Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Are You Using the Internet Effectively to Increase Turnover at your Restaurant?

As a restaurant owner or manager ask yourself these four simple questions.

Firstly if you type your restaurant’s name and location into do you see your web site prominently listed and above your competitors in your local area?

Secondly are your customers able to book reservations at your restaurant online?

Thirdly do you collect the first name, surname, email address and phone number of each and every one of your customers and contact them regularly with special offers and promotions?

Lastly can you calculate exactly how much your web site contributes to your business’s bottom line each month?

Food for thought?

Now think of yourself as a hotel owner.

Would you run a hotel in today’s business environment without promoting yourself aggressively online?

Would you be able to compete if you did not allow guests the opportunity to book rooms online?

Would you be missing any number of opportunities to promote and market your business online as a result of failing to collect personal details for future marketing promotions?

Could you survive if you could not calculate to the last penny how your online presence has contributed to the business in terms of bookings and revenues?

The internet has revolutionised the way in which the hotel industry operates but its hospitality bed fellow, the restaurant industry, has so far failed to fully embrace all of the opportunities that the internet has to offer in terms of revenue generation and cost control.

How many hotels that you know take and record bookings using a diary and a pencil over the phone. Now contrast that with the number of restaurants that utilise technology to effectively manage key business functions such as customer relationship management, online booking, and table management?

The UK is now a fully connected country. As of January 2006, there were 37,800,000 Internet users in the United Kingdom representing 62.9% of the total population.

On average Britons now spend around 164 minutes online every day - that is the equivalent of 41 days a year - as opposed to a mere 148 minutes watching television.

The internet is now the number one source of information for the population of the UK. So why are restaurants so reluctant to embrace new technologies and means of communicating and interacting with their customers?

Perhaps it is because restaurateurs like to think that their main forms of marketing and customer acquisition have not as yet been overtaken by the internet.

Many owner/managers list word of mouth advertising as the most effective form of marketing in the restaurant business.

This remains so but what they may not recognise is that this form of marketing has now moved from verbal communication to digital communication.

In London for example peer review sites such as,, and now act as the most powerful sources of recommendation when it comes to researching a new restaurant.

Increasingly new customers want to read and digest what their fellow diners have to say about your restaurant offering before they make a booking.

This booking is also pre-empted by a review of the restaurant web site.

Does your web site reflect positively on your business?

Are potential customers provided with the basics such as opening times, menus, wine lists, booking information, location details and accurate and up to date contact information?

Do you go that extra mile and provide 360 degree virtual tours of the dining space, the ability to book a table online, photographs of sample dishes or information on the head chef and his background.

Or is your web site out of date, inaccessible and a poor reflection of the true nature of your business?

Even if your web site is up to date and a proper reflection of the great service that you offer, can potential customers find it?

In August of 2005 Yahoo! claimed that it could now access over 20 billion items on the internet.

Ensuring that your web based presence is found easily and quickly by your customers is therefore an essential factor to consider when reflecting how much your web site is contributing to your business.

If you type in relevant search terms into Google, the UK’s most popular search engine is information related to your service returned.

Try it now take the town or place that you operate in and add it to word “restaurant” i.e. “fulham restaurant”. Now enter this phrase into and see what the results are.

Are you listed? Are your competitors listed?

A great web site is only an asset to your business if it can be found by potential new customers.

What needs to be done then?

The internet can be the most cost effective means of promoting and advertising your business available to you and can save you money and resources in the long term when combined with the ability to allow online bookings to be taken, to collect customer data that can be used for future promotions and to better manage your staff and floor space.

Like anything worth while it needs input in terms of time, money and a will to really harness the opportunities available.

Start with these six resolutions and see if they can make a real and significant difference to your business.

1) Make the next twelve months your “Year of Establishing My Restaurant on the Internet”.

Acknowledge that customers want to make bookings rather than enquiries online and that email marketing and promotion will return any investments made many times over.

Adjust marketing spending to take advantage of the 24/7 online booking presence that a readily found informative and well presented web site can provide and aim to market directly to your customers instead of using commission taking third parties.

Develop a real interest in your business and its online presence and investigate companies such as who specialise in assisting small and medium sized companies with attempts to make more money from the web via website optimisation, search engine marketing and email marketing.

2) Work with companies such as to investigate how online booking mechanisms can assist the business and improve yields. Merge your online booking channel with a diary management system and move away from paper-based booking systems that offer no method of booking optimisation or customer data capture.

3) Ensure that your restaurant adopts a policy of customer relationship management at all levels and uses permission based marketing to send timely offers targeted at only those customers where offers may be relevant.

4) Aim to reduce the payments that I make to third party channels and instead seek to retain as much value as possible by directing potential clients into booking directly with my business. Promote my business using loyalty schemes to encourage my customers to make repeat bookings. Acknowledge that bookings from your own web site are commission free and so always promote this channel first and foremost.

5) Recognise that the internet can provide a stream of customers to your restaurant web site and over the next twelve months strive to dominate the search engine listings that relate to your business and/or location. Examine search engine results to see what your competitors are doing and seek to differentiate your web site through a professional approach, regularly updated news and offers, and an inviting online presence that works well for both first time and returning visitors. Learn new techniques including use of pay-per-click advertising as other restaurants in your area may not be competing in this way. Alternatively use specialise internet marketers such as to improve your positioning and prominence.

6) Endeavor within the next twelve months to make your site as accessible and informative as possible so that potential new and returning customers can find relevant information about the business easily and quickly and book online once they have made a decision.

The internet, like no-other advertising and communications medium, rewards those who invest time and energies into harnessing the opportunities that it presents.

If your restaurant could benefit from an increase in bookings, revenue and yield examine whether your web presence is adding real value to your business and take positive action to beat the competition and effectively market yourself to new and existing customers.

internet marketing company that helps small and medium sized UK companies to profitably benefit from the marketing and advertising opportunities that exist on the web.

Bartending Schools - Revealing the Myth and Truth part 1

You hear the glory about being a bartender. Flexible work hours, good pay and you get to meet interesting people. You search for information to become a bartender and find out there’s a school to learn bartending. They give you a long list that the school has to offer.

Licensed by the state education department
TIPS® Certified Alcohol awareness program
Alcohol awareness prevention training
Certified Bartending Mixology course
Licensed by Consumer Affairs / Food / Restaurant board etc...
Member of the WBTO , Food and Restaurant, Bartenders associating, Bartending Organization
These are some of the terms that bartending schools use to distinguish themselves from other ones.

Are they just marketing buzzwords thrown in to confuse the student or are they really valid differences. Most bar schools try to get you to believe that a bartender certification is needed in order to be hired as a bartender, secondly they convey that their school is the best. The most important thing you need to know is that most states do not require you to go to bartending school. Those that require training are usually asking for alcohol prevention which is a seminar that takes a few hours to complete. What are the state regulations? You check at /> Licensed by the state education department
This means that the bartending school is licensed by the education department from that state, and their course is approved by the education department for "mixology" or "bartending". You are learning how to make drinks. These are the safest bartending schools to choose because of the education license required.
TIPS® Certified Alcohol awareness program
TIPS® is the most recognized Alcohol awareness program.
Some places will require TIPS® certification. If your state law requires mandatory alcohol awareness training all you need is this course that takes 4hours to complete.
Alcohol awareness prevention training
This is the actual requirement of state law to become a bartender. This training is meant to recognize patrons who are or have potential to be alcohol intoxicated. Usually a few hours to complete.

Certified Bartending Mixology course
The course is certified by the state education department. Are programs certified by the education department better than those that are not? The majority of the time yes. You also get a diploma at your completion which you will never use.
Licensed by Consumer Affairs / Food / Restaurant board etc...
If a school is licensed by anything other than the education department it is not a school. State education licenses are harder to get than the others. While these places may offer mixology classes and job placement, the fact that they went around the system should leave you with doubt. Many of these places close after the season is over.
Member of the WBTO, Food and Restaurant, Bartenders associating, Bartending Organization etc..
These are mostly marketing terms used to make the school seem more attractive. Some are beneficial and others do nothing.
So what should you look for in a bartending school? Stay tuned for our next article or if you’re impatient we have it at />

Guide Perry is a licensed bartender and a certified bartending school instructor. Check BB Bartending Schools for updated information concerning state requirements for becomming a bartender, licensed bartending schools and a Bartender Guide to selecting a bartending school that fits your needs.

