Senior Travel: City passes — do they work?

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

You’ve seen the promotions for “passes” that promise “free” admission to a handful of a city’s top attractions — mostly bypassing ticket lines — for a fixed price that is a lot less than you’d pay separately. I know of two major programs that sell passes for lots of different cities. And some individual cities organize their own passes. The idea is intriguing, both the lower total cost and bypassing some lines.

CityPass (www.citypass.com) issues passes for 10 cities in North America: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto, providing no-extra-cost admission to a mix of important museums and major commercial tourist attractions.

– Each pass is valid for nine days after first use.

– Each pass typically covers four to six one-time admissions from six to eight alternatives.

– Prices range from $39 to $79, depending on the city.

All in all, my take is that the value of the passes varies among cities: Some are great; others, not so much:

– In New York, the pass covers the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Guggenheim Museum, Top of the Rock, the Statue of Liberty or the Circle Line Tour. The pass costs $79; the combined admissions to just the three blockbuster museums is $65.50; add any of the commercial attractions, and the pass is a good deal.

– Pass deals are similarly good for a mix of museums and commercial attractions in Boston, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco. San Francisco also includes a seven-day cable car and transit pass — a big plus. Philadelphia is weaker and it excludes the most important Philadelphia Museum of Art.

– On the other hand, the Hollywood pass, at $59, is useful only if you’re a big fan of motion picture lore; you get a Starline Tour, Madame Tussaud’s, Red Lines Behind the Scenes and the Kodak Theater or Hollywood Museum. To me, that list is very “ho, hum,” but if movies are your bag, go for it.

– Passes for Atlanta, Seattle, and Toronto are also heavy on the commercial attractions.

You won’t be surprised by the overall conclusion: CityPass is a good deal if you would otherwise visit at least half of the attractions each pass covers; not so good if you don’t.

Leisure Pass (www.leisurepassgroup.com) issues passes for Berlin, London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, and Yorkshire. The basic approach is quite different: Each pass covers far more attractions than CityPass, but pricing is much higher and varies by length of validity. The New York version, for example, includes admissions to “over 70″ attractions but costs $80 for one day, $130 for two days, up to $210 for seven. The mix includes the same blockbuster museums as CityPass plus lots of smaller ones, along with the same commercial attractions plus many more.

The Philadelphia pass ($49 for one day, up to $95 for five days) provides similar coverage, and it does include the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Berlin (about $83 for two days minimum), London (about $72 for one day), Paris (about $130 for two-day minimum) and Yorkshire (about $54 for one day) passes provide similar coverage; the London website also pitches Travelcards, but the prices are only about a half-pound less than regular prices.

All in all, Leisure Pass is a tougher proposition than CityPass. Even the one-day prices are higher, and you pay a lot more for multi-day validity. Most of you could probably come out ahead using a Leisure Pass for a day or two of intensive museum or commercial attraction visits, but the CityPass formula is a lot better if you don’t want to cram all your museum and attractions visits into a day or two.

Keep in mind that independent city passes may also be a better deal. For example, a two-day Paris Museum pass costs about $52; a three-day Berlin Museum Pass costs about $25. Do a Google search for passes in other cities.

Send e-mail to Ed Perkins at eperkins@mind.net. Perkins’ new book for small business and independent professionals, “Business Travel When It’s Your Money,” is now available through www.mybusinesstravel.com or www.amazon.com

Article source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/orl-travel-senior-travel-022912,0,7044711.column

Groupon Wants to Take You Places

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

You can’t say that Groupon is slow on the Uptake.

The daily deals leader is snapping social travel research specialist Uptake.com. Terms of the deal haven’t been made public, though sources tell AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes that it’s in the “teens” of millions.

Groupon’s a beefy company. With 637.8 million shares outstanding after November’s IPO, we’re looking at a company approaching a market cap in the “teens” of billions. Why is a deal valued at a little more than 0.1% of Groupon worth evaluating? Well, it’s really all about what Groupon can do with Uptake’s staff and technology.

