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The International Air Transport Association reports a global 7.8% annual percentage increase in passenger air travel to March 30 2007. The increase in Europe is 8.2%. IATA suggests that the additional demand is being met by newer, more fuel efficient planes with near record load factors.
I’ve finally managed to upload a podcast. It certainly has not been “my voice on the internet in minutes”. I apologise for some of the editing. Our son Gary, my IT consultant, is studying for his exams and his time is limited, so we just had to get on, so he could show me how to export and upload the MP3 file. I hope that you find the podcast entertaining and informative.
I have to say thanks to Arnold at Foreign Perspectives for telling me about the France 24 competition where the prize for commenting on the French Presidential elections was a podcast factory. I know in business you are supposed to have a master plan and strategy but it’s funny how things can turn out. I started the blog after receiving an email from student doing her dissertation on the topic of blogs in travel businesses. Arnold told me about the France 24 competition as a way of publicising the blog, as the winning entries would be featured on their home page. I discovered later about the prizes.
I’d welcome any feedback on the podcast and/or suggestions about topics you’d like me to cover.
Holiday Autos won the best car hire website in the Travolution 2007 awards last week. Holiday Autos were praised for their “excellent use of images and icons. A clean booking process with fresh, interesting destination content as well as a innovative flight look-up system.”
I have used the Auto Europe website to book car hire and the whole process from booking to pick up and drop off has gone smoothly. Have you used Auto Europe, what was your experience?
I’ve written some tips for hiring a car in Europe.
Sam Daams is co-founder of Travellers Point, who “nurture your travel addictions”, sounds good to me!
1 What is the aim of your business?
Well, the ‘corporate’ objective reads this: “Travellerspoint’s objective is to enrich the travelling experience by offering numerous services, content and products that have significant perceived and added value for travellers worldwide. To travel means to meet other people, experience their cultures and to make, but also to keep good friends. By bringing more people together – albeit before, during or after travelling – Travellerspoint will create more understanding for different cultures and countries and ultimately a better world for everyone to travel in.”
Basically we try to create features that bring travellers together on our site, regardless of whether they are planning a trip, already on the road or have returned!
2 What prompted you to start your own business?
It actually started out as a hobby more than a business. My brother Peter and me came up with the idea in 2002, when Peter had just developed a few websites. He was interested in building one around travelling and I was working in the travel business, so we teamed up and launched Travellerspoint as a ‘Travel Friends Reunited’ type of site. It’s come quite a way since then, but we still have quite a few reunions through the original feature!
3 What has been the hardest aspect of having your own business?
Personally I’d say trying to find the balance between work and a private life is the toughest. It’s easy to get carried away and when you run an online business you can pretty much work from anywhere. So being able to walk away from the computer and spend some time with family and friends while there are 100 emails waiting to be answered is an absolute necessity!
4 What is the funniest thing that has happened to you running your own business?
Hmmm, I don’t know if anything really funny has happened, but it’s been heaps of fun seeing the business grow and being able to travel more because of it!
5 Is there anything you would do differently with the benefit of hindsight?
To be quite honest, there’s not much when it comes to the site and it’s features! We were really lucky in hindsight to have chosen the name Travellerspoint since it was broad enough to allow for adding other features without needing a new brand/domainname. Imagine if we had gone for ‘travelreunions.com’ or something similar!!
Thanks for talking to us, Sam. Interesting that you mention the importance of choosing an appropriate name when you start your business, as Darren of Worldwide Holiday Homes touched upon this, when he spoke to us. You really want a name that is specific in describing what your business does but not limiting your possible diversifications in the future. You really don’t want to have start changing domain names once you are becoming established.
As Sam says, I think it’s really hard to say enough is enough when you have your own business. I know I say to myself I’m going to have a day off today, then I just go to check my emails and end up sitting for hours at the computer.
I feel slightly uneasy about carbon offset schemes. I think that they are only part of the solution. I think it’s better to fly less for leisure. Perhaps I am shooting myself in the foot, as a travel business owner. I just don’t feel it’s right to say, just go on flying as much as you like and it won’t cause any problems as long as you always do your carbon offsets. What do you think?
I visited Linlithgow Palace in central Scotland last weekend. I’d heard about the restoration of the courtyard fountain, originally commissioned by James V in 1537. Unfortunately the fountain is only operational during weekends in July and August to extend its new lease of life.
The detail on the fountain is amazing.
I must say I was a bit disappointed by the interior of the palace, as it is pretty much a ruin. It looks much more magnificent from a distance sitting above Linlithgow Loch.
1 What is the aim of your business?
To be the leader in culinary and specialty travel by sending my guests on
unforgettable gourmet and active holidays in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. 2 What prompted you to start your own business?
I wanted to combine my passion for travel, gastronomy and the outdoors by
offering specialty and learning vacations 3 What has been the hardest aspect of having your own business?
Learning everything on my own and making decisions on my own 4 What is the funniest thing that has happened to you running your own business?
I can’t think of anything! 5 Is there anything you would do differently with the benefit of hindsight?
I would have had someone create my website with content management systems instead of me having to use a program to update/make changes to my site. My comments
Thank you for talking to Europe a la Carte, Jo-Ann. I can relate to the issue of knowing exactlywhat you will require from your website when you first start your business. You think later why didn’t I make it easier, quicker and simpler to maintain the site.
Charter flights from Stansted to Preveza will run from July 9 to September 2007. I visited the Preveza area, in the north western mainland of Greece, in May 2003. I thought it was a really beautiful area. I did visit Leftka but I spend more time exploring the mainland. I liked the Acheron Gorge with the green Acheron River at its base, near the village of Glyki.
The modern city of Preveza is close to the site of the ancient city of Nicopolis, built by Augustus to commemorate his naval victory over Anthony and Cleoparta. When I visited the site was being renovated.
The problem with promoting the Preveza region is that it is virtually the same price to book flight only as a self catering holiday. This still seems to be the case. If you do go the area I would recommend that you hire a car for a few days and see more of the area. Have you visited this region of Greece? Did you venture far from your resort?
I received my Podcast Factory from the France 24 TV news channel, my prize for commenting on the French Presidential elections. Now it claims on the box that “your voice on the internet in minutes”. This was deja vu as I’d read this when trying to install Google Adsense and integrate the WordPress blog into my site. Well that may be the case for the IT and techically literate but we mere mortals need to call on expert assistance, which in my case, is an SOS to our son Gary. He’s coming on Monday to get me up and running.
I was in Edinburgh yesterday, the 26 April 2007, taking some more photos for my guide to Edinburgh: Off The Beaten Track. It was a lovely sunny day with slight breeze. My first stop was the Botanic Gardens. My favourite part was the Rock Garden.
The Rock Garden, Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
I also thought that the sun filtering through the copper beech tree was beautiful.
Copper beech tree, Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
Next I had a walk along the Water of Leith Walkway which stretches 12 miles through Edinburgh from Balerno to the coast at Leith. The photo is taken between Cannon Mills and Stockbridge. I think this is a fantastic walk, in some stretches you feel you are in the countryside, it’s so verdant and tranquil.
Water of Leith Walkway at Stockbridge, Edinburgh
Edinburgh is one of my favourite European cities and that’s not just because I’m Scottish. Have you visited Edinburgh, what did you most enjoy there?
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