The Best in Travel Technology for 2012 |

In our technological times, the right piece of equipment can make business travel more efficient and even fun. With so much on the market, here’s an overview of some of the best-rated travel technology, including smartphones, tablets, e-readers and accessories to make travel in 2012 a little bit easier.

The future of the laptop is the Ultrabook. As the evolution of personal computers continues, notebooks keep getting smaller, thinner and lighter. Introducing the “ultrabook,” the favorite among many frequent travelers. The most popular remains the Apple MacBook Air for its performance, battery life and durable all-metal body. If you prefer to run Windows, opt instead for the lightweight Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U. Fans love its connectivity, touchpad usability, Ethernet networking jack, backlit keyboard and up to eight hours of battery life.

Smartphone wars: Apple iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy Nexus. In 2011, Apple built on the success of the iPhone 4 with the iPhone 4S. The new 4S model has the same dual-core A5 processor that is in the iPad 2. The 4S’ camera is also notably upgraded to 8MP, with a seven-time increase in graphical processing power.

One unit giving Apple a run for their money is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus features new Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” software, a comparatively large 4.65 inch screen and comfortable, yet elegant design. Another cool feature is the virtual buttons which relocate themselves, no matter how you hold the phone. Also, check out the Android Beam feature which lets you share contacts, Web pages, video clips and even apps.

Best tablet: Again, Apple vs. Samsung. Look around any airport, and you’ll see the growing popularity of tablets. One of the most popular is Apple’s iPad 2. Similar in many ways to last year’s groundbreaking iPad, the mach 2 version is thinner and sleeker and features a new dual core A5 CPU with boosted memory and a pair of new cameras. Cool for travelers: the FaceTime feature that allows face-to-face video calls to someone else’s iPad 2, iPhone, iPod touch or Mac.

Also worth mentioning is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. If size and weight matter to you, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is lighter and thinner than the Apple iPad 2, and offers Android Honeycomb version 3.1 and a 7000mAh battery for all-day tablet use.

Best e-reader: Can’t go wrong with the Kindle. If you’re in the market for an e-reader, you can’t go wrong with the Amazon Kindle 3G for $139. The lightweight, pocket-sized reader offers a week-long battery life, sharp display and global 3G access, so there is no wireless connection or international data fee needed to download e-books. Also worth mentioning is Amazon’s Kindle store which features more than one million books, newspapers, magazines and blogs, downloadable in under a minute.

Best in accessories. When you’re on the road, accessories such as a phone charger and wireless router are necessary, not just nice-to-have. For chargers, MyBlueBoost boasts an impressive 12 to 16 hours lifespan and is available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, as well as a universal version, for around $40.

And when public Wi-Fi is an issue, you’ll be glad to have the Belkin F5D7233 Wireless-G Travel Router, which helps you set up personal Wi-Fi with home-quality Internet speed. It also allows service to multiple devices at once and comes with Belkin’s Easy Install Wizard and Lifetime Warranty.

Before buying any device or accessory, make sure you do your due diligence and read plenty of objective reviews before making a purchase.

Starting a Hotel Business? Here’s How to Set Prices |

If you have visited a certain hotel repeatedly, you’d probably noticed that, like airlines, hotels generally change their prices with the season, the month, and even the day of the week. Pricing also changes the closer you are to a given date. Pricing changes such as these are part of yield management, and yield management software is a valuable investment for a new hotel that wants to make sure they are pricing competitively and maximizing their revenue.

What is Yield Management?  

Yield management “is the process of understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximize revenue or profits from a fixed, perishable resource.” Unlike nonperishable items, like clothing and TVs, the value of a night in a hotel drops to zero when that date passes. Furthermore, the cost to the hotel of booking that room is very small compared to the overall fixed cost of keeping the hotel open day after day.   This means that the hotel entrepreneur must consider when it is reasonable to lower prices as a date approaches in the attempt to fill rooms. However, rates cannot be dropped so far and so dramatically that customers learn they will always get an amazing deal at your hotel by waiting until the last minute to book. Hotel entrepreneurs must carefully balance these needs and yield management software can take the guesswork out of this.  

Peak Pricing  

Beyond the consideration of when to drop prices as a rental date approaches and by how much, hotel volume is subject to seasonal changes and even weekly volume changes (if your hotel focuses on business travel, weekdays may be peak and if it focuses on leisure travel, weekends may be peak). Hotels will generally have higher rates in the peak season times for travel to the region and the lowest rates in the most off-peak season. Hotel owners may also restrict these general season prices around holidays or events in the area when there are spikes or drops in travel.  

Software Options  

Software for yield management is available either as installed software or as software-as-a-service (SaaS) available for a monthly subscription fee or commission fee based on revenue.   Some yield management software is part of larger enterprise solutions for hotels which can include human resources management, bookkeeping, property management, central reservations, customer relations management, and marketing. Think carefully about how an enterprise software solution might work for your business, especially if you will have only a few locations.   Purchasing or subscribing to software can ensure that you don’t have to design your own software systems from scratch, and take on all of the risks associated with new software along with the risk of operating your hotel business.

