Blog moved to its new home

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hi All,

This blog has moved to its rightful home at

See you there!!!

Are new travel startups more likely to have animal logos?

September 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

We were brainstorming some logo ideas at WaySavvy the other day and realized that there is a difference between the logos of industry behemoths and younger startups.

Older, more established companies tend to have lexicographic logos with small embellishments, like a plane or an arrow. Travelocity has their ever-imperiled gnome but it’s a mascot, kept out of their logo. TripAdvisor is the only exception with their owl, but even the owl is drawn in outlines.

In contrast, newer travel companies like hipmunk, goby and tripwolf all have animals embedded into their trip identity and even naming. New trend?

5 new hotels in Boston

July 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Boston attracts more visitors annually than Disneyland, so to accommodate all the tourists we have plenty of great hotels. If you’re coming to Boston after you haven’t been here for a while, here are some new arrivals for you to consider.

1. Intercontinental

A new landmark of Boston’s spectacularly redeveloped Waterfront, the Intercontinental brings a feeling of Miami Beach to Boston Harbor. From the Kennedy Greenway, it looks like a regular steel-and-glass tower, but walk through the lobby to emerge on the other side and you will find yourself on a large brick patio with an open bar and great views across the fort point channel. The patio extends to form a section of the Harbor Walk, with outdoor torches and Latin music playing year-round. The hotel’s lobby, with unrestricted access is home to Miel, one of the few restaurants in Boston where you can try French-style crepes since Marche closed down.

2. Fairmont Battery Wharf

Also directly on the waterfront with magnificent views to Boston Harbor, this Fairmont is a stark contrast to its sibling in Copley Plaza. Glass and black marble with subtle wood accents create a sense of reserved, contemporary luxury without oak panels and Corinthian columns. The restaurant here, Sensing, is a hidden gem, especially for those on a moderate budget. While the dinner menu here deserves a review of its own, the “terrace” menu served during the day is prepared in the same kitchen for half the price. It’s served on a terrace with views of the Harbor and the nearby Coast Guard station, outside but away from the street.

3. Mandarin Oriental

Joining the scarce ranks of the elite AAA five-diamond establishments in Boston is Mandarin Oriental in Back Bay.  Expect this hotel, located a few steps from Copley Square and Newbury Street, to be at the top of most price ranges, but it offers the amenities to suit. L’Espalier, Boston’s only 5-diamond restaurant has moved to a beautiful space on the second floor of the same building.

4. Hotel Indigo Newton

Indigo is a new brand of boutique-like hotels alongside the more traditional Holiday Inn from the same parent company (ICH). Located just about few miles from Boston on the Mass Pike – this hotel is strategically located for easy access to both downtown and the “silicon corridor” of route 128. Of particular interest to travelers without a car, this hotel is steps from the Riverside station, where you can catch the Green Line to Boston and Cambridge, or even a bus to New York City.

5. Liberty Hotel

Adjacent to the Longfellow Bridge (and Mass General Hospital), this 4-diamond hotel is almost like a gateway between Boston and Cambridge. A huge atrium built inside a reconstructed church forms the hotel’s lobby with a large selection of bars, lounges, and restaurants. The Liberty is a short walk to Government center and Kendall Square, and is right next to the Red Line.

Takeaways from the Boston Globe Travel Show

February 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

[tweetmeme source=”yourtwittername” only_single=false]

I spent the last weekend at the Boston Globe Travel Show and here are some thoughts:

1. Unemployment is actually helping some travel agents. Lots of tour operators I’ve talked to told me that their 2-week and longer tours have gained tremendous popularity with people in between jobs looking for a getaway. The price-points for these tours do tend to be on the mid-high side, but not high enough to appeal solely to self-employed business people and executives.

2. State-subsidized travel websites  run by Tourist Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce have come to be highly effective content portals, with a lot of traffic and great click-through rates for advertisers. ( is perhaps the best example) More importantly for us at WaySavvy, such travel content portals are indeed looking to complete the missing piece in their offerings – itinerary planning booking capability.

