If you’ve ever been in a hotel trying to sleep and the wedding party — or fraternity formal, high school band, college football team, or rampaging horde of invading Mongols — returns from its festivities, you know how frustrating it can be to have your peaceful night interrupted.
Now imagine if the hotel could monitor the decibel levels in its rooms and environments and handle the partiers without you having to call down to the front desk?
Quietyme does just that. Founded in 2012 and currently deployed at the Radisson Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as throughout the HotelRed chain, Quietyme installs sensors in rooms for $3/month subscription and samples the noise level in those rooms once per second.
It streams the results to the front desk so that management can proactively respond. Through independent studies, Quietyme found that its technology reduced hotel noise levels by 65 percent at properties where it was deployed. It also helped reduce property damage.
According to the JD Power’s 2015 North America Hotel Satisfaction Survey, hotel noise is the second largest problem guests report to management after Internet connectivity. According to Huey Zoroufy, chief technology officer for Quietyme, instead of reporting the problem, customers are going online and leaving poor reviews about their stays. Quietyme gives hotels an opportunity to anticipate their clients’ needs, and solve problems before they become problems.
That anticipation translates into a higher score for the hotel, according to the same JD Power study. Hotels scored 310 points higher out of 1,000 if they strongly agreed that the staff anticipated their needs rather than responded to them.
Don’t be surprised if you see this type of technology spread to more hotel chains in the coming year. It might make you think twice about what kind of “in-room activities” you choose to participate in, or not participate in, while on vacation.
What do you do when you have noisy hotel neighbors or other hotel noise? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page.
Photo credit: Ben Chun (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)
A week or so ago, we talked about how Baby Boomers are traveling more and more, changing the face of leisure travel. But as the largest demographic group in the US, Millennials are making their own voices heard as millennial travelers.
Road Warrior Voices recently published an recent article by Jessica Festa, who self-identifies as a millennial traveler. She notes the image people have of Millennials as young folks is starting to age out, along with Millennials themselves.
Right now, Millennials fall between ages 16 – 27. Older people on this spectrum are getting both families and fancy jobs. Millennials are growing up and earning money to spend on travel.As it turns out, Millennials are also a bit more frugal than other groups. A November 2014 survey by Resonance indicated that Millennials spend considerably less per trip than the average U.S. traveler: about $888 per trip versus the average traveler’s $1,347.
This can be seen as part of the millennial mindset that seeks out happiness rather than focusing just on money. Millennials tend to seek meaningful connections when they travel, which is forcing some companies to offer more meaningful experiences, but for less money, which is increasing the popularity of volunteer vacations and ecotours.
The same survey found that Millennials travel more than other age groups and have a greater tendency to take group vacations.
Although there’s another stereotype that says Millennials use social media to the point where they don’t even enjoy being in the moment, the fact is they often use social media to form closer connections to the places they traveling to. (Which should be a hint to travel destinations to be on social media themselves, in order to grow those relationships and encourage return visitors.)
They also use social media to plan their trips and find deals while they’re out on the open road. They’re also not averse to staying with complete strangers as proven by the couch surfing and AirBNB trend. They’re certainly not the only folks using these technologies, of course.
How about it, Millennials? What kinds of things do you do when you travel? Leave us a comment, or visit our Facebook page on your mobile phone and let us hear from you.
- Millennials Travel With A Global Mindset (abackpackerstale.com)
- Millennial Vacations Are Creating A Travel Industry Headache (businesspundit.com)
- How Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers Travel (travelproluggageblog.com)
The differences between Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers are never more evident than when we travel. Where we go, how we get there, what we do, and how much we spend all vary depending on our demographic. We’re alike in some ways, we’re very different in others.
Shullman Research studied households with an annual income of more than $75,000 to see how each group preferred to travel, and created an infographic to show us just what those differences were.
Here are a few examples of what they found.
- Millennials head to Hawaii more than Boomers and Gen Xers: 19% of Millennials travel to the 50th state, compared to 6% each of Boomers and Gen Xers. Meanwhile, 10% of Boomers prefer Nevada’s dry climate, while 18% of Gen X prefers Florida.
- When it comes to international travel, 23% of Millennials visit Asia, Generation X heads to the Caribbean (22%) or Canada (21%), while we Boomers head to Europe (61%) or the Caribbean (my favorite; I’m part of the 48% who vacation there).
