Vancouver Travel Tips and Tricks

Every city’s different, but with these handy travel tips about Vancouver, you’ll feel just like a local in no time. From dog owners to weather worriers, and on to those that just want to get the lay of the land before they arrive, this section tips will help get you ready for your very own adventure.

FAST FACTS

Population

Based on the 2011 Canadian Census, the population of the City of Vancouver is estimated to be 603,502. The Vancouver metropolitan region is home to an estimated total population of 2.3 million people, representing 52.3% of B.C.’s population of 4.4 million.

Languages

Federal government departments provide service in English and French, but most of the population speaks English as either a first or second language.

The City of Vancouver is quite cosmopolitan and is a mix of many multicultural groups. Because the city is multicultural, it’s also multilingual on an unofficial level. Its people speak many different languages and many follow the traditions of their native lands, sometimes moderating them with Canadian culture.

After English and Chinese, the most common mother tongue languages spoken are Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish. More than half of Vancouver’s school-age children have been raised speaking a language other than English.

Currency

We recommend all visitors use Canadian currency (the Canadian Dollar – CAD) when travelling within Canada. Visitors can exchange currency at Canadian chartered banks, trust companies, credit unions, or at offices of foreign exchange brokers, but it is advised to have local currency on hand prior to arriving. Some hotels, merchants, restaurants and suppliers accept US or other foreign currency at a pre-determined rate, which may differ from the daily rate posted by financial institutions.

The Canadian Dollar is made up of 100 Canadian cents. Coins are in denominations of 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), $1 (loonie), and $2 (toonie).  Notes are in denominations $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $1,000.

Note that Canada phased out use of the 1 cent (penny) coin in 2013. If you are paying cash, the total amount of your purchases will be rounded either up or down to the closest 5 cents. Credit card and debit card payments are not rounded. For more information, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website.

Taxation

Most purchases in British Columbia are subject to a 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) as well as a federal 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST), with a few exceptions including liquor (10% PST) and accommodation (8% PST plus up to 3% hotel tax). Some goods such as food and restaurant meals, books and magazines, and children’s clothing are GST and/or PST exempt. For more information, visit the Province of British Columbia’s website.

Time Zone

Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone and observes Daylight Savings Time from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. You can see Vancouver’s time in relation to most cities around the globe by visiting www.thetimenow.com, which is also home to a Canadian calendar with important dates.

Workdays

Vancouver, like all major cities, runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In general, the standard work week is Monday to Friday, from roughly 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, but hours vary for each organization or business. Retailers are usually open seven days a week, and most stores are open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm each day, except on Thursday and Friday, when many stores are open until 9:00 pm. Some retail stores (e.g. some drug stores and grocery outlets), nearly every hotel and motel, and some restaurants, remain open around the clock.

Buck Creek Winery

Buck Creek Winery Will Delight Your Palette

Buck Creek Winery was originally established as Durm Vineyards in 1991 by Jeff and Kelly Durm with the planting of 1500 vines. By 1996 Jeff was producing award winning wines, including ten medal winners at the Indiana State Fair that year. During those early years some grapes from the vineyard were sold to other vineyards and the public, including Korean and Amish church groups.

This enterprising family business had gained a state wide reputation for producing excellent wines and grapes. After Jeff retired from the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in 2004, he and his family were able to realize a long held dream: Opening a winery complete with store and tasting room. The Buck Creek Winery opened in April, 2006. Its growth in the number of varieties of wine produced and awards received since the opening has been remarkable, to say the least.

On the clear crisp January day that we visited Buck Creek Winery we were greeted by Dick and Josette Randolph. (Josette is Kelly Durm’s mother.) Dick gave us a tour of the production and warehouse portion of the winery. Dick explained that when the winery began they only needed four wooden barrels and one stainless vat. Today I counted 37 barrels and eight large stainless vats. Buck Creek employs five people full time and four people part time. Volunteers often help during bottling time. “Many people like to volunteer when we bottle” Dick told me with a smile on his face. “It’s fun to bottle, cork and label the wine, and you get free wine to drink!”

Jeff Durm was kind enough to spend some time with us in the store and tasting room. He talked about their vineyard with its 2500 vines representing 14 different varieties. He described ripping out of one poorly producing variety and replacing it with a more viable type of grape vine. Then he asked if we wanted to do some tasting. “But of course!” was my reply.

Alley Cat, a red table wine is their best seller. Winner of an Indiana State Fair Gold medal, this wine tastes of cranberries and strawberries with a hint of spice. We also partook of samples of red raspberry and blackberry styles. All the wines we tasted were delightful on the palette. And then there was Pleasant View Pink, a wine named after a small burg just down the road from the winery. I asked Jeff what set Buck Creek apart from other wineries. “For one thing” he said, “a full 50% of our wines are made with Indiana fruit. Few Indiana wineries can say that.” In addition Jeff pointed out that “Here you will like most everything you try.”