3. Travel suppliers are going social. This isn’t really a new trend, but it hasn’t caught up to traditional travel agents and tour operators in the way that it has for online travel companies. Now, however, tour operators are on twitter and facebook, and they recognize the importance of building a community online to generate leads and make sales offline.

4. Digital tour distribution platforms like RezGo, have a long way to go to penetrate the market (and they are deeply needed). Some tour operators have signed on to distribute their inventory at various online outlets, but few I talked to were aware of ubiquitous solutions to distribute their inventory to any online travel agency willing to sell it. RezGo is one of my favorite new travel technology companies, because they are pushing innovative distribution channels for travel products other than hotels, cars and flights. If you’re a tour operator, they’re a must-see.

Exotic Hotel For Travelers to Florida

February 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Interesting writeup on a very “different” hotel in Tampa, Florida.

Posted via web from WaySavvy’s posterous via

Travel Tuesday

On Tuesday, I borrow the phrase Travel Tuesday from Twitter, put down my books and talk about my own travels.

Henry B. Plant MuseumHenry B. Plant Museum

Destination: Tampa, Florida

Attraction: The Tampa Bay Hotel

I have a very bad habit of accumulating stuff.  I don’t just accumulate it–I have to have it where I can see it–preferably reach it at a moment’s notice–because if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t have it, now would I?

But I don’t  come within a mile-long, terrazzo-tiled , gilded woodwork hallway packed with furniture of those dudes in the Gilded Age. Not only did they stuff their places with stuff, but the stuff was all curlicues and fringes, and inlays and embroidery and painted scenes, and plaques made of woven hair.

I tend to wander around establishments of that era with my mouth hanging open, wanting to ask the original owners, “What WERE you thinking?”

That was my experience at The Tampa Bay Hotel, a railroad resort that Henry Plant, the “King of Florida” built. If it weren’t for Plant, Florida might never have become the tourist magnet that it is today.   Plant made his money from the railroads and steamships, but had to create somewhere for people to GO on those trains and boats, so he built hotels. The rail line runs right by the back  door of the Tampa Bay Hotel and the steamships could pull up close by.

Outside, the hotel stretches for a city block along the water front, corners adorned with minarets and a casino* topped by a dome with the same pointy top as the minarets. The Ottoman look reflects people’s image of Florida in the late 19th century–exotic.

*Casino was a place for performances, kind of a cross between the Roman Coliseum and a theater. It was not a gambling establishment.

Incidentally, before you get any ideas, you cannot stay there any more. Part of it is restored and furnished as it was during the golden days, so that you can ooh and ahh your way through a guided tour of the Henry B. Plant Museum. The rest is used by a college. Good, practical arrangement. One suspects that Henry would approve.

Inside, the style is kind of a “you name it” basketful of French, Egyptian, Greek,  Renaissance–41 trainloads of decor, according to the brochure.  I was with a group of travel writers, and we were hustled through the rooms before we could get explanations. Yes, I can recognize a chair and a table, but the designers of the day spent their time dreaming up unique visual gems that take some explaining 100 years later.

Still, I can see myself swishing into the Writing and Reading Room in my long white gauzy cotton skirt, to sit at the tables in a room flooded with light, and writing “Wish you were here,” to all my envious friends who could not be in this exotic place.  And perhaps I would be fortunate enough to be ensconced in one of the tower rooms with cross ventilation of ocean breezes, where I could hear the clacking of the leaves of palm trees outside. I might not have been able to afford it, though. This luxury suite cost $15 a night!

You can get visitor information at the Henry Plant museum’s web site.

Online Video & Podcasting Secrets for Destinations

January 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

28 January 2010 ~

Great tips from Ryan Bifulco on the T4 Blog on podcasting for travelers. If you bring any kind of a recording device with you on your travels, this is a great read.

Online Video & Podcasting Secrets for Destinations

ShareGuest Author, Ryan Bifulco, – Destinations are always looking for ways to market and promote themselves. Every Destination offers something unique to visitors and locals alike, and a short video is one of the best ways to showcase what you have to the world. Many DMOs still seem to think that online video and podcasts are for kids, but times have changed and the stats below back that up.