Bartending Schools – A guide to becoming a bartender

\Bartending is one of the highest paying jobs without a high school degree. Believe it or not bartenders make more during their first year than college graduates. If you live in a large city such as New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Diego you can earn $50,000 your first year bartending.
There are a few ways someone can become a bartender.
The traditional way was you started off as a bar back or bus boy. When the old bartender left the manager might promote you. That’s to say they have extra bar backs and not enough bartenders.
If you’re a girl with gorgeous movie star looks, many bars and clubs will higher you without knowledge of how to make a cocktail what so ever.
For the majority of people the fastest and most reliable way to become a bartender is to attend a bartending school and have the school help find you a job.
Bartending Schools have sprung up across the country teaching the art of mixology for around the cost of your week’s paycheck. The large rush of young adults looking for bartending certifications and training has sprung many illegal and unlicensed bartending schools. These establishments have no license from the state education department and usually close down after the season is over or when there are enough complaints about them. You can report a bad school to the Better bureau of bartending Schools at When choosing a bartending school prioritizes the schools resources and services before the price. You want to get it right the first time you go to bartender school
Currently 18 States and Washington DC have mandatory alcohol server training. You can look up your state bartending law at . Don’t get it confused with bartender certification, if server training is mandatory in your state it does not mean you have to get certified from a bartending school; however, it is a good idea to do so.
Now if you decide to become a bartender here are a few tips.
1. Certification from a bartending school is just to open the door.
2. If you want to be a successful bartender you must like bartending.
3. Don’t steal, and make sure your ending register amount is correct or you will appear to be stealing.
4. Bartending is more than just knowing cocktail recipes

What exactly are bartending schools?
They are in the category of adult vocational schools. Most bartending schools are run by ex bartenders or people in the hospitality industry. They have years of experience bartending in many establishments and also know people in the bar and restaurant industry. In about two will finish your bartending course and a soon after find a job.

Bartending, one of the fastest growing industries have spurred some unlicensed bartending schools. You don’t need a high school degree to become a bartender in New York but some States will require alcohol server training.

Having graduated from a bartending school himself. John is a certified bartender having worked in New York, San Diego, Chicago, and Boston for 14 years. Currently writes articles for Better bureau of bartending Schools

Customer Service is Now Customer Care

As I waited for an answer to my VCR inquiry from a stereo company, the recording stated a “customer care” representative would be available shortly. At that moment, I realized it’s finally catching on everywhere. With aging baby boomers, world events and additional pressures in today’s society; it is “customer care” that has evolved in our economy. We have moved from a manufacturing economy to a service economy and are currently leaning towards a “servicecare” economy. As we live in a high tech-high button touch environment, many personal contacts have been decreased making each customer interaction more important than ever to corporate imagery. For example, if you call for computer tech support, the representative often makes it a point to address you by first name. If it’s the bank credit card company, they may ask “How are you doing today?” This makes the customer feel less like a number and more like a human being.

The successful restauranteurs always took service one step further towards “care” because they understood restaurant customer service literally involves the immediate health of the patron-- more so than any other industry (except for healthcare industry itself). A recent survey asked diners why they went out to eat and the main response was “to feel good.” (After all, the word “restaurant” has French origins meaning “to restore”). As a waiter for many years, I felt my job was to restore humanity, especially to diners arriving from a stressed out day.

In my past dining room work experiences, I remember certain actions lifting service to this higher level of “care.” One time a customer requested margarine that wasn’t available in the restaurant. The owner walked across the street to the grocery purchased the margarine and brought it tableside. The patron was delighted. There was a regular customer (diabetic) who always got immediate attention with some kind of bread or crackers to keep from feeling feint before her food arrived. If there was a baby present at a table, our staff ensured their food would come out as soon as possible to pacify. These kinds of actions create a lasting positive image for any company or establishment. The owner cared about his guests and it permeated thru the dining room and staff -- even after he left to open other restaurants for the company.

Customer Service involves major 3 points:

1) Care and Concern for the Customer
2) Spontaneity and Flexibility of frontline workers which enhances the ability for on-the-spot problem-solving.
3) Recovery- making things right with the customer when the process has gone astray.

These 3 points should always be highlighted in any customer service training program. If they are kept in mind, then quality service will occur.

Top Holiday Travel Destinations

Despite the high cost of fuel and other travel expenses, an estimated 63.5 million Americans are planning to travel at least 50 miles or more from home this Christmas and New Year. Hotel rates are up nearly 15% at some popular destinations, yet bookings are full or nearly full.

So where do all of these people plan to go?

Domestic Destinations
According to AAA of the United States, here are the top destinations based on the number of bookings for each location.

Orlando is the top destination for fairly obvious reasons but Ft. Lauderdale is also in the top ten. Florida offers a wealth of activities and options for families, singles, and all types of traveler. Perennial favorite Disney World will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors between Christmas and New Year's Eve, while other Florida attractions like Gatorland, Kennedy Space Center, and the Everglades will also be popular. It is also common for the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale to be filled with vacationers during the holiday season, which is second only to spring break in terms of number of tourists.

It is not too late to check out some of the great last minute deals throughout Florida. With a little research and a willingness to be flexible, you can still enjoy Florida this holiday season.

California has three cities in the top ten travel destinations this holiday season -- Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. All three offer a wide range of activities for tourists of all ages, and the generally pleasant December weather in California makes it a favorite place for vacationers from colder climates in need of sunshine.

The Los Angeles area is the gateway to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, two extremely popular amusement parks. Just a short drive to the south and east is San Diego, a relaxing area that is home to a laid-back lifestyle of beaches, surfing, and shopping.

If an urban experience is more to your liking, opt for San Francisco, where you can enjoy international culture, a ride on the famous cable cars, a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, and a winding trip down Lombard Street, touted as the "crookedest street" in the world.

Other great holiday escapes
Some of the other most popular holiday escapes in the United States include New York City, Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Las Vegas.

The holidays are legendary in New York City, with ice-skating in Central Park and the elegant decorations around Rockefeller Center. In Chicago, visitors flock to the Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest as well as the famous holiday window display at Marshall Field's department store. You can't beat Boston, though, for a traditional New England holiday vacation. Check out the Prudential Center Christmas Tree, walk the Freedom Trail of historic Revolutionary War era sites, or do something entirely different and take Boston Duck Tour on a World War II era amphibious vehicle.

Looking for something a bit different? Consider Las Vegas for the holidays, where the abundance of holiday lights dwarfs even the normal profusion of neon and color. Every casino along the strip works to outdo the others with lights and decorations, with some of the most amazing displays located at Caesars Palace, the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo.

One of the most relaxed holiday destinations in the U.S. is Nashville, home to the "down home country Christmas" festivities at the Opryland Resort and Grand Ole Opry as well as special holiday programs at the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Nashville's historic homes are also dressed up for the holidays, so think about taking a bus tour of the city to enjoy the spectacular lights and decorations.

International Destinations
International travel is always popular around the holidays, and Americans are flocking to destinations all over the globe this holiday season.

It is icy and cold across much of the northern United States, but summer in Australia! For cultural attractions and urban festivities, tourists stop in Melbourne and enjoy some Christmas Carols at the Myer Music Bowl, or visit the famed Opera House in Sydney.

Since Christmas falls at the beginning of summer in Australia, many holiday visitors spend their vacation at a spectacular beach location such as Shark Bay, where diving enthusiasts can swim with dolphins and sharks, or along the Queensland Gold Coast, an area with over 30 kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches plus great restaurants, shopping, and an ever-present nightlife.

If you want a truly amazing holiday experience, go to Australia's Christmas Island, a pristine island that is largely a National Park and home to amazing plants and animals. You can scuba dive with whale sharks, enjoy the peace and quiet of a bird watching excursion, or seek adventure with a sport fishing trip in search of sailfish, tuna and wahoo.

This is one of the jewels of the Mediterranean, offering an amazing array of food, activities, and traditional holiday celebrations. Corsica is famous for its hospitality and beautiful lands, so it definitely belongs on your "short list" of exotic holiday getaways.

Corsica is home to varied landscapes, ranging from sparkling beaches and Mediterranean ocean reserves to towering mountains and nature parks. Traditional holiday festivals include the renowned Fiera di a Castagna, or Chestnut Fair. This annual event attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, who are treated to arts, crafts, food and entertainment related to one of the islands main products, the chestnut. It is a holiday tradition for tourists from across the European continent, and well worth exploring on your holiday vacation.

United Kingdom
For a unique holiday experience, check out the United Kingdom this year. It is a perennially popular spot due to the many places of historical significance as well as culture and the arts. In London itself, you can see Parliament, visit the Tower of London, hear the sounds of Big Ben chiming the time, or ride a famed double Decker bus all around the city.

Visit Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world and home to the British Sovereign for 900 years. You can tour this magnificent structure, getting a taste of the history and tradition of the British monarchy. When the Queen is in residence, you will see her standard flying high atop the round tower, visible from all directions as you enter the town.

If something sweeter is more to your liking, venture to Birmingham's own Cadbury World, known as the chocolate paradise. There you can learn all about the famous Cadbury Chocolates, enjoy samples, and watch how the chocolates are made, wrapped and packed. Father Christmas is on site throughout the holidays, greeting children of all ages with a present of their very own.

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About the Author:
Salim Jordan is Editor and Publisher of Bringing you the best informed content on the web. Every part of your life is here, from business to entertainment, technology to relationships, travel, shopping, money, health -- and all points in between. Visit

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shenzhen: A Booming Tourism Industry

The tourism of Shenzhen has been in recent times making steady progress with a lot of systemization and standardization. With the passing of time it is going one notch up higher. The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone has made special efforts and the result has been the building of more than 50 scenery attractions with different styles. The city of Shenzhen China has about 139 star ranked hotels to provide the best of hospitality to the visitors.

