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Mobile Travel Agents – A Coming of Age

first_imgDon BeatieCEOMTA – Mobile Travel AgentsMobile Travel Agents – A Coming of AgeMTA – Mobile Travel Agents founders Karen and Roy Merricks pioneered the mobile (work from home) model in Australia some 16 years ago and sought out a solution to allow more (primarily) women the flexibility to be able to work in the industry they loved while also being able to balance family life.With the advent of the internet they developed systems and processes that enabled consultants to work for themselves and provided them with the opportunity to work when they wanted, where they wanted and to have the potential to earn what they wanted with an uncapped remuneration scheme.Unlike the traditional “bricks and mortar” Agency, consultants gained the freedom of working when and where they chose (primarily from home) and they in fact could be seen as business owners themselves. Overheads were substantially lower as office rental was not required.In the past the model was frowned upon as being for “part timers” and not for the professional travel expert. Today there can be no doubt that the mobile model has come of age, it is accepted (perhaps reluctantly in some quarters) and in fact is now embraced by many of its former critics within the industry. Ironically many of the previous detractors have “got on board’ and are running some sort of like model themselves.Today MTA continues to be a leading provider of travel experiences as well as a supplier recognised, multi award winner for sales and expertise. It provides systems and an environment to allow business minded consultants to grow and service their customer base. No sales targets are set, consultants determine their own income driven by their efforts. MTA supports their efforts by the provision of in house developed, state of the art agency support mechanisms and by forging strong relationships with its partnersAttracting new members to the mobile model is a lot easier today as there is greater acceptance of the model than in the past. Consistently, MTA’s policy has been not to directly approach a consultant at either another like mobile model or a traditional travel agency. This is not true of most of MTAs competitors as evidenced through the number of approaches made to MTA members on a regular basis.Everyone who has joined MTA has enquired of their own volition and yes often through being recommended to enquire after speaking with our existing Members, which is testament to the MTA model itself. Further, not all consultants who enquire are selected. Indeed consistently of all the enquiries that MTA receives less than 10% are accepted as new members. While growth may be desirable it will only occur with the right kind of people and those that demonstrate a fit for the MTA cultural, as the relationship is very much one of partnership. MTA can proudly boast the highest calibre of members who consistently focus on quality delivery of experiences for their customers.For those experienced consultants looking who are looking for a change that will provide them with the freedoms to be able to manage their own clients without the distractions of people just wanting quotes then the mobile model is something to consider. If you are ready to make the change and are comparing the models the following things should be considered.Points For ConsiderationWill you be able to work and continue to receive support without the need to achieve imposed sales or hours of work targetsIs the culture of the organisation supportive and understanding of “life stage support”Have you the range of Suppliers to cater for your customer’s needsAre you provided with insurance or do you have to arrange and pay for it yourselfIs after hours support providedAre you provided with 7×24 IT supportAre your bookings and customers looked after when you are on leave or on a familAre you provided with a web page or a fully integrated websiteCan you use any GDS that you likeAre you able to work when and where you chooseDo you receive tickets at no chargeHave you checked the Supplier commissions you are going to receive to make sure that they are competitive.Look at how much you are getting to put in your pocket after all the fees and charges have been deducted from your earned commission (the top line is never the measure). For example do you have to pay ticketing or marketing support fees. Even with all of the financial and support side of the business proposition considered, it is advisable to also look at the culture of the business and whether you see yourself fitting into that culture. In this model you need to know that you will be supported ongoing with a profitable and viable company.MTA – Mobile Travel Agents ticks all of the boxes and answers yes to the points above. In addition it nurtures the concept of “life stage support” because we know that it is something that everybody goes through.The Mobile model however will not suit all consultants with the two main considerations beingIt is a commission only model therefore no commissions, no earningsYou need to have or be able to develop your own client baseIn reality those consultants who do make the move to the mobile environment are able to potentially earn more than they did previously with rewards for their efforts being recognised by uncapped remuneration and a work/lifestyle balance. Additionally the mobile model is very much a referral type business and if you provide great service and are able to demonstrate your expertise then building your own client base is not so much of a problem. Mike Parker-BrownSource = MTA – Mobile Travel Agents – Don Beatie – CEO MTA – Mobile Travel Agentslearn more here Join MTAbecome a mobile travel agent last_img read more