Last year the winery produced 60,000 bottles of wine, or approximately 12,000 gallons. Buck Creek now offers 34 varieties of wine. In the most recent Indy International Wine Tasting Competition Buck Creek was awarded 22 separate medals, the most of any winery in the competition. After our visit, we realized why they have won so many awards through the years.

Buck Creek Winery is located at 11747 Indiana Creek Road, South, Indianapolis. See their web site for details and hours.

Animal Planet Portable Pet Kennel Review

Animal Planet Portable Pet Kennel Review

Having owned a cat that chewed her way out of a fabric pet carrier, I knew when I purchased the Animal Planet Portable Pet Kennel that it might not work for my 10 pound Australian Silky Terrier. However, the price was too good to pass up! This retailed for $24.99, but Kohl’s had them on sale for only $7.99. It was worth a try.

The Animal Planet Portable Pet Kennel is a very handy, portable kennel that can be placed in a car, as well as inside or outside of your home. It is made of a weather resistant fabric that resembles what most tents are made from. It comes in two colors, blue and brown.

The kennel has dome shaped ends, with three ventilated windows and a large ventilated door that zips closed. All of these openings also have flaps that can be dropped down to give a pet privacy and darkness, or they can be rolled up and secured at the top of the doors and window with a loop and plastic tab.

It measures 20″ wide by 22 length and is 20″ high. What I love about this kennel is the way it folds flat to take up very little room in storage. We used to have a hard sized kennel, and it was just to large to have around the home for occasional use, and we got rid of it.

While the Animal Planet Portable Pet Kennel does have a floor, it is very thin and I feel this needs some type of bedding to make your pet comfortable. The picture on the front of the box shows the kennel with a plush flat bed inside of it.

Set up is not hard, but I did run into one problem that I will mention in a few minutes. To set up the Animal Planet Portable Pet Kennel you spread it open and turn it upside down. There are two sleeves on each side of the kennel and you thread two of the poles through these two sleeves, securing them via hook and loop style closure tabs. Turning the kennel right side up, you do the same with two end sleeves and one center top sleeve. This is where I ran into a problem.

The kennel has a fabric handle running along the top, which is sewn into the middle of each end area. On my kennel the handle was sewn right into the closure for the middle sleeve, and I could not open the sleeve to secure the pole. I got out my pointed sewing scissors and snipped the threads to separate the handle from the closure, and this did the trick. The handle now is in the correct position for carrying, and the pole is secured in place. I will mention that the poles are a bit hard to put in place! I did a lot of pulling and stretching to get them where they belonged, and if you have to take this down and put it up very often, I personally wonder how well the stitching will hold up over time.

The kennel bears the Animal Planet logo on the side corner, so I know this is an authentic Animal Planet product. It seems like a good temporary solution to carrying your pet when travelling. Since my dog is a small breed dog, and she isn’t very aggressive at her age, I don’t have any issues with this kennel. However, I could see a larger dog or any aggressive animal being able to claw their way through this product.

Restaurant and Lodging Business Owners

Profit Generating Tips for Restaurant and Lodging Business Owners

Over my years spent in the travel and tourism industry I have used several successful, low cost marketing methods to increase a business’s share of the group travel market.

As such, what follows are four of my easy, low cost steps that any lodging, restaurant or attraction business owner can employ to increase their share of the group travel market in 2011.

Step One

First and foremost, those that want to build their share of the group travel market should become familiar with the following organizations and their publications; “National Tour Association”, “American Bus Association”, “Pennsylvania Bus Association”, “Maryland Motor Coach Association”, “Ontario Motor Coach Association”, and the “Group Travel Leader.”

Examples of the publications include but are not limited to; “Group Travel Leaders”, “Bank Travel Management”, “Going on Faith”, “Winning Sports Meetings and Destinations”, “Destinations”, “Courier”, “Tuesday Newsletter” and the “NTA Trip Planner.”

These magazines, newsletters and e-zines are produced throughout the year and focus on different market segments central to increasing group travel market share.

For example, “Group Travel Leader” magazine is published monthly and has a circulation of 30,000 group travel leaders. 74 percent of the magazine’s readership includes visits to theaters in their trip planning.

Step Two

Once one is familiar with the previously mentioned organizations and their publications, it is time to obtain copies of their media kits, editorial and event calendars.

Accessing the editorial calendars of each is a simple task. Most of the publications maintain websites wherein current media kits can be readily downloaded.

These items will be needed in order to implement the next suggested steps for building one’s share of the group travel market.

Step Three

With information in hand, one should begin to review the editorial calendars first to see when the publications are focusing on things pertinent to one’s marketing efforts.

For example, “Destinations” magazine’s 2011 editorial calendar indicates that the March/April issue will be devoted to highlighting culinary tours, food festivals, farmer’s markets and agritourism.

Therefore, restaurant marketing managers may want to consider writing articles on their businesses and sending them into “Destinations” magazine for possible inclusion in their March/April issue.

The restaurant manager may also want to consider purchasing advertising space in that issue as well. Doing so will give the manager more proverbial “bang for her buck.”