Shenzhen China has come to be referred to as a garden city where you can walk around to admire the impressive modern styles, its appeal and panorama of views. The tourists to Shenzhen can have access to some superb collection of famous, excellent and special products. Tourists to the city from late June to early July can savor the Litchi Festival. To mix a bit of fun with business, visitors can try North Huagiang Shopping Street to hunt especially for electronics and telecommunications equipment, clocks and watches. The Dongmen Pedestrian Shopping Street, supposedly the busiest street in Shenzhen and a traditional shopping area is a must visit for antiques, calligraphy, paintings, relics and rare handicrafts.

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The Many Career Paths in the Hospitality Industry

Hotels and other accommodations are as diverse as the many family and business travelers they accommodate. The industry includes all types of lodging, from upscale hotels to RV parks. Motels, resorts, casino hotels, bed-and-breakfast inns, and boarding houses also are included. In fact, in 2004 nearly 62,000 establishments provided overnight accommodations to suit many different needs and budgets.

Establishments vary greatly in size and in the services they provide. Hotels and motels comprise the majority of establishments and tend to provide more services than other lodging places. There are five basic types of hotels - commercial, resort, residential, extended-stay, and casino. Larger properties offer a variety of services for their guests, including a range of restaurant and beverage service options - from coffee bars and lunch counters to cocktail lounges and formal fine-dining restaurants.

Some properties provide a variety of retail shops on the premises, such as gift boutiques, newsstands, drug and cosmetics counters, and barber and beauty shops. An increasing number of full-service hotels now offer guests access to laundry and valet services, swimming pools, and fitness centers or health spas.

Conventions and business meetings are major sources of revenue for hotels and motels that are specialized (commercial hotels) and have banquet rooms, exhibit halls, and spacious ballrooms to accommodate conventions, business meetings and wedding receptions.

Conference hotels are fully self-contained entities specifically designed for meetings. They provide physical fitness and recreational facilities for meeting attendees, in addition to state-of-the-art audiovisual and technical equipment, a business center, and banquet services.

Resort hotels and motels offer luxurious surroundings with a variety of recreational facilities, such as swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, game rooms, and health spas, as well as planned social activities and entertainment. Resorts typically are located in vacation destinations or near natural settings, such as mountains, the seashore, theme parks, or other attractions.

As a result, the business of many resorts fluctuates with the season. Some resort hotels and motels provide additional convention and conference facilities to encourage customers to combine business with pleasure. During the off season, many of these establishments solicit conventions, sales meetings, and incentive tours to fill their otherwise empty rooms; some resorts even close for the off-season.

Residential hotels provide living quarters for permanent and semi permanent residents. They combine the comfort of apartment living with the convenience of hotel services. Many have dining rooms and restaurants that also are open to residents and to the general public.

Extended-stay hotels combine features of a resort and a residential hotel. Typically, guests use these hotels for a minimum of 5 consecutive nights. These facilities usually provide rooms with fully equipped kitchens, entertainment systems, ironing boards and irons, office space with computer and telephone lines, fitness centers, and other amenities.

Casino hotels provide lodging in hotel facilities with a casino on the premises. The casino provides table wagering games and may include other gambling activities, such as slot machines and sports betting. Casino hotels generally offer a full range of services and amenities.

In addition to hotels and motels, bed-and-breakfast inns, recreational vehicle (RV) parks, campgrounds, and rooming and boarding houses provide lodging for overnight guests.

Bed-and-breakfast inns provide short-term lodging in private homes or small buildings converted for this purpose and are characterized by highly personalized service and inclusion of breakfast in the room rate. Their appeal is quaintness, with unusual service and decor.

RV parks and campgrounds cater to people who enjoy recreational camping at moderate prices. Some parks and campgrounds provide service stations, general stores, shower and toilet facilities, and coin-operated laundries. While some are designed for overnight travelers only, others are for vacationers who stay longer. Some camps provide accommodations, such as cabins and fixed campsites, and other amenities, such as food services, recreational facilities and equipment, and organized recreational activities. Examples of these overnight camps include children's camps, family vacation camps, hunting and fishing camps, and outdoor adventure retreats that offer trail riding, white-water rafting, hiking, fishing, game hunting, and similar activities.

Other short-term lodging facilities in this industry include guesthouses, or small cottages located on the same property as a main residence, and youth hostels - dormitory-style hotels with few frills, occupied mainly by students traveling on limited budgets. Also included are rooming and boarding houses, such as fraternity houses, sorority houses, off-campus dormitories, and workers' camps. These establishments provide temporary or longer term accommodations that may serve as a principal residence for the period of occupancy. These establishments also may provide services such as housekeeping, meals, and laundry services.

Increased competition among establishments in this industry has spurred many independently owned and operated hotels and other lodging places to join national or international reservation systems, which allow travelers to make multiple reservations for lodging, airlines, and car rentals with one telephone call. Nearly all hotel chains operate online reservation systems through the Internet.

Hotel operations are becoming diverse and complex, but all positions require employees to maintain a customer-service orientation. Hoteliers recognize the importance of personal service and attention to guests; so they look for persons with positive personality traits and good communication skills when filling many guest services positions, such as desk clerk and host and hostess positions. Many hotel managers place a greater emphasis on customer service skills while providing specialized training in important skill areas, such as computer technology and software.

Although the skills and experience needed by workers in this industry depend on the specific occupation, most entry-level jobs require little or no previous training. Basic tasks usually can be learned in a short time. Almost all workers in the hotel and other accommodations industry undergo on-the-job training, which usually is provided under the supervision of an experienced employee or manager. Some large chain operations have formal training sessions for new employees.

Many hotels fill first-level manager positions by promoting administrative support and service workers - particularly those with good communication skills, a solid educational background, tact and loyalty. People with these qualities still advance to manager jobs but, more recently, lodging chains have primarily been hiring persons with four-year college degrees in the liberal arts or other fields and starting them in trainee or junior management positions.

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Freelance writer for over eleven years. Hospitality Uniforms Formal Wear Nursing Uniforms

Jumpstarting Your Career In The Restaurant Industry

Studies on the United States' restaurant and food services sector have shown that the industry is one of the fastest growing, with the number of food managers touted to rise by around 45,000 annually starting the year 2014.

In fact, data from the National Restaurant Association attest to the fact that plenty of job opportunities are available for people both from within and outside the industry. It is for this reason that more and more people are getting interested and increasing their investment on restaurant and food services training and education.

What the Industry is About

The foodservice and restaurant sector covers areas such as catering, casual family diners, fine dining, chef-owned bistros, resorts and casinos, motels and hotels, cruise ships, fast food chains, theme parks, schools, company cafeterias, hospitals and just about wherever the preparation and selling of foodstuff is present.

To date, there are about twelve million jobs in this sector alone. It is one of the most widespread because food is a basic necessity. That's why many entrepreneurs say you can never go wrong when you enter the food business. Food services exist in every city, state and country, from the most metropolitan of environments to the most quait and far-flung locations. Due to such, employment opportunities in the restaurant industry is always high.

A career in the restaurant and foodservices industry does not mean simply asking the customer if he wants a side of coleslaw to go with his chicken. It is more than that. You will also have to hone your people skills in order to properly interact with the customer, as well as practice stellar hygiene and good grooming. A restaurant that does not demand so from its employees is no good.

In fact, even without the restaurant owner telling you how to conduct yourself on the job, it is your personal responsibility to make sure that customers all satisfied, happy and very much keen on coming back.

What Sort of Training Do You Need?

Most hole in the wall restaurants start from scratch. That is, without the formal education and training to set up and operate such a business. Some of the older and pioneering institutions began from owners' very own kitchens, without so much as a bachelor's degree to their names and, still, their restaurants continue to grow and thrive with the times.

However, the industry is growing at around 12% each year and the demands of the customer are getting more and more cosmopolitan. While zero training can be offset by pure dedication and interest in the restaurant and foodservices business, there also are strong arguments in favor of acquiring the right education and formal training needed for the job.

Education is useful given the changing times. With globalization at an all-time high, it is important for those engaged in the food business to keep themselves up to date and knowledgeable with the latest trends. With travel and communications booming at an alarming rate, the restaurant sector has the responsibility to move with it.

Most restaurants provdie in-house training for their personnel, in order for them to more easily advance to supervisory and managerial positions. Hence, it is not unusual for a former dishwasher or table service crew member to be the boss over a period of time. And though a number of food service staff are promoted to higher posts, the job opportunities for those with formal training, whether via an associate or bachelor's degree, in institutional food service and restaurant management are greater. It will be easier to climb up the ladder if you combine education with solid on-the-job experience.

Why Formal Education is Important

Employment in the food industry is considered a profession. Before, those who simply had ample interest and experienced-based know-how and resources can enter the business. While this is still true today, most institutions prefer that you have a certificate to back your resume.

Programs related to the restaurant and food services sector include food technology, marketing, customer relations, human resources, finance and business management. Institutional food service facilities also provide courses on nutrition, sanitation, record keeping, understanding of policies and procedures, food preparation, reports preparation, and personnel management.

Such hospitality management programs usually run for two to four years, after which you get a diploma or a certification. The more credentials you have, the more you will be perceived of as a professional who is well-trained, highly skilled and motivated. Achieving these credentials only shows how serious you are at advancing the industry and growing with your chosen career.