Escape to Bali With Club Med Virgin Australia

first_imgEscape to Bali With Club Med & Virgin AustraliaEscape to Bali With Club Med & Virgin AustraliaClub Med is helping Australian travellers take a hassle-free escape to Club Med Bali with exclusive Virgin Australia flight prices and free airport transfers combined with Club Med’s premium all-inclusive packages when booked before 31 March 2018.This comprehensive travel package will allow Aussies to fly to Bali with one of Australia’s most loved airlines, Virgin Australia, and transfers from the airport for free to spend seven nights at Club Med’s Nusa Dua beachfront location with prices starting from $1,740 per adult, for travel until 30 June 2018.Plus, the first 20 travel bookings for a Club Med Bali with Virgin Australia flights package and travel prior to 30 June 2018 will receive a one way Economy X upgrade!Club Med Bali is a sanctuary for families and friends on the shores of Nusa Dua, set between fields of rice paddies and temples, offering a truly authentic Balinese experience for guests. Club Med Bali’s cultural highlights include Bahasa language lessons, Balinese ceremonies as well as arts and crafts. The resort caters for all guests, from old to young, with outstanding Kids Clubs for children of all ages, 4 months – 17 years old and exceptional outdoor sports and activities including flying trapeze and golf.Revive your body and mind whilst at the resort with yoga by the sea or a relaxing moment at the adults-only Zen pool. For those with a passion for action and adventure, there’s surfing lessons* and windsurfing or a beautiful walk through the resort’s botanical track.Club Med continues to offer the ultimate hassle-free holiday experiences for families, couples and groups with this one-stop-shop offer of flights and premium all-inclusive package.Club Med’s all-inclusive packages include gourmet meals and snacks with international delicacies and traditional local cuisine, an open bar, a vast selection of activities, entertainment and Kids Clubs, in addition to accommodation – taking the planning out of holidays, so guests have more time for fun.7 night all-inclusive air+land package with Virgin Australia and Club Med from:Flying from Sydney (economy) – $1,740 per adult (18+ yrs), $1,530 per teen (12-17) and $1,120 per child (4-11)Flying from Brisbane (economy) – $1,695 per adult (18+ yrs), $1,490 per teen (12-17) and $1,090 per child (4-11)*Free airport transfers provided by Club MedFor bookings and enquiries call Club Med on 1800 258 263 or visit www.clubmed.com.au.Source = Club Medlast_img read more

MTA Members bear up on Rocky Mountaineer study tour

first_imgMTA Members Wanita Thompson and Michelle Brown bear up on Rocky Mountaineer study tourMTA Members bear up on Rocky Mountaineer study tourPictured cosying up to one of Alberta’s better- known tourist attractions, the crystal bear which greets travellers reaching the top of Banff’s world-famous mountain gondola ride, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents Members Wanita Thompson and Michelle Brown.The pair visited Banff as part of a Rocky Mountaineer learning experience travelling on board the world-famous train’s first departure of the year from Vancouver to Calgary via Kamloops with a Rocky Mountains helicopter tour included in their overall itinerary.Source = Mike Parker-Brown – MTA – Mobile Travel Agents PRlast_img read more

