(BPT) - Are you dreaming about an incredible family escape your loved ones will always remember? Perhaps your dream vacation is filled with adventure while eating around the world and exploring castles in faraway places, or maybe it’s relaxing on a private island with picturesque views of crystal clear water. Before taking off, you need to tackle the logistics. Fortunately, with a few tips from those in the know, creating an unforgettable getaway can be as magical as taking one.
Tip #1: Get the inside scoop
No idea where to begin? Talk with a trustworthy resource or fellow parent who has “been there.” The honest and relatable vacation tips you’ll receive are invaluable and can ease the planning process. For example, individuals thinking about planning a Disney vacation should visit www.disneyparksmomspanel.com, an online resource providing authentic answers to guests seeking advice from in-the-know panelists with years of vast experience.
The panel, which recently announced the addition of 11 new moms, dads and grandparents, includes your next-door neighbors, your good friends, and above all else, seasoned vacationers you can count on for genuine advice when planning your next getaway to a Disney destination. The panel can give you a personalized response in English, Spanish, French or Portuguese.
Tip #2: Find an all-appealing destination
You probably have a few ideas of where to go, but brainstorming destinations with your travel crew can provide helpful feedback and insight into everyone's interests. Maybe your best friends are making brunch a priority for your girlfriends' getaway. Or Grandma has a few “memory making” ideas for her vacation with the grandkids. Your fickle pre-teen even has a dream destination you might not know of, and your kindergartner is sure to throw a few ideas into the ring.
After you make a list of everyone's thoughts, do some research online. Poke around travel websites, talk with other parents and search www.disneyparksmomspanel.com for guidance. With a little digging, you can find experiences that appeal as much to your toddler as your teenager and even your best friend. The key is to make it a discussion, talk with others who are in the know and overall, enjoy helping you plan your escape. Whether you're going for a dream Disney vacation, planning a beach getaway, indulging in one-of-a-kind foodie experiences, (or all three!), there are plenty of places that grant everyone’s wishes.
Tip #3: Be proactive about special requirements
Keep special needs top of mind when booking accommodations. For example, all U.S. hotels are required to offer wheelchair-accessible rooms, but international hotels follow different guidelines, so be sure to ask. Additionally, if you have a sensitive child who prefers a calmer environment, book a hotel room away from the pool or other entertainment spaces.
Another common concern for families is food allergies. To ease worries, plan ahead. Experienced jetsetters suggest asking restaurants for their ingredients charts and nutrition information or requesting to speak directly to the chef. You can even call airlines and hotels early to ask about allergy policies.
Bottom line: It's easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when planning a family getaway. Each age has different considerations, but with some smart strategizing and advice from the right people, you can create memories to last a lifetime. These three tips will have you well on your way to experiencing an epic family vacation.
How can a hotelier and a hotel guest both prevent becoming the latest Trip Advisor bedbug-related casualty? Well, there are a number of things that each can do to win this battle. Let's take a closer look.
(BPT) - The summer travel season is upon us, offering an opportunity for families across the U.S. to reconnect. The goal is simple - to make memories that last a lifetime. For example, the Smith family is in vacation-planning mode. Mrs. Smith typically takes the lead with dreams and aspirations of planning their family's best vacation ever. She starts with a look at her hotel choices on Trip Advisor.
According to their website, Trip Advisor is the world's largest travel site, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors with reviews of more than 6.5 million accommodations. Mrs. Smith does her research. Is the hotel family-friendly? Does it have a pool? Is it clean? Scanning the reviews of a hotel on her list she reads one traveler's review that includes a descriptor that no one wants to hear: bedbugs! Mrs. Smith immediately hits the back button. Bedbugs are the very last souvenir she wants her family to bring home. Cross that hotel off the list.
Mrs. Smith is not alone. A recent study conducted by the University of Kentucky found that bedbug reporting on online review sites and social media have a "...big impact on purchasing decisions." It's no surprise that both leisure and business travelers would avoid a bedbug infested hotel. Victims of bedbug infestations exploit the internet's vast readership to describe their bedbug experience resulting in physical distress, sleeplessness, nervousness, anxiety and an extreme disruption in their life. And while on a planned summer vacation with the kids and family... not if they can avoid it!
Meanwhile, across town in a well-appointed corner office, the general manager of a large,
nationwide hotel chain, sits reviewing his financial statements. His occupancy rates are down in three of his largest hotels while those same hotel's operating costs are up. How can that be he asks himself puzzled by the data. Digging deeper, he realizes bedbug infestations occurred in those same three hotels. Rooms were out of service while treatment to the affected room as well as surrounding rooms were being completed. Bedbug treatment costs and loss of rental income negatively hit his bottom line. With internet sites like Trip Advisor, Travelocity and Bed Bug Registry, he wonders how severely those bed bug events impacted traveler's decisions to stay at those properties.
General managers across the country are feeling the financial bite from bedbugs. According to the same University of Kentucky study previously mentioned, a single online review that mentions bedbugs lowers hotel room value by $38 for business travelers and $23 for leisure travelers.
What exactly is the state of the current hotel-related bedbug problem? Recent studies found that about 74 percent of pest professionals reported problems with bedbugs in hotel rooms, a truly staggering figure. This rise in bedbugs is coupled with a changing public perception, with 43 percent of people now expressing the attitude that bedbugs are a concern. An occurrence of bedbugs can also massively impact a hotel's brand reputation. Exposure to legal action continues to rise jeopardizing hotel shareholder equity. Just recently, a Virginia woman sought $5 million in a lawsuit over bedbugs. A federal judge ruled in her favor and a jury will hear her case.
So, how can a hotelier and a hotel guest both prevent becoming the latest Trip Advisor bedbug-related casualty? Well, there are a number of things that each can do to win this battle. Let's take a closer look.
* Education is key. Research proves that two-thirds of travelers surveyed by the University of Kentucky last year couldn't identify a bedbug. Hotel staff and individual travelers are encouraged to be able to recognize a bedbug in its different life stages as well as signs of bedbugs in and around beds.
* Forward thinking in bedbug prevention has savvy hoteliers and travelers investigating the root of the problem. Savvy hoteliers are designing hotel rooms to be more bedbug resistant.
* Hoteliers and homeowners are adopting preventative measures for their mattresses and/or box springs such as an active mattress liner that kill bedbugs. ActiveGuard(R) Mattress Liners go on like a fitted sheet and can save time, money and energy preventing bedbug infestations from establishing.
Sophisticated travelers and hoteliers know that bedbugs are difficult to recognize, and are skilled hitchhikers easily gaining access to the bed. Having an active liner in place that starts working within 10 minutes of contact can assist in saving a room from developing a full-blown bedbug infestation.
While recent reports may show that bedbugs are winning, the war is not over. Embracing technology, educating oneself and taking a preventative approach to this blood-sucking pest can lead to victory for both hoteliers and travelers.
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