Uptake gives travel planning a social bent. If you know where you want to go, Uptake can scour your Facebook connections for those that have been there. Instead of blindly asking a question as a status update that may largely go unnoticed on Facebook, Uptake digs into uploaded snapshots and earlier status messages from your friends and family members. Users of the free site can then cross-check those references with Uptake’s online travel library.

Uptake claims that it helped more than 30 million travelers research their trips last year.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what Groupon stands to gain here. If it knows where someone’s going, why not offer up some of the daily deals being offered?

Travel and flash sales are a good match. There’s a reason why travel deals publisher Travelzoo is one of the few niche-specific websites that’s still on the daily deals bandwagon. Did you catch priceline.com‘s quarterly report earlier this week? The “Name Your Own Price” specialist saw its revenue climb 36% over the past year.

Groupon is no stranger to travel. It’s been teaming up with Expedia for Groupon Getaways since last summer. Acquiring Uptake.com — whether it keeps the popular site going or simply incorporates the concept into its own site — won’t change that, but it will make securing leads cheaper if it aims just right.

If you want to follow the daily deals leader to see if it becomes a bargain itself, addGrouponto My Watchlist.

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46576028/ns/business-motley_fool/

Groupon Wants to Take You Places

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

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    You can’t say that Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN  ) is slow on the Uptake.

    The daily deals leader is snapping social travel research specialist Uptake.com. Terms of the deal haven’t been made public, though sources tell AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes that it’s in the “teens” of millions.

    Groupon’s a beefy company. With 637.8 million shares outstanding after November’s IPO, we’re looking at a company approaching a market cap in the “teens” of billions. Why is a deal valued at a little more than 0.1% of Groupon worth evaluating? Well, it’s really all about what Groupon can do with Uptake’s staff and technology.

    Uptake gives travel planning a social bent. If you know where you want to go, Uptake can scour your Facebook connections for those that have been there. Instead of blindly asking a question as a status update that may largely go unnoticed on Facebook, Uptake digs into uploaded snapshots and earlier status messages from your friends and family members. Users of the free site can then cross-check those references with Uptake’s online travel library.

    Uptake claims that it helped more than 30 million travelers research their trips last year.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what Groupon stands to gain here. If it knows where someone’s going, why not offer up some of the daily deals being offered?

    Travel and flash sales are a good match. There’s a reason why travel deals publisher Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO  ) is one of the few niche-specific websites that’s still on the daily deals bandwagon. Did you catch priceline.com‘s (Nasdaq: PCLN  ) quarterly report earlier this week? The “Name Your Own Price” specialist saw its revenue climb 36% over the past year.

    Groupon is no stranger to travel. It’s been teaming up with Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE  ) for Groupon Getaways since last summer. Acquiring Uptake.com — whether it keeps the popular site going or simply incorporates the concept into its own site — won’t change that, but it will make securing leads cheaper if it aims just right.

    If you want to follow the daily deals leader to see if it becomes a bargain itself, add Groupon to My Watchlist.

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    Temecula: 2 nights and wine-tasting passes this weekend for $449

    February 29, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

    Wineries in Temecula, Calif., will open their doors for tastings and food samples at the World of Wine Barrel Tasting event this weekend. It’s a good excuse to explore this wine country (if you haven’t already) or to indulge in a close-to-home getaway. The Temecula Creek Inn offers a two-night stay plus event passes starting at $449.

    The deal: The World of Wine Weekend package starts at $449 for a room Saturday and Sunday nights that includes two-day passes to the wine-tasting event for two. The inn is at 44501 Rainbow Canyon Road in Temecula, about an hour north of San Diego. Guests are given a map for a self-guided tour of 35 wineries open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. both days. Tax and resort fee ($12) per night are extra.

    There’s also a one-night package for a Sunday night stay with a single-day pass (Sunday only) that starts at $259, plus tax and resort fee.