Step Four

After the editorial calendars have been reviewed it is time to look at the organization’s event calendars. The event calendars generally contain such pertinent information as a list of upcoming trade shows, FAM trips, special events and other joint industry marketing opportunities.

This information is important because it gives tourism industry suppliers a chance to showcase their wares on a broader scale through such things as sponsorships, door prizes and gift baskets. Often times the cost of participating in the event is as low as the price of the item one is donating.

For example, organizations such as the “Pennsylvania Bus Association” participate in “National Travel and Tourism Week.”

For the uninitiated, “National Travel and Tourism Week” is an annual event that is scheduled to take place this year from May 7th until May 15th, 2011.

Those businesses that feel that it is too cost prohibitive to make their own gift baskets may want to consider soliciting the help of various related businesses in their area to make up one basket.

The gift baskets should then be given to organizations such as the “National Tour Association” to be distributed during key local, state and national events.

Additional Information

The above are just four easy steps to take towards increasing one’s share of the lucrative group travel market in 2011.

Those that would like to learn more about travel and tourism marketing techniques should consider consulting with their local tourism marketing professional.

Winter Car Travel Tips for Vacations in Ice or Snow

Winter Car Travel Tips for Vacations in Ice or Snow

Everyone wants to have a fun filled vacation no matter what season it is. Before you hit the open road, it’s important to read up on winter car travel tips. Taking precautions can prevent problems on the road and can make it easier if you do get stuck.

Several years ago my family learned the value of using winter car travel tips to prepare for a trip. We successfully drove from Raleigh, North Carolina to East Tennessee in one of the worst snow and ice storms that has been recorded. Travel was dicey at times but we made it home.

I now live in the higher elevations of East Tennessee. I now put many of these winter car travel tips into practice frequently. So far, they’ve been invaluable.

Car maintenance

Maintaining your car doesn’t guarantee that it won’t break down but it does reduce your chances. Drivers should be especially careful in cold weather. One of the best car travel tips is to inspect your car before leaving the driveway. Don’t just check the fluid levels. Check all lights, brakes and tires at the very least. Fix anything that you find wrong.

Tires need to have good tread to hold onto snow or ice. Checking your tire tread depth doesn’t require a fancy tool. Here are instructions on how to use a penny to check it out. You’ll also want to check your tire pressure. This can be done at almost any gas station.

Car emergency bag

Another good winter car travel tip is to pack an emergency bag. Commercially prepared bags can be picked up at any auto parts store. Flashlights, electrical and duck tape, tools to fix or change a tire, reflective triangles and glow sticks are all popular items. Your car mechanic can make other suggestions.

Cell phones versus two-way radios

Believe it or not, you may want to have both available. For either one to work they will need to have fully charged batteries and be able to get a signal. Terrain comes into play with both.

Nothing is ever a guarantee but a winter car travel tip is to always to have a back up to your cell phone. Cell phones may not work in remote or mountainous areas so a two way radio (walkie-talkie) may be helpful. The radio signal strength is more limited than a cell phone but has its advantages. The channel may be used by other people or monitored by emergency services.

Tell your family

Be certain of your route and tell your family or a friend. Winter car travel tips include leaving your vehicle description, license plate number and cell phone number with another person along with an estimated departure and arrival time. If you don’t make your destination as scheduled someone will know to look for you and where to start.

Auto club

Auto club membership can provide you with roadside assistance. Some plans will help you with unexpected trip expenses if your vehicle becomes damaged.

Dress for the weather

Heels might be pretty but they won’t help you in the snow. Wear solid shoes or boots. You can dress up later. The same goes for jackets, hats and gloves. Wear them (or at least bring them) and be ready to use them.

Comfort items

Winter car travel tips include packing bottled water, snacks, blankets, music and other comfort items. In case you get stuck roadside you may want them. If you are taking regular prescription medications be sure to bring the prescription bottles. You may need more than you think. Parents with small children should have more diapers and formula than the anticipate needing.

These winter car travel tips aren’t meant for severely isolated areas but for general travel on interstates and main thoroughfares. Extra research and planning is required for the remote Cassiar Highway or any similar route.

Helpful Tips when Planning a Trip

Helpful Tips when Planning a Trip

Planning a trip is exciting. Just the thought of getting away from routine is exhilarating. But planning a vacation can also be stressful. Will you forget to bring an extra pair of shoes? Will you remember to print out your boarding pass? Will you miss your flight?

Relax. The whole point of taking a trip, unless it’s for business, is to relieve anxiety and tension, so when you decide to take a vacation, preparation will make the trip run smoothly and it will make your life much less stressful.

Some helpful tips for planning a trip follow:

Setting a Destination (U.S.)

Unless you’re one of those people who likes to get in the car and just go wherever life takes you, utilize Yahoo Maps. Yahoo Maps tell you not only how to arrive at your destination, but also how long it will take you to get there.

Along with Yahoo Maps, GPS systems provide a great backup plan to help you arrive at your destination with less stress. However, if your GPS system is more than a couple years old, you will have to update it.

