Month: August 2017

Reduce Air Travel Costs With Split Tickets

Split ticketing or split-city ticketing is buying two separate round-trip tickets for a single trip. The two round-trip flights take advantage of the airline’s pricing schemes to create a lower total airfare. In addition to paying less, there may be other benefits to booking split-city tickets.

An example to illustrate the split ticketing strategy:

A friend found $600 fares to fly from San Jose, California to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I checked a couple of sources and confirmed that $600 was the lowest available fare. I also discovered that all flights connected through Los Angeles or Phoenix. I then researched two separate itineraries:

1. (San Jose-to-Los Angeles) AND (Los Angeles-to-Cabo)


2. (San Jose-to-Phoenix) AND (Phoenix-to-Cabo)

At that time, Los Angeles-to-Cabo round-trip flights cost $198 and San Jose-to-Los Angeles flights were $98 (a total of $296). By simply buying separate round-trip tickets through Los Angeles, anyone could save 50%–over $300 ($600 – $296). I concentrated on using Los Angeles as an interim airport, since there more options–airlines and flights–and better prices.

These, and most, split ticket flights are not less convenient, since the through fare (in this case, the $600 fare) required changing planes in an interim airport (i.e., Los Angeles) anyway. In fact, not only are split ticket flights usually as convenient but often include some advantages.

One advantage is that travelers can book flights with preferred airlines and add points to active frequent flyer accounts. At the time, only two airlines offered San Jose-to-Cabo flights while several offered San Jose-to-Los Angeles and Los Angeles-to-Cabo flights. Instead of paying $600 to fly on one of two undesired airlines, buy separate round-trips on airlines you like and pay $298. This is very typical of split city routes.

Another advantage of split ticket itineraries is that travelers can create stopovers, which are not permitted on most discounted round-trip fares (such as the $600 fare). For instance, fly from San Jose to Los Angeles the night before flying to Cabo. Spend a day in Los Angeles before taking an afternoon Los Angeles-to-Cabo flight. The time spent in Los Angeles is a created stopover. Create a similar stopover on the return flights, if you wish. Stopovers counter the major potential difficulty of split ticketing, possibly missing the connection flight if either flight into Los Angeles is canceled or delayed.

With split tickets, travelers usually must claim baggage from the first airline, carry them to the second airline, and check in with the second airline. Bringing only carry-on baggage is the best way to eliminate this disadvantage but travelers must still check in with the second airline.

Some typical split ticket routes include:

  • East coast US cities to Hawaii, Australia, or Asia (through San Francisco or Los Angeles)
  • US cities to South America (through Miami or New York)
  • US cities to Europe and Africa (through London or Paris)

There are countless routings that offer split ticketing advantages. Try it while researching your next trip. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Source by Charles McCool

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Things To Do To Get Over Your Boredom This Summer Season

Summer break is something to look forward to during the year. It gives us the time to do whatever we want to do. A lot of people enjoy spending their vacations close to their families. Most of us are so busy with our lives, that the holidays become the only time of the year where we have sufficient time and funds on our hands to go to our family and loved ones. However, if you don’t have any activities planned, then the summers might become extremely tedious for you. People often end up getting sick of their stagnant routines. If you feel yourself going through that, here are some tips to keep boredom at bay. Try them out, and you will definitely start to feel differently in a matter of days.

1. Travel

Traveling during the summers is an experience beyond measure. The greatest thing about this is that when you travel in the summers, you get to see things in their glory. It is also recommended that if you have any such plans to travel, you do them alone. Travelling alone will give you the opportunity to discover yourself like never before. You might make new friends and you’ll get to meet people from various backgrounds. It will also improve you as a person. If you have an airmiles account, you will probably be able to get loads of discounted travel deals for yourself, friends, and family.

2. Pursue a hobby

As it happens in adult life, most of us forget to pursue our passions and just get busy with everything else that is going on. The summer season is the perfect time for you to resume pursuing your passions. Nowadays, nothing is really difficult to gain access to. If you love to play an instrument but don’t know how to do it, don’t worry! You can learn it without spending a single penny. Websites like YouTube have so many tutorials for everything! So it really has become too easy to pursue your hobbies!

3. Visit Friends and Family

Now this might seem tedious to you. But it is actually quite important. It is important for one’s soul to surround themselves with people he or she love, and visiting family and friends serves to revitalize yourself. So, if you don’t have anything planned for the holidays just give your family a visit. They will love you for it. If they live far away, don’t fret about spending money.