    When: The offer is good for stays Saturday and Sunday only.

    Tested: I checked online and found availability for a double-queen room as part of the $449 package. Though the best available rates on the same nights for the same room would cost $71 less, the cost of the two-day passes (usually $99 each) make the savings worthwhile. Note too the resort fee covers parking, Internet access and use of the fitness center and tennis courts.

    Contact: Temecula Creek Inn, (877) 517-1823

     

     

    Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-temecula-creek-inn-20120227,0,1014119.story

    Costa Allegra: How much will it affect the cruise industry?

    February 29, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

    The stranding of the Costa Allegra this week brings new woes to the Italy-based cruise line. But it also brings new consumer fears about the safety of the cruise industry as a whole, according to a market research company.

    The crippled Allegra is in the process of being towed to the Seychelle Islands after a fire in the engine room Monday left the ship without power. None of the more than 1,000 passengers aboard the ship were injured. The incident came just six weeks after the Costa Concordia, its sister ship, capsized off the Italian coast, killing 25 people and leaving seven still missing.

    “Right now the industry should be capitalizing on the recovering economy and increasing disposable income, however, the recent cruise line problems are hampering growth, decreasing bookings and consumer confidence,” Lauren Setar, transportation industry analyst for market research company IBISWorld, said in a statement.

    Cruise lines also might wind up spending more money on safety measures and complying with new industry regulations as a result of these incidents.

    Still, revenues are expected to increase this year and next, Setar said. The cruise industry is projected to bring in about $10.3 billion in U.S. revenues this year, with $7.2 billion or about 70% generated by Carnival Corp. Carnival operates its own brand as well as Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and others.

    But some cruise industry observers dispute the gloomy forecast. They say cruisers remain unshaken by recent problems involving Costa.

    Stewart Chrion of CruiseGuy.com said in an email exchange that he feels the Costa Allegra incident “will have no impact on U.S. consumers.”

    Arabella Bowen, executive editorial director of Fodor’s Travel, said cruisers who commented on the company’s website were aware of the Allegra incident but aren’t changing or canceling their travel plans. “There are safety issues everywhere you go … but that hasn’t deterred anyone from traveling,” she said.

    Travel industry observer Mark Murphy said only first-timers might hesitate to go on a cruise because of recent events. He also pointed out that the big cruise lines have sound safety standards derived from years of experience. “Over three or four decades, cruise lines have adapted,” he said. “When there has been an incident, they looked at their safety practices and taken it up a notch.”

    Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-cruise-disasters-industry-effect-20120229,0,18437.story?track=rss

    Groupon Buys Travel Search Site Uptake Mostly For Headcount

    February 29, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

    Uptake was an ambitious travel site that never quite broke through. It used social data and sentiment analysis to try and provide better travel discovery and decision support to its users. Originally called Kango, we wrote about the site in 2008 when it relaunched as Uptake.

    AllThingsD today reported that Uptake had been acquired by Groupon for something in the “teens of millions” (between $10 and $20). The company raised roughly $14 million from venture capital inventors, so it was basically a “break even” transaction. Apparently Groupon wanted the team and will integrate most of the key personnel into its Palo Alto, California office.

    In 2008 Uptake sought to aggregate content from existing travel sites to provide a better, more flexible and more comprehensive travel search experience:

    Co-founded by Yen Lee, who was GM of Yahoo Travel, UpTake describes itself as a “travel search and discovery site.” It’s aggregating consumer reviews and listings information from many travel sites to attempt to create a trusted destination to begin travel search. Content comes from Expedia, Fodors, goCityKids, Virtual Tourist, TripAdvisor, Citysearch and Yahoo, among others.

    The site analyzes and applies sentiment analysis to the content of reviews to be able to call out attributes like “pool,” “kitchen,” “babysitting” or “oversized rooms.” It also presents ratings from third party sites side-by-side so that users can gain a consensus view of the hotel’s quality and service.

