Friday, December 20, 2013

Google Business Photos: A Virtual Hotel Tour

Ever been to a hotel that just doesn't measure up to it's pictures? You can only see so much from traditional photo galleries, which can lead to guest disappointment. Google's new development promises to give guests a 360 degree view of hotels, making for a truly revolutionary experience.

Google Business Photos are almost as realistic as actually being inside the hotel. Professional photographers take the photos and use panoramic technology to create a 360 degree view. The photos pop up when guests search using Google maps. Hotels will also have the option to add links to the photos as well.

Guests click on arrows that allow them to "walk" through the hotel - seeing different rooms and getting the full experience. Since the photos are taken by Google and not the hotel itself, it gives hotels more credibility because Google is an impartial third party. Being able to see what the hotel looks like beforehand allows potential guests to trust it more.

2014 is going to be a year of innovation, and this could be one of the most exciting developments. Virtual tours could easily become a requirement for hotels who want to compete, and stay current. Seeing a 360 degree view of your room before you even walk through the door would make choosing a hotel much easier and revolutionize how people pick hotels.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2014’s Travel Hotspots

With the new year fast approaching what’s more exciting than seeing what the new hot spots are for 2014?!? From Myanmar to Tallinn, there's something for everyone. Here are a few that make our list of destinations sure to be sought after in 2014…

Myanmar is seen as a potential hot spot, but restrictions over the past few years make the country less than friendly for tourists. However, 2014 may mark a huge change in tourism as Myanmar plans to use tourism to increase employment and income in the country. Myanmar is on our list for hot spots in 2014 due to its natural beauty including its’ ancient city of Bagan and scenic rivers and lakes.


Lake Myvatn, Iceland is one of the best places to view the Northern Lights in the world. Scientists predict that the first few months of 2014 will provide some of the most spectacular Northern Lights to date. The remoteness of Lake Myvatn makes it the perfect place to observe this colorful, natural light display without any other light interference.


Tallinn, Estonia is a gorgeous, old town located on top of various tunnels that run through the city. In 2014, these tunnels will become available for tourists to use. In early 2014, Tallinn will be opening a Titanic exhibit which will host fancy galas and dinners inspired by the doomed ship.  Tourists can also check out the seaplane harbor museum, which has several seaplanes on display.


2014 is sure to be an interesting year, with new places to travel popping up every day who knows what the new hot spot will be!

For more information please visit

Friday, December 13, 2013

Expected Travel Trends for 2014

As 2013 draws to a close, it's only natural to wonder what the trends of 2014 will be - which hotels are going to stay on top and what new technology will emerge. Conde Nast Traveler has released their predictions for up and coming trends in the hospitality industry for 2014.

South America is anticipated to become a top tourist destination because cool new hotels are popping up everywhere from Peru to Chile, even Columbia is becoming more tourist friendly. The world cup will be held in Brazil in the summer of 2014 as well as the Summer Olympics in 2016, which is a huge tourist draw. The relatively inexpensive travel between South American countries increases tourism for surrounding countries as well. 

Business people want comfort and luxury when they travel, as well as a space to work efficiently in. Hotels are converting meeting rooms to pop up offices, with more of a trendy Starbucks atmosphere instead of a boring cubicle. Both Marriot and Westin recently launched programs offering this. Many other hotels are beginning to offer "microstays" - renting out rooms for businesses to do work in on a daily basis, or in some cases by the hour.

Hotels will become more photogenic – we previously mentioned Starwood and InterContinental hotel companies paving the way for hotel based Instagrams. Great service and great food isn't enough; it has to be great service and great food that also provides a great photo op. More and more hotels are following this trend to engage with future guests in a modern way.

Itineraries will be designed visually, rather than in list form. Today’s world is increasingly visual so this step only makes sense. Peek, a website that plans tours and activities allows you to plan your perfect day by dragging images onto a timeline. The Four Seasons offers Pin.Pack.Go, where you make a Pinterest board related to your upcoming trip and an expert at the hotel pins additional ideas to it. These and other ideas like them help to create a personalized experience for each guest.

2014 will be an exciting year with new hotels popping up around the world and hotels becoming more and more visually appealing. It's impossible to say for sure what the trends of 2014 will be, but if it continues as expected, 2014 will be a great year for both travelers and the hospitality industry.