Further speakers announced for TravelManagers National Conference

first_imgFurther speakers announced for TravelManagers’ National ConferenceFurther speakers announced for TravelManagers’ National ConferenceTravelManagers’ recent announcement regarding their upcoming annual National Conference caused something of a stir within the travel industry, thanks in no small part to their destination: Hawaii’s Oahu. However, the company’s Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says there is also much excitement around the calibre of the speakers who will be addressing the conference this year.“We are immensely privileged to have Turia Pitt joining us in Oahu,” says Gazal. “Both she and our other keynote speaker, Chris Paulsen, have a lot to share in terms of their stories of personal and professional achievement, and they’re a great fit with this year’s conference theme: success.”Gazal says that in addition to the two keynote speakers, the attendees will also hear from six personal travel managers (PTMs), each of whom will share the “Secrets of [their] Success” during the three-day event.“It’s a key feature of TravelManagers’ business model and culture that our PTMs share ideas, experience and knowledge with their colleagues, recognising that each individual has something to contribute and something to learn.”One of this year’s PTM speakers is Nakita Byrne, who is representative for Mount Arthur, NSW: last year she won the prestigious Avis Travel Agents Scholarship of Excellence.“Nakita is an outstanding example of someone who, despite being based in a regional location, has built a successful business and manages to juggle this with the demands of being a working mum of two pre-school children,” says Gazal. “She’s got a lot to share in terms of achieving a great work/life balance.”PTM Sue Kuti is also on the list of speakers, thanks to her success in building a niche business with her small group tours. Kuti, who is representative for Randwick, NSW, has personally escorted tours to destinations as diverse as Cambodia, Malta and Alaska, and in the eleven years she has been with the company has been awarded numerous TravelManagers awards, including Best Customer Service in 2016 and the Online Marketing Award in 2017.Queensland-based Erin Ross has worked in the travel industry for more than eighteen years and has been invited to speak at the annual National Conference about reinventing herself to build a successful life, while South Australia-based Josh Faddoul will discuss the value of having a mentor in building a successful business.“We also have Mark Elevato talking about the importance of having a strong and trusting partnership with the National Partnership Office [NPO],” says Gazal. “Mark has employed the resources, support, strength and leverage of a multi-million-dollar travel management company to deliver outstanding, personalised service to his clients, building a successful business in the process.”The final PTM presentation will come from Michelle Schultz and Julie Painter, who between them have thirty years’ experience in the travel industry, and who have collaborated to create a successful ladies-only small group tours business.“We now have more than 530 PTMs within the TravelManagers group, which represents a phenomenal wealth of experience, expertise and innovative thinking,” says Gazal. “That’s not eventaking into account the depth of experience supporting our PTMs in marketing, sales, technology, finance and business mentoring within the NPO”Gazal reports that this year’s conference attendees will, for the first time, hear from an NPO speaker about their personal journey within TravelManagers.“Tania Myles is responsible for Digital Marketing Support,” explains Gazal. “She has worked very closely with the PTM network in the launch of their own individual websites, so it’s a great opportunity for her to talk about what this project and role mean to her and to share her pride in what they have achieved collectively.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Iceland Ambassador celebrates the launch of three Icelandic lifestyle brands in India

first_imgAmbassador of Iceland, H.E. Thorir Ibsen and his wife Dominique Ambroise Ibsen hosted a dinner reception at their residence recently in the capital to celebrate the launch of three Icelandic Companies Mýr, Geosilica Iceland and Ankra (Feel Iceland) in India by the Embassy of Iceland in association with Indo Icelandic Business Association (IIBA) & Midori.The crème de la crème of the capital present at the do engaged in thoughtful conversations with the members of all women’s lifestyle delegation from Iceland having roots in ‘Startup Iceland’.On the occasion, Ambassador of Iceland said, “I firmly believe that there are ample business opportunities between Iceland and India especially in the areas of geothermal energy, life style and cutting edge high tech industries. The opportunities are out there waiting to be seized. Early completion of the India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement would certainly boost the business confidence between Iceland and India.”last_img read more

City of Nawabs gets its maiden Novotel hotel

first_imgAccorHotels has announced the opening of Uttar Pradesh’s first Novotel in the capital city of Lucknow, ‘Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar’. The business hotel is strategically located in the heart of the city’s commercial hub, Gomti Nagar, a short drive from Lucknow airport and railway station. The hotel features 106 well-appointed rooms, including two suites, all equipped with modern in-room amenities, plush interiors and high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity.Speaking on the occasion, Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer, India & South Asia, AccorHotels, said, “The city’s radial expansion has given way to new growth corridors, attracting plentiful investments. It is this confluence of culture and business that makes Lucknow a compelling destination for travellers and we are delighted to open our very first Novotel property here.”For meetings and events, Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar features two stylish state-of-the-art meeting rooms– The Ballroom and The Celebrations, both equipped with modern amenities and latest technology. Leisure facilities include a fitness centre, a rooftop infinity pool and a recreational area for kids and a spa to rejuvenate the mind and body. Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar is home to four eclectic food and beverage outlets- The Square, The Bar, The Rooftop Restaurant and The Deli.Commenting on the development, Raj Singh, General Manager, Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar, said, “With Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar’s contemporary ‘home away from home’ stay experience, assortment of dining outlets and meeting spaces, we are set to define new paradigms in the hospitality industry to meet the city’s tourism growth.”last_img read more

