travel

A Go-to for Researching the Chinese Travel Market

China Travel Trends.com

When I'm conducting my research, i.e. scampering on the interwebs, sometimes a bizologie-related site takes me to another page, and another, and then I've suddenly encountered a new entry-worthy resource.  For example, last week I wrote on Hospitality Net, and while delving in its Columns area to decide if it was worth mentioning (which indeed I did), I found an article that was so condensed as to have most likely stemmed from a larger report. Sure enough it ultimately linked back to China Travel Trends.com, which made my not-so-inner business researcher weak in the knees.  The publication is a child of parent institutions Dragon Trail, "the premier brand engagement firm focused on travel and tourism," and "COTRI (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute), the leading advisory and resource firm to assist travel and tourism organizations to cater to Chinese tourists" (About).

So what are the must-see spots on this website? The Homepage's Blog & its Popular Posts sub-section together identify news and market trends that may be especially useful for future-gazers.  But best of all, via the Resources tab you can access the freely downloadable Essential China Travel Trends Book- now in its second (Dragon) edition- which is a huge compendium of market intelligence on both the consumer psychologies of Chinese travelers, as well as the economic, cultural, and political forces impacting the market.  Definitely worth a visit!

Hospitality Net for Hotel Industry Research

Hospitality Net

Researching the hotel industry?  Then make sure to check in, time and again, with the Hospitality Net website.  The editors have it booked to capacity with such a phenomenal assortment of industry information that we find it hard to believe they have made so much information freely available.  It’s not unlike the rare joy of sitting in a swanky hotel lobby during a conference and realizing you don’t have to pay for the wifi. We particularly recommend seeing the following areas of the site: Industry News, which is conveniently further broken down by category. Market Reports, which are complimentary executive summaries of industry performance (including charts/graphs). The Columns, which have expert opinions, analysis, and consumer insight.

Three Key Airline Industry Business Resources

Airline_Travel

Combine a handful of interviews, a family reunion, and the prep work for an impending relocation, and I’ve been doing a bit more air travel than usual.  It's no surprise then that air travel is on my mind.   Here are three great resources for keeping your head in the clouds of the airline business: Point A: Airlines for America (A4A):  This professional organization is a premier industry advocate.  Their Economics & Analysis pages have a fantastic assortment of reports and press releases with scads of business data, including economic impacts, industry outlooks, and (in the Special Topics section) M&A and Bankruptcy transactions.

Point B: The Middle Seat by WSJ:  We love the WSJ, and it’s no wonder why, with articles like "How Airlines Spend Your Airfare" (includes a spiffy infographic!).  The Middle Seat is the WSJ’s freely available thematic column for all things travel.  Each individual article may not be strictly business related, but those that are yield excellent charts, stats, and glimpses into how airlines are thinking.

Point C: The International Air Transport Association (IATA):  A representative leader in the industry, this group also puts out densely-packed and downloadable industry reports forecasts, and analysis, which also often include excellent charts/graphs.  You’ll find them somewhat buried in: Areas of Activity > Economics.

Megaregion Research

Megaregion_US

Megaregions are massive interconnected cities scattered throughout the United States, e.g. the Houston/Austin/Dallas Triangle, and the America 2050 initiative is putting them under the microscope (metaphorically speaking). Their about page says, “America 2050 is a national initiative to meet the infrastructure, economic development and environmental challenges of the nation as we prepare to add about 130 million additional Americans by the year 2050.”

If you’re doing business research- especially research concentrated around megaregions- then their site is a veritable goldmine of information.  America 2050 features free reports on topics ranging from energy & climate, high speed rail, broadband infrastructure, commuter patterns, etc.

Beyond the sheer concentration of data and analysis packed in America 2050's content, their maps are an excellent highlight.  The main maps page features many versions of the national-level megaregion concentrations, plus proposed passenger transit lines throughout the US.

Furthermore the incredibly detailed region-specific reports found in the Research tab have maps illustrating economic interrelationships among cities, e.g. wood products’ traffic concentrations within the Texas Triangle.

For those who want to keep abreast of the major economic, environmental, infrastructure and transportation trends that are shaping America’s most heavily populated and trafficked areas, this site is definitely one to bookmark.