- Flying is the preferred method of travel, with 28% of Millennials, 36% of Gen Xers, and 31% of Boomers taking to the air. But 39% of Gen X also prefers to travel by car, since they can turn this thing around if you don’t settle down back there.
- When it comes to cruises, we were surprised to see Millennials actually prefer them more than their older counterparts — 16% versus 11% (Gen X) and 13% (Boomers).
For more insights and information, you can see the entire infographic at AdWeek.com, and get a better insight into how different demographic groups prefer to travel.
What are your travel preferences? Do you match up with your demographic group, or do you prefer going against conventional wisdom? Leave a comment and let us hear from you.
- How Millennials Killed Travel Marketing As We Know It (visual.ly)
- How brands can tap into millennial wanderlust (digiday.com)
- Wanderu launches Android app for bus and train booking in the U.S. (mashable.com)
While we still don’t have jetpacks, or personal hovercraft to take us to work, we are seeing more robots that assist travelers with mundane, easily automated tasks.
After reading about them in a Yahoo Travel article, these robots sound like they will add a lot of comfort and convenience to the weary traveler.
Another exciting robot is located at the award-winning Indianapolis airport. This robot is located atop a Segway and gives travelers directions around the airport. It’s like the virtual presence device Sheldon created on Big Bang Theory when he met Steve Wozniak.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport has included some robots on the payroll as well. These robots sort baggage and load it onto carts.
Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Quantum of the Seas has an even more exciting robot. It actually makes drinks! Travelers input drink orders into a tablet and the robot cranks them out for you.
And finally, Starwood’s Aloft hotel in Cupertino, California, has put a robot to work delivering room service. The main benefit here is that you don’t have to worry about looking respectable when your room service arrives. We’re not sure about the etiquette of robot tipping, however.
We do wonder how far away we are from fully automatic baggage checks. It seems like it would be a pretty great use of this type of technology and it sounds like some places are already halfway there.
We noticed that the bottom of the article contained a survey for readers to indicate how comfortable they are with the new robot technology that is beginning to surround us. Over half of those answering said they are excited about the technology with a much smaller percentage of people worried about robots taking jobs and/or destroying humanity.
How do you feel about robots in the travel business? Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment, or just leave one below. Let us hear from you.
- Savioke’s Robot Butler Brings You Room Service (spectrum.ieee.org)
We’ve all heard that we should be careful when traveling alone, and we sometimes worry that this keeps people from traveling at all.
The whole “you need to be comfortable with yourself” philosophy aside for the moment, we think it’s possible, and even enjoyable, to travel by yourself.
We recently read an article in Women’s Health about traveling alone. Although the article is aimed at women, men could benefit from some of the tips as well, such as dressing more conservatively than you would at home, especially if you’re going to visit a country where the culture is very different from your own.
Also, avoid dressing like you’re going to Home Depot on a Saturday morning. Try to fit in more with the local fashion, if only to avoid being identified as a tourist. Keep your gadgets, if you have them with you, hidden away in public places in order to avoid scrutiny and increased security.
If you want to meet people while traveling, go on a group trip as an individual. This way, you can meet people without having to make too much effort as it’s a lot easier to make new friends within such a group. Going somewhere as a volunteer is another great way to meet new people because in most cases, you will work together with others as a team to accomplish something meaningful.
We also liked the advice “be unapologetically selfish.” When you travel alone, you get to see only the things you want to see, so you can skip the collection telegraph pole photographs just because someone else wanted to see them. And you don’t have to visit the museum everyone else says you “have to” see.
One of our employees is a woman who has traveled extensively for business. She said these tips apply for business travelers too, because she tries to make some time to see the sights. She strongly recommends having a game plan in mind for what you want to see. This is especially important if you’re traveling on business, because your free time will be fairly limited.
She says she has a hard time taking the “Be unapologetically selfish” advice in the article to heart, but was intrigued by the idea. She thinks that both women and men should make an effort to have some down time just for themselves while traveling.
What special things do you do for yourself, or special precautions do you take, when you’re traveling alone? Do they work more for personal travel or business travel? Leave a comment below or post something on our Facebook page.