Thus, formal training is important because:

1. Having specialized qualifications entails that you're entering the restaurant and food services industry with more than the basic necessary skills to professionally advance

2. Specialized training shows prospective employers that you are motivated enough and have an ample level of maturity to move around such a high-pressure and fast-paced environment

3. People who graduate from hospitality-related programs and courses have turned out to be the ones who do better in their careers, whether they have actually entered the restaurant industry or not, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Studies

4. Highly-skilled staff and those with formal restaurant training will be in high demand because jobs in full-service restaurants are expected to rise at a huge rate compared to other food services units.

Conducting Yourself on the Job

People working in the food services industry are not robots. Their job is not just to take directions and follow t hem to the letter. They must be able to make decisions themselves and have the initiative to address certain issues. A lot of restaurant operators take note of your personal qualities, for instance, problem-solving skills and attention to detail, before they decide if they want you to be part of their team or not. Grooming is also crucial.

A lot of these qualities you will learn while you're receiving formal training. While traits like leadership and initiative are ingrained, the right way of handling operations and customers if often not found if you just go it alone and rely on your instincts. Opportunities in the restaurant world will continue to rise as the industry grows in conjunction with the population, leisure times and personal incomes.

Whether you're eyeing a job at a small restaurant or a fine dining place, the amount of dedication you give out should be the same. It is inevitable that you'll start at the rank and file level, as you will need the experience to gain solid footing in all possible restaurant duties. Coupled with a degree, it won't be surprise if you find yourself at one of the top positions in six to twelve months' time. When this happens, relish the moment. You definitely deserve it.

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Freelance writer for over eleven years. Restaurant Uniform Restaurant Linens Uniform Scrubs

How A Business Credit Card Can Help Your Business

Business credit cards can save a lot of time in managing your business. Here are some ways in which having a business credit card can help you.

Many businesses spend a lot of time on writing cheques to pay suppliers. Using a credit card to pay for business expenses will reduce this time considerably. It also means that business owners do not have to carry cheque books around and can keep less cash in the office. This is a good security feature.

Streamlining Accounts

The accounts departments of many businesses also spend a lot of time rationalising and paying employees' expenses claims. Since a business credit card account allows business owners to issue multiple account cards to employees, these can be used to cut down on that time. Some of the tasks that employees can fund with their business credit cards include:

- corporate hospitality (entertaining business clients)
- getting foreign exchange when travelling on business
- paying for hotels, car hire and meals
- buying products or services for the business

Employees no longer have to worry about paying for expenses up front and then waiting for weeks before being paid back. They can also spend the time they would have used on filling out expense claims forms on doing other, more profitable tasks. Employers are able to track employees' expenses and do not have to spend company time on processing expense claims and foreign exchange requests.

Credit Control

Business credit cards give employers firm control over company spending. They can often set individual spending limits for each credit card issued on the company account. Best of all, business credit cards accounts have detailed reporting that will help business owners know exactly where their company's money is going.

Once a month, business owners get a detailed statement which shows:

- money spent on the business account
- each individual transaction
- which card it was spent on

Many card issuers also offer segmented tracking, so that expenditure can be put into different categories, such as 'travel' or 'entertainment'. At the end of the year, business owners will get a management report with a breakdown of all expenditure. This type of information is useful not just for tracking, but also for planning future spending.

Keeping Track Of Cash Flow

There are also cash flow benefits. Most business credit cards offer an interest-free period of up to 56 days. This means business owners can put supplies or services on the business account without worrying about finding the money immediately. Paying by business credit card can also bring large discounts, providing another major benefit for business owners.

Business Card Incentives

Finally, business owners can benefit from the range of discounts and upgrades available to business credit card holders.

These can include:

- discounts on hotel bookings
- discounts on car hire
- emergency travel assistance
- breakdown cover
- help with itineraries and bookings
- upgrades to seats and airport lounges
- air miles or other travel rewards
- travel insurance
- other reward points

All of these advantages are powerful reasons to have a business credit card.

Article Source:

Joe Kenny writes for the Credit Card Guide, visit today to compare credit cards in the UK, visit them today for some great 0% balance transfer offers and start clearing credit card debt today.

Unrest has little effect on Philippine outsourcing market

"The administration of President [Gloria] Macapagal-Arroyo has seen its share of political instability over the last five years. The most significant of these was the Oakwood Mutiny of July 2003. Like most social movements manifesting unrest towards government policy, the Oakwood Mutiny was originally perceived to have long-term drastic effects in the economy. This was eventually proven to be untrue for the local and offshore IT industry in this country as the resilience of Philippine society prevailed in succeeding years.

Analysts found renewed growth for the remainder of 2003 and the event being relegated to being a mere nuisance," XMG Inc. told in a statement, as quoted by The IT research firm also believes the recent pronouncement of state of emergency, which has now been lifted, and the ruckus at the Philippine marine headquarters carry "no fundamental negative effects to (the country's) economic growth."

In the short term, XMG expects some offshore contracts to be suspended or cancelled owing "to insufficient understanding of the real meaning behind events of social unrest in Philippine society." But the sentiment will get better in less than a year so long as the country does not suffer further political unrest.

He indicate that the state of emergency has minimal impact on the country's outsourcing market. Service providers have continued to take on a "business as usual" attitude though they admitted that regular business meetings experienced disruptions due to political protests. Nasdaq-listed ICT Group, Inc., for example, revealed plans to expand its operations while eTelecare Global Solutions announced it will recruit over 3,000 new agents in the Philippines. Nevertheless, "the current situation in the Philippines heightens the need for companies to have multiple global sourcing locations and to have multi-country, multi-location disaster recovery plans in place," PRNewswire quoted neoIT CEO Atul Vashistha as saying.

According to the Business Process Association of the Philippines, the Board of Investments and the Commission on Information and Communications Technology, the Philippine outsourcing industry is expected to create 103,000 new jobs in 2006, a 44-percent increase from 2005. This is in spite of the threat coming from other countries like India and China.

Additionally, the outsourcing industry is expected to bring in $3.7 billion in revenues this year. Among the outsourced industries in the Philippines are information technology, call center work, animation and software development. All these sectors are bullish about the prospects of growth. The Philippine animation industry is currently a $40 million business, while the global animation outsourcing industry is valued at $72 billion. The BOI also noted a significant increase of information technology-related projects that registered in 2005. The biggest growth is expected in the outsourced call center with a projected 70-percent growth.

The booming outsourcing industry in the Philippines is considered vital in keeping the country’s economy viable. The government recognizes this fact, which is why incentives had been drawn up for foreign companies planning to set up offshore offices here.

The local outsourcing industry is seen to continue growing because of an ever growing demand from the United States. The Philippines remains the most favored nation for outsourcing ventures, after India because of the Filipinos’ excellent knowledge of the English language as well as their familiarity with Western culture owing to the country’s historical affinity. Another factor is the Filipinos’ culture of hospitality which allowed them to carve a niche for quality customer service.

Article Source:

Global Sky is a US owned and operated call center based in the Philippines offering US Quality at Offshore Rates. Find out more about Philippines call centers and call center outsourcing. Also check out our call center services.

Play at Work: Employment Options in the Golf Industry

If you love to putt, you can combine work and play by getting a job in the golf industry. While many people never consider this as a potential job market unless they qualify for the PGA, the truth is that this niche field hires many thousands of people each year. The United States has more than 18,000 golf courses. Golf instruction schools, golf publications, speciality retailers, and speciality television channels all provide additional work in the golf industry as well.

There are many types of jobs in the golf industry. Some of these jobs are entrepreneurial. If you have a desire to run a business, you can lease or own golf courses or act as a general manager or owner of a speciality resort or hotel. You can also create a very profitable business by starting a golf industry retail operation or by selling golf merchandise. There is a huge market in novelties, clothing, and other items that golfers need. Inventing, designing, and selling these products are all great options for start-ups.

If you play an excellent game, you may become involved in instruction, either by teaching the game or by producing information products about the game. You can work in television, write a column, create books, or sell audio or videotapes that help others play well. You can even become a golf coach or golf recruiter, helping individuals to improve their game or helping schools uncover golfing talent while earning a living yourself.

If these options do not appeal to you, you may be interested in the service aspect of the golf industry. You can take one of the superintendent, manager, or other positions available at resorts, hotels, and golf courses. You can become a sales representative or the manager of a golf product line. You can become an assistant to golf professionals. There are also jobs for those who would enjoy grooming or maintaining greens and equipment.

The good news, obviously, is that there are many options for employment in the golf industry. Plus, when you choose employment in this field, you enjoy lots of possibilities for promotion. Many managers go on to own their own resorts, for example, and many instructors successfully publish their own books or informational products. In this field, there are always many opportunities to move up. Of course, you can also enjoy a good salary and enjoy spending time on golf as well.

This wealth of choices can also be a stumbling block, though, especially if you are not sure which jobs might suit you best. Before you start job-hunting, you may want to take stock. Carefully consider your golfing and job experiences to see whether there is a type of employment that is especially appropriate to your skills. Consider, too, whether you are willing to work around something you love. If you enjoy playing golf every weekend, decide if you really enjoy working on or near the green each day. Take careful stock of your long-term goals and plans before you decide.

Consider getting in touch with some professionals in the golf industry to ask them about their jobs. This will give you a chance to see what employment in this field is like. Casual interviews may even lead to unexpected job leads. Interviews with professionals in the field to ask about the profession can be a powerful way to tap into the hidden job market.