Source by Douglas H Wise

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Complete Strut Assembly Vs Bare Strut

Complete Strut Assemblies are growing in popularity for both manufacturers and consumers. One might ask – Why replace the whole assembly when only the strut has failed? Surprisingly there are several reasons. The Complete Strut Assembly typically costs twice as much if not more but in all likelihood will save you money right away as well as further down the road (no pun intended).

Whether replacing these components yourself or paying a mechanic to do the work, the advantages of using the Complete Strut assembly are immediate – no special tools are required. This makes the job for the typical Do it Yourselfer quite easy as there is no spring compressor required. At a garage you “should” typically see lower labour times; you might find that the extra money spent on the Complete Strut Assembly is equal to the money saved from the reduced labor costs to install it.

Other advantages of installing the Complete Strut Assembly on your vehicle are numerous. Getting a new spring is going to refresh your suspension and last longer than your old spring. This is because your old spring has sat under the weight of the vehicle for numerous years causing the spring to sag, corrode, and weaken over time. This causes your vehicle to sit slightly lower which changes the suspension geometry. Driving on a failed strut puts the spring to work even more as it is taking on all the forces of the road without the help of the strut to back it up. Other components of the Complete Strut Assembly include the upper strut plate, bump stop and rubber boot. These are all components that wear out typically because of corrosion and dirt contamination. Replacing these components when tackling this kind of job is always a good idea; the failure of a small component like this shortly after the fact is a kick in the pants for obvious reasons.

The choice is clear when a Complete Strut Assembly is available for your vehicle. The Complete Strut Assembly is a money and time saving component. It is typically the most significant suspension part, and a great way to get your vehicle to ride like new.

Source by Shane White

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Cell Phone Elbow – 2 Steps to Staying Connected Without Pain

Are you a talker or a texter?

Chances are, you’re one or the other. Or both. According to The International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry, nearly 90% of all Americans own a cell phone. At the beginning of this millennium, that number was only 40%. More of us are using cell phones, and we’re using them more and more often. Together, we spend about 2.2 trillion minutes per year on the phone. That’s trillion with a T. And we send about one trillion text messages.

High-tech devices cause chronic pain

All this talking and texting have led to a rash of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) with high-tech names: cell phone elbow, BlackBerry thumb, iPod finger, Nintendo-nitis to name a few. All of these ailments have much in common with carpal tunnel syndrome, the bane of office workers everywhere. The high-tech demographics skew younger. Even some elementary school children complain of tingling or pain in their fingers and arms!

What is a repetitive stress injury?

Repetitive stress injuries, or repetitive motion disorders, are caused when an unnatural or awkward body movement compresses soft tissue such as nerves, tendons, and muscles. For example, the elbow is really only meant to bend momentarily. You pick something up, you put it down, end of story. That’s not how we function in today’s world. During a cell phone conversation, you might keep your elbow bent for a long time, placing continuous stress on the ulnar nerve. This can result in cubital tunnel syndrome, or cell phone elbow.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, these disorders “are characterized by pain, tingling, numbness, visible swelling or redness of the affected area, and the loss of flexibility and strength. For some individuals, there may be no visible sign of injury, although they may find it hard to perform easy tasks.” If this describes you, then you may be suffering from an RSI.

Two easy steps to relieve your pain

  1. Visit your chiropractor – Every nerve in your body is linked to the central nervous system. Chiropractors understand that when a patient feels pain or tingling in the extremities, the first place to look is the spine. In the lower to mid cervical spine area of the neck is where the roots of the nerves in your hands and arms originate. Through a series of gentle manipulations, your chiropractor will relieve the pressure on these nerve roots, which will lead to relief from the pain. Your chiropractor will also adjust other areas of the body as needed, such as your wrists and arms. You’ll be amazed by how great you feel!
  2. Stop what you’re doing – You’re not going to stop talking or texting. Cell phones are part of your life now, and you’re addicted. I understand. In fact, I share your addiction. But you stay connected to the world without continuing to move in ways that hurt you. For example, you can get a headset that will allow you to keep your arms in a natural position while you talk. Or you can use something to help take pressure off your thumbs and fingers while you’re sending those oh-so-important text messages. Your cell phone provider or electronics store will be able to give you some ideas that should help.