Casual Friday: bizologie’s Favorite Travel Apps

travel stickers

It's Friday and we're dreaming of a weekend getaway and planning our summer vacation. Whether you're taking a road trip close to home, summering in the Hamptons or grabbing your passport for a European getaway,  your smartphone can be your best travel accessory. From translating foreign languages and calculating currency exchanges to alerting you to speed traps and picking a subway route, travel apps  provide tools for just about anything you need.  Here are a few  we think are pretty great:

  • Word Lens--Translates signs from Spanish to English (and vice versa). Simply open the app and hold it up to the sign you want to translate. Check out the video below to see Word Lens in action. Available for iPhone only; Android is in the works.
  • Free WiFi Finder--True to its name, this app helps you find WiFi locations all over the world indexing both free and paid hotspots. The best thing is that you can download the directory to use offline. Perfect for locating WiFi in international locations when you don't want to use that expensive international data plan. Available for iPhone & Android.
  • Hear Planet--Audio guides of tourist destinations all over the world. Includes geolocation so you can hear about what's nearby. Requires a data connection so probably not a good choice for international travel. Available for iPhone & Android.
  • HopStop--Public transportation and walking directions for several big cities with more on the way. I've been using this one for years when I travel to NYC for instant subway directions. Available for iPhone & Android.
  • Frommer's Travel Tools--This is a nice little one-stop-shop app which includes a currency converter, a time translator, a packing list and a few other handy tools. Available for  iPhone only.
  • Siri--One of my all time favorite apps, Siri is like having your own personal assistant. Simply tell it what you're looking for (a taxi, some ice cream, a movie) and Siri does it for you. I've used this for calling a taxi in an unfamiliar city before. Siri knows your location, contacts the cab company and texts you the name of the driver. Before you know it, your cab has arrived and all you did was utter the word "taxi". Brilliant. Available for iPhone only.
  • Simply Postcards--We've covered this one before, but it's worth repeating. Send any image as an actual postcard right from your phone. Snap your picture, enter a friend's address and let Simply Postcards do the mailing. Love it! Available for iPhone & Android.
  • trapster--Alerts you to speed traps in your area. Use it for your daily commute or a cross country road trip. Available for iPhone & Android
  • TripIt--Organizes all of your flight numbers and hotel reservations. I like that TripIt allows you to forward confirmation emails from airlines, etc. and then imports them easily into an itinerary. Available for iPhone & Android.
  • GateGuru--Helps you locate airport restaurants, shops and other amenities not only by proximity but by reviews as well. Available for iPhone only.
  • xe--Free mobile currency calculator. You can store the latest updated rates for offline use. Available for iPhone & Android.
  • Google Translate--"Allowing users to speak to translate in 15 languages and to translate words and phrases into more than 50 languages. You can also listen to your translations spoken aloud in 23 different languages." Available for iPhone & Android.
  • Trip Case--Organize your hotel, flight and car rentals all in one place. TripCase will also alert you to flight or gate changes and offer alternative flight choices if your flight is canceled or changed.
  • Help Call--With 126 countries supported, Help Call gives you up-to-date international Police, Fire Department and Ambulance phone numbers. Available for iPhone only.
  • FlightBoard--Arrivals and departures in real time. FlightBoard's design was "based on the flight board at Charles de Gaulle Airport to give the app a beautiful, old school look." Available for iPhone & Android.

Happy Trails!

Casual Friday: Flying Chipmunks

hipmunk

If you are spending some time this Friday dreaming of a warm get-away, plan that fantasy trip on Hipmunk . Hipmunk has a great way to view your flight options with a clean, easy to use interface to make searching easy. You can look by airport or by city, calendars are right on the main page and you can limit to a certain airline quickly if you are racking up the frequent flyer miles. You can even filter out the early morning flights, these folks know how I roll. The sort feature is the best though. You can sort by the usual price, stops, and duration, but the great feature is sort by Agony. The Agony sort combines all 3; price, stops, and duration, because sometimes it pays to get there in a timely fashion without 3 layovers. Hipmunk doesn't sell flights, but once you select your flight and it connects you to Orbitz where you can purchase.

Hipmunk, the rising star of startups, just announced last week that they have some new investors -  former Expedia execs Rich Barton, Erik Blachford and Simon Breakwell, along with Ignition Partners, Jim Hornthal of Triporati and Rob Glaser, founder of Real Networks joined in this round of funding and invested $4.2 million in the business. Some of these investors also have interests in Room 77 and Travelpost, so there is some speculation in the blogosphere that these guys might be creating a whole new integrated travel site.

And since I’m on a chipmunk theme, download the Crazy Chipmunks app for iPhone or Android. It is 99¢ and $1.99 respectively. There are 3 games: Crazy Maze (like Bejeweled), Crazy Party (a memory game) and Whack-A-Mole. Who doesn’t love a good game of Whack-A-Mole to while away a Friday afternoon?