It’s the season for summertime travel if you’re based in North America, and if you are one of 72 million Americans expected to travel abroad, WalletHub has some interesting statistics about foreign transaction fees you may want to consider. According to surveys done by WalletHub, 51% of Americans worry more about foreign transaction fees on credit cards than tariffs on Chinese imports. Two-thirds of those surveyed think credit cards should charge lower foreign transaction fees in countries allied with the U.S. Are you aware that 96% of credit cards offer rental car insurance, while 86% offer travel accident insurance, and 37% offer a form of luggage insurance? The information-gathering company says the best credit cards for international travelers are the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card, Bank of America Travel Rewards and Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard. WalletHub further states that Capital One, Discover, USAA and Barclays are the only major issuers exclusively offering no foreign transaction fee credit cards. Getting such a card, along with a no foreign fee debit card, enables international travelers to minimize the cost of currency conversion. Full report is online.
Meeting Planners: you have until May 31 to earn 5,000 extra Bonus Points on each event, plus an additional 10,000 Bonus Points when your event includes at least 30 rooms* with the Hilton Honors event Planner Program. Events must be fulfilled by January 31, 2019. The incentives are in addition to earning a bonus point per $1 USD spent for meeting room and guest room charges on qualifying events at more than 4,400 participating hotels worldwide. You must ask for the “Q2 Hilton Honors Event Planner Promotion” to get this offer.
Visiting Las Vegas, NV before the end of the year? It’s the perfect time to take advantage of a special offer by Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The Ultimate Nobu Villa Experience includes a one-night stay for four in the 10,000 sf Nobu Villa with butler service; limo transportation to and from the hotel; a private night flight for four in a helicopter over the Strip; and a VIP chef-curated dinner with cocktails for four at Nobu Restaurant. Guests can partake in four Nobu-inspired Nagomi Ritual spa treatments at Qua Baths & Spa or in-villa and table and bottle service for four at Omnia Nightclub with DJ booth access. The villa package is available through Dec. 30, 2018. While there, be sure to sample the Yuzu Gold anniversary cocktail, made with Kinobi Japanese Gin, John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, fresh lemon, Hokusetsu Nobu TK-40 Premium Daiginjo Sake, yuzu foam, and topped with 24K gold leaf.
Cruise to Alaska aboard Seabourn luxury cruiseships and look at all the incentives you may receive. Incentives and schedule dates vary according to the package chosen. complimentary two Veranda Suite category upgrade or Veranda ocean view suite category upgrade; up to $500 USD Shipboard credit per suite; up to $500 USD Air cCredit per person; 50% reduced deposit; and up to 15% savings on combination cruises. Penthouse and premium suites earn double shipboard credits
Group incentives are now being offered by Associated Luxury Hotels International in Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, Hawaii and the Bahamas. Offers vary by the property and booking availability. For instance, at Streamsong Resort in Florida, groups receive discounted room rates. At Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, VA planners can choose from discounted golf green fees, team building activities, and VIP round-trip airfare transfers, to a complimentary wine and beer welcome reception, and discounted room rates.
Wine takes on new significance at hotels that boast of their wide selection. At Design Hotels international resorts, properties specializing in fine wines and spectacular scenery are offering incentives to book group meetings. The offers vary by the property, but resorts include Loisium Wine Resort & Spa Langenlois in Langenlois, Austria and the Loisium Wine Resort & Spa Südsteiermark in Ehrenhausen, Austria, as well as the Argentario Golf Resort & Spa in Porto Ercole, Italy. Book and stay at the latter property by July 1 and receive such incentives as 25% off Bar, a bottle of champagne, and room upgrade.
PUTTING ON A PRETTY NEW FACE
I could get very accustomed to being wined and dined aboard a private charter luxury boat. The rare occasions I’ve been on one cruising through what has often been moonlit waters, has been divine, so I read with interest that South Florida’s Water Fantaseas has upgraded their 80’ yacht. Solstice. Accommodating up to 45 guests, the Solstice has refurbished the salon, staterooms, and technology. The fly bridge has a full service bar, teak loungers wait on the deck, and there’s a large accessible swim platform from which to pop off for some water skiing.
“Hotels were among the first businesses to adopt SEO practices during the early era of internet marketing in the 1990s,” according to Vizergy, a digital marketing company based in Jacksonville, FL But things are different today. “Instead it has become far more important to approach the task holistically and to set a page focus for every page on your website before defining the page content that supports that focus.” Vizergy has recommendations for hoteliers of properties from small to resort-large to increase their direct bookings. Up Your Digital Marketing Game. “Social ads are a highly scalable, highly targeted way to get your property in front of a large number of potential guests. Facebook and Instagram allow you to reach an unprecedented number of people with any budget.” Actively Monitor and Respond to Guest Reviews. Proactively interacting with guests through reviews makes your property stand out. It makes your guests feel heard and it is one of the best ways to improve customer satisfaction and guest loyalty. Make Booking a Pleasure for Guests. “A good digital marketing agency should be monitoring these (website) conversions, from website to booking engine to reservation and discussing where people are getting lost along the way.”
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Who doesn’t love manatees, gentle creatures often found trolling the waterways of Florida? River Ventures of Crystal River, FL knows that ecoadventures are popular with groups (though individuals can join in a public tour) and has created two events that offer an experience native to Citrus County. Tours are typically about five hours in duration but can be customized. The Swim with the Manatee Tour occurs in the spring-fed King’s bay Wildlife Refuge and is guided by a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain who serves as water chaperon, educator and photographer. The tour begins with classroom education about the animals and tips on snorkeling. Attendees are suited up and then transported to a covered pontoon. Pontoon boats can hold up to 12. The Guided Two-Mile Eco-Walk begins along a wet prairie and travels along the swamp, edging a hammock. Some of the wildlife typically seen on this tour are deer, turkey, tortoise, hawks and wading birds. The walk is not physically challenging.
Explore the wilds of Africa at the 260-acre Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, FL. Bring your family, friends or group on the new Sunset on the Savanna safari experience, where you get close-up encounters with Scimitar-horned oryx (a species that is extinct in the wild), zebra, camels, ring-tailed and red-ruffed lemurs, nilgai, kudu, watusi cattle, and more unique and endangered species in large herds! Each customized safari truck is equipped with stadium seating and a full-coverage canvas shade. All Sunset Safaris include a stop at the Tree House in the midst of the preserve. An additional option is the Nilgai encounter, only available during the Sunset Safaris, which affords the exclusive opportunity to interact with and feed the largest antelope in all of Asia!
Enjoy a 20% discount when you use code BLOOM20 to book a lunch or dinner aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, a vintage train with refurbished antique Pullman rail cars, and dining and lounge cars. The three-hour journey includes a multiple course gourmet meal and welcome taste of local wines.
Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries. She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2017 – 2018 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.