You don’t have to eschew technology to live a healthy, pain-free life. With these two simple steps, you can stay connected to the modern world while disconnecting yourself from the plague of chronic pain.

Source by Dr. Eric Murphy

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Kwanzaa Party Games Celebrating in Style and Fun

Kwanzaa is a fantastic occasion to celebrate. If you’re having a party, here are a few game ideas that will add to the fun.

“Mamba” Kwanzaa Party Game

This game is lots of fun, and requires players to work together as a team. It is especially good if lots of children are playing. All that’s required is a fairly big area (around 10 metres square) that has been marked off. The children gather in the marked-off area, and one is selected to be the Mamba. The Mamba must try and catch the other players, who must stay within the marked-off area. Any player who runs outside this area must leave the game. When a player is caught by the Mamba, they join onto the snake by placing their hands around the Mamba’s waist. Only the snake’s head (the original Mamba) can catch people, but as more players get caught the children making up the body of the Mamba can entrap other players. The game ends when all children have been eaten by the Mamba. The last player to get captured wins a small prize.

“Earth, Air, Fire, Water” Kwanzaa Party Game

This fun Kwanzaa party game is best played with a fairly large group of children. All that’s required is a tennis ball and a decent-sized area to play in. The children sit in a circle, and one is chosen to start. They must throw the tennis-ball to someone else in the circle, calling out either “Earth”, “Air”, “Fire” or “Water”. If Earth is called, the player who catches the ball needs to name an animal that lives on the Earth (the ground). If Air is called, they must name an animal that can fly. If Fire is called, they must remain silent. And if Water is called, they must name a marine animal. The game continues as the ball is tossed from player to player. Each player gets 10 seconds to think of an answer, and they must not repeat an answer already given. If they break these rules they must leave the circle. The last player left in the circle wins.

Source by Gail Leino

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Changes in Airport Security Since 9-11

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, airport security has been forced to make major improvements over the past ten years to make sure Americans and visitors are safe. Recently airlines have begun to put restrictions on items such as OEM hand carts and OEM luggage by not allowing people to have locks on their bags. It is important that airport security really figure out the best ways to keep people safe from another terrible attack. This article lists some of the major ways airport security has changed over the past ten years as well as the future of airport security.

1. People are no longer allowed to greet their family and friends right out of the gate like they used to be able to do. The reasoning behind this is by allowing people near the gate it creates too much commotion that airport security simply cannot handle and keep everyone safe at the same time.

2. There has also been an increase in overall security in terms of the amount of people checking bags and having people go through security. Airport security is also permitted to “randomly” search any individual they see as acting or looking suspicious. This selection process has been heavily criticized by both people who believe security only selects people of Arab decent and by those who believe airport security does not stop enough people who are of Arab decent. New drug tests have been put in place to check carry-on bags by swiping the bag with a round cloth, which is then put into a machine. Also, people must now take off their shoes as they go through security because there have been threats of shoe bombs against airlines that carry American passengers. The latest controversy in airline security is the use of full-body scans. These scans would allow security to see everything about the traveler’s body, which makes many people feel very uncomfortable, while others feel it is a necessary evil in order to keep everyone safe. The other question that comes with the full-body scan is how to decide who must have one, as some argue airport security could take advantage of the machine. Some also argue that only those who are prime targets should have to be subjected to that kind of invasive scan.

3. Finally, there are more and more limitations placed on what items people are permitted and what people are not permitted to bring with them when it comes to carry-on baggage. Travelers may only bring one zip-loc bag full of 3 oz bottles or less of liquid. Also, travelers are not allowed to bring anything on the plane that they did not buy from the airport in terms of liquids.

All airlines have to be very cautious when dealing with travelers during these very difficult times. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the full-body scan controversy in the coming years. Airport security must remain tight in order for Americans to be safe both at home and abroad.

Source by Connor R Sullivan

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Leadership Management Inc Franchise Review

Nowadays, one can find a number of opportunities to start a new business. Leadership Management Inc. is a company engaged in developing leadership skills to employees of their clients. The Leadership Management Inc. Franchise review here will help those who are interested in this field and learn more about this company.

