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A random sampling of NYC hotels showed 1/3 didn’t change sheets between guests

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In an investigation airing on Tuesday, September 13th, “Inside Edition” puts hotels to the test – the program came up with a unique way to find out whether you may be sleeping on dirty sheets – and the results might make you think twice before getting under the covers.

 

The program booked rooms at nine different hotels and each time sprayed a harmless and washable fluorescent paint onto the bed sheet, using a stencil that reads, “I Slept Here.” The paint is invisible to the naked eye – you can only see what’s on the sheets by turning on an ultra-violet light.

At The Candlewood Inn & Suites in Manhattan, “Inside Edition” checked out leaving the dirty sheets with the invisible message. But were the sheets changed? The next day, “Inside Edition” booked the exact same room – but under a different name. When they examined the sheets under the UV light, shockingly, the same message – ‘I Slept Here’ – appeared. The sheets hadn’t been changed between guests.

Read the full story here to learn how management reacted and check your local listings to tune in on Tuesday, September 13th to watch the report.

San Diego — The birthplace of California

As part of our series on historical getaways, we’ve gone West to San Diego!  Most people think La Jolla Cove, the San Diego Zoo or  Balboa Park when they hear San Diego, but the city has a long interesting history and attractions that define it as the Plymouth Rock of the west coast.  We interviewed Robert Arends of the San Diego Tourism Authority, who shares some unique stories and places to visit, particularly if you’re a history buff.

WATCH our interview with Robert Arends, San Diego Tourism Authority

Why is San Diego considered the birthplace of California?

On September 28, 1542 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer sailing for Spain, anchored his flagship San Salvador on Point Loma near the entrance to San Diego Bay. On this historic day, Cabrillo became the first European to set foot on the West Coast of the United States. And the San Salvador became the first recorded European vessel to sail along California and survey its coastline; sailing north in search of new trade routes. The San Salvador is the ship that discovered San Diego and of the (future) State of California.

San Diego made history again this past Labor Day weekend.  Tell us about the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s maiden voyage celebration of the first full-scale working replica of the San Salvador. Can tourists board the vessel throughout the year?

Designing the San Salvador

Designing the San Salvador

Yes, the Maritime Museum of San Diego hosted a big annual Festival of Sail – the largest Tall Ship festival on the West Coast – over Labor Day weekend and a full-scale working replica of the San Salvador, the “Mayflower of the West” made her public debut as the star attraction. For the first time ever, visitors got to walk her decks, marvel at her rigging and step back into time to the Age of Discovery [15th-18th century] with exhibits on the ship’s historic significance – akin to the Mayflower as the origin symbol ship of New England.

On September 10, the San Salvador will make her inaugural voyage up the California coast for the Pacific Heritage Tour, where visitors can sail aboard one of 3 passenger legs. She will also make ports of call stops in Oxnard, Monterey, and Morro Bay.

Upon its return to San Diego, visitors will be able to board the San Salvador year-round as part of the Maritime Museum’s permanent collection.

What are some other attractions that history buffs will enjoy?

  • Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma, San Diego’s only national park. Features the film “In Search of Cabrillo,” an exhibit hall presenting Cabrillo’s life and times, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, tidepools to explore, a whale watching overlook, an original WWII gun battery and old military radio station exhibit.
  • Juniper Serra Museum on Presidio Hill, marking the spot where a group of Spanish soldiers and Franciscan friars established Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769, over 225 years AFTER Cabrillo’s discovery of San Diego. This was the first mission in California’s string of 21 famous missions and the state’s first church.
  • Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego’s first downtown which sprang up around Presidio Hill. Features a historic plaza, several adobe buildings and Old West architecture that brings to life San Diego’s Hispanic heritage from the early to late 1800s.
  • Mission San Diego de Alcala, established in 1774. It was relocated from Presidio Hill to nearby Mission Valley so it could be closer to the San Diego River, the region’s primary water source. Features a museum of original artifacts, a chapel, beautiful gardens and an excavation site believed to be part of the monastery.
  • Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. covering 6,800 acres. Features the Old Mission Dam, hiking up Cowles Mountain (the highest peak in City of San Diego at over 1,500 feet), boating and camping, a state-of-the-art visitor center and popular rock climbing at Mission Gorge.

So, when the history lessons are over, where do you recommend tourists visit to relax, unwind and take in some pretty vistas?

San Diego’s 70 miles of beaches, including scenic La Jolla which is pretty as a postcard! And Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, where visitors can enjoy 360-degree views of San Diego. There’s also the iconic 200-foot tall California Tower in Balboa Park, part of the Museum of Man. Interesting bit of trivia: the tower is topped by a San Salvador ship weathervane. I also recommend taking a fun harbor excursion with Flagship or Hornblower to see San Diego Bay and the coastline just as Cabrillo did!