Nepal looks to reposition itself as an experiential destination

first_imgTo promote 2020 as ‘Visit Nepal Year’Akansha Pandey | New DelhiYet again, India is the number one source market for Nepal followed by China and the United States. Over 160,832 Indian arrivals travelled to the friendly neighbour country in 2017. The air arrivals have gone up by 36% over 2016 and by road, the number is unaccountable and is surging exponentially. Leisure and adventure holidayers are dominating travel from India to Nepal.By 2020, Nepal aims to welcome 1.5 million tourists, with one-third of them coming from India and China, stated the Tourism Ministry of Nepal. The Himalayan country is set to organise 2020 as ‘Visit Nepal Year’. It will be the third national-level initiative to promote Nepal’s tourism sector since the country first celebrated Visit Nepal Year in 1998 followed by the Nepal Tourism Year in 2011.According to the 2018 strategy of Nepal Tourism, the destination is all set to reposition itself as an ideal destination for diverse immersive experiences varying from culture, tradition, nature, adventure, gastronomy, etc. which is indeed the USP of Nepal, stressed Nabin Pokharel, Officiating Director-Tourism Marketing and Promotion, Nepal Tourism Board.Pokharel divulged that they’ll be conducting roadshows in 2018 and would like to associate with the private sectors as well. With a Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach, Nepal Tourism Board eyes aligning with the private players and working based on their feedback, alongside researching on the basis of recommendations, figures, data analytics, facts, etc. The idea is to adapt the destination at par with the market scenario, he said.last_img read more

Trulia Asking Prices Post Major Gains Rent Prices Cool in January

first_img February 5, 2013 447 Views Share Agents & Brokers Asking Prices Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Home Values Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Trulia Unemployment 2013-02-05 Tory Barringer Asking prices rose dramatically in January as renting prices cooled off somewhat, according to the latest data in “”Trulia’s””:http://www.trulia.com/ “”Price and Rent monitors””:http://trends.truliablog.com/2013/02/trulia-price-rent-monitors-jan-2013/.[IMAGE]The company’s Price Monitor showed a 0.3 percent quarter-over-quarter rise in January (without seasonal adjustment), turning on its head the typical wintertime trend. On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices increased 2.2 percent quarterly.Moreover, prices rose 0.9 percent month-over-month, the highest monthly gain since the price recovery began. Year-over-year, prices were up 5.9 percent from January 2012 (6.5 percent excluding foreclosures).While January’s numbers signal a strong price recovery, Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko warned that the month’s gains could disappear as rapidly as they came on.””In many local markets today, dramatic price gains can mask serious red flags,”” Kolko said. “”Strong job growth, low vacancy rate, and low foreclosure inventory–not huge price gains–are signs of a healthy housing market. Without strong underlying market fundamentals, price rebounds might be here today, but gone tomorrow.””[COLUMN_BREAK]The company pointed to examples of “”booming”” markets such as San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Denver, Colorado; as examples of areas where prices are supported by strong job growth and are unthreatened by future foreclosures.While they’re currently benefitting from investor interest, “”rebounding”” markets like Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, remain at risk from slow employment growth, high vacancies, and future foreclosures, Trulia said.Meanwhile, “”struggling”” markets like Newark, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, suffer from weak fundamentals and slow price gains.With more newly constructed multi-unit buildings coming to complete, rent gains fell behind asking price gains at the national level for the first time since the price recovery began last spring.In January, rents rose 4.1 percent year-over-year on the national level, slowing down from 4.7 percent halfway through 2012.Regionally, rent improvements cooled the most in San Francisco, where rents rose only 2.4 percent compared to 11.5 percent in July 2012. According to the Census Bureau, construction activity in San Francisco has been well above normal for the last year, with most of it happening in multi-unit buildings.””Rent gains are slowing down because of more supply, not less demand,”” Kolko said. “”Many of the multi-unit buildings that have been under construction over the past two years are now coming onto the market. Renters in San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver are starting to get a touch of relief, even though rising prices might put homeownership out of their reach.””center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Trulia: Asking Prices Post Major Gains, Rent Prices Cool in Januarylast_img read more