Background: Leadership Management Inc. was founded by Paul Meyer in 1965. The prime goal of the company is to develop leadership skills in business employees. It started franchising in 1965 and has vast experience in this field. It has developed different courses and programs that help people to achieve their professional goals. Leadership Management Inc. is a widespread organization and has worldwide franchises. It provides its courses and programs in 23 languages and they are marketed in around sixty countries. Its head office is in Texas. It has more than 200 franchises in United States and more than 300 franchises all over the world. It is ranked 136 by Franchise 500 while in low cost franchises; it stands on the rank 27.

Benefits of the Franchise: They are an experienced organization dealing in training of business employees and workers to develop leadership skills. It has developed several successful programs and courses to help people in developing their skills and achieving their professional goals. Becoming a Leadership Management Inc. franchise is very beneficial if you are in the management training/consultation field. Even if you are not in this business but have a strong desire to start a business and interest in the coaching and training field, you can run this business successfully. You can obatin many benefits as a Leadership Management Inc. franchisee. These benefits include:

· You can own your business and run it from your home.

· LMI gives world class training and support to all their Leadership Management Inc. franchises. It gives comprehensive training at its headquarters for two days. You can have access to two days training at your site. Besides that training is also provided by teleconferences.

· LMI offers ongoing support to all its franchises through newsletters, meetings, internet, and toll free phone lines.

· As a franchise owner, you are associated with successful professionals who have vast experience.

· LMI provides its proven programs, systems and assessments to run your business efficiently and effectively. Its defined processes help in measuring results and your success.

· It is a home based business and you can start it with low investments.

With these advantages, you can build your business foundation and enjoy helping people to build their future too.

Investments for the franchise: The franchise fee is $30,000 for Leadership Management Inc. franchise. The ongoing royalty fee is 6%. Total investment ranges from $35,000 to $42,500. The term of agreement is for ten years and is renewable.

Leadership Management Inc. is an experienced company providing executive and management training and development programs. It is widespread company having its franchises in more than sixty countries. It provides complete training and ongoing support to start your new business with Leadership Management Inc. franchise. Its proven programs and courses help you to grow your business with remarkable results to your customers.

Source by Joshua Valentine

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Athens Travel Guide for Beginners

The fascinating subject of history as well as among the most popular getaway options of the Europe, the Greek capital Athens is truly among the most fabulous cities in the continent, prominently known as the birthplace of western civilization. With its superlative range of UNESCO World Heritage sites and incredible variety of ancient ruins, Athens have been successful to derive thousands of tourists to its doorstep and gave everyone a spellbinding experience of discovering many told and untold stories about the Greek mythology and history. Recently encountered a huge crisis of economy, Athens has rapidly recovered from the loss and is again establishing itself as one of the most spectacular getaway destinations in the Europe. People who have been thinking to plan a visit to Athens shall consider the following travel guide for beginners planning Athens holidays:

1. Transportation

Despite being affected from the economic crisis, Athens has a wonderful transport system that is not only good in quality, but also pocket-friendly as well as efficient to cover almost every major and minor attraction in and around the city. The basic public transportation such as buses, trams, subways and trains are easy to get and have stops to the major access points of every city, district and town of Athens. People who enjoy riding taxis with their custom routes shall get ready to pay a good fortune as the prices of taxis are quite expensive as compared to the public transport. So, unless you don’t wish to put a dent in your savings, then you should probably consider using public transport, until you have to access the outskirts where there is a limit of public transport.

2. Prominent Attractions

Athens is like an ocean of information and everything available here has its concrete proof which can be accessed by visiting the most prominent landmarks including Acropolis of Athens, Parthenon, Syntagma Square, National Observatory of Athens, Hadrian’s Library, Tower of the Winds, Propylaea, Athena Parthenos, Jewish Museum of Greece, Temple of Athena Nike, Tzistarakis Mosque, Agios Eleftherios Church, Presidential Palace, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments, Church of the Holy Apostles and ample of other places that are really charming and connected with the heritage, culture, tradition, religion and lifestyle of Athens as well as the rest of the Greece.

3. Best Things to Do in Athens

As much as Athens is connected to its history, this Greek capital is boasted with a marvelous diversity of culture and traditions which have been the reason why most of the tours available in Athens remain majorly sold-out. The city has this amazing range of theaters and art galleries that offer not just massive amount of information to its visitors, but also is capable to entertain with an interactive and zealous way. The theaters and performing art centers across the Athens are the prominent reason why people often adore the culture and artistic diversity of Athens a lot and enjoy being a part of it by going through some crash-courses or small classes during their voyage in Athens.

