How to Increase Your Online Travel Service Ratings

Online travel service ratings are being regarded as the backbone of travel and tourism service providers. The web travel and tourism industry has evolved quite dramatically in the past one decade. Today, an increasing number of people turn to search engines to plan their holidays and vacations, offering potential opportunities for online travel service providers to expand their business.

However, your potential customers are more informed today and your competitors are even hungrier. In the face of intense competition in a rapidly evolving travel business, the web travel service ratings play a key role to help sustain your travel and tourism business.

Therefore, it is imperative for the online tourism service providers to focus on the following points in order to boost their travel service ratings.

Offer Attractive Vacation Packages:

Your prospective customers are web-savvy and search the Internet for the best vacation packages before they book for their holiday online. They may not be looking for the exact vacation package you offer. Therefore, allow the customers to assemble their own trip by empowering them with customization. This will help improve the online travel service ratings for your business.

Encourage After-trip Feedback:

When your customers are back from their trip, encourage them to share their travel experience with you by offering valuable feedback. This not only allows your customers to feel privileged, but also offers you an opportunity to take your service quality further and build a bonding with the customers. This may go a long way to increase the online travel service ratings for your company.

Introduce Coupons for Loyal Customers:

Treating your loyal customers with care is crucial to building your online travel business further up. Make sure you offer special discount coupons to your repeat customers. This offers them a very good feeling about why they should use your website again and again.

Build Long-term Relationship:

Online travel service providers should foster a long-term relationship with their customers in order to ensure repeat business. You should stay connected to your customers round the year by introducing them new tour offers and special tourism packages based on their past vacation priorities. For instance, you can send news letters to your customers about any attractive tour discounts they may take advantage of. Again, this may add to the online travel service ratings for your business.

Allow Customers to Write Reviews:

In order to boost online travel service ratings, you should encourage satisfied customers to write reviews about your services. You can be sure that these reviews will further influence other people to sign up for your services. User reviews add credibility to your services since it is a direct reflection of the satisfaction of clients. Not only can they make your ratings go up, but they also invite other clients.

Run A Travel Blog:

When it comes to improving your online travel service ratings, nothing works like running a travel blog. It is essentially a fun way to interact with your potential customers and show them the beautiful side of signing up with your tour services.

You can also allow your satisfied customers to contribute to your blogs occasionally as guests. This not only creates a sense of value among your customers but also adds to the credibility of your travel business among many other potential customers.

Focus on Social Integration:

Social networks are the epicenter of product promotion for online service providers, especially in the travel and tourism industry. Developing a powerful social presence via Facebook fan page, Twitter and LinkedIn is almost inevitable to promote your travel business online. When you allow your satisfied customers to write a review or share their tour pictures with you on your Facebook fan page, it works wonders for other potential customers.

A dedicated approach to maintaining your social presence can go a long way in ensuring excellent customer satisfactions and online travel service ratings.

An 8 Step Plan to Traveling Healthy Abroad

A vacation overseas is an exciting event. Exotic locations can mean a greater risk for potential health problems and a larger chance of not finding adequate medical services.

Plan your travel health as carefully as your travel itinerary with the Fox News Channel’s Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld suggested 8 Tips for Travel that will ensure a safe, happy and healthy vacation.

1. Have updated shots.

The CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel has information on suggested immunizations for every country you may be planning to travel. They also have suggested precautions for a healthy trip.

2. Do not brush your teeth with tap water.

Local water sometimes carries parasites and bacteria that can make a non-local ill. For that reason, don’t brush with tap water use bottled water instead. In lieu of bottled water, boiling local tap water for a at least 1 minute will kill any diseases that could cause illness.

3. Peel fruits and vegetables, don’t eat them raw with the skin.

Like local water, food can also carry disease for the traveler. The CDC recommends not eating food purchased from street vendors. Dr. Rosenfeld suggests peeling fresh fruits and vegetables, not eating the raw skin. Make sure any food you eat is fully cooked.

4. Take additional prescription medication with you.

There is nothing worse than running out of needed medication while on vacation. Prepare for the unexpected by taking more medication with you than the number of days you actually expect to travel. Delays and the unexpected can happen, so be prepared.

5. Create a travel first aid kit.

Create one or two first aid kits. Why two kits? One that you keep in your suitcase and the other to keep on your person. In the suitcase include anti-motion, anti-diarrheal medications and a mild laxative. A package of preferred decongestant and antihistamine should be included with 1% hydro cortisone and anti-fungal creams. In your personal kit keep latex gloves, band aids, moleskin for blisters and antibiotic cream. Anti-inflammatory medicine of your choice and throat lozenges are important as well.

