow the consumer to focus on how outrageous it is that hotels charge a resort fee and someday make it become as extinct as the dinosaur. CLICK HERE to read more on the new Destination fee in NYC.
In travel, You get what you pay for –
One of my favorite travel writers is Richard Turen who is a writer for Travel Weekly. His recent article really hit the nail on the head when we pronounced that in travel, you get what you pay for. It is that simple. He does a masterful job of explaining why you do not want “cheap” when it comes to travel, especially hotels. There is a big difference between “Cheap” and “Great Value”. His article takes only about 3 minutes to read so CLICK HERE to read more.
Enforce Your Travel Policy, Or Get Rid Of It –
This past week I wrote an article that appeared in the travel trade publication called “The Company dime’. The title of the article was “Enforce your travel policy, or get rid of it”. My article provided eight things that companies should consider to make a travel policy enforceable and adhered to by travelers. CLICK HERE to read the article.
Book your holiday travel now –
I know this sounds crazy but we are already seeing an amazing amount of early bookings for airlines and hotel reservations around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Even finding a hotel in a sun and fun resort destination between Christmas and New Years is starting to get very difficult to locate. If you are looking for bargains please don’t hold your breath. When things start to fill up this early prices go up even faster. Call one of our friendly travel advisors at 402-435-8888 and let us help you find your holiday vacation getaway.
Germany Brewery Tour and Oktoberfest – Final Call –
Join the most fun tour ever! Travel with us to Germany this September 26 – October 4, to tickle your taste buds as we visit some of the most spectacular breweries in the world, and enjoy a day at the Munich Oktoberfest. Our journey begins in Frankfurt and ends in Munich taking in some of the greatest sights of European culture and history while enjoying fabulous beer and food. Limited space available, see all the details HERE and call our friendly Group Department at 402-435-8888 to sign up today.
Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors…
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-7 37-0582
Many people do not realize that some countries will not allow you into their country if your passport is set to expire within 6 months of your date of entry. Some countries use 3 months and others use 6 months. The bottom line is that if your passport expires within the next 12 months you had better start the process of getting it renewed so you don’t find that perfect Italian get-away only to find out you can’t go because your passport is on its last legs. The U.S. State Department has a cool web site you can visit to see how many months your passport must have before you can enter the country. CLICK HERE to see.
Airfares to Europe skyrocket above $2000 RT this summer –
This is the busy season for air travel around the globe. I have been checking for airfares to the big European cities and find that airfares on many days of travel are over $2000 for a round trip coach seat even with a 21-day advance reservation. Wow! That is about 25% higher than I remember last year.
Iceland makes a giant jump up the tourism ladder –
London and Paris have always been the leaders of the pack as the top travel destinations for Americans. This year an amazing thing happened as Reykjavik, Iceland took over third place and bumped Rome into fourth place. Reykjavik took an amazing leap from 17th place in 2017 to third place this year. The dramatic increase in tourism to Reykjavik has been so strong some people are now even expressing concern of over-tourism and the possibility of limiting the number of tourists each year. Allianz Global Assistance does the analysis of their customers each year and reported this dramatic change. The top 10 destinations this year are: #1 London; #2 Paris; #3 Reykjavik; #4 Rome; #5 Amsterdam; #6 Dublin; #7 Barcelona; #8 Athens; #9 Madrid; #10 Frankfurt.
The average European hotel charges about 20% VAT tax that you can get refunded –
Many people do not realize that European hotels add a VAT (value added tax) to the cost of the room that can be refunded back to Americans when they travel. This is big bucks folks. There are some requirements of what information you need to provide to validate the refund, but individuals that take the time to collect the receipts and fill in the forms could enjoy a nice little bogey. Businesses can also take advantage of reclaiming VAT, but almost everyone uses a third party service that specializes in VAT reclaim. CLICK HERE to read a good article on VAT services.
The biggest mistake people make is putting off traveling until they retire –
In my thirty plus years in the travel business, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people tell me that they delayed traveling until they were retired, but when retirement came around their health had failed to the point they could not travel. How sad. That is why I always tell people to travel right now as you never know when your health issues (or those of your spouse) will keep you from traveling. No one’s work is so important that you can’t take two weeks a year to dream big dreams and visit new parts of this great big world. We would be happy to help you build your travel bucket list. Call one of our friendly vacation advisors today at 402-435-8888.
Passion for Passion Play? – Join us in 2020! Sign up now! –
This is the second time Executive Travel has the opportunity to share with you one of the most amazing plays ever; the Oberammergau Passion Play. This time Women of Nebraska will take off for a once-in-a-lifetime performance, a tradition hosted by the inhabitants of the pretty Ammer River valley village of Oberammergau in Bavaria, Germany, since 1634! During our 11-day journey, we will visit Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich. The Passion Play takes place every 10 years and this is a very popular trip, so do not hesitate to sign up. Space is limited to 25 travelers! CLICK HERE to view the full details. Call our friendly Group Department at 402-435-8888 for more information or email us at GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com. Come, join us! Solo or two-by-two!
Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors…
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582
This past week I flew Southwest Airlines from Omaha to Las Vegas as I had unused frequent flyer miles that I needed to use before they expired. Here are my observations of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the airline.
Good – The flights always seem on time – These guys run like clockwork.
Bad – Southwest does not offer seat assignments – so you have the famous cattle call and everyone lines up to fight for the best seats.
Good – Bags fly free – Southwest has made free baggage a giant branding message that saves travelers $25-$35 for every bag they check-in.
Bad – Airfares are often the most expensive compared to other airlines – Years ago Southwest was the low fare leader, today that isn’t so. A one-way ticket from Las Vegas to Omaha last week was $535. Wow. Remember when that used to be $49?