4. Festivals

Athens is a religiously rich and diverse city and people who enjoy living here get delighted by the superlative celebration of both religious and cultural events throughout the year. With festivals like the Festival of Epiphany, The Greek Revolution Day, Apokries, Panigiri, Feast of the Flowers, Music Day, Epidaurus Festival, Jazz Festival, Rockwave Festival, Ochi Day and many more are a few of the festivals that will surely give you the glimpse of rich cultural values, artistic treasure, magnificent religious beliefs and unity among all religions living together in harmony and celebrating every big day with more zeal than before.

5. Money Saving Tips

Athens is among the most pocket-friendly getaway destinations, but only if you know how to behave, live and enjoy on a budget. There are a massive number of options available for every activity you do and the more you research about these options, the better results you will get. Although, the revival of Athens’ economy was majorly played by the tourism, but if you still need to save a fortune on your voyage, you can try living in the local hostels, use the public transport and get 24-hour ticket available in less than EUR 5. Eating in Athens is really diverse and if you can live with eating at the food joints rather than those fancy restaurants, you can save a good fortune. The bargaining is as common in Athens as in any other part of the world. There are ample of free walking tours available in the city as well as plenty of attractions in Athens are free of cost to visit.

The charming conurbation of Athens is a perfect combination of past, present and future and people who have been thinking to spend a vacation in the Greek capital should consider the basic tips mentioned above in order to have a vacation for not just pleasant experiences, but also to save a good fortune on their voyage. So, if you have booked your flights to Athens already and thinking too much on how will you explore this fascinating city, you all you need is to keep in mind these points as well as follow the basic style of traveling to any destination across the world.

Source by Rajni Devi

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Origin of Gift Giving – When Did People Start Giving Gifts at Christmas?

Like many other Christmas traditions gift giving is not original with Christmas. Its roots trace back to non-Christian religious observances from pagan holidays celebrated in Rome and in the Yule of Northern Europe. Like many cherished customs, modern society has added their own twist that adds or detracts to the celebration, depending on your viewpoint.

Gift giving began as early as the festival of Saturn, called Saturnalias celebrated by the ancient Romans near the 25th of December. In a mocking way, slaves exchanged places with their masters and simple gifts of wax candles and pottery figures called “sigilla” were exchanged towards the end of the celebrations.

In the North during the Yule season, giving gifts were a part of Winter Solstice and the return of the sun. Gift baskets made from wheat stalks reflected its life giving qualities and fertility. The harvest was as much a part of this celebration as anything.

These traditions were adapted into Christianity and became a part of the Christmas celebration. At one point, around the year 1000, the Catholic Church banned gift giving because they thought the practice had become too pagan.

The Puritans coming to America did not celebrate Christmas and gift giving because they too found it over abundant and too wild.

The Victorians actually reinstated the traditions of gift giving as part of their Christmas festivities. Their gifts were much simpler and traditional than those given today. Gifts were scattered through the house and found in pies, not in stacks under the Christmas tree.

Santa Claus and his gift giving were reinforced through commercialism and traditional Christmas poems. Adapting European figures such as St. Nicholas, Santa Claus came into his own with the publishing of Clement C. Moore’s, “Twas The Night Before Christmas. His gift giving characteristics were reinforced with the bright and jolly man portrayed in the commercials of a favorite carbonated beverage.

Adopting all of these past traditions, many Christians trace back the idea of gifts, to those given to the Christ child by the Magi. Many Christians see his birth as the ultimate gift of love from God.

Reflecting back on earlier times, the holidays can be a time to give, not for the sake of getting or spending, but a time to show appreciation with thoughtful gifts of love. The holiday becomes more meaningful by showing concern to those less fortunate than ourselves. Taking commercialism out of Christmas and reflecting on a simpler time, will go a long way to improving the Christmas gift giving tradition.

Source by Deborah Schultz

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Spas Around the World Add Wellness to Beauty, Pampering and Weight Loss

Unlike American employee-based corporate wellness, some spa wellness programs are beginning to address quality of life topics beyond the physical. Corporate wellness in America has been a mild success as medical information, prevention-based efforts. Unfortunately, most such programs have not been of a positive nature focused largely on an exuberant, joyful life.

