Attending Shows & Concerts? Which to Choose Among Budget Hotels & Luxury Hotels?

If you are attending an event in a big city, it is always advisable to plan your accommodation in advance. Most travelers are always looking for events that promise fun including concerts and shows as part of their itinerary. Whether you are a boat, trade or home and garden show, it is highly likely that you will not be alone.

Most hotels within the vicinity of the venue will have more guests than usual. Other than the competition for available rooms, you should also consider the type of establishment you find. Over the years, lodgings have changed tremendously from ordinary places to stay a night to become homes-away-from-home.

In today's establishments, guests are treated to excellent settings where they enjoy modern amenities and services including Wi-Fi, cable television, video games, mini-bars, on-site restaurants, sports facilities, laundry services and so much more.

Budget and luxury facilities are the most popular options for travelers attending these events. If you are planning to attend a renovation show, it is important to get more insight on these facilities to help you make a better choice.

Budget Hotels in Brief

These establishments are ideal for guests looking for an affordable place to stay without compromising on quality. Basic facilities including beds, washing area and toilets are available but you should not expect to find a prior or ambient environment at the price you are paying for.

Luxury Hotels

If you want to indulge during your travels, a luxury hotel is a good idea. The rooms are well detailed to create an ambient and prestigious environment while the facilities are designed with comfort and elegance in mind. Guests enjoy 5-star features including spas, gyms, Wi-Fi and restaurants and more. The catering is excellent and personalized services are also available.

When it comes to choosing the best place to stay, it is important to first assess your unique needs. For instance, when attending a trade show in the city, your accommodation requirements will differ from a vacationer's. It is also important to determine your budget because this will help you choose the best place to stay.

Location is also a critical consideration which even overrides the cost. When traveling for a particular show, you must ensure you stay close by. This saves you the cost of commuting and makes it easier to sightsee. If you are traveling to see your best band in concert, make sure you find lodgings near the concert hall to guarantee easy access at any time of day or night.

Choosing between luxury and budget establishments depends on affordability and your preference. Always make sure you do your research to find the best accommodation during your travels.

What Is Digital Marketing? A Guide to Marketing in Today’s Digital World

In the world of business development and branding, going digital is all the buzz. So just what is digital marketing and how can we use it to grow our businesses?

Digital Marketing Defined

Digital marketing is the advertising and promotion of businesses and their brands through digital media channels. Digital media, at the moment, includes websites, social media, radio, television, mobile and even forms of traditionally non-digital media such as billboards and transit signs. Essentially any marketing media that is delivered electronically is considered digital marketing.

This leaves only various forms of person-to-person (P2P) marketing, print advertising and direct marketing outside of the digital marketing umbrella. Even then, print ads, direct mail, print directories, billboards and posters are all starting to connect to their digital counterparts. With items like URL landing pages, QR codes, web banner advertising, online directories and text codes, traditional marketing and advertising almost always has a digital marketing connection.

Why the Focus on Digital Media?

The shift to digital media is being driven by marketing agencies, business owners and consumers alike. The ever-increasing demand to show quantifiable results makes going digital a dream for the digital marketing agency. Most digital media, including websites, social media and mobile advertising is much easier to track than traditional marketing media such as print advertising.

For business owners, many forms of digital advertising are very low cost. Having a web presence, engaging customers in conversations through social media and e-mail marketing are low cost alternatives to print advertising and direct mail. These digital channels are available to businesses of any size, and help to even the playing field for start-ups, small businesses and independent consultants seeking new business.

For consumers, the fast pace of life makes digital advertising a must. When consumers are in need of goods and services, gone are the days of thumbing through a phonebook to find them. Now, we whip out our mobile devices or head to our computers for answers – and we find them fast.

Using Digital Media to Build Your Business and Brand

No matter what size your business is – large or small to medium sized business / enterprise (SMB or SME) – you can effectively market your business through low-cost digital channels. The foundation of your marketing efforts will be your website. Invest wisely in your website, and be sure that it does the following:

  • Adequately represents your business and brand (look and feel, messaging)
  • Adequately speaks to your target audience
  • Can be found by searchers on top search engines
  • Is up-to-date and easily navigable
  • Provides multiple channels for customer communication
  • Connects to other marketing efforts

It is recommended that you work with a professional web design firm that is skilled in web development and search engine optimization. Because your website is the foundation to and from which all other digital channels will lead, it should be considered one of your top business investments.

Once you have your website complete, the next steps would be to launch regular monthly or bi-monthly e-mail campaigns, and connect with customers via social media. If you are truly on a shoestring budget, these are efforts that can be done in-house (by someone with the proper knowledge) or for a low cost by an outside digital marketing agency. Be sure that all of your efforts lead customers back to your website where they can fully engage with your business, products and services, and choose the channels through which they contact you.

If you’re interested in getting aggressive with search marketing, you can set aside some digital marketing dollars for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses today rely heavily on being found online to gain new customers. A common misconception among business owners is that simply having a website means that customers will find it. Not so. Your site must be built with specific key words and phrases, meta data, page content and linking strategies that will help it reach top search rankings.

Because many key words and phrases have stiff competition for top search rankings, you will need to supplement your organic search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising. Getting established with pay-per-click advertising campaigns can be a little daunting, but with a little time, effort and instruction, that too can be accomplished in-house, or for a reasonable cost through an outside digital marketing agency.

Beyond e-mail, social media marketing and search engine marketing, you can venture into a host of other digital marketing efforts. Mobile advertising, radio, television, electronic billboards and much more are available as marketing outlets. Whatever digital efforts you choose, they should all connect and tie into your foundation – your company website.

