Thursday, May 30, 2013

DTour: YouTube for the Hotel Industry

People already share photos of their trips on Facebook, but what if there was a social media site just for sharing travel experiences? Doubletree by Hilton has partnered with Google to create a YouTube channel specifically for the hotel industry. The new YouTube channel, DTour, allows users to post videos, photos or comments on a map on the website. Content from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram can be easily shared in one place so travelers can share with other people who have similar interests. Users on the website can also find travel tips from industry experts.

Not only does this help promote hotel brands, but it also allows guests to share their travel stories. Will DTour make a lasting impact or will the current, popular social media sites make it irrelevant?  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Unique Summer Destinations

With Memorial Day approaching and the weather becoming nicer, that could only mean one thing – it’s almost time for summer! Here are a few of our picks for a non-traditional, but fun summer vacation…

The Frying Pan Shoals Light Station in Southport, North Carolina was built in 1964 for the U.S. Coast Guard, but is now the home of a bed-and-breakfast. In order to reach the light station you will need to take a boat or helicopter. It offers a driving range, fishing, and great views of a wild coral reef.

Want to go on an African safari, but don’t want to travel so far? Sinya on Lone Man Creek in Wimberley, Texas offers guests the chance to enjoy nature while staying in a luxurious tent. It is the perfect place to relax and go hiking or fishing. 

If you want to take a little break from modern amenities and technology, the Edisto River Tree houses in Canadys, South Carolina offer just that. Situated on an island in the middle of a wildlife refuge, there are three private tree houses that you get to by paddling down one of the longest, free-flowing, black water rivers.

Which of these destinations do you think would offer the most unique and unforgettable vacation?
We hope you’re enjoying your holiday vacation wherever you may be!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Futuristic Gadgets

Today’s gadgets are getting more and more advanced, like something straight out of a science fiction movie. From headphones that read your mood to advanced wearable technology – here are a few new, interesting devices.

Mico Headphones have sensors in them that allow the device to read your brainwaves. When used with an iPhone app, they play music based on your mood. These headphones also have an indicator on the outside of the device that shows what mood your feeling.

The Nest thermostat has the ability to input information about your lifestyle, store it, and automatically adjust your temperature based on your specific preferences. This device can save users money on energy bills because it lowers the temperature to an energy efficient level when no one is home. A smart phone app also lets you control it wherever you are – nothing like coming home to a warm house in the winter and a cool one in the summer!

The MC10 Biostamp is a small, flexible, water-proof electronic device that sticks to the skin like a temporary tattoo and will fall off in a couple of weeks. It is designed to monitor the user’s temperature, hydration, and strain. This device can be used in the healthcare industry as a way to monitor patients more accurately and allows patients to be more comfortable by avoiding tubes and cords hooked up to various machines and monitors. The sports industry might also want to utilize this as a way to determine athletes’ hydration and body strain before, during and after games and performances.

It seems like technology keeps growing in terms of personalization and intelligence. What do you think? Are these technologies here to stay or are they just a passing fad?

For a look at more cool, new gadgets please visit

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Great Gatsby Inspired Hotel Rooms

With the release of the highly anticipated remake of The Great Gatsby, hotels are offering guests a chance to relive the elegance and decadence of the roaring twenties. From elaborately decorated suites to jazz music - there is sure to be something for every Gatsby fan. Let’s take a look at a few Gatsby themed hotel rooms and packages…

The New York Plaza Hotel, which is the setting for one of the scenes in the 2013 version of the movie, offers guests 1920s themed brunches, a display of the costumes from the movie, and a live jazz band. It also features a 900 square foot Fitzgerald Suite filled with art deco furnishings - named after the novel’s author Scott Fitzgerald, who was a frequent guest.

The Vanderbilt Grace in Newport, Rhode Island commemorates the Gatsby era by offering a two night Great Gatsby package that includes tickets to iconic mansions in the area, dinner at a restaurant featuring a meal from a menu used in the 1920s, and a sunset cruise. One of the mansions is the famed Rosecliff Manor, which was used for Gatsby’s home in the 1974 version of the movie with most of the movie being filmed in Newport.