Wellness education at certain spas represents an advance from historic roles. Most associate spas with beauty treatments, baths, pampering and self-indulgent foo foo. Spas offer healing and rehabilitation, programs for diet and weight loss, fitness testing and holistic treatments and prescriptions. These functions will not be abandoned, given their popularity and profitability, but they won’t be the focus if spa wellness trends come into full play. Instead, a wellness era will feature lifestyle education for a quality of life-enhancement philosophy, value system and mindset. Real wellness, after all, is a dramatic alternative to doctors, drugs and disease.

The new spa developments are highlighted by a New York-based international organization called Global Spa Summit, or GSS. This group has sponsored and promoted major trend reports for the past three years. GSS-sponsored studies provide resource material for industry leaders and for all others seeking insights on the spa movement worldwide. GSS has demonstrated that wellness beyond risk reduction represents a new market for the spa industry. Such a transformation would promote the general welfare by advancing citizen health status and effectiveness. Thus, while the well-off are advantaged, we might expect some trickle down benefits for the rest of us.

Each year, GSS hosts a grand forum for spa leaders. This annual conference is called the Spa Summit. Last year’s event in Istanbul focused on wellness. The 2011 Summit begins this Sunday in Bali, Indonesia with a theme “Engage the Change: The Customer. The Money. The Future.”

Spa Wellness Around the Globe

* From Sweden – Anna Bjurstam, Managing Director of Raison d’Etre, perceives today’s consumers as more results oriented, interested in advanced lifestyle coaching, nutrition and chemical-free products. Customers recognize that beauty also comes from within. Wellness is the future; the general mindset of the consumer is learning to live a healthier lifestyle. Ms. Bjurstam emphasizes the importance of accurate information, preferably science-based.

* From Brazil – Gustavo Albanesi, President of the Brazilian Spa Association, reported impressive growth attributed to “a new wellness culture searching for increased life quality, especially in big cities.” This culture has changed the way people look at spas, which are becoming part of day-by-day life. The growth of the spa industry in Brazil is also fueled by major upcoming events, particularly the Olympics and World Cup.

* From Europe/Austria – Sha, a spa owner, reports an interest in “Alpine style wellness,” adding, “The spa community in Austria must confront and address the essential needs of our high-performance society.” This latter addresses mental balance and an array of holistic approaches for stress management (particularly burnout-prevention) and the “real life” of a high-speed society. In Austria and around the world, there is a greater recognition of new social responsibilities for the spa community, The key is incorporating mental enhancement via philosophy, science and the art.”

* From Dr. Tamás Várhelyi, a professor in Hungary, came news that Hungarian spas are focused on medical and wellness tourism. He distinguishes between a traditional spa hotel and a wellness hotel-something very few countries do. This is likely a result of Hungary’s long history of thermal bathing. The medical spa concept predominates in this region. Last year was the first year the number of wellness guests was higher than traditional spa hotel guests.

* From Filip Boyen, COO of Orient Express. Updates provided concerning hotel spa operators in Spain, Mexico and South Africa. Plenty of hotels were built in Spain during the recent construction boom, mostly accompanied by wellness areas of attraction. The latter are more favored by tourists than locals, who still seek traditional spas. In Mexico, an abundance of new wellness spas are offered focused on yoga and retreats. In South Africa, medical spas address environmental awareness and other aspects of “going green.” The keys to success will be offering the highest service standards, a clear concept and wellness education of spa staff.

* From Greece – Vivian Patkos, President & Owner of Le Convivial Luxury Suites & Spas, described innovations in that country emphasizing philosophy and imagination. The Greeks, of course, are known for this emphasis, perhaps due to the work of many early Greek real wellness pioneers, such as Epictetus, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Protagorus, Heraclitus, Xenophanes and Thales of Miletus. While none of these legendary thinkers had occasion to keynote a summer gathering of wellness acolytes at the National Wellness Conference, all made their mark on Greek spas and the rest of us everywhere. Asked if it’s true, as the world’s press seemed to suggest, that Greece is “the one and only country responsible for the corruption and collapse of the universe, Ms. Patkos expressed surprise. She expressed surprise at the fact that Greece was so strong, noting that we had not realized they had such influence and power. Greece, she noted, has an “upscale lifestyle but suffers from interior defamation.” For whatever reasons, and many were suggested, “the European Union, democracy and strong labor benefits all seem unable to protect the existing social structure.”

