Posts filed under ‘Becky’s Ruminations’

31 Ways to Combine Travel with Giving: The Half-Way Mark

by Becky

As we reach halfway through December, we are also halfway through my challenge to call out 31 realistic ways to combine travel (and love of travel) with charitable giving and volunteerism (love of the world around us), as I first described here. The series is playing out on Twitter — follow @BeckyOnTheRoad and search the hashtag #31travelgiving to see the ideas.

For those of you traveling to destinations in the developing world, there are countless ways to impact the community around you for better.  You can deliver clean solar lights to families in villages without electricity. Teach children in Guatemala. Wash rescued elephants in Cambodia. Don’t see your passion there? You can search the United Nations World Volunteer Web for a project that suits you at your destination.

But for many of us who are staying closer to home or not traveling any time soon, there are easier ways to make a difference. My favorites I’ve profiled so far include:

  • Donate your spare frequent flyer miles to charity. The airlines make this easy, and you can use the miles to support (usually your choice of) organizations that help get sick children and adults to the medical institutions that can provide them care. (In the case of American Airlines, you can choose to donate miles to help get wounded US military veterans home to their families, as well.) Here are the links for the major airlines in the US that have frequent flyer miles charity donation programs.
  1. Delta
  2. United & Continental
  3. American
  4. US Airways
  • Consider supporting the Air Charity Network, which uses a national network of pilots to transport financially needy patients to hospitals for treatment, using their own aircraft.
  • Like to run? Runners’ World’s Race Finder tool helps you locate races and run/walk events at a destination. Then show up to support the cause, whether it’s to visit the merchants and hear the stories of the organization the run is supporting, or to slap some sneakers on your feet and go the distance.
  • Planning a vacation for fun? Bidding For Good donates proceeds from your bid on travel packages go to support non-profit organizations.

I still have 16 days left of ideas to share on Twitter. What’s your idea for pairing travel with do-gooding for the world around you? Do tell!

Thanks, and happy holidays to everyone. May your travels be safe and your hearts be warm, wherever you are.

December 16, 2011 at 5:14 am Leave a comment

Becky’s December Challenge: 31 Ways to Pair Travel with Giving

by Becky

I love chocolate, and I love salted caramel. But the two together are something FAR better than the sum of the parts. Bliss, even.

It’s the same way with two other things I love: travel and giving.  Every time I board a plane I’m struck by how fortunate we are, we weary travellers, that we have the privilege to jet around the world and see new landscapes, meet different people, and peek (in some cases, leap) beyond our cultural comfort zones.  Even just seeing the planet from 35,000 feet is a joy sometimes, a chance to get some perspective on the chaos below, or at the very least, an opportunity to see the sun shining above the rain clouds.

It doesn’t always feel like it, as we schlep through crowded security lines and wedge ourselves into middle seats, but we are lucky, lucky people.

Travel also gives us a unique opportunity to impact the places we are visiting for the better.  This month I am running a Twitter campaign to highlight organizations that pair travel with charitable giving and volunteerism.  Some will be easy and are relevant no matter where you’re travelling, or how.  Some apply only to those of you who are trekking to more adventurous destinations, or specific spots. Some don’t even require you to actually travel.  But all of them, I hope, will inspire you. Follow me at @BeckyontheRoad and #31TravelGiving.

Do you think I can find 31 of these opportunities? I’m sure I can – and if you know of one, send it my way to make it even easier.  I’ll highlight in my Twitter campaign and in a couple of roundups posts I will offer here on Carrying On this month. Post comments here if you have ideas!

Happy travelling, you lucky wanderers! How sweet it is, indeed.

December 2, 2011 at 8:14 am Leave a comment

Want a Great Social Profile? Try a Great Customer Experience.

by Becky

One of the more valuable (and oft-re-Tweeted) pearls of wisdom that came out of the energetic PhoCusWright Conference a couple of weeks ago was from Hilton’s president of global brands and commercial services, Paul Brown. Social media may not be the death of brands, he said during his keynote speech, “but social media may be the death of bad brands.”

Ah, yes! The influence of social media is strong, no doubt.  But the influence of an outstanding customer experience is far stronger. (Not the least of which is because it begets a more positive social media sentiment.) It was fun to see that simple idea so boldly and overtly stated on stage.

Brown said Hilton will aim to avoid rewarding customers who choose passive-aggressive methods of airing grievances, in favor of those who choose private and direct channels, like writing to the hotel.  So, if you have an issue, you know what to do, weary traveler!

November 30, 2011 at 7:30 am Leave a comment

Keep It In Check, Travelers

by Becky

I’ve been following Joe Brancatelli for some time now.  Though he sits in business class (seat 2B) while I am back in coach (almost always in 6B) — we agree on many things.  His post this week for Portfolio.com gives attitude adjustment advice for business travelers, to ensure a smooth road warrior experience. Like I always say, “Go Zen, be prepared and save the arguments for later.”  Safe travels!