When my sister and I took a trip to Florida recently, we took along my GPS. Orlando’s roads had changed since I got my GPS system, though, so we were routed to a road that no longer existed. Unbeknownst to me at the time, most GPS systems offer update software online. Garmin, for instance, offers updates at Garmin.com (click the link).

Setting a Destination (Abroad)

Utilize the help of the U.S. Department of State. They offer travel information and alerts, and if you sign up for their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, they will assist you in case of an emergency. Their web site also provides links that will help you become better acquainted with the laws of the country you will be visiting. Visit the U.S. Department of State Tips for Traveling Abroad for more information on how to have a safe trip.

Also, when traveling abroad, check your insurance coverage to make sure you are covered for medical emergencies in other countries.

Military, AARP, and Other Discounts

If you belong to the military or AARP, ask about discounts. Most places won’t offer that information up front – you have to ask. My son, a U.S. Marine, along with his wife and children, stay at the Hyatt whenever they travel. Not only do they get a great break on hotel prices (comparable to priceline.com and expedia.com), but they also accumulate points they can use toward future stays. Right now they have almost enough points to stay at a hotel in Hawaii FREE for a week!

Pack Like a Pro

Before you go anywhere, you have to pack. Knowing what to pack for a trip requires some forethought. Questions you need to ask yourself are how many days you will be gone and what types of events you will be attending.

Start a list. You will refer to it both before you leave and again when you pack to return home. Once you know what types of clothing you will require, pack all necessary blouses, shirts, skirts, dresses, shoes, socks, panty hose, jewelry (you might want to keep your expensive jewelry at home in a safe), hair ornaments, and other accessories. Don’t forget sleepwear, swimwear, and underwear.

One item often forgotten is sunglasses. A second pair of glasses or additional contacts (along with contact solution) could help, too, in case something unforeseen lengthens your stay.

Pat attention to weather changes. Dress for the climate. But also dress for whatever the temperature will be when you return home. I once left a jacket in San Diego that I didn’t remember until I arrived at Midway Airport in Chicago one cold winter day.

The best way to make sure you don’t forget anything is to go through your day from beginning to end. From the time you awaken in the morning, write down everything you need. Items you use in the shower might be available in hotels, but if you have a preference for specific shower items, make sure you pack them.

From razors to makeup to personal sanitary products to hair supplies, continue writing your packing list. If you take medication, make sure you pack enough meds to take you a couple of days beyond the date of your return in case of inclement weather. Most medications can be purchased in drug stores across the country, but if you are receiving aid from the state in which you reside, you will have to pay full price for your medication across state lines.

Pack laptops, cell phones, iPods, or any other electronic devices you might need for yourself or for other family members, and don’t forget the chargers. If you will be driving a rental, don’t forget to pack your GPS device.

And finally, don’t forget your outerwear, boarding pass, passports, visas, photo IDs, day planners, tickets, itineraries, and your packing list.

Allow Yourself Plenty of Time

If you are someone who is notoriously late, the last thing you want to do is miss your flight. Pretend you are leaving an hour earlier. Rushing is counterproductive. The more relaxed you are when you leave your home, and the more time you give yourself, the more likely you will get to the airport on time.

Airport Security  amp; Homeland Security

Before you leave home, check the current threat level through the Homeland Security Advisory System. As of this writing, for instance, the threat level for all domestic and international flights in the U.S. is High, or Orange. The higher the threat level, the longer the time you will spend going through security.

Homeland Security also asks travelers to establish an emergency preparedness kit and to prepare an emergency plan (links are provided for both by clicking on them).

Depending on where you go, you might have to pay an airport security fee. Guatemala, for instance (as of this writing) requires a fee that equals approximately $2.50.

Check with the airline(s) to see how many suitcases you can bring on board and how many you are allowed to check in.

Also, check the contents of your carry-ons. Something as simple as hand lotion may be confiscated at the security check point. You must dispose of water bottles too.

How to Meet Your Friends Halfway

Sometimes travel includes meeting friends or relatives, but finding a midway point is difficult. Even grabbing a map and measuring the distance doesn’t help, because you don’t always know exactly where to meet. Midway points need not be a problem though, due to Geomidpoint’s “Meet in the Middle” tool. Geomidpoint helps travelers find the midway point between two cities. It also offers choices for restaurant, hotels, movie theaters, golf, shopping, entertainment, and more. Just plug in both addresses, or both cities, and you will find your midway point, along with some places to meet.

Bring an Empty Suitcase

If you plan on shopping while you are gone, you may want to bring an extra empty suitcase. Souvenirs take up room and if your luggage is already packed to the gills you won’t be able to accommodate any additional clothing or gifts.

Customs Inspections

Make sure the items you purchase as souvenirs will pass inspection. If you are carrying items that you think other countries might find suspicious, contact the Customs Inspections departments for the country you will be visiting. For information on acceptable entry items into the United States from other countries, go to CBP.gov.