Consider, also, that you may need additional training or education in order to get some types of golfing jobs. If you want to sell retail products, for example, it may not be enough that you love the game. You may need to train in the art of selling, as well. Many of the well paying managerial and ownership jobs may require some business training. If you want to work at a resort or hotel, you may need a certificate in the hospitality industry to even be considered for a position. Again, speaking to someone already in the golf industry can be your best way to determine what you need in order to be successful in this field. With a little effort and a little ingenuity, you should be able to combine your love of golf with your need for a job. Author Resource:- Andy West is a writer for SDGA. San Diego Golf Academy is a premier golf school with five locations across the United States. To learn more about the golf industry, please visit .

Halloween in Transylvania - Tour for Singles

We led our largest group ever on a vampire vacation to a land that time forgot. Romania isn't a top tourist destination, but it was delightfully surprising to discover the unique culture and natural wonders in this undiscovered part of Europe.

We set out to follow the footsteps of Bram Stokers gothic novel "Dracula." Our itinerary was a mixture of educational history and spooky fun to celebrate a Halloween never to be forgotten.

It's ironic that Romanian's don't celebrate this holiday in a land so rich in folklore and legends. For us Americans, that was the draw as our group swelled to 67 singles with 140 suitcases in tow. We had two coaches and two excellent guides named Hunor and Radu who were with us 24/7 throughout.

On arrival into Bucharest, we went to the Count Dracula Club for a welcome dinner. It was a uniquely themed restaurant with medieval rooms and a visit by the Count himself.

Our menu presented a Van Helsing platter of assorted meats and cheeses along with "blood wine." The entrees were fried chicken breast shaped remarkably like a rat with anatomical designed eyes, ears and tail.

Day 1- We toured the capital city which had greatly changed from my last visit years ago as they now strive to blend the old with the new.

Under the yoke of communism for 46 years, it was a broken city but now restoring itself with new cafes, boutiques, hotels and casinos. Some refer to it as the "Little Paris of the Balkans."

After touring the outdoor Village Museum. We viewed the Parliament House which is the second largest building in the world and took 20,000 men to build it. It was erected by the paranoid and near mad dictator Nicolae Ceausescu from his megalomania ideals.

He bulldozed entire neighborhoods and historic districts to make room for this monstrosity that now sits empty. It is a thorn in the side for Bucharest's 3 million people.

Most meals were included on this trip. This evening we had a festive dinner at the lakeside Pescarus Restaurant. The typical menu included stuffed cabbage, polenta, meats and a desert to die for called pappanash 2 giant fresh baked donuts smothered in fresh sour cream and jam.

Our meal was served under the backdrop of a folk music band and costumed dancers. The entertainment was brilliant.

Day 2- We headed out through the Olt Valley to Transylvania. We toured Cozia Monastery with it's beautiful frescos and tomb of Vlad's grandfather.

The setting was postcard perfect in a land of lakes, plum orchards and lush forests that now draped the hills with an explosion of golden autumn colors. We journeyed on into the Carpathian Mountains where 6,000 brown bears reside.

We toured the charming town of Sibiu established in 1192 by German colonists. Inside the fortified walls were cobbled lanes and gabled houses that looked like old Nuremberg.

It was amazing how it all resisted the ravages of time. Walking the Old Square and Liars Bridge, we learned the history of the Saxon's and Hungarian influence here.

At night we visited the little shepherd village of Sibiel, toured the glass Icon Museum and took a graveyard walk under the stars.

There is a graveyard here where the carvers of tombstones were free to write whatever they chose without protest. For example some epitaphs read "This man was a beggar and thief" or "This man died from drinking too much."

Our special dinner was arranged at a farmer's house where the family cooked for two days in their tiny kitchen to receive us all. It was delicious traditional fare of homemade and organic pork, apples, eggplant, beans, sweet local wine and plenty of plum brandy.

Transylvania is Romania's heart between the mountains with a population of 5 million and boasts a rich heritage.

We learned about the gypsies who migrated here from northern India 1000 years ago. There's great mystique about these Bohemian nomads because they have no written historic documents.

They call themselves Romani meaning human beings and they avoid being legal citizens of any land. They have unique tribal customs. Most are craftsmen that use only primitive hand tools and are renowned to be great musicians though they don't read music.

We may know of their reputation for stealing, but to the gypsy they look at everything as community property. Whatever opinions are correct, all agree that they are masters of survival.

Along the way we also learned about Prince Vlad Tepes III, aka Dracula. Born in 1431, he later ruled the Valachia region here. He was strikingly handsome.

Due to the way he punished his enemies, he received nicknames like Dracul meaning devil and The Impaler. He had to protect the land from invading Turks and Tartans.

When the Turks refused to remove their turbans, he simply nailed it into their heads. Cruelty was common in the Middle Ages, but Vlad's ways were the ultimate. He would decapitate people and post heads along roads like sign posts and would boil people alive.

His favorite punishment was impalement. Here he would insert a wooden stake into the rectum up to the shoulder blade painstakingly to avoid all major organs. Slowly these poor souls would writhe in pain until death some 48 hours later.

Hundreds were impaled at a time and posted looking like a forest of humans on a stick. It was physiological warfare at its best as it drove fear into the hearts of all his enemies.

In saving the land from invaders, he became a hero for the Romanians. Contrary to the novel, he was bloodthirsty, but not a vampire. Rumors spread that he drank blood and ate human organs.

This led to led to the fictional idea of vampirism. Vlad died at age 40. No one is sure how or where his headless body is buried. Perhaps he didn't die?

Day 4- Like on safari, we change hotels each night. The rooms are spartan but clean. It's a bit of a shock for my first timers abroad.

As we travel deep into the southern Carpathians, we pass the prison town of Gerla, the factories of Alba Lullia and salt mines of Turda which look Third World.

We stayed in Cluj Napoca and after a brief tour we explored the university town. It's not all that impressive but a good party town with many nightclubs to explore.

Day 5- We headed over the Borgo Pass to the border of Moldavia and finally to Bistrita, a market town located in the heart of Dracula-land. Witch trials were big here.

After a walking tour of the 13th century sites, we boarded our coaches to ascend up the mountains.

The villages here looked like they are in a time warp. This is seriously remote countryside where cars are replaced by horses and wooden carriages. In some parts the road turns into dirt.

The architecture is painted neon with fire orange matchbox houses, turquoise churches and hot pink barns. The sun shown down and lit up pumpkin patches and plum tree orchards. This is the lovely part of Eastern Europe tourists rarely get to see.

We climbed hair pin curves and arrived to Count Dracula Castle Hotel located on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

Perched at 1116 meters, there were awesome sweeping views of the countryside below. It has gothic towers, arched windows, an interior courtyard and no elevators.

It looks like something right out of the movies. Five petite young girls hauled our suitcases up countless stairs.

Our dinner prepared here was "hearty peasant cuisine" consisting of slabs of lard, pickles and mystery meats in gelatin. It was so comical; we photographed our platters that looked like "Fear Factor" food. Later we were led on a "hysterical tour" into the hidden cellar.

We descended a dark passageway and entered the crypt of Dracula. Here paintings depicted the life of the legendary dark one. A lone coffin was in the middle of the room. Suddenly it opened and the hand of Vlad reached out to grab us before bolting way.

Later Terry then joined others for a chilly moonlit walk and they were joined by a pack of 15 stray dogs all with wagging tails.

October 31 - Halloween! We drove through apple-land into the heart of gypsy country. Roadside stalls selling garlic and onions lined the road. Our drive times were double than anticipated on these rural one lane roads.

We finally arrived to Sighisoara, UNESCO cultural center with a haunting fort surrounding the town, the birth place of Dracula and the creepiest Clock Tower ever seen. We checked into our hotel and prepared for our costume party.

Tonight was our Halloween party which was 5 hours of howling fun. Three ancient cellar rooms were decorated and lit with candles. Slowly one by one, my group arrived fully costumed with creativity beyond imagination.

There were several vampires, Dracula's, gypsies, witches, wenches and a knight. But also such variety from Daniel as cross dresser and an unrecognizable Whitney as a bald monk.

My favorite was Elizabeth dressed as a lab rat, but our grand winner was Sandra as a vampire Bride of Frankenstein. She wore a full tea stained bridal dress, white contact lens and a wooden stake pierced her heart. It was a delight to watch the staff peering through the kitchen doors at us in wonderment.

After our appetizer, we were led outside for a mock witch trial. (700 witches were burned at the stake here.) In the end, we the jury decided to save her and she joined us for dinner. Even Vlad himself made an appearance. To our surprise, a team from Romanian National Television came to record us for the news.

This was certainly an entertaining human interest story for the locals. Some of us were interviewed with the main question of "Why Americans celebrate Halloween this way?" We really couldn't give a good explanation.

Romanians are superstitious. Beliefs still exist today that spirits return to torment people. Since the mid 1800's, vampire stories grew widespread.

The DJ was so good that we danced until midnight. Even our guides and bus drivers joined us on the dance floor with looks of feeling guilty for having so much fun. Our driver Johnny didn't have costume so he simply shed his shirt.

Day 7- In the morning we toured the disappointing arms and torture museum. The dungeon, however, was virtually authentic. On to Brasov where we toured the gothic Black Church built in 1383 and St. Nicolas Monastery from 1477.