Good – Southwest has no charge to change your ticket – Other airlines will charge you $200 if you have to change your ticket. This is a giant competitive advantage for business travelers who need flexible flight options.
Bad – Southwest tries to prevent you from comparing their prices to other airlines – Generally speaking, they only allow prices to be found on their website and they are not listed on other online travel sites. Many people just visit southwest.comand assume they have the lowest prices. Not so my friend.
Good – Southwest seems to have the friendliest staff – They seem to be happy and enjoy their job.
Bad – Southwest tries to sell me flowers – The marketing department at Southwest is pushing the limit on the number and type of things they are trying to sell members of their frequent flyer programs. Last week they sent me an email selling flowers for mother’s day. They risk having their emails pushed into the spam file if they keep this up.
Good – They are rapidly expanding their network and now fly to Mexico and the Caribbean – Next, they will be adding Hawaii to the flight map.
Good – One of the best deals in the travel industries is Southwest’s “Companion Pass” – By using their credit card or flying so many flights you can earn the right for a companion to fly free on any of their flights for up to 23 months. This is an amazing program and may be the best deal in the industry. CLICK HERE for all the details.
Greece with Women of Nebraska! The greatest tour ever!
Do not miss the opportunity to join our Women of Nebraska tour to Greece this September. A unique way to travel through tales of history and immerse yourself in the symbols, traditions, and stories of holy places of the Sacred Feminine, wander the ancient paths and listen to the wisdom as it bubbles up from the earth. Savor time-honored wines, enjoy a simple diet that has been legendary for centuries, and experience the world-famous hospitality of the Greek people. CLICK HERE to see the detailed tour program. Call or email Anne at our group department for all the ins and outs of this once-in-a-lifetime journey including Myconos and Santorini; 402-435-8888 or GroupDepartment@executivetr
I am writing you today on my first day of a three-day business trip to Las Vegas. Spend just a few hours here and you will easily understand how it gets the nicknames of “sin city” and “glitter gulch”.
Here are my 10 travel tips when visiting Las Vegas and how it has changed over the years.
#1 – Don’t stay in anything less than a 4-star hotel in Las Vegas (LAS) – You will be really disappointed in your room, service, and quality of stay if you reach down to a 3 star in glitter gulch. The cost of a four-star hotel is still pretty reasonable (sometimes under $100) and you can even find deals on 5-star hotels when you travel mid-week. Hotels offer great prices for staying Sunday to Wednesday.
#2 – If you get a taxi driver who starts telling you stories you are paying too much for your cab fare – Talking taxi drivers are simply trying to distract you from realizing he is taking you the long way to your destination. Of the 6 taxi rides, I had to the same destination the two times I got drivers who talked all the time the taxi fare was $10 higher as they took us the “fastest route” instead of the direct route. When the taxi driver starts telling you stories you are in trouble.
#3 – Pay for your taxi ride with cash – They will charge you $3 extra to use your credit card.
#4 – Use Uber instead of taxis – It is faster and cleaner and cheaper.
#5 – Where have all the $1 shrimp cocktails and $2.99 all-you-can-eat buffets gone? – I guess I am aging myself when I think back to the good old days when they tried to draw you to LAS with the lowest priced buffets. Today’s buffets are a culinary dream that can cost upwards of $95 a person. CLICK HERE to find out about the best buffets.
#6 – LAS is the entertainment capital of the world – Every hotel has a major headliner. The best singers, dancers, magicians, Broadway productions, and comedians in the world perform here every night. Be sure to buy your tickets before you arrive in LAS as the shows fill up fast.
#7 – LAS is foodie heaven – If you are looking for great food from every corner of the world you will find it in LAS. Every top chef in the world has one or more restaurants in this city. Be prepared to open up your wallet if you sit down for dinner in this city. The average cost of a great steak, side dishes, and a few drinks can push $100 per person. Wait staff is paid very well so you will also be blessed with great service at almost every hotel restaurant here.
#8 – Hotels here will charge you a disgusting $39 daily resort fee – That is disgusting in my book. There ought to be a law preventing hotels from deceiving the public like this.
#9 – Up in smoke – Nevada last year approved recreational use of marijuana. Now the town is really going up in smoke.
#10 – Be prepare to walk and walk and walk – The hotels are so massive that just walking from the front desk to your room can be almost a 1/4 mile or more. And if you walk between hotels, what looks like just a few blocks on a map can actually be a few miles. Bring comfy shoes!
HERE ARE THREE BONUS RECOMMENDATIONS
#11 – Don’t rent a car if you are staying along the “Strip” – Valet parking can cost upwards of $75 a night. That pays for a lot of taxi cabs.
#12 – Don’t believe them when they tell you it is “not hot” but “dry heat” –When the temperature hits 110 degrees in LAS the low humidity only makes it feel like 105. It’s HOT in Las Vegas.
#13 – Be warned, taking your young family to LAS may be a mistake – You will find all the good, the bad, and the ugly of humanity in Las Vegas. It is bright, bold, brash and in your face. That freedom of expression in LAS is refreshing to some and disgusting to others.
Are you ready for some football? Attend our FREE Travel Night next week!
Our Huskers vs Northwestern football tour, October 12-14, is filling up. Please join our FREE Travel Night next Tuesday, May 15th, at 6:30 PM at The Harbor Coffeehouse (1265 S. Cotner Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68510), to learn all the details of this fun tour to Chicago. See all the details HERE. RSVP by clicking HERE or call our friendly Group Department at 402-458-9845. Join us next Tuesday and Go Big Red!