The spa business in Greece consists of “big expensive spas with a minimum of personnel and no clients – this is the reality.” Ms. Patkos wrote:

Spa business suffers from reduced funding, lack of psychological interest, lack of cheap labor, lack of worst case or survival scenario planning, lack of vision. Nobody understands what is going on. Nobody has the solutions. It is long lasting? It is interesting torture. Greeks were always great in dealing with chaos. And this situation makes them feel like home. But finally, how do we survive this crisis? Here are options:

1. Extremely low prices. This is a simple reaction. The most important thing, though, is to make the client plead not guilty when using luxury spa facilities. Prices need to be much lower than those for bed and breakfasts, offered as an absolute gift: a gift to remind them, silently, but explicitly at the same time, of their real status.

2. Alternative experiences. In a much different way from what they were used to, alternative experiences are the master key to release clients from guiltiness. They need new things in a more sophisticated, but not expensive package.

3. Minimize expensive consumption. It should be available but not advertised and not encouraged. Under these circumstances, consumption of expensive items and products seems kitsch-like and provocative.

4. Alternative pleasure with minimal cost. Idealism, philosophy, culture and art come back. There are many things we can enjoy for free. It is time to include them in our expensive spa products.

5. Effective management. For Americans this is the best, if not the only, way to survive. Greeks were never good in management. They were, however, good in philosophy and imagination. They trained and educated abroad, faced scientific management and now they use it in combination with philosophy and imagination. We need low-cost, unique, non-comparable offerings with maximum impact, alternative products and services not available elsewhere, along with new tactics to stay side by side with precious clients in this transitional period.

Now, during the economic crisis, investing in Greece seems more promising than ever.

* From Germany – When Dietmar Muller-Elmau rebuilt his family’s castle hotel, he created a spa in Germany along lines he would want to visit. Thus, he centered a destination spa on classical and popular music, fine food and wine, wellness and the education of children in science and applied reason. His innovative spa is called “Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa & Cultural Hideaway.” Asked about changes in the past year, Mr. Muller-Elmau mentioned “less interest in beauty, more in body & mind.” In Germany, investment capital these days in the wellness arena seems to be in “the creation of separate spas to ensure perfect tranquility for adults as well as unrestricted quality time for families with their children.”

* From Japan – Tomonori Maruyama, chief researcher for Mitsui Knowledge Industry, acknowledged the obvious-that the spa industry, like all other sectors in Japan, was rocked by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis. At least 560,000 people cancelled their hotel bookings; the total number of reservations for April-May’s domestic tour packages dropped by as much as half of last year’s bookings. However, an anticipated huge recovery construction program is planned for northeastern Japan. Thus, this is a favorable time for investors in new spa wellness facilities. In a personal message received yesterday, Mr. Maruyama noted that he and the people of Japan “can feel and realize again that they are supported by plenty of love all around the world.”

* From the U.S. – A summary of American spa developments was not part of the global briefings in advance of the Summit, but Jeremy McCarthy, Director, Global Spa Development and Operations for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, submitted “a bird’s eye view of spas around the world” distilled from trends he noticed. “Sleep, food, mood, exercise and other wellness emphases have evolved from being only a physical dimension of health. While the past several decades have focused on food and exercise as the two primary keys to wellness… today’s wellness programs incorporate aspects of psychological well-being, such as emotions and mindsets.”

* From the host country for the Summit, Martha Tilaar summarized wellness spa developments in Indonesia. Concerning changes in the past year, Ms. Tilaar said the people, especially women, are influenced by Western fashions and trends. Wellness seems to fit with a need everyone feels for balance in daily life. Indonesians seem more conscious now about wellness in this modern, fast world. However the industry lacks standardization and competencies.

In addition to the above notes from countries around the world from GSS reports, I also discovered, thanks to Lutz Hertel of the German Wellness Association (Deutschen Wellness Verbands) of developments in the Caribbean. Dr. Abhishek Jain, senior leader at “The BodyHoliday, LeSPORT” in St. Lucia and a board member of the Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association, noted that there is “a paradigm shift from good old ‘pampering’ to finding ‘purpose’, aiming for health ‘prevention’ and ‘promotion’ of a healthier lifestyle.” Dr. Jain believes “customers seek substantive information on well-being, self-development and added meaning and principles that support increased stimulus thresholds via self-efficacy are in demand.”

Well, that’s about it – as much up-to-date highlights as you are likely to obtain about wellness advances by spas shy of being in Bali this weekend at the gala Global Spa Summit of spa leaders and innovators.

Source by Donald Ardell

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