In Closing

Tell at least one person where you are going. While getting away from everything and everybody seems like a great idea, leaving without telling somebody can be a deadly decision. Somebody should know how to reach you. People who love you, if they haven’t heard from you shortly after you are supposed to return, will be grateful for having a way to contact you. Leave behind a copy of your itinerary, and alert at least one person if you expect a delay in your return.

Finally, be safe and enjoy!

Preschool Aged Children

Educational Road Trip Games and Activities for Preschool Aged Children

Long car trips with preschool age children are a challenge for both the kids and the parents alike. Make your car time with the family more enjoyable and educational this season with these travel games and activities for preschool aged children.

Play I Spy Say to your child, “I spy with my little eye something blue,” and let your child guess what you are saying. If she spies anything blue-a car, a billboard, the sky-she “wins” and gets to say the next I spy riddle. (Vocabulary and observation skills)

Pack a Trip Bag Load up a backpack or canvas bag with some of your child’s favorite toys that can be played while sitting: white boards and markers, small toys, Silly Putty, travel games, coloring books, etc… Include a few new games and toys, especially ones related to travel such as toy cameras, toy binoculars, journals and toy cell phones. (Creativity, role play, small motor skills)

Make a Map Take a hint from Dora the Explorer and make a simple map of where you are going and some of the landmarks you will be passing. Use simple drawings as icons of what you will be passing: forests, cities, bridges, mountains, lakes, rivers, and towns. Every so often take out the map and show how far you’ve gone. (Visual skills, map skills)

Pack a Sing Along Tape Preschoolers love to sing and they love when their parents sing with them, too. They also don’t care if you sing off key. (Vocabulary skills)

Play Travel Bingo Draw or find clip art pictures of items that you commonly see on the road and make a few bingo cards with nine pictures (three across and three down) or sixteen pictures (four across and four down). Make sure the pictures are items that you commonly see on a road trip, such as stoplights, RVs, Exit signs, airplanes and so on. Let your child look for the items on the card until he gets Bingo. (Observation skills)

Silly Sounds Make up sound effects to go with the things you see on the road. Say “moo, moo” every time you see a cow, “beep, beep” when you see a bus, “splish, splash” when you cross a river, and “vroom, vroom” when you pass a convertible. Your child will be giggling all the way to you destination. (Oral language skills)

Counting Signs Give your child a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask her to keep track of how many items she sees in two minutes, such as stop signs, cows, big trucks, and other common items. Show her how to make an X on her paper every time she sees the item. At the end of two minutes, say “stop” and count the Xes. (Math and small motor skills)

Group Drawings Give your child a piece of paper and crayons and let him draw one thing on the picture, such as a person or a tree, and pass it to the next person. The next person adds something else to the picture, such as a sun or a house, and passes it on. Continue until the entire paper is full. (Creativity, small motor skills)

Cincinnati Bed and Breakfasts Treat Guests Like Royalty

Cincinnati Bed and Breakfasts Treat Guests Like Royalty

Bed and Breakfasts put out the red carpet treatment to their guests in Cincinnati, Ohio. Located in Southwest Ohio, Cincinnati is a busy city with a thriving tourism industry that draws in millions of travelers every year. The largest Labor Day fireworks show in the United States as well as the second largest Oktoberfest in the world bring in half a million people alone. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle in this busy city, but for a little royal treatment in the Queen city why not try a locally owned bed and breakfast. Individual treatment with a focus on customer services and quality above quantity are traits along the local bread and breakfasts.

The Grace and Glory Bed and Breakfast, located at 3539 Shaw Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio offers its guests a refugee from the hustle and bustle of downtown Cincinnati. The Grace and Glory bed and breakfast is a beautiful restored Colonial style home, where the focus is on hospitality, charm and comfort. It is 10 minutes north of Downtown Cincinnati and a short walk to local Hyde Park Square, a local gathering place surrounded by clothing shops, coffee shops, breweries, eateries, restaurants, and art galleries. A stay with at the B B; includes a complimentary breakfast and access to their charming parlor, solarium, and living room. Rooms are decorated with antiques and a great nights sleep can be found in one of their many four-poster beds. Guests are centrally located in Cincinnati, giving them easy access to local attractions such as the Cincinnati Zoo, the National Underground Railroad Museum, and the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The Wallace House Bed and Breakfast is just five minutes south of Downtown Cincinnati in Covington, Kentucky. A Queen Anne style mansion built in 1905 by Robert B. Wallace, a local landowner. Guests have free reign over their large billiard room and expansive front porch. Amenities include a large screen television as well as high-speed Internet access so you can keep in touch with others while you are traveling. Their web site, www.bbonline/ky/wallacehouse offers specials and the chance to make your reservations online. Ideally located within five minutes of Great American Ballpark, Paul Brown Stadium, and the Cincinnati business district on Walnut Street makes this a convenient place to stay for work or play. Take advantage of the local riverboats that travel up an down the Ohio River, stopping within minutes of the Wallace House Bed and breakfast.