Then on to Bran Castle referred to as "Dracula's Castle" but he spent little time here. After shopping the gypsy market, we climbed the old rock steps to reach the famous castle perched on a cliff.

We all wondered, how could this have been constructed. Both exterior and interior were spectacularly preserved. Our last stop was the fairytale town of Sinaia before we headed back to Bucharest.

There I was informed by locals that our AFS party was on national news. Our driver Johnny had his moment of fame when he was seen dancing by his friends and is now nicknamed "shirtless Johnny."

We covered 800 miles and saw an eyeful of this land off the tourist trodden path. There were rugged landscapes with haunting natural beauty, more castles and fortresses than Scotland, churches painted from the inside out and there were rural villages with shepherds and weavers where century's old traditions are still alive.

I wonder how all this will be affected when Romania soon joins the European Union. I hope she can hold steadfast to her spiritual treasures and reputation for warm hospitality.

As Americans abroad here, we felt a welcoming spirit inviting us to return again. Author Resource:- Former Miss Wisconsin Suzy Davis has traveled the world for nearly 30 years,
initially as a flight attendant and now with her company

December in Dubai, Suzy's Site Inspection

My passion for travel is still a fire deep in my soul that occasionally must be stirred. I've always been drawn to Arabia and set out now on my own desert fantasy. My mom seems to think my life is one big vacation by leading groups around the world. In reality it's been years since I had my own getaway.

I can't remember the last time I saw something for the first time. Already I miss my husband, but need this escape to recharge my over stressed batteries. It's a deep need to forget myself, to play and to be astonished. No better place than 21st century Dubai which was like landing on another planet.

It's my first flight on award winning Emirates Airlines with the world's fastest growing fleet that now fly's 55 countries. Very impressive with in-seat massage system, sandwiches on demand from the galley and twinkling star's that sparkle on the ceiling when the lights are dimmed.

EK won the Best Inflight Entertainment Award. I can choose from 600 movies, 6000 audio tracks and books, 40 games, check email and view the new Pilots Camera where take off's and landings are seen from a camera mounted below the aircrafts nose. Coach class can't get any better than this!

There are 7 emirates on the Arabian Gulf that are sandwiched between Iran, Qatar, Saudi rand Oman. What's an emirate? A kingdom ruled by a Sheik. Dubai became a Sheikdom in 1833, but nomadic tribes had settled here 3,000 years ago. They survived off the sea in this arid land.

Once upon a time, this rich but obscured kingdom decided to become the world's premier tourist destination. It expanded at an alarming rate by adding 500 miles of new waterfront with countless man made islands. Now it is called the "Las Vegas of the Middle East" with its sun, sand, sea, snow and sex. It's also referred to as the "St. Tropez of the Gulf" or "Monaco of the Desert" because it's so ultra-chic.

Here tolerance and hospitality are highly prized virtues. Dubai is a pocket of freedom in Arabia, like Hong Kong is to China. And a bit of a dichotomy with its Islamic culture in an environment of Western affluence, a total fusion of East meets West.

I nevertheless packed modestly for this trip with my "covered elbow to knee" rule. Still at night, there are a plethora of clubs where anything goes. Dubai's population is 1.3 million. Only 12% are nationals who can own property here. All others are foreigners. I witnessed zero poverty and was told that Sheik Al Maktoun is good to all with free social services. It's clean and truly crime free along with year round sunshine.

I do have an agenda on my "vacation." I flew with my Uganda group as far as Dubai. They continued on from here to Entebbe for gorilla trekking. I've also arranged site inspections with suppliers through the Ministery of Tourism. On airport arrival, I was greeted with my name sign by a chauffer.

He transferred me to the deluxe Grand Hyatt, an oasis of tranquility. There was an ice skating rink to the right of the lobby. All rooms are Gulf view. Mine overlooked "The Palms", a spectacular wonder of fanned out artificial islands that are filled with priceless residences. This is near "The World" with its 300 manmade islands where one may purchase a "country." Plans or no plans, my favored mode of travel is to let the wind blow me where it may.

My private city tour revealed a shimmering futuristic skyline. There are unprecedented developments here with extravagant creations that make Vegas dull in comparison. It seems every crane in the world is here now. Some hotels are simply indescribable. Grand boulevards are lined with palm trees.

The new city Bur Dubai has the most prestigious mile on earth now. In contrast, there is old Deira area with historic architecture in ancient wind-towers, forts, royal palaces and a mosque on every corner.

My dream has been to visit the Burj Al Arab, inarguably the most amazing hotel structure on earth. This masterpiece is shaped like an enormous billowing sail and set on its own island. It rates "7 stars" with a staff to guest ratio of 5 to 1. Room rates start from $950 per night and they are booked full through 2007.

Tourists are no longer allowed to visit with the $50 entrance fee. The only chance to enter is by lunch ($160), high tea ($85) or dinner (if you have to ask, you can't afford it.) I decided to break my budget for any option but my concierge was unable to procure me a reservation on any given day. Mind you I'm only here for 97 hours! So I headed to Jumerirah Beach instead to use my time well.

Traffic is insane as the the city is growing too fast for it britches due to an influx of 3,000 people moving here each month. It is expensive considering I paid $4 for my bag of Cheetos however petrol is as cheap as bottled water in this oil rich region.

My first evening was spent getting lost in the Spice market and worlds largest Gold Souk that covers a square mile of bling bling. I bought nothing but was dazzled by the endless glittering gold and diamonds. I returned back to the Hyatt at 2am. The staff had repeatedly assured me that it was completely safe for a lone woman to wander anytime in Dubai. What a delight.

After a morning swim, I had some appointments with major tour operators. There was typical Middle Eastern business protocol of courteous salesmanship and a lot of cardamom coffees.

Later I hailed a taxi to Mall of the Emirates. At 5:37pm, it was the call for the forth prayer of the day. My devout driver pulls over, exits with his worn prayer mat and bows down on the street. I soon arrive to a mega-structure that looked like another city with 460 stores to make me feel right at home.

This is the duty free capital of the world. Shopping here is a national pastime. I'm a mall rat and this one sparkled with enticements. There were festive tree's but no Santa's as I guess that would be a graven image. It was packed with people. Men were robed in white kanduras.

Women were covered head to toe in black abayahs, some with their eyes hidden. Their carts were filled with packages. It always perplexes me. Why do woman here bother to adorn themselves if no one can see their under attire? I spent an hour stalking a group of 5 young veiled women for my own sociological study. They hit the top designer boutiques on the third floor not browsing but spending cash like Paris Hilton on steroids. They bought Dior, Channel, countless shoes, lingerie and perfumes that were priceless to me.

There were plenty of venues to entertain the men in this mall city. It had a spa, skating rink, indoor pool, 15 cinemas and skiing. At the north end, I see what looks to be a mirage. Ski Dubai is the world's only indoor snow resort. Try to envision a 25 story mountain with chairlifts and ski chalets on 6 acres under one roof. There are 5 ski runs including a Black Diamond and bobsled run. Hidden ceiling machines drop 3 ft. of snow each day. Full winter gear is included in the nominal entrance fee.

I enter for an hour of sledding and the snow maze with the children. It was 30 degrees inside and 90 degrees outside, the only place where one can both water and snow ski within one day. After dinner and more shopping, I called a taxi. It was midnight.

The next day I woke to rain, an extremely rare occurrence here. The locals open their windows and dance in the streets. All traffic jams. My invitation to the Royal Stables was cancelled. The purebred Arabian horses here are the most prized and the Dubai Cup is the richest race in the world.

On my third day, a thrilling desert safari was arranged. I headed out of town in a caravan of 12 jeeps. First stop was a place where we rode ATV's, fed baby camels and saw a demonstration of falconry. We then headed deep into the desert for an hour of Dune Bashing.

I got the best/worst driver of the 4x4's names Wajed. He drove maniacally up and over the steepest dunes like a drunken sailor at high seas. The scariest part was sliding perpendicular down the mountains of sand. We nearly tipped twice. As I screamed, Wajed chatted on his cell phone with a friend.

We stopped to view a breathtaking sunset over the multi-hued desert-scapes. Then continued on to an oasis with oryx and camels. We entered a tented camp for some real Bedouin culture. The safari price included sand-skiing, sand-boarding, henna tattoos, camel rides and smoking the "hubbly bubbly pipes". I declined the cherry tobacco and dressed up like a veiled Arab woman. A BBQ buffet was served under the stars as belly dancers performed. It was all like a tale from "The Thousand and One Nights."

My last day was spent sightseeing. For my own farewell dinner, I booked a dhow cruise. These traditional wooden boats have plied the Gulf waters for centuries of trading. From the Dubai Creek, they still today export goods to Africa and India. The music and seafood was excellent with the backdrop of a shimmering illuminated skyline, far too romantic to do this alone. I felt isolated amongst the group of tipsy Russians.

Reflecting on a perfect holiday, I feel more balanced and vow to return to this captivating land of Sheeba. Dubai has magical affects and a vision that knows no end. I tasted only an appetizer from its buffet of entertaining delights.

