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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Winding Down from the T-List – PhocusWright Travel Blogger Summit #ITB09 in Berlin part 3 – Final

Many new and many familiar faces and a lot/too much to digest and cover here.

As a wrap up I’ll give you in this last post some photos and some links of fellow bloggers covering the summit:

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Ludolf Stavinga of the Dutch language blog Reisportals reported partly in Dutch and partly in English:
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Kevin May of the Travolution Blog did a good job as usual:
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Stephen Bud (l) and Vicky Brock (r) of Tracking Tourism: The Tourism Research Blog:
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Josiah Mackenzie of Hotel Marketing Strategies Blog did a great a job covering the summit:
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Olivier Dujardin of the Blegian Dutch Language blog MAX MANAGEMENT, and @maxmanagement:
  • Het verhaal achter Hotel Website Mr and Mrs Smith
  • PhocusWright itb Conferentie (Day2)
  • PhocusWright itb Conferentie (day 1)

Olivier has found a nifty tool to wrap your Twitter stream for publication. It’s only disadvantage is that you have to intsll it before you start Twittering and have to specify who will be in the wrap…

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Darren Cronian’s TravelRant‘s posts:

My Twitter Award for this summit goes to:

Who Twittered best at this summit and took wonderful photographs at the same time.

I found a couple of posts from author’s I have no photos of:

A pity I cannot could find a only one post from

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Martin Schobert (l) of the Austrian Tourist Board site Kulinarische Reisen who was on two panels, on one of which he was dressed very aptly in a Trachten jacket

On his significant other Blog: Austria Tourismus Blogger Meeting – Phocuswright Berlin

who made my day with this huge compliment:

joebertl

To all I didn’t mention here:
It was a pleasure to meet you! You all Rock!

Lesson for me as a hotelier? Keep focused on 6 C’s:

  1. Be Creative,
  2. Keep or get into Contact with your guests whenever possible,
  3. Connect as much as possible with your guests,
  4. by providing as much Content, as possible
  5. Do provide the Content within it’s own Context (i.e. offering the right information (content) at the right time, thanks @Joebertl), and
  6. keep thinking of ways to Convert lookers into bookers.

10 Questions For (23): Tom Meyers of EuroCheapo.com

Happy to present a community and team builder: Tom Meyers (@Budtravel?), brother of @Pete Meyers, of EuroCheapo.com.

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Tom Meyers in Paris

1) Who are you?
I’m Tom Meyers, the founder and editor of EuroCheapo.com, a guide to budget travel in Europe. I’m American and live in New York City.

2) What do you like about what you do?
First off, I love to travel and feel very fortunate that my job allows me to travel to Europe a couple times a year. After eight years of doing this, I still get a thrill every time I arrive in a city and head off to visit hotels.

I also really enjoy running my own business and, together with my business partner (and brother) Pete, making decisions, and implementing them right away on the site.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?
I wish that I could travel more frequently. In the years following our 2001 launch, I was the only employee and operated EuroCheapo from my apartment in Berlin. My expenses were minimal, so everything went back into travel. I spent years roaming around European cities hunting down hotels. Now, fortunately, the business has “grown up” and we have grown-up expenses, and I travel less.

4) Please tell us all about your site/blog and your aims with it.
EuroCheapo.com is primarily focused on reviewing budget hotels in Europe. Our writers visit lots of cheap-ish hotels in 26 European cities, find the best deals, take photos and write a review. (note from hh: Eurocheapo’s blog is Eurocheapo Blog)

Our blog offers us a chance to supplement that information with other timely tips about how to visit these cities on a budget. With the blog, we can be immediate (for example, updates on rail strikes), write about things of seasonal interest (“where to celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe”), and do “on the road” reporting (our “Wandering Cheapos” series allows us to post while working abroad).

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
A bike trip in the south of France – One week cycling through Provence during the summer of 2007, visiting Roman ruins, enjoying leisurely lunches, and burning off all the calories on our bikes.

A trip to Tokyo and Kyoto – because it was just so different from any of my European travels. It blew my mind.

St. Petersburg and Riga – I spent two weeks in these cities in January 2009. It wasn’t “fun,” but it was immensely interesting and very educational.

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
I still dream about a mountain-top monastery-turned-hotel (and amazing restaurant) in les Baux-de- Provence, France.

In Corsica, we stumbled upon a dusty old seaside “Grand Hotel” just north of Ajaccio—and I don’t even remember its name!

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Photo pinched from Art Luise

In Berlin, I love the artistry at the Kunstlerheim Luise, an art hotel in Berlin along the S-Bahn tracks in Mitte. Every room is designed and decked out by a different artist.