    In the beginning Uptake was probably inspired by Yahoo’s ahead-of-its-time TripPlanner social travel site, which was shut down a few years ago. Co-founder Yen Lee was the GM of Yahoo Travel, as mentioned. (Somewhat ironically, Jasper Malcolmson who succeeded Lee as GM of Yahoo Travel later became the founder of deal site Bloomspot.)

    Even though the Uptake site is slated to continue in the near term it will probably be shuttered ultimately. This is the all-too-common pattern with such “acqhire” transations. In addition, Groupon currently has a rudimentary travel site in Groupon Getaways (in partnership with Expendia).

    When I heard about the acquisition during one of my SMX sessions earlier today my first thought was that Groupon might be evolving and doing something more creative and interesting with travel. However I thought something similar when Groupon acquired check-in site Whrrl, which was later shut down.

    Travel has been a very successful vertical for Groupon and deals in general. There’s potentially a great deal more that could be done by Groupon with a bona fide travel site like Uptake. However that’s not the route that Groupon appears likely to take.

    Related Topics: Groupon | Search Engines: Travel Search Engines


    About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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    Article source: http://searchengineland.com/groupon-buys-travel-search-site-uptake-mostly-for-headcount-113219

    Leap Year Deals: Extra day in February means extra travel deals

    February 29, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

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    We have an extra day this year, it’s Leap Year! Here are travel deals and specials you won’t want to skip.

    2012 is a leap year, falling on February 29th. Not only do you get 366 days in 2012 but there are also some discounts and perks you’ll want to know about.

    Since Leap Year is a perfect excuse for marketing, let’s talk about some of the travel deals out there. Luxehotels.com has compiled a list of hotel discounts around the world, ranging from $29 off a room rate to $29 room upgrades to 29 percent off the best available price. All deals must be booked by – you guessed it – Feb. 29. Kimpton hotels and the Marriott are also rolling out a few Leap Year deals.

    Think about it, you have an extra 24 hours to spend this year, use it to pamper yourself. Research suggests that you’ll get much more satisfaction, and for longer, if you decide to spend money on experiences, like going on a day trip or booking a spa session, over material things.

    No matter how you celebrate Leap Year, make sure it’s memorable. You won’t see another February 29th for 1,460 days!

    Sponsored Links

    What’s this?Paid Distribution

    Article source: http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/241338/79/Leap-Year-Deals-Extra-day-in-February-means-extra-travel-deals

    Featured Travel Deals on VEGAS.com

    February 29, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

    LAS VEGAS, NV–(Marketwire – Feb 28, 2012) – The travel experts at VEGAS.com, the world’s number one city travel website with the top Las Vegas Hotels and Las Vegas Shows, have outlined some of this week’s exclusive and limited-time only travel deals.

    Ravella at Lake Las Vegas — Up to 30% Off Your Stay
    Book a room marked with the Up to 30% Off Your Stay at Ravella at Lake Las Vegas for a minimum of two nights between now and April 30, 2012, for stay dates between now and June 30, 2012, and receive up to 30% off your stay.
    Details at VEGAS.com.

    LVH – Las Vegas Hotel Casino — Non-refundable Advance Purchase
    Book a room marked with Non-refundable Advance Purchase offer at LVH-Las Vegas Hotel Casino between now and Dec. 31, 2012, for stay dates between March 20, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012, and receive a non-refundable special discounted rate. Bookings must be made at least 21 days in advance.
    Details at VEGAS.com.

    Frankie Moreno Live at Stratosphere — Free Seat Upgrade
    For a limited time only, receive VIP seating at General Admission prices when you book select tickets to Frankie Moreno Live at Stratosphere on VEGAS.com. As an added bonus, guest will receive a free premium cocktail with the purchase of one premium cocktail at Level 107 Lounge and 25% off regular buffet price to enjoy the day of the show. Guests save $25.25!
    Details at VEGAS.com.