According to PhoCusWright, 90% of U.S. online travelers have been influenced by fellow travelers posting blogs, online videos, travel podcasts and reviews. 80% of Baby Boomers are ONLINE and have shown a 59% increase on social networking sites year over year. Podcasts and blog followers have increased 67% among Baby Boomers; while the younger Gen Y has had no growth at all (Accenture). 24% of users over the age of 70 have watched an online video in the last week! (TNS Compete Data).

With such high statistics, social media programs need to be taken seriously and you must evaluate where your brand stands in the Travel 2.0 environment.

In this article, you’ll learn how to maximize your video and podcast efforts. Marketing in the digital age is about leveraging new technologies and social trends to increase exposure. It’s about educating the mass market and niche audiences in new ways. Video marketing is a new, emerging platform that continues to evolve every day. Video isn’t just about television anymore. It can be extended across the digital universe into many distribution formats, including syndication.

A DMO is in a great position to produce its own tourist informational videos, plus the DMO can work with its local partners to promote these videos.

Here are some tips to help any DMO catch up with the new media train:

  • Shoot short 1 or 2 minute video clips that provide a nice overview of the destination.  Most users do not have time to watch a 30 minute video as they plan their trip.
  • Consider shooting your top tourist attractions or sights. This is no time to feel guilty about playing favorites as your 2 minute video should be a highlight reel or sizzle reel of the best things to do in your city, state, province or country.
  • Post quality videos from local restaurants, hotels, attractions and events on the official DMO or Destination YouTube Channel. Shoot a video from a local fair or festival. Interview the hottest chefs in the city.
  • Cross promote your YouTube efforts in your monthly email newsletter and on your website. Also post links to your YouTube channel from Twitter, Facebook and other blogs or social networking outlets.
  • While YouTube is certainly the leader with online video, there are hundreds of other video sites, directories, search engines and libraries where you need to distribute your videos. Some of the sites to look out for include: MySpace Videos, Yahoo Videos, Odeo & DailyMotion.
  • Reach out to travel podcasters like Erik Hastings & journeyPod to see if they might be interested in having the DMO on their show to talk about seasonal happenings.
  • Create your own video or audio podcast! Purchasing a very affordable FLIP Meno video recorder or a Sony Hi-MD audio recorder are two excellent ways to get started. Turn your event calendar and press releases into podcasts and syndicate with major podcast libraries and RSS directories like iTunes and Odeo.
  • Start your own social network and invite partners and members of the DMO to join and post travel deals, events, product launches, parties and more with fellow travelers. is a FREE social network optimizer allowing you to customize your own space and share it with the audience you choose.

Get some ideas from other Destinations:

  • The Colorado Tourism Office had produced several short videos but they were only being used on their own website.  Travel Spike turned the videos into podcasts and RSS feeds to distribute to the hundreds of podcast sites, libraries, search engines and directories. Podcasts relating to skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing were promoted in the fall, while podcasts focused on biking, whitewater rafting and wildlife in Colorado were pushed early spring.  All of these efforts can help your overall digital brand and your search engine rankings.
  • The St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB‘s new digital strategy generated over 2 million Web 2.0 Hits using some of these techniques.
  • The West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau produced seven local walking tour podcasts covering things like their famous Sunset Strip and their Red Carpet Parties during The Oscars.
  • The Indianapolis CVB was one of the first to produce a video podcast that gives visitors a glimpse into the city.

As one of the most trusted resources for information about a city, a DMO has a great deal of expertise about the destination that can be maximized with today’s vast media landscape. Get on the new media train today!

Ryan Bifulco is the Founder & CEO of Travel Spike which offers DMOs and other travel companies social media marketing, digital public relations and online advertising solutions. Ryan can be reached at or 770-433-2930.

Photo Credit: B_Uncie

Amadeus’ UK boss makes the case for GDS distribution

January 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Interesting article from Travolution Blog: Amedeus is pushing GDS distribution in Europe.