The Wilcox in Aiken, South Carolina is offering Gatsby themed events throughout May including parties with jazz music and cocktails named after Fitzgerald’s characters. The Wilcox uniquely has a connection to the Great Gatsby in its history. The Hitchcock family helped finance the building and the son Tommy Hitchcock was who Fitzgerald modeled his character Tom Buchanan after.

With these hotels you can experience Gatsby’s lifestyle for yourself and enjoy top of the line service. Which of these hotels do you think offers the most Gatsby inspired experience?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Travel in the Windy City

With the city being crowded on any given day, driving in Chicago can be a hassle. The CTA provides a simple way to get wherever you need to go with multiple train lines and bus routes- the red line being one of the most convenient. Here are a few interesting facts about the Red Line’s history…

1. The section of the Red Line that will be undergoing construction opened on September 28, 1969.
2. Back in 1969, trains on this line would run express saving riders time on their commutes, but now a majority of the stops south of Roosevelt are considered slow zones with the trains running under 15 mph.
3. The north and south stops on the Red Line weren’t connected into one route until 1993.
4. This is the first time the CTA will be closing multiple stops for construction since 1994.

With the CTA Red Line trains running from Howard on the north side to 95th/Dan Ryan on the south side, the City of Chicago is working on making improvements to the Red Line stops beginning Sunday until October 19, 2013. While this means all the stations south of the Roosevelt stop will be closed, these improvements will shorten commutes and improve the existing stations.

Just thought we would show some Chicago love since it's Friday!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tech Hotspots Around The World

When you think of areas with a large amount of tech companies, obviously Silicon Valley and L.A stand out, but surprising new cities are emerging as technological hot spots. From Amsterdam to India, new and exciting cities are where tomorrow’s technological advances seem to be coming from.
Amsterdam attracts startup companies because it offers lower taxes and a lower cost of living, while also having gorgeous scenery and a creative, open lifestyle to encouraging innovation. STIKK, an app that connects local startups with founders and entrepreneurs from around the world is one such company that has emerged in Amsterdam. 

Bogota, Columbia draws in new businesses possibly due to the limited amount of paperwork that is required. Paperwork can weigh down a startup for months or even years in other countries. While Columbia may be a difficult place to find venture capital it seems to be an attractive place for startup businesses and investors. Bogota’s active chamber of commerce provides free training to young entrepreneurs – talk about a deal!

Bangalore, India has an advantage due to its sheer size. With 700 hundred million people under the age of 30 there is no doubt in our minds that several brilliant ideas and businesses will be born from this location. Just last month they hosted the Startup Festival India, which connects startups to investors all around India. Bangalore is also getting international attention as well - a group of overseas investors has launched the Kyron Accelerator program, which aims to fund 500 startups within the next five years!

In today’s increasingly globalized market, it makes sense that the next big thing will happen on a worldwide scale. Countries all over the world are inventing new and exciting technology every day, and the only question now is what’s next?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Airport Trends: Touch Screen Technology

Ever grow tired and impatient having to wait in long customs lines when you travel? Those days are over with the implementation of touch screen kiosks in airports. Airports are beginning to make the switch from having travelers fill out paper work to having them simply answer a few questions on a touch screen kiosk.

O’Hare International Airport is the first U.S airport to start this trend with the Automated Passport Control computer program. Beginning July 1, travelers will be able to simply scan their passports and answer questions.

Now not only are hotels incorporating touch screens on their properties, but airports are as well.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vacationing in Tree-House Hotels

Remember when you were a kid and used to spend long summer nights in a tree-house with your friends? Well several hotels are starting to offer that experience, but with infinity pools and fireplaces instead of wooden planks and pillows. Tree-house hotels offer a unique experience for the traveler who wants to step outside of their comfort zone, and spend a night under the stars.

The Treehotel in Harads, Sweden has five unique rooftop suites; one which looks like it’s made up of Lego bricks, one that appears to be a bird’s nest, and a suite with a mirrored exterior that reflects the forest on all sides. Guests can access the property through electric stairs, a ramp or a bridge. During the summer the Treehotel offers fishing and kayaking and during the winter guests can take in the famed Northern Lights.

The Tsala Treetop Lodge in Plattenberg Bay, South Africa overlooks the Tsitsikamma Forest, and features ten different tree-house suites. Each one features an infinity pool leading into the ocean, floor to ceiling bedroom windows, and private decks. Access to the property is provided by exquisite wooden walkways. Travelers can relax on the beach or simply enjoy the view.