6. Make a travel insurance investment.

Because no one has a crystal ball, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance so an anticipated trip isn’t a disappointment financially as well as emotionally when something goes wrong.

7. No swimming in lakes or ponds.

Parasitic and bacterial diseases can exist in lakes and ponds as they can in local drinking water. Avoid swimming in still bodies of water. Swimming in the ocean or in chlorinated swimming pools is okay. But swimming in a local river should be avoided.

8. Prepare for mosquitoes.

Make sure you pack sunscreen and insect repellent. Repellent should include DEET in a 20-50% concentration which is acceptable for children over 2 months and adults according to the CDC. Apply your sunscreen first then spray the repellent on your body and clothing. Wear long sleeves and pants when possible to avoid mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Mosquitoes that transmit malaria are more active at dusk and again at dawn. Those that bite during the day tend to carry dengue fever.

If an injury or unexpected illness hits a member of your traveling party, seek help from one or more organizations that specialize in this type of situation. The International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene both have websites and can give you information on clinics in your area. MEDEX at http://www.medexassist.com is another organization referenced on the CDC website that is worth checking into.

So be prepared and travel healthy. Enjoy your vacation with no anxiety because you know you’ve already prepared for the worst. And of course, if you are prepared, the worst will never happen.

Choose Between Independent, Hosted and Escorted Tours

You’re browsing online for your next tour and some of them look absolutely fantastic and so inexpensive! But wait, there are a couple words that I’m not sure of recently: hosted tours and independent tours. You know what they mean in general conversation, but what do they mean where travel is concerned?

Good question, with a simple answer, but knowing the difference will make a significant impact on your travel decision.

“Independent” means you are on your own. The travel company will book your hotels and, if you’re traveling to various cities, perhaps they’ll also book your train seat. When your plane lands you’ll make your way to the hotel and, if you want to see the sights, and well, that’s why you’re traveling, isn’t it? You will for the most part, have to make your own arrangements. You’ll get to each place by any method you choose…car, cab or bus. Carry a good guide book or perhaps hire a local at the sight.

Why book this type of package if you are on your own for the majority of the time? Well the tour companies have buying power, so you may save a little money by purchasing a hotel stay from them, but that’s not always the case. Check with your travel agent who will be happy to price it both ways for you to ensure you receive the best value.

“Hosted” involves a little more hand holding. You may be met at the airport and transported to your hotel, which is pre-booked for you as well, and you’ll have breakfast daily. Your “host” is a local tour professional (usually) who represents the tour company with whom you booked. This person is available to you at certain hours of each day, to advise you on sightseeing, restaurants and shopping in the area. They will also have available optional tours you can book through them and travel. You will have plenty of time to do your own thing, but have the security of being able to consult someone throughout your stay. If you are visiting multiple cities, then the transportation is also arranged for you in advance including train, bus or flights.

Escorted is the best choice if the language of the country you are visiting is very foreign (In most European countries you will find many locals who speak English fluently). Your guide will meet you, great you, introduce you to others in your group…because escorted tours are almost always of a group of 24 to 40 people. (The exception are luxury tours in which your group consists of only you and your travel companions with a private guide.) All of your hotels and transportation are included. The guide checks you into each hotel and hands you the keys. Your luggage is taken to each room and then picked up and placed back on the bus so that you can relax. The guide and driver will accompany you on all sightseeing tours, smooth your admission to museums and monuments, entertain you (hopefully) on the bus ride to the next town and, all in all, act as your “big brother” or “sister.” You will be well taken care of and probably get the most out of your journey. Knowledgeable guides make a career of sharing their inspiring insights, and are well versed in local customs and must see hidden treasured. Most travelers agree that the tour guide is the key to good vacation due to their wealth of information, warmth and efficiency.

In conclusion, “independent travel” is best suited for the very savvy traveler who knows what he wants to see and do, but is happy to have someone book his hotels and train seats. A “hosted” trip is good for those who are capable of budgeting their time, is up and out to see all there is to see, and has done their homework. The traveler may need or want some assistance in choosing from the many sights the city or a specific venue has to offer. “Escorted tours” are the most comprehensive way to visit another country. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy…just time-conscious and maybe not too well versed in the history and lore of your chosen destination. Better to have a professional show you all there is to see.

Tour operators offer a variety of travel options to meet each travelers needs. Whichever travel style you select, know what you’re buying in advance.