I designed some fabulous itineraries for future groups such as 4 days in Dubai along with 4 days in Cairo or Istanbul which are only a stones throw away. You too can discover a place to indulge all your senses. There's no place like Dubai. On my return, I will lunch at the Burj Al Arab. I better make my reservation now. Author Resource:- Former Miss Wisconsin Suzy Davis has traveled the world for nearly 30 years,
initially as a flight attendant and now with her company

How to Choose The Perfect Hotel For Your Dream Caribbean Vacation

The Caribbean Hotel Association was first established in 1959 as a committee of the Caribbean Tourist Association. This was a private and public sector committee that was established to promote the Caribbean region in response to a specific requirement. In 1962, the CHA became autonomous. During its formation the CHA was strongly focused on the Caribbean tourism market and aspects like airlines controlled access, hotel reps controlled communication with travel agencies, and wholesalers controlled traffic and payments. At this point the hotels themselves were not included in the CHA operations.

It was finally realized that in order to fix any problems and issues it would necessary for the entire Caribbean hospitality industry to unite and this prompted the CHA to develop and implement several programs over the years. These programs included the following.

Achieving recognition for the Caribbean market as the most important aspect of tourism marketing.

Creating a database of all regional accommodation. This has resulted in the Caribbean Gold Book that is referenced by every travel agent providing services in the Caribbean. CHA acquired complete ownership of Gold Book Publishing that published the Caribbean Gold Book. This gave the CHA better control over its future.

CHA hotels were combined through CHARMS (Caribbean Hotel Association Reservations Management System) that offered global distribution to all hotels in the association. CHARMS generated nearly US$7 million worth of business for its member hotels averaging $131.26 per night.

CHA was busy helping to steer the course of the tourism and hospitality industry in the region through such developments.

Caribbean hotels offer choice accommodations that fit every budget and individual taste. Accommodation can be in the form of inns and guesthouses or private villas and luxury resorts. Families traveling together can choose from among any of the full-service hotels that cater to the children with special meals, programs, and activities and services specifically directed at kids. There are also resorts that cater exclusively to singles that are interested in meeting other singles. For those who prefer solitude and peace there are several small and remote locations that are extremely quite. Travelers interested in eco-tourism can avail the eco-resorts that are rapidly growing all throughout the Caribbean. If you desire an exciting nightlife then there are many resorts where the party goes on all through the night.

December to April is considered the busy season in the Caribbean. The weather in this period is also at its best with no chance of rain. Prices during this season are much higher and accommodation is difficult to find so it is recommended that you make your bookings early.
Author Resource:- James Penn runs a highly informative Caribbean website which details exactly how to find Caribbean vacation packages and also the ten best activities in the Caribbean for families and couples alike.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Las Vegas Real Estate Investment – Why You Can Make Money Investing There

Las Vegas epitomizes the glitzy and glamorous way of life. It is the playground of the rich and famous. The world famous casinos, music theaters, luxury hotels and theme amusement centers make Las Vegas real estate investment a worthwhile choice to consider.

Las Vegas is located in the state of Nevada and was a sleepy little town until the 1930s. With the growth in the hospitality and entertainment industry, it acquired the sheen of a perfect destination for relaxation. Casinos where one could splurge as if there was no tomorrow and the luxury hotels to cater to the whims of the super rich have created a boom in real estate in the city.

Las Vegas real estate investment is profitable primarily because the city is registering growing traffic due to the gaming industry and business convention meetings. The luxury hotels cater to the high-end segment and there is a demand for affordable accommodation for the large number of families arriving as tourists.

There are some compelling reasons why you can make money in Las Vegas real estate investment.
• The strip on which most of the attractions of Las Vegas are located commands a premium. Therefore, finding a suitable property close to the strip would allow you higher rental yields. Some developers, especially of resorts, have created apartments that they rent out on your behalf. Las Vegas is a popular destination for family vacations and endless hours of shopping. Prime commercial property would translate into good rentals and high capital appreciation.
• If you cannot afford the city center, then think of property in any of the redeveloped areas. These have been earmarked by the Nevada administration to ease congestion on the central districts while attracting further investment.
• Las Vegas is close to the Nellis Air Force Base. Employees of the base would need businesses to cater to their needs. Commercial property in the area would mean good rentals from companies that wish to provide different services.

Copyright © 2006 Joel Teo. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.)

By: Joel Teo

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Joel Teo writes on various financial topics relating to arizona estate goodyear investment real. Signup for his free online Real Estate Investing newsletter today and gain access to the “Six Day Real Estate Investment Profits Course” now at

When Traveling To Memphis

Memphis the jewel of the mid-south, sits on the might Mississippi river, and is home of the worlds greatest attractions. If you’re looking for a vacation full of excitement, history, and southern charm, then Memphis Tennessee is the place for you.

Memphis a City that dates back over 200 years, also that survived the civil war, and the great earthquake is a warm inviting city for vacationers every year. Famous for its music and barbeque, there are also other things that one can visit while staying in Memphis.

Everyone should visit Beale Street where you still get the feel of that down home blues of B.B. King and Memphis Minnie. On Beale Street you can also get world famous soul food and party the night away with the sound of constant music from an eclectic assortment of musical clubs. It would also be comforting to talk a stroll down on Front Street to the Mississippi River. A ride on the Memphis Queen is always a nice closure to your evening. When the night has died down you can stroll back to you hotel room at the world famous Peabody Hotel and in the morning watch the ducks waddle in to lobby before breakfast. After breakfast, you should visit Elvis Presley Mansion and maybe stay or eat lunch at the Heartbreak Hotel in front of Elvis’s House. Mud Island, a replica of the Mississippi River is a museum full of enlightening information of Memphis’ past. You can also take a ride on the Monorail and maybe have brunch there. The Pyramid is also a tourist attraction found downtown, Memphis’ very own replica of Ancient Egyptian’s Pyramids.

There are other social important places to see as well. For instance a trip to Memphis wouldn’t be quite complete with a visit to the Civil Right Museum. There you can get the history of Civil Rights Movement, get a historical perspective, and even see where Martin Luther King was slain. The controversial replica of the Statue of Liberty is housed in Memphis at World Overcomers Church. It has received national attention, so don’t forget to stop by and get a snapshot.

Memphis’ very own NBA team, The Grizzlies play at the FedEx forum downtown. Go watch them in action while you’re in town. The Peabody Place, located in downtown Memphis is another great way to spend a day in Memphis. Shop in the malls, hang out at Jillian’s, or enjoy the IMAX theatre.

You can’t leave Memphis without stopping by the Memphis Zoo. Memphis’s Zoo is a large fantastic zoo that also features the Panda Exhibit. After the zoo, the Pink Palace Museum and the Brooks Art Museum are a must.

Remember when visiting Memphis, partake in all of it’s many inviting and alluring aspects. You won’t be sorry, because the southern hospitality, fascinating entertainment, and incredible cuisine will never disappoint you

By: Donna Rice -

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Donna Rice writer and part owner a Memphis carpet cleaning and a Memphis mortgage Company is one of Tennessee most respected business owners.

Five Tips How To Market Your New Hotel

People develops a new hotel tends confuse how to market it. We generally market through TV, Radio, magazine, internet, and flyer. Reality, not forget to give the best service to customers or prospects. We must have strategies to make customers feel deep impression so that make them come back some day. The customer's deep impression will say to every one that they meet. We have five tips, make the customers always remember our service and come back to our hotel some day.

1. Give welcome drink with special traditional dance ceremony.
Every customers or prospects are so happy to welcome like a king. Countries that have traditional dance can create ceremonial dance to welcome our new guest. They see dance ceremonial and enjoy welcome drink.

2. Have specific food to serve.
Try to find traditional food comes from your country. Create the food that appropriate with all tongue people from around the world.

3. Joint venture with travel office
Many travel office give service accommodation include hotel, travel, ticketing, and guiding. Approach many travels office are better so that they will choose your hotel to stay. Give bonus higher than others competitors in order to gain prospect.

4. Create specific gift to give
Our guest is like a king. Give them smile, hospitality, and friendly face when they come. Do not forget to give specific souvenir when they check out. You can create traditional souvenir, inspire from your country culture.

5. Design your hotel as specific as possible
People tend to be interested in stay at Hotel because of architecture, scenery, furniture have specific design. The employers wear traditional custom are more attractive than casual custom.

By: Erny Setyawati

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Erny Setyawati is Web Master of Bali Global Market Ezine, She is interested in writing article about tourism, business on line and affiliate program. She suggests visiting her tourism website before making decision to travel around the world. Please click free here :

Problem Of Tourist Accommodation In Bangalore

Call it cyber city, India’s Silicon Valley, garden city, or whatever you may, Bangalore has been playing host to the augmented inflow of tourists and business travelers alike, for the past decade or so. Thanks to an abundance of some of the best software professionals in the whole world, an IT savvy populace, and a co-operative Government, Bangalore has grown to become the cynosure of IT related businesses lately. Business honchos traveling down either to recruit or to set shop is a common sight in the city. The last decade has seen the inflow of business visitors widen from a steady trickle to a deluge of sorts, with multinationals intending to operate business from here. Foreign nationals coming to Bangalore in search of livelihood contribute to the reverse brain drain. The pleasant weather, and agreeable greens interspersed with places of interest that speak volumes about the culture and milieu ensure a steady influx of tourists. The vibrant night life, with a burgeoning number of pubs and discos to let hair down also beguiles tourists. All in all, Bangalore has become a world destination of sorts that magnetizes businessmen, working class, and tourists with equal zest. Today Bangalore is known as the ‘it’ city that has truly come of age.