7) Your top 3 most memorable food experiences to date and why?
My work is done on a cheapo-budget, so my memorable meals have been on the budget-side. Call me predictable, but my three favorite meals were in France:

Sunday lunch in Chateauneuf-de-Papes, France in 2002. We feasted on duck, wine, desserts… happiness.

During that bike trip through Provence, in Baux les Romains, our “monastery” offered dinner, with only local ingredients. I remember a steak au poivre, cheese platter, bottle of Cote de Provence, and my bed.

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Tom and Friend

My boyfriend is French. Two years ago at his family reunion in Normandy, I got to experience the kind of feast an extended French family throws after not eating together for four years. Halfway through, just when I thought we had finished the meal, they brought out a bottle of Calvados from the basement, everyone took shots (which “opened the stomach”) and we all pushed on…

8) Your 3 worst destination/accommodation/food experiences to date an why?
Reviewing Venice hotels in December 2001 was pretty depressing. It’s already hard being a single guy in your 20s in Venice, much less in December when it’s practically empty.

Night train from Budapest to Berlin in December 2001. I got locked in the bathroom at the end of the train, behind the café car, and had to scream for ages to get anyone’s attention.

As someone who tries to find “food deals,” I’ve experienced my share of bad meals. I get disappointed and a little depressed by the boring meals thrust upon tourists, usually in restaurants lining a city’s main square or pedestrian zone. I can think of many lame pizzas, pastas, beef thingies, sad salads, etc.

9) Can you offer the readers 3 travel/food/accommodation/things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?
Don’t pay full-price for admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art! Their entrance fee of $20 for adults is only “recommended.” You can pay anything you like.

Don’t fall for the midtown “delicatessen” restaurants (like Carnegie Deli or Stage Deli). The food is fine, but it’s just too packed with tourists and way too expensive (a pastrami sandwich can cost about $20!). We recommend the much more reasonable (and popular with locals) Katz Delicatessen in the Lower East Side.

If you’re flexible about your theater plans, buy same-day half-priced tickets at the TKTS booth at Times Square. If you want to book your show in advance, at least find a discount code from BroadwayBox.com or BroadwayOffers.com. (Discounts are available for most shows.)

10) Any questions you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?
Well, you didn’t ask the one question on everyone’s mind in the United States:

Is this a good time for Americans to travel abroad?

The answer, as you know, is a resounding “yes!” Despite a shaky economy and uncertainty, the dollar is stronger than it’s been for years and many hotels are lowering their rates to attract tourists. It’s a great time to travel, and not just for those of us States-side, but for everyone.

Thanks for the interview! It’s been a pleasure.

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The EuroCheapo Team

My observations:
Thank you Tom. Now I’m very curious which hotel in Les Beaux de Provence you were referring to. In addition I would have liked to pinch your brain for more inside info on Berlin, understanding that you have lived there some time. Finally: What is you Dutch connection with your very Dutch family name?

The 2009 Winners of the Lonely Planet @LPlab Awards for Best Travel Blogs

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Further to my anouncement:

It’s not now officially published (yet – at least as far as I know-), but. Matthew Cashmore of @LPlaps has twittered the results of the awards ceremony in Sf live.

  1. Best Destination Blog
    Go Visit Hawaii
  2. Best Expat Blog
    Notes from Spain
  3. Best Consumer Travel Blog
    Intelligent Travel – Nat. Geographic
  4. Best Travelogue
    World In Slow Motion.com
  5. Best non-English Travel Blog
    Lavoltadels25.cat
  6. Best Spanish Language Blog
    blogdeviajes.com.ar
  7. Best French Language Blog
    toothbrushnomads.com
  8. Best Italian Language Blog
    ilreporter.comilreporter.com
  9. Best Micro-blogging
    twitter.com/soultravelers3
  10. Best Video Blog
    twoguysaroundtheworld.com
  11. Best Themed Blog
    soultravelers3.com
  12. Best Image Blog
    elsuenodeindia.blogspot.com
  13. Best Group Authored Blog
    SpottedbyLocals.com
  14. Best Podcast:
    indietravelpodcast.com

and the over all 2009 Lonely Planet award for Best Travel Blog is for:
twoguysaroundtheworld.com

Congratulations to all winners! And: Tough for all losers, but you’re all great!

Note: if you compare these results with the outcome of the public voting round, it is clear that the judges really did have something to say in this procedure.