October 27, 2011 at 6:54 am Leave a comment

Hotel Peeves: A Charged iPhone or a Quiet Night? Gimme Power

by Becky

I don’t claim to be any more authoritative on hotel quality than any of my fellow weary business travellers, but I do know this:  My number one hotel complaint is about power.  Specifically, iPhone power.

It’s such a simple, easy thing, and yet my unscientific personal study of hundreds of hotels suggests that only 1 in 10 or so gets it right.  Put an outlet next to the bed.  Preferably at table level, close to the headboard.  Not at the unseen end of a melange of lamp and clock cords that lead to a mystery spot somewhere deep behind the bed along the floor.  Not on the other side of the room.  Put it near my pillow, so my woefully short iPhone charger can reach it while I drift off to sleep playing Sudoku and so I can check my email first thing in the morning after I wake up to the sound of iPhone crickets on the only alarm I trust to be set correctly when I travel.  This, hotels, is not hard to do.

Now, I admit, perhaps I am alone in this demand.  Earlier this week USA Today reported that noise is the number one complaint from hotel guests, beating out even smelly rooms and rude staff.  Crowne Plaza has snore patrols in some of its British properties now! (Good thing my Dad is prone to domestic travel only.) Sure, I’ve heard a snore or two, but man, do I love a charged iPhone.

So fess up, Carrying On readers.  What’s your biggest hotel pet peeve? (And remember, if you’re the one who never hears your hotel neighbor snoring, well, consider the old joke, “My mom tells me there’s an idiot on every bus…. but I ride busses all the time and I never see one…”)

October 7, 2011 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Read Up on Relevance – A Good Book and Some Good ?s to Ask

by Becky

I am singing the praises of an outstanding book I recently read about relevance technology and the personalization of Web content searches – technology that Rearden is all about. “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You,” by Eli Pariser, is a well-balanced exploration of the ethical and sociological pros and cons of the way that consumers search today.  Whether we know it or not (though for the most part we know it), with every search on Bing or purchase on Amazon, we are trading personal data – tiny bits and bytes about our preferences, behavior, and history – in exchange for convenience and the personalization of the search experience.

For proof, watch the advertisements being shown to you on the popular Web sites you frequent most.  I visited KateSpade.com looking for wedding shoes recently, and ever since ads for Kate Spade goodies are following me to CNN, Facebook, and the other sites I frequent. (Works for me!  I’d rather see Kate Spade offers than stuff from online dating sites and credit score providers, any day.)

With Deem and our applications like travel, we’re using relevance technology to help get users in and out of the booking experience faster, showing them the best logical fare given who they are, what policy they’re subject to, and what we know they prefer.

You don’t have to search very far to see statistics in the media about how personalization is working for marketers.  Your own marketing department may be thinking about it – if not already exploring it – today.

But as consumers (like Eli Pariser points out in The Filter Bubble), companies are wise to ask good, smart, proactive questions about this stuff when talking to cloud-based software vendors.  Doing so helps you understand the implications and get your head around what’s good, what’s scary, what’s thrilling, and what’s really going to move the needle on your goals.

I put some questions together for companies to ask their cloud-based software vendors, for a recent Webinar I did through GBTA. Click here to download them. We’ll ask you to trade a wee bit of data in exchange for the document, mind you.  But we think the content, like personalization so often is, will be worth it.

September 23, 2011 at 8:21 am Leave a comment

The Best Things About Business Travel: Showing Them the World

by Becky

I’ve been tweeting since last week about the 30 things I love most about business travel (#30things), and just today I got to #14: “We help people see the world.”

When she was head of Carlson Companies, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, one of my personal heroes, frequently referred to this as one of the more important roles business travel plays in the world, and it always inspired me. Just think: Because of our industry, professionals young and old are seeing Singapore and Beijing, Dubai and Mumbai, Minneapolis and San Francisco, Cairo and Rio de Janeiro.  With each of those trips, cultures are shared, minds are expanded, perspectives are broadened, stereotypes are challenged, and the world gets a little bit smaller.

After traveling to Denver for GBTA, I got to see a new part of the world myself, when, as promised in my last post, I hiked with friends to the top of our fifth 14,000-foot peak in the Colorado Rockies, Mount Quandary outside of Breckenridge. A wonderful added bonus was getting to see Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, and Elia Viviana sprint to the finish line in stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Breckinridge the next day. The world looked pretty amazing at 14,265 feet and at that finish line.

But then, the world has also looked amazing to me from a yurt in the Hong Kong harbor, from the banks of the Seine in Paris, from Queen Street in Toronto, from a pink-sand beach in Bermuda, from a balcony in New Orleans…. All places I have stood for the first time thanks to business travel.

Where has business travel taken you for the first time? Let’s keep the inspiration going!

August 30, 2011 at 11:44 am 1 comment

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