 Chewton Glen, Hampshire United Kingdom has six spacious tree-houses, each with two private suites, and is located just outside of New Forest National Park. Floor to ceiling windows offer amazing views and the spacious outdoor terrace features a hot tub and day beds. The floors are made of timber and marble, and are heated to provide a cozy feeling. In the morning guests can wake up to breakfast created by a gourmet chef and delivered straight to their tree-house.

Tree- house hotels seem to be a growing market- they offer novelty and nostalgia, appealing to both younger and older travelers. By mixing the novelty of nature and rustic surroundings with gourmet chefs and top of the line suites, hotels may have stumbled upon the next big thing! 

For more interesting tree-house hotels please visit

Monday, May 6, 2013

How smart is your smart phone?

As smart phone technology continues to get more and more advanced, smart phones are beginning to look more like something out of a science fiction novel. They are an increasingly important part of many people’s lives as they can do almost anything. Let’s take a look at a few interesting new features hitting the smart phone market...

One of the recent advancements is Swype, Swype allows for users to type out a word in one continuous motion rather than tapping the individual buttons. This makes typing much easier and faster even on a small screen. It also remembers what words you use most frequently and stores them in a dictionary.

Siri and Google Now may seem like just advanced search engines, but recent updates allow them to do so much more. Siri has creative responses for almost any question you can come up with. With Google Now, you can check traffic and it will tell you what time you need to leave in order to reach your destination based on traffic patterns. It also makes predictions for you about information you may want to know based on your search history, such as notifying you if your flight has been delayed. This type of technology makes it easier to remember appointments or important meetings since Siri and Google Now will remember and remind you.

Even with the advanced touch screens already available on smart phones; did you ever think that you would be able to control your phone without having to actually touch it? Now you can with Samsung’s Air Gesture technology on the Galaxy S4 smart phone. You can simply wave your hand to answer calls, change music, or browse through photos. It also allows you to preview emails and texts by hovering over the screen with your finger.

With LG’s new Cross Tasking feature, users of its Optimus G smart phone can use multiple advanced features of the phone at the same time. One feature of Cross Tasking is being able to view two separate screens on the phone. Now you don’t have to go back and forth between apps if you’re trying to text while also searching for information on the web.

No one knows where the next ten years will take us with advancements in smart phone technology, but we can be sure that whatever new technologies come along, there will always be a bigger and better one to take its place.

Friday, May 3, 2013

World’s First Website

Twenty years ago if you would have told someone to “Google something” they would have been extremely confused. Nowadays “googling” and the internet are essential to our daily activity so much so that the idea of not having internet access at our fingertips may cause us to break out in a panic!

It’s hard to believe that twenty years ago, on April 30th, 1993 the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) released the world’s first web server to the public. Back in 1993, scientists from different universities used it as a way to communicate and share information. It was also used to transfer files between computers and to remotely access computer networks. It’s hard to believe that when upon first release, it only accounted for 1% of internet traffic!

For the twenty year anniversary of the World Wide Web, CERN has worked to recreate a functioning version of the first website so we can see how it was used in its early days. The original website included only text and information on how to use to internet- no pictures, videos, or advertisements – can you imagine?!?! While we try to wrap our heads around this picture we would like to just say happy 20th anniversary!

For more information on the world’s first website please visit

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Perks of using “The Cloud”

Cloud storage allows you to store important documents or files online. Using this can benefit your business in many ways by streamlining the process of saving and uploading files. Here are a few reasons why you should consider using the cloud…

Accessibility: You simply upload your files online using cloud computing apps, such as Google Drive, SkyDrive, or Dropbox. Once your documents are stored on the cloud, you can instantly access them from any device and share them with others. Since the cloud makes it easy to directly upload your files online, you no longer have to email files to yourself. It also eliminates the need for a flash drive.

Security: If you lose your laptop or tablet, all of your important files will already be backed up online. Losing or having your device stolen is stressful enough, but using the cloud can at least give you peace of mind. This is especially valuable if you have important company files stored on your device.

More memory for less: Buying external hard drives can be pricey, but since the cloud allows you to save everything online there is no longer a need for that. It also means you can save money on future purchases by getting a device with less memory, since so much can be stored online.

Overall, cloud storage can be very useful and is simple to use.