The Clifton House Bed and Breakfast, at 500 Terrace Avenue, is located in Cincinnati’s college community near the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and Hebrew Union College. It is a convent location for parents to stay while visiting their children in college. TH Clifton House Bed and Breakfast is a Classic revival mansion that was built in 1900. Recent renovations have brought it up to date with modern conveniences. Guest will find a beautiful library, dining room, billiards, workout room, and living at their disposal. Breakfast as well as an afternoon stack is included with your stay. Nearby Newport Aquarium and kings Island offers parents and their departing college student fun activities while they visit. Ludlow business districts is steps away from the bed and breakfast and provides an array of shops, restraints, coffee shops, boutiques, bookstores, and Cincinnati’s oldest movie theater. Wine and cheese is offered on the large front porch in the afternoons. A quick search of their website www.cliftonhouse.com provides guests with a list of their specials as well as chance to register to win a free two night stay.

Nearby Gaslight Bed  amp; Breakfast also offers a great central Clifton location. The University of Cincinnati is only steps away as well as University and Good Samaritan Hospitals. Built in1909 Gaslight Bed and Breakfast has been restored to the modern day standards of many hotels. As you walk up the steps to the front t entrance you are greeted with a cascading waterfall, a sign of what is to come on the interior of this lovely bed and breakfast. Overstuffed furniture and floor to ceiling windows invite guests to relax while they read the paper and enjoy their breakfast. A second floor kitchen is convenient for guests to make snacks for themselves or for the avid foody to cook their own meal. This is also convenient for guests who will have an extended stay. Cable television, high speed internet access, private phone line, top of the line mattresses, and sheets make this an ideal place to stay for those of you who can not forgo the luxuries of a hotel. Each morning a full home-style breakfast is served to their guests. This luxurious four-story mansion provides peace, tranquility, and convenience in the thriving Clifton area.

Six Acres Bed and Breakfast is 6500 square foot mansion locate din in the College Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati. One of the oldest bed and breakfast in Cincinnati, it was built around 1850. Zebulon Strong, an abolitionist and local participant in the Underground Railroad built the home. Special guided tours lead guests on trails that run away slaves traveled to their freedom. History overflows at this beautifully restored home. Guests know they are only one of many travelers who have been through this spot. Rooms are named after staff member’s grandmothers. Amenities include massage therapy; turn down service, a full breakfast, and satellite television. Many activities are hosted by the bed and breakfast including quilting and cooking classes as well as other educational seminars. Each summer the Six Acres Bed and breakfast hosts a summer concert series. Guests and local relax in the beautifully landscape ground while they live to local artists perform. Guest are encouraged to bring their own seating and picnic dinners. Located only fifteen minutes north of downtown, wedding, retreats and work related seminars are commonly held at the Six Acres Bed and breakfast. A visit to their website www.sixacresbb.com provides information on specially priced packages as well as group rates. This beautiful tranquil setting provides a great place to relax in a natural setting.

Whether you are looking for an in town location or a tranquil natural landscape the Queen City’s bed and breakfast’s treat their guests like royalty.

American Entrepreneurs

 

Entrepreneurs have fascinated the American public for decades. Ford, John Deere, and many others not only have left their name sake on the companies that they started but also changed our nation. These early pioneers changed America and their names have become icons. The modern day “pioneer” we may never here the name of but we all can be affected to their contributions everyday. Many of the entrepreneurs are really intrapreneurs. They work for a company that is open to their input and suggestions.

What is an intrapreneur? Gifford Pinchot coined the phrase back in the 1980’s to explain current and past trends. He once stated “look back at any great business or invention at just about any big company and you can find that intrapreneurs created it.” (Takahashi 2001) An intrapreneur is someone at an existing company that has thee freedom to innovate and then push those ideas through the organization. They are given company resources to develop new ideas and concepts. Most companies do not practice intrapreneurship because it can be somewhat risky and not in line with existing management styles and expectations. But more and more companies are learning that this is a good way to do business and have taken advantage of the talent and ideas that are already in the company.

 

3M Intrapreneurship Bench Mark

 

3M was and still is one of these companies that are willing to take the risk of incorporating in house intrapreneurship. The founders of 3M hired others like themselves, innovators. They learned early to identify and utilize the talent that they have. An account of this from 1923 demonstrates this clearly.

 

Dick Drew identified a need in the auto industry for tape that would be used for painting two tone automobiles. He made an initial attempt to come up with a product on his own. It was too rigid to work properly and he knew it needed more work. (Fry 1987) When then CEO William McKnight caught wind of this he ordered Drew to stop. Dick Drew only followed those orders for one day and then began to work on that project again. Today we have masking tape and 3M has a policy that employees can use 15% their time in developing new ideas and products.

 

This early innovation and commitment to intrpreneurship is why I have made 3M to measure 3 other companies by in this paper. They have earned that distinction.

 

Through the programs that 3M has put into place they have had sustainable results. I will take the factors that made 3M successful and then compare and contrast them to the other companies.