Any upcoming special events, festivals or other attractions coming up this fall?

Cabrillo Festival on Sept, 30-Oct. 1, featuring a re-enactment of Cabrillo’s historic landing on Point Loma at Ballast Point on Naval Base Point Loma. The event is FREE, family friendly and features cultural demonstrations, folk dances, art vendors and food booths bringing to life traditions of local Native Americans (Kumeyaay tribe), Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish cultures.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Myers Valley Inkopah Gorge  20100320

San Salvador Petroglyphs | Photo: (c)Ted Walton

There was a discovery in San Diego’s East County of a petroglyph rock depicting Spanish ships that is believed to be the only remaining first-person documentation of Cabrillo’s arrival in San Diego in 1542 (see attached photos); recorded by the indigenous Kumeyaay tribes of San Diego County who have lived here for more than 12,000 years. The petroglyphs are believed to be the oldest graphic representation of a recorded event in U.S. history.

The Maritime Museum has a replica of this amazing find.

To plan a trip to San Diego and learn more about our fascinating history and attractions, visit SanDiego.org

Exploring Historical West Virginia

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

West Virgina — Mountain momma, take me home, country road…and so goes the famous song by John Denver.  Kathleen Panek, historian for the Shinnston, WV Tourism Center at the Gillum House, says there’s so much to W. Virginia that people don’t know.  For instance, did you know that the state has a massive underground bunker that was built as an emergency shelter during the Cold War to keep congress safe?  It’s located in White Sulphur Springs and can be accessed via the historic Greenbrier hotel — it’s big enough to house more than 1,000 people!

Watch our interview with Kathleen — It you’re a history buff you will be fascinated with the off-the-beaten-path attractions of West Virginia. Our next historical destination is San Diego, the birthplace of California.

Expert Tips for Taking Great Vacation Photos

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

August is a popular month for family vacations.  Some will travel to Europe and other parts of the world, some will explore our National Parks, and others will visit local attractions or create a Staycation in their hometown.  Regardless of where you travel this summer, there will be plenty of picture-taking opportunities.  While most pictures taken this summer will never go beyond social media posts or the devices that created them, there are opportunities to create truly unique photos for display in the home or office and online photo labs offer several interesting finishes to match any décor.

Pro Photographer, Gary Arndt

Pro Photographer, Gary Arndt

We invited renowned travel photographer and blogger Gary Arndt to share a few tips for capturing memorable photos and telling your story (with pictures).  Gary has been traveling around the world virtually non-stop since 2007. During this time he has visited 120 countries/ territories and all 7 continents.  He has also visited more than 311 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which were created by the Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1978 as part of a global effort to preserve the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Continue reading →

Sharing Economy Lodging Takes Off Among Business Travelers

At the recent GBTA Conference, Concur, a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions, unveiled its annual State of Business Travel report.

state of business travel 2016

Concur analyzed business travel booking and expense reporting data from its database of more than 40 million users, representing more than $76 billion in annual spend.  In an effort to make the data more actionable by companies, Concur categorized six unique personas that represent typical business travelers:

  • Savvy Sam is a power traveler who travels 40 percent of the time, taking approximately 25 trips per year.
  • Jet Setter Jeremy is typically a C-suite executive who travels frequently, preferring to fly first-class and stay at five-star hotels.
  • High-tech Hannah is a young millennial who travels once a quarter, often combining personal and business travel, while staying budget conscious.
  • Approving Manager Alan doesn’t travel much himself, but is responsible for approving travel and expense reports and keeping budgets in line.
  • Travel Arranger Tanya books for others and files expense reports for teammates several times a week.
  • Cautious Carl travels just once or twice a year for business. He typically plans far in advance and isn’t familiar with policies and process.

Business Traveler Behaviors

The State of Business Travel report confirms that not all business travelers are created equal. In some cases, a company may want to tailor its travel policy to account for the unique needs of its travelers, from frequent flyers and road warriors to once-a-year travelers.

  • More than half of all business travelers are “Cautious Carls,” but Carls account for only 14 percent of total business travel spend.
  • “High-tech Hannahs” and “Cautious Carls” care more about price than other types of travelers, while “Savvy Sams” and “Jet Setter Jeremys” (who contribute to 46 percent of total business travel spend) are more concerned with comfort and convenience.
  • When it comes to air travel, “Jet Setter Jeremys” consistently spend the most because they are more likely to book at the last minute and opt for premium seats.

Continue reading →