- Travelzoo reveals the most popular destinations for female solo travellers (dailymail.co.uk)
- In Transit Blog: A Break for Those Who Cruise Alone (rss.nytimes.com)
- Why I Love Solo Travel and My Best Moments With It (creativehearttravel.com)
- Solo Travel: Refreshing and Restorative (huffingtonpost.com)
An October article by Narina Exelby on the Kitbaggers website really struck a chord with us, when it comes to vacation photos. She discussed how taking photos of yourself — selfies — while on vacation can distract you to the point where you fail to relish the beauty and new experiences around you.
We couldn’t agree more.
Exelby argues that selfies take time away from what is really important when traveling, which is exploring new things and remaining present to appreciate the moment.
Although everyone is free to take selfies at any time, we agree with Exelby. Slow down and take a look around you when on vacation. Enjoy yourself and don’t worry about telling people back home what you’re up to.
Posting a selfie to Twitter or Facebook can take as much as three minutes. If you do that five times a day, that’s 15 minutes per day spent posting photos. That’s over an hour a week. That time really adds up, and your vacation becomes more about posting photos of yourself rather than enjoying the vacation. Instead of admiring the Eiffel Tower, you’re focused on getting the best possible shot of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Another concern is that constantly updating your social media streams with vacation photos can be a security risk. That photo of you in a canoe in Florida lets folks know you’re not home, and won’t be for a while. And if you’re traveling some place where your personal safety is at risk, you may want to keep a lower profile.
You can still take pictures. You can even take selfies. Photos are a great way to remember fun times you’ve had. But don’t let the photos become the main driver of your vacation. It should definitely be the vacation, and your time to relax, that comes first.
Photo credit: Carlos Mota Jr. (Fickr, Creative Commons)
Food and the holidays are like salt and pepper. They go together naturally.
If your family expects you to make a blueberry pie every Thanksgiving, you probably want to oblige. But should you bake it at home and take it with you, or make it once you get there? It’s an easy question if you live in the same city, but what if you have to travel a long distance for the holidays?If you’re traveling by car, you can make everything ahead of time and put it into a carrying case or cooler. But if you’re flying, you may not want to cart a pie through airport security. Even though TSA’s website says “we’ve seen just about everything,” they also warn that a carry-on pie may be subject to additional screening.
In other words, make the food when you get there.
The TSA has a list of items you can’t carry onto the plane, including cranberry sauce, gravy, and soup. You could carry them on as long as they measured under 3.4 ounces, but that won’t put much food on the table.
You could always check-in the food items in question, but the containers could easily break during the baggage handling process of your flight. Cans or bottles could explode from the pressure, or a glass bottle could break from rough handling from a baggage handler, or when it lands onto the baggage claim carousel from the chute.
If you cook with special ingredients or have food allergies or dietary concerns that force you to eat carefully, weigh the pros and cons of packing or carrying these items. Usually your best bet is to buy the food items when you arrive at your destination.
Of course, it’s always possible you may be heading somewhere without many options, like a small town in the Midwest. In that case, consider ordering from a specialty food store or even Amazon. Or you could just box the items up and ship them yourself. Either way, your favorite foods and ingredients will be waiting for you when you arrive at your destination.
Have you ever shipped, carried, or checked food items for the holidays? How did you do it? Would you do it again or have you found a new method? Leave a comment or let us hear from you on our Facebook page.
For the last few blog posts, we’ve looked at different travel scams and petty crimes from Lifehack.org infographic on common travel scams. We’ve talked about scams, pickpockets, and even identity theft. But we’ve saved the most outrageous scams for last. Scam artists will go to almost any length to get your money, so be on the look out for these.
1. Thrown Baby
Using pretend children is a low blow, but it happens. A woman will throw a baby, which is usually a doll so that you catch it. The woman and her accomplices will rummage through your pockets taking all they can find while you try to save the “baby.”
2. Expensive Taxi Driver
If you don’t know where you’re going, taxi drivers may take more twists and turns than necessary to get you to your location in order to make your bill higher. I have had this happen to me. When I questioned their route they said they wanted to “avoid traffic.” Make sure you’re only taking licensed cabs from official taxi stands, and if possible, double-check your route on your smartphone.
3. Windshield Washers Scam
We actually see this more in the United States than in foreign countries. A homeless person, or seemingly homeless, will run up to your car at a stoplight and start washing your windows, hoping for a tip. If you don’t do it, they’ll yell and raise a fuss, hoping to embarrass you into paying them to stop.