SIGTARP Cracks Down on Another Mortgage Fraud Case

first_img The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) aimed its laser sharp focus on eradicating foreclosure fraud and a California man running a foreclosure rescue scam.[IMAGE]Christy Romero, SIGTARP, and Melinda Haag, United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, announced Walter Bruce Harrell, 72, of Montara, California was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for bankruptcy fraud and for providing false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding. Harrell was indicted with eight counts of bankruptcy fraud and two counts of making false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding. Documents show that Harrell operated a scheme in which he offered to postpone foreclosure proceedings on the homeowner’s property in exchange for a monthly fee. Harrell accomplished this by instructing homeowner clients to deed fractional interests in their properties to[COLUMN_BREAK]other individuals whom Harrell would pay to file bankruptcy petitions in court. Once the bankruptcy petitions were filed, Harrell would notify creditors–which included multiple TARP banks–seeking to foreclose on his clients’ properties, that the properties were part of an active bankruptcy proceeding. Because of “”automatic stay”” provisions of the U.S. bankruptcy code, the creditors were prevented from proceeding with foreclosure. Instead, the creditors were required to file motions to lift the automatic stays in bankruptcy court. Although these motions were invariably granted, Harrell’s actions caused delays in the foreclosure process and caused the creditors to incur additional costs. “”Today’s sentencing makes it clear that foreclosure rescue schemes will not be tolerated and can result in time in federal prison,”” Romero said. “”Harrell promised distressed homeowners that as long as they paid him monthly, he would prevent foreclosure on their homes. He sold false hope to those who needed hope the most. He committed bankruptcy fraud and defrauded banks holding the mortgages, including TARP banks.”” Harrell pleaded guilty to filing bankruptcy petitions in furtherance of a scheme to defraud creditors owning mortgages and to making false statements in a bankruptcy petition.””The integrity of evidence received by our bankruptcy courts is critical to the courts’ ability to function effectively,”” Haag said. “”This office will vigorously prosecute people who intentionally submit false and misleading information in federal bankruptcy proceedings.”” in Government, Servicing December 9, 2013 445 Views Sharecenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers SIGTARP TARP 2013-12-09 Ashley Harris SIGTARP Cracks Down on Another Mortgage Fraud Caselast_img read more

Wolters Kluwer Hires Former Fed Regulator

first_img Sandra BraunsteinWolters Kluwer Financial Services recently announced that former federal regulator Sandra Braunstein will provide compliance management and Community Reinvestment Act consulting services to the company’s U.S. banking clients.Braunstein will also be collaborating with, and advising the Wolters Kluwer executive team on a range of strategic initiatives, according to the company. She retired from her role as director of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs after nearly 27 years of serving the agency in April 2014.In her role as director of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Braunstein served as chief executive officer for all of the agency’s consumer protection, consumer compliance supervision, and community development programs. She also served as the chief policy adviser to the Board of Governors, including the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, on all consumer and community development matters.During Braunstein’s career with the Board, she led the development of a new regulatory framework for credit cards and helped establish sweeping new regulatory protections for consumers in the residential mortgage market. She also oversaw the creation of mortgage foreclosure mitigation and neighborhood stabilization programs. In addition, Braunstein played a key role in the transition of division staff and resources to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2010 to 2011.Prior to her service at the Board, Braunstein held positions in economic and community development for nonprofit, government, and private-sector organizations, and in the consulting industry. She is a graduate of the American University.“The deep insight and experience that Sandy brings not only to Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ consulting practice and clients but to our executive leadership team is truly unique and extraordinary,” said Timothy Burniston, EVP of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ Consulting Practice in the U.S. “Her perspectives will provides us with valuable insight into regulatory expectations as we continue to navigate the growing complexities of the broad field of compliance, and address and meet the  needs of our customers.  I am elated to have the opportunity to work with her again.” Wolters Kluwer Hires Former Fed Regulator Compliance Management Fed Regulator Wolters Kluwer Financial Services 2015-06-11 Staff Writer June 11, 2015 474 Views center_img in Headlines, News Sharelast_img read more

St Louis Fed President Calls for More Regulatory Relief for Community Bankers

first_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News October 1, 2015 529 Views Community Banks Regulatory Burden St. Louis Federal Reserve 2015-10-01 Staff Writer St. Louis Federal Reserve President James BullardSmall, community banks require more regulatory relief, especially those that hold mortgage originations, so what can be done to reduce this burden?St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard discussed regulatory burden and what can be done to reduce this burden on community banks during a community banking conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Board and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.”More could be done. There appear to be some areas where we have sufficient information and experience to warrant additional action.”Bullard first took a look back at last year in his speech, highlighting the first of six meetings under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 occurring last December, the increased asset threshold for small bank holding companies and savings and loan holding companies from $500 million to $1 billion in April, and changes to call report requirements several weeks ago.While these changes are a step in the right direction Bullard did note, “more could be done. There appear to be some areas where we have sufficient information and experience to warrant additional action.”Bullard suggests that regulators consider increasing the transaction value threshold under which a property requires an appraisal by a state-certified or licensed appraiser. The current limit has stood at $250,000 since 1994.”Inflation adjustment alone suggests that the threshold in 2015 should be higher,” Bullard explained. “We estimate the number of required appraisals would decline significantly.”Regulators should also consider mandatory escrow requirements for taxes and insurance premiums on mortgages that are held in a community bank’s portfolio, Bullard said. Regulation Z recently experienced some “helpful” amendments, in that they provided a number of exemptions for certain types of loans made in rural or underserved areas.”However, these exemptions do not go far enough,” Bullard noted. “More can likely be done to address escrow requirements for community banks in locations that hold mortgages in portfolio.”center_img St. Louis Fed President Calls for More Regulatory Relief for Community Bankers Sharelast_img read more

