Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is the Recession Making Businesses Friendlier?

I stopped by two take-out restaurants yesterday (everyone in my family wanted something different and I was in the mood to please them) and both restaurants wowed me with their customer service.  This normally doesn't happen.  You see, I consider my self an expert in TWO things and TWO things only - TRAVEL and CUSTOMER SERVICE.  I use to give trainings in customer service and soft skills many moons ago.  I'm from the Disney school of service. Going above and beyond what a customer expects is the only true way to know you've got the best service around. 
With that said, both restaurants I stopped at truly went above and beyond in their service, and this got me thinking - Has the recession made hospitality businesses friendly and better at service? The fact that both places employed young kids (17, 18 maybe) that excelled in their service skills leads me to believe that companies are going out of their way to make sure their business stands out so that you come back (and they in turn survive the recession). 

Have you had similar experience where you eat, shop and stay? Tell us about it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can you afford it?

My 'day job' is as a travel writer for military families. I love doing it. On the side, I also am a travel writer for the general public. I was approached by a five star hotel that wanted to be included in one of my articles. I was excited because it happened to be located in a military city. I knew that not only would my non-military audience enjoy learning about this hotel, but my fellow military wives would love to hear about their spa and luxurious rooms.  After all, my hubby will take me anywhere after a deployment or detachment (even if out of sheer guilt or appreciation for taking care of things while he's gone).  I'm always looking for those romantic places where fellow military wives can be pampered as we deserve. 

I mentioned to the hotel how excited I was to write about them for both my audiences.  I received an email back telling me that they appreciated my willingness to tell my audiences about their property but would prefer to only be written about to my non-military audience.  She said the following:

"Please know that since "XXXXXX Hotel" is a luxury resort on the pricey side, we prefer not to be included in the Guide to Military Travel – especially since the resort does not offer any sort of military rate."

Is it just me, or did she just say military families can't afford her hotel? I know that all military members make different amounts of money.  I also know that we can all afford different nightly rates; however, shouldn't we still be considered a viable audience?  It's not like she was paying for my article in any way.  All it was going to be was free publicity for her resort. Is it wrong that this offended me? Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Travel Dreams?

I'm working on an article about my top ten travel wishes for 2011.  It got me wondering where you wish to go? Is there somewhere you've always wanted to travel to but haven't had the time or the money? I've always wanted to go to the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island. Tell us where you want to go?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Have you heard? We are on the RADIO!

Have you heard that we now have our own radio show? That's right! Military Travel Talk Radio airs twice a month (with some special shows) on Mondays at 1:00pm PST.  You can download the show on iTunes on Monday night or visit our website at any time for a direct link.  Visit to listen LIVE.  Here is a list of our upcoming shows:

Nov. 15 - Orange County, CA
Nov. 22 - Holiday Travel Advice
Dec. 6 - Northern Florida - From Panhandle to Amelia Island!
Dec. 13 - LIVE on LOCATION from Kissimmee, Florida

Hope you listen in! Let us know if there is a topic you would like us to cover in 2011.

Disneyland/Walt Disney World Military Discount 2010-2011

Can you believe that 2010 is almost over? Well, we are less than two months away from the new year and it's time to start thinking about vacations and getaways in 2011.  Last week, Disney Parks announced the new military discount for the rest of this year and 2011, and it is a GREAT offer.  For those of you living around the West Coast, you can buy a three day park hopper for $99 to Disneyland.  For those of you planning to visit Walt Disney World, my favorite Mouse is offering you a four-day park hopper for $138! That is an amazing deal! The offer other combinations to that pass including a water park option for those interested.  For more details, visit our home page at for a complete list of the available discounts.  If you were thinking of visiting a Disney Park, this is the time to do it. Any questions? Let us know and we'd be glad to help! Have a great week, Friends.