We don’t want you to be afraid of traveling. Rather, we want to make sure you travel smart. So please look over these possible scams, and when you travel, move confidently, say no politely, and continue moving. Avoid the situations where you might be scammed and you’ll finish your vacation with everything — hopefully — still on budget and on schedule.
For the last couple of blog posts, we’ve been discussing different travel scams and petty crimes found on a Lifehack.org infographic on common travel scams. In our last two posts, we’ve discussed pickpockets and con artists. Now let’s look at how people can take your money through general theft or even identity theft.
1. The Drop and Swap
This one happens when someone is returning your change. They will drop it, pick it up, but give you less than what you should be given. They might exchange the dropped money for coins or bills that are worth less. It’s important to know the currency in the places where you’re traveling. Know what each bill and coin is worth, how much you are giving, and how much you should get in return.
2. The Cashier on the Phone
This is a sneaky one. The cashier will act busy on their phone, but in reality, they are taking a picture of your credit card to get your card information, which they’ll use later.
3. Slow Counting
A cashier will count your money very slowly. While this may not seem like a big deal, they are doing this to see if you notice they are counting a bill twice. Count the money again yourself, once you’ve been given your change.
4. The Fake Takeout Menu
If a menu is slipped under your hotel door be warned! It may not be a real menu. You’ll call the restaurant to place an order, only to have your credit card number stolen, and no one will show up with your food either. So now you’re hungry, and significantly poorer.
5. The Fake Front Desk Call
If you ever get a call from the front desk saying there were problems with your credit card, always go down to sort out the problem. Scam artists have been known to call hotel rooms asking for credit card information, especially in the evening. Instead, they steal your credit card number and take your money. But if you go downstairs to deal with the problem, you can make sure you solve the right problem.
Have you ever been scammed on your travels? What happened? How did they do it? Leave a comment, or tell us on our Facebook page.
People all around the world have come up with some clever ways to con tourists. Tourists are often a target due to having little knowledge of an area, the culture, and the currency. Because of this locals have created interesting ways to make you pay for something you did not want or even take.
We recently found a great infographic on Lifehack.com that showed several different tourist scams and how to avoid them. We wanted to share them with you here, over the next few days.
1. Friendship Bracelet
The friendship bracelet scam is when someone will come up to you and offer a friendship bracelet. They will try to put one on your wrist as if you’re their new best friend, and want you to share in their feelings of warmth. If they succeed, they will demand payment even if you had refused in the first place, and make a scene if you refuse.
2. The Shoe Shiner
Someone will drop their shoe shining brush in front of you and begin to shine your shoe. Afterward, they’ll demand payment for the big favor they did for you. This happened to me in Chicago during a visit — a shoe shiner started cleaning my shoe and then demanded I pay him. I gave him a dollar so there wasn’t a hassle, and I left with one shoe shinier than the other.
3. Woman Selling Rosemary
Rosemary is supposedly a sign of friendship, so an offer of rosemary is like the friendship bracelet scam we mentioned earlier. If a woman offers you rosemary, be aware that she might try to read your fortune. After that, she’ll expect to be paid for her services, and will loudly express her displeasure if you refuse.
4. A Rose for your Girlfriend
If someone were to sell you a rose in front of your girlfriend and you said no, you might have a very upset girlfriend later. Rose sellers are counting on this. The problem is that these roses are extremely overpriced. Once you touch the rose, the’ll demand payment for their single rose. This scam is common at restaurants especially ones with outside seating.
5. A Free Massage
You are laying at the beach when a man or woman comes over offering to give you a massage. They may start to rub your arm to give you a “sample.” No matter how long they did it, they’ll expect to be paid.
In all of these examples, the scam is not that these things they do or don’t have value, it’s the scene that the scammer will make if you refuse payment. While you might be able to argue that the masseuse or the fortune teller didn’t do anything, it’s the scene they’ll cause that creates the problem. It will attract unwanted attention, and may even bring in the police or anger the crowd. It’s best to just say “no thank you” when approached and keep moving.
But if you get caught, hand the person a few dollars — from a small roll of bills you keep separate from your “main stash” — and move on quickly.
Have you ever seen any of these scams or fallen prey to them? How did they turn out? Let us hear from you in the comments section or on our Facebook page.