Which US City Makes the Most of Your Paycheck

first_img Affordability Home Prices Home Values Indeed median home values Trulia 2018-03-28 David Wharton in Daily Dose, Featured, journal, Market Studies, News Which U.S. City Makes the Most of Your Paycheck? Those looking to get the biggest bang for their bucks would be most likely to find it west of the Mississippi, according to a new joint report by Trulia and Indeed. The firms looked at which American cities stretch paychecks the furthest. The report found four cities topping the list, in the South, Southwest, and West. Three are mid-sized cities and one is larger.Birmingham, Alabama, tops the list of cities where paychecks meet opportunity. The iron-and-steel town dubbed the “Pittsburgh of the South” has an average salary of about $77,000 that, adjusted for cost of living, spends like $86,000. According to Zillow data, the median home value in Birmingham is $64,600 and home values in the city have increased 6.6 percent over the past year“Birmingham’s growth doesn’t match the pace of Southern economic powerhouses like Atlanta, Raleigh, and Nashville,” the report stated, “but it is Alabama’s largest city and a bright spot in the state’s economy, accounting for about 30 percent of its domestic product.”The Irondale neighborhood is a major affordability boon to the region, Trulia reported. Median home prices in the 35210 zip code are, on average, $147,000. That’s about $50,000 below more metro-centered homes. Trulia found almost identical dollar-stretching numbers in St. Louis, Missouri, and El Paso, Texas. Both cities report a median income around $76,000 that stretches to about $84,000 when adjusted for cost of living. Dollars in St. Louis, according to Trulia, stretch further than those in Chicago and Detroit, the latter of which is considered a highly affordable metro. The city has an economy running on manufacturing, construction, leisure, and hospitality.Still, dollars stretch further in the St. Louis suburb of Bethalto, which is actually in Illinois. Bethalto is less than 35 miles from downtown St. Louis, and homes there sell for a median price of $114,000. Zillow shows a current median home value in Saint Louis proper at $128,600, up 9.1 percent year-over-year.Over in far-west Texas, El Paso might be the forgotten metro of the Lone Star State, but it’s the most affordable city in Texas, according to the report. The same salary spends about $9,000 better in El Paso than in Dallas, even though home values in the city’s most desired suburb, Upper Valley, are significant. Median homes in Upper Valley sell for about $460,000. Per Zillow, the median El Paso home value is $115,700, up 1.7 percent over the past year.The West Coast’s lone entry to value-friendly cities is Fresno, California, where an $82,000 average salary stretches to about $84,000. Fresno is part of California’s software hub, but the region is still big in farming and leisure, given its proximity to three national parks.According to Trulia, most Fresno workers prefer to live in Woodward Park, 11 miles outside of town. The median home price in Woodward Park is about $342,000, roughly $100,000 more than living in the city itself. Within the city, the gulf between average salary and median home price, though, is among the most favorable in California’s urban areas. Zillow reports the median home value in Fresno is at $228,700, with a year-over-year increase of 10.5 percent.Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He’s been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.center_img March 28, 2018 554 Views Sharelast_img read more