For more information please visit

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Instagram: A Necessity for the Hospitality Industry

In an increasingly digital age where many people gather information from social media posts, it is essential for hotels to have a strong online presence. While many hotels have Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is often over looked since it has only recently gained popularity. However, being able to easily share photos with millions of people is essential for hotels as it offers future guests a more in depth look at what their stay at a certain hotel would be like.


Starwood Hotels and Resorts is one of the first hotel companies to begin showcasing its Instagram profile for all of its 1,500 worldwide properties. Starwood is integrating the more than 40,000 pictures shared on its Instagram by creating Guest Galleries on the websites for all nine hotel brands. Guest Galleries are organized into brand-specific categories, such as Fashion for W Hotels, Move Well for Westin, and Family Traditions for St. Regis. This offers guests a more direct look into what staying at certain properties would be like.

InterContinental Hotels Group is another large company promoting its Instagram with its Discover IHG program. Guests are encouraged to take a picture at any of IHG’s 4,600 hotels and use the hashtag #DiscoverIHG to win rewards points. This allows guests to interact with hotel brands on a new level not previously available.                                                                                      


Instagram goes beyond simply reading previous guests’ thoughts about a certain hotel on a review site. Why take someone’s word for it when you can see it for yourself before actually visiting.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Resorts World Bimini: Escape to the Bahamas

Resorts World Bimini is a 750 acre property in the Bahamas that is currently expanding to include a luxury hotel, the Marina Hotel, this upcoming spring in 2014. This new addition is one of the largest construction projects in the island’s history. Due to the vast size of the property, the hotel is expected to create over 450 new, permanent jobs for locals on the island. Resorts World Bimini’s marina is also the largest in the Bahamas.

The Marina Hotel plans to include 350 guest rooms, a rooftop lounge, two restaurants, and a contemporary meeting area. All guest rooms will have modern furnishings and offer great views of Bimini Lagoon. The hotel will also provide direct access to the casino located on the property.

This sprawling property is sure to have something for everyone!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Heyday: Social Media Goes Private

Ever want to remember a moment, but don't want to share it with your Facebook friends? With a lot of information being public today, apps offering private sharing options, such as Whisper and Snapchat, are gaining popularity. And now there's Heyday, an app that lets you privately chronicle your digital life.


Heyday is a smart phone’s version of a journal - it collects the photos you take on your smart phone and uses them to create a digital snapshot of your life. Your location is automatically detected and saved, along with a time stamp, allowing you to know exactly when and where you took the photo. Heyday also allows users to jot down notes or tag people in videos and photos. The app organizes photos automatically in the order you took them, and has 18 photo filters. If you choose to tag a friend, you can view a timeline of all the places you've ever been together. And even more exciting is that Heyday defaults to a private setting.

Heyday may be the perfect blend of public and private sharing that today’s consumers are looking for. It lets you be private when you want to and share when you want to be social, making it a truly innovative idea!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Is 3D Chat the New FaceTime?

Being able to see whoever you were speaking to while on the phone using FaceTime, was considered a major accomplishment. Now imagine having the ability to actually interact physically from a distance. Soldiers could hold their newborn baby, parents could comfort a homesick child, or doctors could give a medical exam without ever leaving their office. Tangible Media is in the process of developing a new technology called inFORM Dynamic Shape Display, that can do just that!

The screen shows the user’s face and upper body just like a normal call, but the user’s arms and hands are recreated below the screen. The technology uses a tabletop covered in small white squares that rise up to form a 3D image. Picture the child's toy that has pins in it where you put your hand in to form an image - only far more advanced.
A projector on the ceiling beams down light to give the display color. Daniel Leithinger, one of Tangible Media's top scientists, says "when you move your hands, not only do you have the shape of the hands, but you also see the color, the texture of the hands.”  You can actually see and feel a 3D image of the person you are talking to!

If this idea has staying power it could change the way we communicate… again. It’s still in the early stages of development, but this could be one of the biggest ideas of 2013. Being able to actually touch things from miles away is incredible and seems like something out of a science fiction novel, but it could be how we all communicate in a few years!