    About VEGAS.com
    VEGAS.com is the largest city destination travel website in the world with extensive, constantly updated information and a full range of travel products including Las Vegas hotels, Las Vegas Air Hotel Packages, Las Vegas shows, tours and golf. A state-of-the-art contact center provides customer support, expert information and sales 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to complement the information on www.VEGAS.com. VEGAS.com, through its Casino Travel Tours unit, operates retail and concierge desks at more than 50 locations including the Palms, Paris, Harrah’s, Bally’s, Excalibur, New York-New York, Luxor and more. The company also offers a variety of excursions including city tours, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. VEGAS.com is a member of the Greenspun Family of Companies, privately owned and operating in Southern Nevada for more than 60 years.

    Article source: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/featured-travel-deals-on-vegascom-1625553.htm

    Costa Allegra passengers stuck on stranded ship until Thursday

    February 28, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

    Passengers of the Costa Allegra, stranded in the Indian Ocean on Monday after a fire swept through the engine room and left the cruise ship without power, will be stuck on board for another few days. The ship is being towed to the main island in the Seychelles but isn’t expected to arrive until Thursday morning local time.

    Costa Cruises said in a statement Tuesday that none of the 636 passengers, including eight Americans, and 413 crew members aboard the ship had been injured in the fire or its aftermath. This is the second disaster for Costa Cruises in the last six weeks. The Allegra’s sister ship, the Costa Concordia, ran aground near the Italian island of Giglio on Jan. 13, leaving 25 people dead and seven missing.

    The fire on the Costa Allegra broke out in the generator room and was immediately extinguished, the cruise line says. It didn’t spread to other parts of the ship, but an emergency alarm was sounded and passengers and crew members gathered at muster stations on the ship.

    The Allegra is being towed by the French fishing boat Trevignon. The Seychelles coast guard reported that two tugboats were dispatched Tuesday to help with the effort, according to Bloomberg. Costa said helicopters were supplying the ship with food, flashlights and other necessities.

    The cruise line rejected a plan to take passengers to the nearer Desroches Island because “[t]he disembarkation in Desroches does not assure the necessary and adequate security conditions for mooring the ship and guests’ disembarkation,” the statement said. “In addition, logistics and hotels on the island are not enough: it would require an immediate transfer from Desroches to Mahé through ferries after disembarking the ship through tenders.”

    The ship’s fire comes less than a week after divers searching the half-sunken Costa Concordia off the Italian coast found eight more bodies, bringing the death toll to 25. The ship’s captain, first mate and seven others are being investigated for their role in the disaster, according to media reports.

    Costa Cruises in a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corp.

    Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-costa-allegra-20120228,0,5070477.story

    Extra day in February means extra travel deals

    February 28, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

      <!– –>
    •  

    • -
      A
      A
      A
      +

    Written by

    CBS NEWS

    <!–

    –>

     

     

    We have an extra day this year, it’s Leap Year! Here are travel deals and specials you won’t want to skip.

    2012 is a leap year, falling on February 29th. Not only do you get 366 days in 2012 but there are also some discounts and perks you’ll want to know about.

    Since Leap Year is a perfect excuse for marketing, let’s talk about some of the travel deals out there. Luxehotels.com has compiled a list of hotel discounts around the world, ranging from $29 off a room rate to $29 room upgrades to 29 percent off the best available price. All deals must be booked by – you guessed it – Feb. 29. Kimpton hotels and the Marriott are also rolling out a few Leap Year deals.

    Think about it, you have an extra 24 hours to spend this year, use it to pamper yourself. Research suggests that you’ll get much more satisfaction, and for longer, if you decide to spend money on experiences, like going on a day trip or booking a spa session, over material things.

    No matter how you celebrate Leap Year, make sure it’s memorable. You won’t see another February 29th for 1,460 days!

    Sponsored Links

    What’s this?Paid Distribution

    Article source: http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/241338/81/Extra-day-in-February-means-extra-travel-deals

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