Thursday, March 27, 2014

National Parks- Perfect for spring travel

After this winter’s record shattering cold, everyone we talk to is ready for spring time and warm weather.  Once the snow starts to melt our beloved national parks will begin to reopen for another season full of all nature’s glory.

Did you know that the United States National Park system protects over 400 areas, covering nearly 84 million acres of land? 

The U.S. was actually the first country to establish a national park when congress established Yellowstone National Park through the Act of March 1st 1872.  This event started a worldwide movement to preserve our most beautiful and unique natural treasures.  Today, over 100 nations are home to more than 1,200 protected spaces.

We have put together a handful of national parks that we think are especially charming to visit during April and May.  Topping off our list is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. 

This National Park is home to over 1,500 different flowering species.  Appropriately nicknamed “Wildflower National Park” the Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited national park in the country.  During the third week in April it draws visitors for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.  The event features wildflowers (of course), history walks, art classes, and photo tours.

Yosemite National Park in California has spectacular waterfalls during the spring due to the runoff water from melting snow.  Coloring the area luscious shades of green, everywhere you look provides a stunning view.  The dogwood blossoms seem to be especially sought after by many visitors towards the end of April and early May.

We all know Colorado for its popular spring ski season, but you can also check out Great Sand Dunes National Park.  Located southwest of Colorado Springs this park has dunes that are 750 feet tall!  Visitors can hike, ski, and even snowboard down the sand dunes.  Spring is particularly prime time to visit this park when the sand is still cool. 

The final national park to make our list is Glacier National Park in Montana.  Spring time isn’t the warmest time of year to visit, but it still draws in outdoor enthusiasts.  Once the famous road “Going to the Sun Road” is plowed clear and before it is opened to motorized vehicles cyclists have a field day riding along the 50 mile path.  You can expect to see more wildlife than people for a surreal experience.

For more information on national parks near you please visit


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hospitality Health & Wellness

Lately we have been sharing a lot of articles about the health and wellness trend emerging in the hospitality industry. We thought it would be a great idea to share them all here to keep you up on the newest and coolest innovations.

The Westin Hotel recently announced the launch of a 15 million dollar wellness campaign.  The Westin along with several others are seeking to provide their guests with a more balanced life when away from home.  So whether you are traveling for business or pleasure you can maintain your usual routine of a nutritious diet and fitness regimen.

For the Westin this is going to include having “running concierges” to take you on a local morning run and the Hotel is even going to lend you a pair of sneakers if you forgot to pack them!

The most spectacular health and wellness effort we have seen yet is the hotel brand “Even Hotels” that is in the works.  Some of its noteworthy innovations include the option to have your room key in the form of a running bracelet.  This is geared to make it easier to do your fitness routine or daily run.

Even Hotels is also thinking of their seasoned business traveler when designing interior space – why not incorporate a space within the guest room for exercise equipment? This plan would provide guests with the privacy and convenience of their own personal space for exercise without ever having to leave the comfort of their hotel room!

Is juicing here to stay?

We think so! With the increase of demand for nutritious meals on-the-go hotels are offering the colorful drinks and jumping on the juicing trend! These drinks include health promoting ingredients like kale, red beets, ginger and carrots.

Several Four Seasons locations have juice menus and we are not talking about from concentrate! Also following suite is The Fairmont in Washington D.C. and Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.
Is “health and wellness” just a trend?   

After combing our sources we think that these new innovations are going to become the norm! But remember it is ultimately up to the guest to make the decision to take advantage of these featured amenities.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Smartwatch: Wearable Technology

The Galaxy Gear Note 3 smartwatch commercial caught my attention last year when it showcased a montage of clips of characters communicating via their “wrist watch”.  Dick Tracy and George Jetson are some iconic stars featured in the advertisement with the tag line “after all these years, it’s finally real.”

After doing some research on the wearable smartwatch of today I both really wanted one and decided I better hold off.  Why?  While the idea of the smart watch has been around for decades the technology is still being developed and improved.  More sophisticated operating systems and interactions with mobile devises are yet to be finessed.

A few noteworthy contenders that are sure to gain momentum are the Android Wear by google and the Pebble watch.