If you have the means, a wise investment would be to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to assist in your marketing efforts. Today, many digital agencies offer multiple levels of service to accommodate businesses large and small.

The Business Of Home Video

The technology of home video has it's roots in the mid 1970's with the advent of Sony's u-Matic video cassette system. What? Never hear of that? It's because it never found it's market as a home medium because it was too cumbersome and expensive. It went on to become the standard for industrial videos.

In the early 1980's, Beta and VHS were introduced as home video formats, with VHS taking a rapid lead. Even then, it appears mostly to time shifting TV shows, since the separate cameras and recorders with interconnecting wires and short battery life made portable video a chore.

By the mid eighties, camcorders had come to market, combining the camera and recorder in one compact unit (for it's day). Still rather large for most people to cart on vacation, entrepreneurs, myself included, quickly discovered a commercial use for the devices – filming weddings and corporate events.

In 1985 I opened my first video production business in Connecticut and within two years I quit my full time job in the computer engineering business and went full time into video. Back then, if you showed up on time, could hold the camera steady and keep it in focus, you could make a steady income in the video business. Camcorders were still rather expensive, and properly editing videos required equipment and talent beyond the realm of the average person.

By 1990, cameras became smaller, easier to use, and less expensive. Computer based non-linear editing was still the realm of the broadcast world, but more affordable tape based editing systems allowed event videographers to hone their finished products. No longer could simple basic skills keep you in business, you had compete with new video businesses in your market and polish your skills as an editor. Still, as the analog tape-to-tape duplicating process used for editing clipped away the undesirable footage, it caused an unavoidable loss of image clarity.

Digital video camcorders hit the consumer market in 1995. This allowed much clearer looking videos, and editing digital tape to tape avoided the loss of image quality associated with analog video editing. VHS was still the mainstay for the finished product, but now that product had the sharpness of a first generation VHS tape, and not a ragged edged copy as in the past. Computer based editing was still expensive, but was beginning to make it's way to the mainstream event video producers.

By the year 2000, cheaper, faster and less expensive computers had hard drives large enough to store feature length videos at reasonable cost. Non linear editing became the choice of nearly every video business. Clients were expecting far more from their finished product, and DVD was becoming the preferred medium for delivery of the final video. Even though videos were not yet high definition, the DVD made video look much better than VHS. More and more new event video companies were popping up as the prices of camcorders and computers continued to fall while their quality and ease of use went up. 2000 was a pinnacle year for wedding videos, as brides lined up in droves to have their weddings at the turn of the century.

By 2005, the camcorder had become so small, so easy to use, and high definition video produced such a great result it seemed that event video people were on every street corner. Anyone with two thousand dollars could start a video business and produce quality results, at least from the technical perspective. The real competition was beginning to come not only from other video businesses, but from former clients as well. Instead of continuing to pay a professional one to two thousand dollars to record their wedding video, some clients were buying their own camcorders for five hundred dollars and letting a friend or relative shoot the video.

Small, pocket sized high definition camcorders, high definition video in camera phones and free editing software on cheap, off-the-shelf PCs have diminished the client's perceived value of the professional video by 2012. The expectation of clients is that that video professional must Be able to replicate what the client sees in the movie theater or on television. Trouble is, studios still spend hundreds of thousands or more on lighting, sound and talent. Now matter how good home equipment is, or how polished the skills of a professional event videographer, a client's stingy three hundred dollar budget is not going to buy the results that clients see on TV. Not willing to pay thousands, many clients are satisfied with You-Tube style video clips taken with the camera phones of their friends – provided it's free. And a professional can not compete with free and stay in business.

Today, as a result of the amazing small, inexpensive and high quality camcorders and free editing software, the video business is far more challenging for the event professional. There is still something a professional can offer that all your friend's camera phones can never match. That is a video that truly tells your story or deliveries your corporate message as it should be, with the look and finish close to that of an independent film. In the end, it is the knowledge and experience that are worth the cost. You can not buy that with an iPhone in the hands of a close friend.

Training For a Marathon – A Primer

Do you have aspirations for running a marathon? Even an Olympian runner would agree that training is the most crucial part of the game. While training for a marathon, it is important that you prepare properly. If you do not pay attention to proper training, you are doomed to fail. If you have already tried it and found it too challenging then sure you need to get with the program.

As is generally the rule, to get better at something, you need lots of practice and commitment. Brilliant people from all walks of life have just this one secret – practice. Training basically is a mixture of practice, expertise on part of the instructor and commitment on part of the trainee, all brought together to form a winning combination. In addition, trainees in many fields, especially sports, benefit from their natural skill and talent. The good news about running is that it does not require any special skills. One just needs to be able bodied and in good health and the rest can be left to the training regimen.

Training for a marathon requires you to constantly push your body to gain more in terms of stamina and endurance. This requires you to proceed in a consistent manner. Haphazard training will not only fail to give the desired results but will also be a source of discouragement because your body will deteriorate rather than improve. Let us discuss a few guidelines that can be helpful when training for a marathon:

Firstly, you must develop training routines that place minimal stress on your body. Running puts pressure on your joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nervous system. Some degree of slow steady running is necessary to develop the stamina required for marathons but it is imperative to not overdo it.

Secondly, you need to develop other areas of your body that will support your long distance runs. These organs are the heart, the lungs and the muscles. Healthy heart and lungs ensure adequate oxygen supply is maintained to your tissues, and developed red muscles (through aerobic exercise) Ensure that you do not tire easily.

Lastly, you need to read the signs of your body during training for a marathon. Do not torture your body. Gradually make your training harder and harder and take a day of rest and / or lighter training every now and then to allow your body to recover fully.