 

Mr. Fry whose article that I’ve used as the basis for this paper is not only another employee at 3m but the innovator behind “post it notes”. He put the successful factors in his article and I will point out how these factors fit into helping him achieve post it notes through the stages of development.

 

Executive Champions. These are the upper managers who are not threatened by intrapreneurial activity but embrace it and encourage it through their support and seeing that those good ideas like post its get through.

 

Availability of resources. 3m has an 80/20 rule when it comes to resources for its developing intrapreneurial ventures. 80% of the materials used in these projects come from things already owned by the company and the other 20%come from outside sources. Fry called this scrounging and had to go out onto the shop floor to find some of the things that he needed to make this work.

 

Freedom to fail. During the process of developing an idea into a marketable product Fry was not discouraged or dissuaded from further pursuit of the idea. He was able to get some inside help and when the office staff of company executives fell in love with their new note pads eh began to get some help from upper management. I was impressed that when his project didn’t really look all that promising that he was allowed to continue. Management at 3M haws the foresight to look long term and knows that some ventures will be a success and some will fail.

 

Dual ladder policy: Just because you are a technical worker at 3M that doesn’t mean that pay and job titles have the expected ceiling like most other companies. At 3M you do not have to manage people to earn the highest rewards and job title associated with it.

 

Communications Network: they focus on exchanging ideas and helping each other on

 

key projects even in facilities that are around the world. (Fry 1987)

 

Intel Thinking Outside The Box

 

From the evidence in this article Intel does a good job encouraging employees to think outside the box and have the desire to want to let their ideas be known.

 

One example of Intel’s commitment to intrapreneurship is that of Paul Scagnetti. He came up with the idea of a hand held device that records and plans fitness and nutritional information. He acquired Intel’s financing and was given 15 employees to help launch his fitness planner.

 

Intel demonstrated that employees are given the resources and support to try new things and have the companies help and guidance. The executives championed new ideas, provided resources and made it acceptable to try and fail. (Takahashi 2000)

 

Microsoft

 

Microsoft’s game designer Seamus Blackley showed a true entrepreneurial trait when a major project he was working on failed in the marketplace. He failed, picked himself up, and tried again with a new idea. Blacklley thought that Microsoft should take the knowledge and experience in computers and use that to create a game player that could compete with Sony’s Playstation. (Takahashi 2000)

 

Through determination and despite some initial serious opposition he was able to get those important to the success of such a project behind it and was off and running.

 

In 2001 X-Box was released to enthusiastic gamers. I am sure that Blackley could not have envisioned the buzz that would accompany the release of the X-Box 360 in 2005.

 

Through this Microsoft demonstrated executive championing, access to resources, and a communication system that was key to the success of this project. (Takahashi 2000)

 

Alcoa

 

Has a different take on the intrapreneurial developments that other companies are using. To Alcoa, which is a specialty metal producer, processes are everything. If they can hone those processes and eliminate waste they have an advantage over their competition and earn more without increasing customer base. To achieve this we have a fairly formal way of getting together to discuss certain problems or challenges. These meetings are called Kaizens and involve employees at all levels. Problems are solved using a testing process and any conclusions that the group comes up with are monitored and changed as needed.

 

They may not be encouraging new businesses but they are empowering those who are closest to what is done on a daily basis to change how they do business. I believe that Alcoa definitely has executive champions for this new way of turning everyone into intellectual capital and that is throughout this organization of 120,000 employees. They provide a system for communication, resources and an environment for trial and failure.

 

Overcoming Competition

 

Overcoming competitors’ ability to duplicate the advantages you have created through intrapreneurial efforts was spelled out in the article “Innovation Through Intrapreneurship” by the one who literally coined the phrase intrapreneur, Gifford Pinchot. The author felt that companies should hold back on placing all of your improvements or newly acquired know-how into the marketplace at once. He suggested that keeping some important aspects to be applied to later versions of an individual product. This brings to mind the computers that had clock speeds in them that were just turned up in later versions to create faster operation. (Pinchot 1987)

 

I have learned from personal experience that some companies and especially manufactures are quite all right with being second rate when it comes to product development. They let their competitors pay the heavy bill for research and development and cut the path into new territory or technology. They are always right behind them benefiting from their hard work.

 

Conclusion

 

The companies that I used as examples have each have a unique approach to intrapreneurship. One of the major similarities in each organization is the expressed desire for their employees to be involved in such activities and not be threatened by that. This is something not common among most companies that leave product development and new business ideas up to those in charge who I believe are sometimes too busy managing to have the same sort of fresh perspective that others in the companies may have. The key to the success of any intrpreneurial venture in a company is the environment where those ideas will be considered and expressing those ideas is a good thing to do.

 

Bibliography

 

Pinchot, Gifford. (1987) “Innovation Through Intrapreneuring.” Research Management. March-April 1987. vol.xxx. no.2

 

Takahashi, Dean. (2000) “Reinventing the Intrapreneur: Corporations Are Devising New Ways to Cultivate Entrepreneurial Efforts”. Retrieved from Ebsco Host July 2006.