Effective Strategies in Generating Leads Within Your Home Business Blueprint

When it comes to online business the most important thing is to get every visitor who comes to your site deliberately or accidentally to be interested enough to want to do business with you. This is, after all, the point of online marketing. Different businesses have different strategies to generate interest or leads. There are some who swear that the best leads are the ones who interact with you via social media so they advertise on Facebook, but there is no ultimate home business blueprint, no one way of getting it right. When developing your home business blueprint, there are things that are essential in generating leads for online business that you can follow. Here’s a list of the different methods that online marketers can follow to generate lead.

1. Create a Website

This is a no brainer. How else can you call your business an online business or talk about online marketing if you don’t have a destination website? Having a website is essential, all other methods should essentially bolster or direct people to this website. The website is your store, other methods like Facebook, Twitter, blogging or Instagrams should be regarded as the fliers that introduce people to your business or your product, your website is the place where all the information and ultimately, business transactions are supposed to take place. Your website is your core foundation of the home business blueprint. This means you need to work at the content in your website and present the content in such a way that it appeals to the readers.

2. Create Special Offers

People love free things but they appreciate free things that are useful to them. The easiest free gift you can give to a customer is a free download. Your home business blueprint can start moving along when you create a little bit of a buzz. By having people take advantage of free offers you create a chance for them to give you their contact details. The other advantage is that you are sure that the people you contact are interested in some way in what you have to offer. Create a form for visitors to your site to fill out, make it short and simple and make sure that you get their consent for you to send them any further information other than what they’ve just downloaded. Make sure that your free download ends up leading them somewhere else. Don’t reveal all your cards during the first round; create a platform for further communication between you and potential clients-this is a good start to your home business blueprint.

3. Use targeted ads to drive traffic to your site

There are various online services that offer opportunities to target specific audiences like Facebook or Google Ads. When people sign up for social media sites and create accounts with Google they are often asked to list their interests. You can use that to your advantage. Make sure you know and understand how to use these opportunities.

4. Create relevant content for your target audience

Tailor your content carefully to attract the audience that you want. Tailoring great content starts from how you write on your website to the free downloads you offer. You could also create newsletters to keep your leads informed. With any home business blueprint, make sure that you communicate your message clearly and that your passion comes through in your writing. Sometimes it takes a while to convert a sales lead into an actual customer because they might need information or they might require some kind of assurance that you know what you are talking about. Be the expert that can answer questions before they even formulate in your sales lead’s mind. If you come off sounding like an expert, your sales leads might turn to be your best advertisers if they quote you or refer people to your site for information.

5. Create multi-channel content

This step is where you really escalate your home business blueprint. Some people might not like reading all that much or they might like visual aids instead of endless paragraphs. Make sure that you cater for different needs. People access information in different ways on the Internet. Some rely on social media, which would require you to create short but engaging messages; some would like to get the in-depth information a newsletter would allow you to create, others blogs whilst others are best reached via video. It is better to create content that translates across all mediums. This means that you will have to create videos, use infographics or host webinars.

6. Use social media

I do not care who you are, but anyone that has developed and uses a home business blueprint, uses some sort of social media. If you don’t, you either have enough cash in the bank already, or you’re about to go broke because no one knows who you are. Social platforms have become the most effective means of getting information through and getting an immediate response. When you set up social media pages make sure that you keep them updated and that you engage with people who leave comments. This shows that you care about your business and it helps create relationships.

7. Participate in online chats

Getting online friend, or “followers” does not happen overnight. Just like a lot of the things within your home business blueprint, it takes hours, days and months of being online, connected to the right people on Twitter through whose following you might chance upon leads. Participate in Twitter chats that are relevant to your business. One you get those likes and followers work at building relationships and eventually wok at converting our Twitter friends to actual clients.

8. Join groups and forums

Again, social media platforms like Facebook enable people to create groups. Find groups that are relevant to your business and join. Make sure that the groups you join are active, that there are no dead silences that last for months; otherwise you might end up being the lone poster who annoys everybody else. It is easy to go unnoticed in groups but to make sure that people know you are there; you need to engage. Be personable… this is what makes your home business blueprint fun. Ask questions, wish someone a happy birthday, have conversations.

9. Form partnerships with others to cross promote

Find someone who has worked as hard as you have to build a network and find ways to collaborate. The best collaborations are with people whose business would enhance yours and vice versa. You might collaborate on a webinar to communicate what you are an expert in and they might do the same for you. The internet is a very big world, there is no home business blueprint for success. It is easy to get lost in the world wide web or to simply exist with no one ever seeing you, if it takes latching on to someone to be noticed, then latch on.