Wow Wine Tasting: A 1918 Vosne Romanée

1918 Vosne Romanee tasted March 24, 2009 P1040197
Richard delicately uncorking the 1918 Vosne Romanée

In my post Happy Hotelier is now a WSet Level 2 Intermediate Wine Connoisseur I promised to blog more about wine. However I have decided to reserve many posts about wine and wine tasting I have in my sleeve for publication in the newly to be established blog of Haagsche Suites itself, as most of the tasting takes place there.

From the persons who took the WSet Intermediate Course last spring together with me, we have formed a little wine tasting group to gain more experience in wine tasting. Last Tuesday we started our series of monthly wine tastings for this year.

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Color approximation with flash…a bit orange.

In the meantime various of us, including me had been following the Wset Advanced Course. I couldn’t take part in the exams and most likely I won’t take part in the exams of the Advanced Course anymore. Partly this is due to time constrictions, but also to my disappointment with the level of teaching in the Advanced Course. As passionate as the teachers of the Intermediate Course were, so dispassionate the teachers of this Advanced Course were. Many of the group that participated in this course didn’t pass the two part exam. The first part of the exam is theory and the second part is blind tasting one wine: You have to determine the grape variety or varieties and possibly the origin of the wine. Granted. Such exam should not be too easy, but the high percentage of failures, particularly for the theory part of the exams demonstrates to me that there is a huge disparity in the level of teaching and that what is expected from you at the exams. That combined with the fact that the teachers of the Advanced Course I followed belong to the top Dutch wine connoisseurs.

1918 Vosne Romanee tasted March 24, 2009 P1040199
Another color approximation without flash here you see there is a rim, but there are also still some red tones in the wine

Anyway we had invited Richard to take part in this tasting session and he surprised us at the end of the session with an unlabeled bottle of what was to be a 1918 Vosne Romanée.

Vosne Romanée is a small village in Gold Coast of French Burgundy, between Clos Vougeot and Nuits Saint George. Year and region were established with reasonable certainty by way of cellar records. The bottle came from a Wine auction.

The first photo shows Richard with the bottle. Very carefully he uncorks the bottle. The cork is still intact. We all breathlessly watch. You see the coffee filter ready for decanting. It turns out decanting is not necessary.

1918 Vosne Romanee tasted March 24, 2009 P1040200
A funny photo: The wine’s Soul

The wine was clear with some rim and had hardly any depot. Its color was red to orange brown.
It didn’t smell like a wine that was beyond drinking at all. It had some ripe cherry, a bit metallic tones. some mentioned chocolate. A complex nose.
It tasted like it smelled. Ripe cherry, a bit metallic, medium alcohol (we believe between 11 and 12 pct) and ripe tannins still there.
A complex wine and amazing that after 100 years it was so very drinkable.

I will enhance these preliminary tasting notes as soon as I get a copy from Lodewijk, who promised to take full notes.

The other red wines we tasted that evening were 4 German red Spätburgunder which is German for the French Pinot Noir grape.

It was a very good experience in the sense that you could smell and taste the same tones of those much younger wines in such old variant.

A real Wow tasting experience. Thanks Richard!

Connecting with your Guests

A post from my back burner (almost for two years now). I didn’t ditch it, because I see some analogies with destination marketing. In the present economic circumstances it is even more important to be able to think outside of the box.

The artist, Robert Arquer, does something with fish in a bowl. As any good modern artist his art inspires you to think…. Roger shows me various ways of thinking outside the box.

This project comprises fifteen different fish bowls that explore variations of the iconic image of a fish bowl.
Each piece examines a topic or suggests a solution to a different issue. In this project human qualities had been attributed to fish through the design. Thoughtful and yet playful

Under some of the photos (by Peter Mallet) I’ll give my own thoughts: Imagine you (or your accommodation or attraction) is the fish in the bowl…and your potential guests are out there…

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Don’t piss me off

Do Not Piss Me Off, “tells us about the power to decide between the life and death of the fish”. This is very clear, also in a good economy you should never aggravate your potential guests.Those who threw the stop at you are your potential guests. But the most important message is: Go find them, because apparently they like you! Connect!

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More or less the same idea: There are people out there who might fancy your accommodation or attraction. Go find them! They keep you afloat better although you might think you can swim on your own very well… If you don’t find them, you can hang yourself!

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Do something surprising with your accommodation or attraction: It may attract those you need!

About Robert Arquer:

Roger Arquer was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1975. Graduated in Design at ESDI, Barcelona (1994-1998). A year after his graduation, he moved to New York City (1999-2003) to work as industrial designer. After New York, he moved to London to attend an MA in Design Products at the Royal College of Art (2003-2005). During the summer break in RCA he worked as designer in Zurich (Switzerland). He set up his own design practice in London after RCA.

Well done, Robert! Show us more of your work!

Via Dezeen | Fish Bowls