The Android Wear is more focused on notifications with Google’s virtual assistance software playing a significant role. Some features include displays of incoming messages such as texts and email, a voice command button, calendar reminders, and detects speed and distance traveled to cover the fitness angle.  

Pebble is compatible with both iphone and Android operating systems and their version of the “smart watch” also puts your favorite apps on your wrist. Similar to the Android Wear it displays notifications so you can see who is calling and get important emails and texts without having to pull out your phone. It has cool apps that allow you to play music in your car and has a silent alarm that only you will feel, so you don’t have to wake up your partner for an early morning meeting.

Is the “smartwatch” really the next big thing? 

We will have to sit tight as the innovations unroll. But I think a smartwatch would come in handy, especially when ones hands are full. When on a crowded train or rushing to the airport a smartwatch seems like a simple convenience that would make everyday life a little smoother.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Travel Mobile Apps – When you really need them!

Travel Mobile Apps – When you really need them!

With the internet being a key factor in nearly every aspect of our daily lives it is no wonder that it has become synonymous with trip and vacation planning. The web boasts social media outlets where we are inundated with family and friend’s travel photos pushing us to plan our next getaway vacation. 

But some things you just can’t anticipate. Whether it’s a spontaneous weekend trip, extending a holiday, or being stranded due to airline issues, we have all found ourselves needing a hotel at a moment’s notice.

Compiled below are some of our favorite travel apps to help in these unforeseen situations.

Expedia offers exclusive deals for “tonight only” rates and has been known to offer a discount up to 20% more than its competitors.  Search by popularity, price, deals, ratings and distance.

Travelocity has a similar option to Expedia with a “deals tonight” section and a “top secret” section.  You can find a room up to 45% off listed rates.  The app doesn't allow you to know the name of the hotel until after you finalize your booking, however you can pre-select the star level of the hotel you would like to stay in. Some may consider this to be a drawback but we like the excitement!

Orbitz has lots of options to help you filter your search as well as a great guest review section that lets you browse reviews for business travelers, couples, families, friends, and singles.  You even get to choose what room type and see its price!

Kayak offers hotels, flights and rental cars.  This nifty app has been downloaded over 7 million times! It is also a great place to see the varying room rates offered. Users like that it gives the total price of the hotel including taxes and fees in the advertised deal.

Jetsetter offers incredible “same night” hotel deals up to 60% off!  This app is exclusive to seven major US cities: New York, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.  Rest assured that every hotel on Jetsetter has been “personally visited and reviewed” by a Jetsetter correspondent. This app is also turning heads for its “what we love” section that details great attributes of the hotel.

Hotel Tonight has trendy search categories to help find a good match for you including: hip, luxe, solid, basic, charming, or appropriate for high rollers. You don’t get a specific room guarantee, but can land you a great discount.

We are a big fan of mobile applications and launched our Latitude mobile applications for the hospitality industry in late 2013. We can design a mobile application specific to your hotel property and can even incorporate aspects that we noted above. So whatever your dream hotel app is we can design it…after all there’s always an app for that

Thursday, March 6, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Traditions

Chicago, Illinois, home to Percipia Networks Headquarters, will mark the 52nd year of dyeing the Chicago River green in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day.  Saint Patrick’s Day has been observed by the Irish as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years and has been recognized and celebrated around the world for centuries. 

Did you know that the initial idea to color the river bright green was inspired by a sewage leak? Well actually the stained pair of overalls of a city plumber, who was in search of the leak he administered a dye into building pipes to pin point where the pipe entered the river.  A bright green dye made its way onto the plumber’s overalls while in front of Stephen M. Bailey, the Business Manager of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union #110 (1962). After seeing the brilliant green stains Bailey let his imagination run wild as he pursued the venture to dye the river green as an addition to the years Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. 

And Bailey’s experiment was successful, even leaving the Chicago River green for a whole week during its 1962 debut.  Over half a century later the tradition lives on.  People travel from near and far to be part of the celebration in Chicago.  The privately funded Saint Patrick’s Day festivity is scheduled to begin this year at 9:30am on Saturday March 15th, with the parade to follow at 12pm.  And with the record breaking cold weather this year spectators are bound to also get a glimpse of green ice!

Today the green river only lasts for a handful of hours, so if you are in the Chicago area be sure to check it out!