Finding the right accommodation in a city bursting at it seams with outsiders is no child’s play. And sadly enough, the city’s hospitality industry cannot boast of analogous accommodation to match up the increasing number of outsiders coming down. Though Bangalore has a host of reputed hotel chains up its sleeve, it is difficult to find a decent accommodation at reasonable prices for a short stay here. It is indeed ignominious that a whole gamut of hotels, right from deluxe hotels, heritage hotels, luxury hotels, star hotels, airport hotels, business hotels, budget hotels and economy hotels lack the amenities to satisfy the visitor. People intending to stay a little longer have the option of going in for service apartments – there are quite a few out there – but a short stay there will eventually drain the pocket. Though some of the best names in the hospitality industry - The Oberoi, The Taj, Leela, Ashok, Le Meridian, Intercontinental, Marriot and Hyatt - have come to the rescue of visiting greats, it is the commoner, who is left with not many options at his disposal. Catering to business travelers and tourists alike, these hotels are exorbitantly priced, and considering the type of services they offer – rightly so.

Though there is no dearth of budget hotels in the city, it is the amenities provided that they lack in. A business traveler might need conference rooms, meeting halls, internet connection and a business centre within the premises, which a budget hotel most likely does not provide. Really, finding the right accommodation without burning a hole in your pocket can be a Herculean task in Bangalore. A visitor in all probability has to compromise on the service if he decides to settle down in budget lodging.

Another important aspect that a visitor looks for before settling down for a stay in the city is how far his hotel is from the major points in the city. So it is extremely essential to locate hotels at some of the most convenient spots. The lodgings must be in close proximity to the airport and railway stations, business complexes and shopping centers.

But, it’s not that dismal a picture either. Some hotels are right up to the mark in offering services to the visitor vis a vis his purpose of visit. Ista Hotel, located in the hub of the city, facilitates a good stay both for a tourist and a business visitor. Some other hotels too, are following suit to contribute for the lack of accommodation options in the city.

A whopping number of people coming to earn a livelihood have set the economy rolling. Rents are flying through the roof. Cost of real estate is at an all time high. This has had a abhorrent effect on the prices of tourist accommodation too. Let’s hope that the city soon finds an answer to the needs of its visitors.

By: Venugopal Naidu

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Venugopal Naidu is the business development head at Ista, Bangalore. Associated with Ista for the past five years, he has been active in projecting the hotel as a luxury business city hotel. Catalyzing the growing popularity of Ista, Naidu foresees a major fillip in its customer base in the near future.

Medical Tourism - Ventures Between Healthcare Providers And Hospitality Industry

Medical tourism, or healthcare tourism, is the act of touring overseas to obtain medical, surgical and dental healthcare. Medical tourism is a term coined by travel agencies and the media to describe a speedily growing industry where people of one country travel to another country specifically for the purpose of getting either cheaper or better healthcare services. This process is being expedited by the Corporate sector involved in medical care as well as the tourism industry, both private and public. Medical tourism mixes leisure, entertainment and relaxation together with wellness and healthcare.

Medical tourism healthcare procedures can include elective surgeries like cosmetic surgery, dental implants etc. as well as complex specialized surgeries like knee/hip replacement, heart surgery etc. Medical tourism is quite popular because sometimes the cost of health care treatment in other countries can be a mere one-tenth the cost of the same in the US. The ultimate idea of the health holiday is to offer the customers an opportunity to get away from their daily routine and come into a different relaxing surrounding.

There are basically two types of medical tourism treatments that majority people will consider worth taking a chance on. The first one is plastic surgery. In addition to the cosmetic surgery, people are also likely to engage in medical tourism when it comes to seeking alternative medical treatments. Medical tourism is quickly becoming a hot trend among residents of developed countries with high health care costs.

Popular medical travel worldwide destinations are Colombia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Brunei, Cuba, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and recently, UAE. Popular cosmetic surgery travel destinations are Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey. With the growing years, India, judged as one of the favorite destinations for medical or health tourism.

People from around the world are beginning to realize the potential of modern and traditional Indian medicine. With its state of the art hospitals and highly qualified UK-US trained doctors, it will soon transform into the worldwide medical hub. The Indian medical tourism industry, growing at an annualized rate of 30 percent, caters to patients primarily from the US, Europe and Africa. The medical expenses in India are a fraction of the costs in the US/Europe. India's top-notch private hospitals like Apollo, Fortis, and Max HealthCare have attained international recognition for their state-of-the-art facilities and diagnostic centers besides unsurpassed technical skills.

A large draw to medical travel is the convenience in comparison to that of other countries. Many people from the developed world come to India for the rejuvenation promised by yoga and Ayurvedic massage, but few consider it a destination for hip replacement or brain surgery. However, a nice blend of top-class medical expertise at attractive prices is helping a growing number of Indian corporate hospitals lure foreign patients, including from developed nations such as the UK and US. With advanced medical and biotechnological progress, India is leader in selling healthcare the world over. With yoga, meditation, ayurveda, allopathy, and other systems of medicine, India offers a unique basket of services to an individual that is difficult to match by other countries. The tourists’ inflow for a wide medical service spectrum from wellness tourism to surgery and rehabilitation has made India the preferred destination for medical tourism.

By: Wain Roy

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Wain Roy is an Internet marketing professional expert in various industries like real estate, web design, finance and medical tourism India

Friday, February 23, 2007

Customer Service in the Bottled Water Industry - Pure Water and the Customer Promise

Almost every company discusses, at length, the need for customer service and the significance of supplying true excellence to its customers. However, very few actually follow through with what it takes to attain this excellence. This is particularly true in the bottled water business since not all providers share the opinion that customer service is of the utmost importance in any business.

The bottled water industry services a wide customer base with numerous companies and individual clients. The industry is characterized by a small number of very large firms and a substantial number of relatively small consumers with specific geographic niches.

The Nature of the Business:

The bottled water business consists of the manufacturing and delivery of spring or purified water in small packages or large containers such as 5 gallon bottles. The product is delivered directly to the customer's site in either company owned delivery vehicles or through common carriers. Each individual bottled water company provides an implicit promise to its customers that it will manufacture the highest quality product and deliver that product at the agreed upon time.

Many, Many Customers:

The customer base in the bottled water industry is very diverse and ranges from individual consumers with single bottle requirements to large multi-cooler business accounts with significant water needs. Each client has its own specific requirements, which are met by the company providing the services and product.

The Customer Service Promise and the History of the Business:

In the past, various bottled water companies have focused on process rather than customer service. Many firms acted on the belief that the delivery of a superior product completed their obligation to the customer. However, the customer service promise includes much more than a simple delivery of a quality product and requires additional services such as on time delivery, proper pricing, responding to additional delivery requests and other specific needs. One of the most important customer responsibilities is the ability to communicate their concerns not only to the customer service departments, but also to the heads of each company.

Current Status of the Industry (The Unfulfilled Promise):

Although the bottled water industry may seem rather simple, in reality, it is a very complex business. High quality water must be produced and delivered to the customer's location on time and as ordered. Often enough, customer requests change without warning, which is one reason why flexibility is important to the success of the bottled water company.

Frequently, the water needs of the customer exceed original expectations, which causes shortages . However, in order to avoid such a situation as this, the supplier would have already invested in the communication and stock infrastructure to meet all of its clients' demands.

For those suppliers who private label water as a means of customer advertising, the design, printing and durability of the label on the bottle is a critical factor. Therefore, companies creating labels of lesser quality in the design and printing of the labels clearly provide a substandard product to their customers.

Communication and the Customer Promise:

Many bottled water suppliers neglect the reality that proper communication channels serve as the basis for fulfilling the customer promise. An overall reliance on voicemail and/or e-mail, an inability to respond quickly to customer needs and the absence of true customer service assistance has created a negative impression of the industry for many customers.

A proper communication system has many technical elements but it should begin with a willingness to include human contact in the communication link. No customer enjoys being dropped into the voicemail void, therefore, the bottled water suppliers that continue to prosper are the companies that uphold the customer service promises and guarantee personally answered customer service calls, which they promptly use to respond to client inquiries and concerns.

Accept Responsibility and Do What It Takes to Provide Customer Satisfaction:

There are many excuses for failure to perform but the bottled water suppliers who are truly world class are those who accept responsibility and persevere with their customer satisfaction guarantees. This often includes obtaining little or no profit on a particular transaction in order to fulfill the customer service promise.

Size is not the determinant in the customer service equation. Often, smaller companies are ready, willing and able to better fulfill the customer promise.
Look for a supplier with a track record of not only achieving the customer promise but also one with a history of fulfillment of the promise.

Jon Stout is the Chairman of the board for Element H2O, a bottler in Chantilly, Virginia offering only Ultra Pure bottled water products and private label opportunities for small and large businesses in all 50 states and Canada.

Elements H2O's clients include businesses in the health and fitness and hospitality industries, fitness centers, gyms, large and small hotels, day spas, catering companies, and many others.