All posts in Weblogs

“Did you know…People lose $5B worth of personal effects each year?”

It’s one thing to forget your car keys on a table in a local cafe, but quite another when you leave behind a smartphone on an airplane or a laptop in your hotel room.  According to Brian Colodny, president and CFO of Chargerback, a software company specializing in reuniting lost items with their owners, only about one-third of lost items make it back to their owners.

Think about it.  How many times have you left behind a pair of earrings on a nightstand, a bag of souvenirs on a tour bus or a cellphone charger plugged into the wall of your hotel room?  Oftentimes, people don’t even bother trying to get the items back, particularly if they are lost at an international location.  But why must the burden of retrieval land on the backs of guests, flyers, cruisers, etc.? Because  what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

In our interview, Brian Colodny suggests that many hotels maintain a policy that prioritizes discretion and protecting the privacy of guests.  Afterall, there is a small portion of hotel patrons who may wish to keep their visits on the “QT” for a number of reasons. That said, protecting guests’ privacy may trump returning lost items and potentially calling attention to a hotel visit that may or may not have been authorized by a spouse or significant other.

Cumulatively, somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion worth of items are lost every year by Americans. A sizeable portion of these incidents happen while traveling. So, what happens to the billions of dollars worth of unclaimed lost items?  Colodny says, in the case of larger, established hotel properties, items are typically donated to charities or given to salvage companies.

Colodny formed his company back in 2010 after he left behind a cell phone charger in a hotel, which, at the time, cost about $60. Frustrated by the inefficiency and lack of coordination at the hotel in accommodating his efforts to locate and retrieve his lost property, he decided to do something about it, and formed Chargerback.

Chargerback works with airlines, hotel chains, sports venues and a host of other companies where people congregate, travel through or visit, enabling them to log found items via a software application, while providing owners of lost items an easy path to finding their property if it was left behind at a partnering company’s location.

Watch our interview with Brian and checkout their website — you never know what you might find.

“Did you know…Expedia plans to buy HomeAway for $3.9B?”

BIG NEWS in the sharing economy for travelers: Expedia has agreed to buy HomeAway for $3.9 billion. According to the New York Times, HomeAway also plans to change its business model to charge travelers a fee, based on a sliding scale. Up until now, HomeAway generated revenue by charging property owners to list their rentals. HomeAway also plans to lower commission rates for these pay-per-booking customers.

No big surprise that travel booking giant, Expedia, is looking to get in on the soaring popularity of vacation and short-term rentals. In a 2015 Barclays report, it’s estimated that home rental platform Airbnb books around 37 million night stays, which could increase to as many as 129 million by 2016.  But what are some caveats for home owners looking to cash in on the trend? We recently talked to Rob Stephens of Avalara MyLodge Tax, a financial and tax expert in the home rental space, to  learn what property owners need to do to comply and minimize their tax risk with the IRS. Watch our interview here.

Do you think this acquisition bodes well for vacation rental owners and lodgers?

Homeless and lovin’ it — Tips from a present-day nomad for living the life of your dreams

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

It’s difficult to put a number on how many people think about chucking caution to the wind and leaving the rat race for a life of untethered wandering and cultural enrichment — not to speak of the cost savings that come with living in far away destinations, like Southeast Asia.  That said, dreaming and reality are two very different things — or so we thought until we interviewed Paul Kortman, co-founder of, a site for people who have decided to live a life of location independence.

Check out our interview with Paul and learn how he and his wife and four kids have learned to live as a “homeless” family over the past two years.  Their experience has been life altering and the community they have congregated serves to give inspiration, support, feedback and camaraderie to others who dare to live outside the box.


“Shark Tank” alum, Sara Margulis, talks about Plumfund and making people’s vacation dreams come true

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing “Shark Tank” alum and co-founder of Plumfund, Sara Margulis.  Her company has found a way to tap the trend in crowdfunding to make people’s dream vacation wishes come true.

How has crowdfunding penetrated the travel industry?
Travel crowdfunding really started in weddings about ten years ago, with our honeymoon gift registry site, Honeyfund. Over the years, many Honeyfund couples asked if they could use the platform for other life events, like anniversaries, retirement and graduations. We launched Plumfund in 2013 to make those travel dreams come true, and to allow anyone to raise money for anything!

What’s different about Plumfund?
Plumfund is built on the Honeyfund technology, so it’s really great at travel crowdfunding. And Plumfund works without a platform fee, so it’s the most affordable solution. We’re proud to have 10 years travel crowdfunding expertise through Honeyfund

Do people actually want to pay for someone else to take a vacation? Why?
Friends and family absolutely love to give the gift of travel! More and more, we crave experiences over things, and what a better gift than the experience of travel.

Give us some examples of how people are using Plumfund to take a trip of their dreams?
One plumfund was for a doctor who was retiring. His daughter setup a campaign to send him to Paris as a retirement gift. She wrote lovingly about all he had sacrificed for their family and how much it meant to her to be able to give him the trip.

What does this trend speak to in our current culture? Are we becoming a more benevolent society?
Giving feels good! It always has, and it always will. And what better gift for a close friend or loved one than a cherished experience?

Any tips on how to use Plumfund to supplement ones travel bucket list? Is there a right or wrong way to go about it?
The best way is think about a milestone event coming up in your life where friends and family would already want to send a gift. A 50th birthday, graduation, retirement or anniversary are great examples. Then ask someone close to you to setup the campaign and put the word out on your behalf.

“Did you know…The top 15 destinations for ‘bleisure’ travel?”

NYC skyline

According to, a new breed of traveler is mixing business with leisure around the world.  These ‘bleisure’ travelers are taking top cities by storm and spending big bucks along the way.  The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has ranked the top 15 destinations for business travel spending — and the US leads the pack.

Read the full article here.