 

Fry, Art. (1987) “The Post-It Note: An Intrapreneurial Success.” This article was adapted from a speech given by Mr. Fry at the 1987 SAM Conference in Lancaster, Pa, May 2, 1987.

Best Blogs for Entrepreneurs

Blogging as a whole has become a very popular venue. Just as with the world wide web, business blogs have exploded with so much information that it would not be feasible to attempt to read it all. The key is to facilitate a means by which to attain the information you need, while sifting out the information you do not need. Below is a list that has been formulated for entrepreneurs.

Some of the blogs have been discontinued, or their activity levels have substantially dropped. It is for this reason that they have been moved and new blogs have been listed to take their place. Please keep this in mind as you try to access any of these blogs online.

 

There are primarily three main concerns of the entrepreneur. The first is trends and how to deal with their impact on business. Tips to make the business stronger, establish a business, or market the business. Productivity would be number three. Ways to make the employees and staff more productive, means by which to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, and overall productivity in sales and fabrication.

 

In terms of trends, there are a few good blogs out there. Anita Campbell on small business.blogspot.com/ takes an informative look at the present trends in the business world. She elucidates the entrepreneur of the trends that impact the business’ ability to enhance productivity and sales. Jeff Cornwall, of Belmont University does an in depth look at business trends and their impact on the small business. His research can be found at forum. Belmont.edu/cornwall/.

 

The entrepreneur can always use valuable tips from veteran business owners to improve their business. Denise O’Berry runs an informative blog that deals with tips for the entrepreneur. She keeps the discussions light and informative. (http://www.justforsmallbusiness.com). John Jantsch’s blog, duct tape marketing offers multiple tips per week. He keeps the terminology simple, and easy for even the layman to understand. A must read for those who are new to business. (http://www.ducttapemarketing.com).

 

Finally, in terms of valuable tips for the entrepreneur, Ben Yoskovitz delves in depth with the spirit of business ownership, and the factors that aid the entrepreneur in formulating a successful business. His site; startupspark.com also spotlights some entrepreneurs of notable mention.

 

Productivity is the pinacle issue for many small business owners. After all, if your marketing plan isn’t working, and your employees do not have the motivation to perform their tasks efficiently and in a timely manner, then how will the business flourish? That is what the final set of blogs deal with. WorkHappy net deals with just this. How to make the tasks you perform more productive, and how to get more out of your work. Carson McComas has developed methods to aid the entrepreneur to perform more intelligently, not to perform yourself to death.

 

Anthony Cerminaro is an attorney who has also dedicated his time to the functionings of business. His blog, bingbangbuzz.blogspot.com/ looks at the many issues and challenges that confront entrepreneurs everyday. He also explains the legal issue that can destroy a business. Dane Carlson takes this one step farther and relates the advice to actual real life circumstances. He offers insight into business opportunities as well. (http://www.business-opportunities.biz/)

 

Wil Schroter runs a blog called Gobi network.com/wil. It is on this site that aid is offered to entrepreneurs through the means of networking. He gives contacts to investors, investors, employee agencies and the such to enhance the growth of small businesses. Michael Simmons also deserves a definite read. He wrote the Student Success Manifesto. This is a thoughtful piece of work which offers solid advice for the soon to be entrepreneur. It is a new blog, but the insight and thought put into it leaves the readers vying for more.

When Should You Give Up on Your Dream of Becoming an Entrepreneur

Are you the type of person who has been dreaming for years of actually owning and operating your own business? Perhaps you have tired numerous ways to open your own business, even when you had the money to do so, but it just has not been successful. There does come a point when you need to figure out than tit is time to let go of your dream of running and operating your own business. Of course if you have not tried every possibility then you should not give up.

Some people just don’t have the knack of running and operating their own business. Many people really don’t realize how much. You could try speaking to various people on the topic of becoming an entrepreneur. You may be able to find out what you have been doing wrong or if you are able to continue with your goal. Usually when people attempt to open their own business for the first time they hit a lot of road blocks. Some give up after the road blocks, but others keep trying without really realizing why they are not successful.

 

One way that you can tell it is time to put your dream of becoming an entrepreneur on hold or putting it out of your mind altogether, is when you are putting out more money then you are making. Most people get loans to start up a business or they save up their money in order to be able to afford their own business. If you begin to notice that the amount of money you had to start with is slowly dwindling, then it is definitely time for you to think about letting go of owning your own business. Some people may put the idea into your head that you should never give up on a dream. Unfortunately some people follow this way of thinking and end up more broke than before they even started making the effort to start their own business.

 

The bottom line is that if there is no profit in the business then it may never turn a profit. Of course you should also keep in mind that sometimes it may take time for your business to really get off the ground. Most business starts off slow and than gradually build more business as time goes on. So if you actually do get your business up and running make and you are only making a small profit than you may want to give it a little more time. You should know how to recognize the signs of when to call it quits for your business.