Majestic PrincessPrincess Cruises

first_imgMajestic PrincessPrincess Cruises Princess Cruises has announced that its latest ship, the Majestic Princess, will be based in Sydney over the 2018-19 summer season.Carrying 3560 guests, the Majestic Princess will be the largest Princess ship ever to sail in Australian waters, and during her inaugural Australian season will sail on 16 cruises to destinations including Fiji, New Zealand and Tasmania as well as two Asia voyages between Shanghai and Sydney, and Sydney and Hong Kong.The ultimate in premium cruising, Majestic Princess features 13 dining options including two restaurants with menus designed by Michelin star chefs, more than 1000 square metres of designer shopping, the cruise line’s largest ever thermal suite and a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway, the SeaWalk. Guests can enjoy a wide range of high-end accommodation including suites, Club Class mini-suites and new deluxe balcony rooms, with more than 80 per cent of the ship’s 1780 staterooms offering private balconies.Majestic Princess’ deployment is a highlight of Princess Cruises’ new 2018-19 Australia and New Zealand program, which goes on sale on Thursday 27 April 2017. The program features Majestic Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess – which together will offer almost 100 cruises from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Auckland over a seven-month period.Princess Cruises vice president Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the deployment of Majestic Princess was testament to Australians’ love of cruising and the popularity of Princess Cruises in the region.“From her gourmet restaurants to her stunning onboard features, Majestic Princess is nothing short of magnificent.  We’re thrilled to be welcoming our newest, most stylish and most luxurious flagship to our shores – having just experienced her preview voyage I know Australian cruisers will love all that she has to offer,” Allison said.Click to watch a video highlighting the features of Majestic Princesslast_img read more

Canberras East Hotel is offering stopover package

first_imgCanberra’s East Hotel is offering stopover packages to coincide with the official launch of the ski season in NSW on 9 June, 2018. Stop at EAST, Canberra’s contemporary, cool and vibrant apartment hotel for an overnight relaxation break on your way to the ski fields, then get on the road first thing in the morning refreshed and ready hit the slopes as the lifts open.WATCH VIDEO!A COUPLE OF SKI BUNNIES PACKAGEOvernight at East Hotel on your way to or from the ski fields this winter!> East Apartment> $100 F&B Voucher to be used in Joe’s Bar &/or Agostinis Restaurant> Movie> Mulled wine at check-in> Parking & WifiTOTAL PACKAGE: $330A TRIBE OF SKI BUNNIES PACKAGEOvernight at East Hotel on your way to or from the ski fields this winter!> East 2BR Apartment> $100 F&B Voucher to be used in Joe’s Bar &/or Agostinis Restaurant> Movie> Mulled wine at check-in> Parking & WifiTOTAL PACKAGE: $450 CanberraEast Hotelpackagesskisnowlast_img read more

TravelManagers Australia National Partnership Exe

first_imgTravelManagers Australia, National Partnership Executive, Graciela Craig has been in the travel industry for 37 years now. During this time, Graciela says she has seen many, many changes: some good, some not so good, but still rates it as a great career choice.“It’s vital to stay true to yourself and believe in what you have to offer your clients and colleagues – and most of all, to keep travelling,” Graciela said.Travel Monitor caught up to talk all things travel with Graciela to feature in this week’s Talking Travel. Here is what she had to say.What does your job involve?I have a wonderfully varied role – from attracting new talent to our network to ongoing PTM engagement, both directly and working with our team of seven state based Business Partnership Managers.What do you enjoy most about your profession?The variety!  One day I can be at my desk in Sydney assisting a PTM to reach their full business potential and the next I’m making bacon and egg butties at a golf course to feed hungry golfers at our annual Charity Golf Day in Melbourne.  Working for such a flexible and supportive company really resonates with my work ethos and definitely gets the best out of me.What are the biggest challenges for you in your profession?I’m not a millennial, so technology doesn’t come naturally to me! Keeping up with the constant and rapid changes in technology and communication that are now readily available to our industry can be a challenge.  From Instagram to podcasting, these tools are fantastic tools, and so far I’m keeping up!What do you think are the biggest challenges the industry faces?The biggest challenge for the industry is believing in what we do as a ‘profession’.  I often get people call looking to join TravelManagers and say, “I book my own family travel online, so I can easily become a travel consultant”.  I respond that I can comb my hair but I’m no hairdresser! The point I like to get across is that PTMs are travel professionals, we are trained and experienced and provide personalised service and expertise.What do you think will be the biggest game changer in the travel industry for the next 12 months?The growing awareness and acceptance that people can have their own personal travel manager, just as they have a personal trainer, accountant, etc.  Social media and smartphones served as a distraction to the benefits of person-to-person interaction. While there is a place for online travel agents, many people prefer the comfort in knowing that a PTM is looking after them in all phases of their travel experience; from dreaming and planning to during their holiday and after they return home.Who would you invite on your next holiday if you could choose anyone and where would you go?I’m a solo traveller and love the freedom this brings. If I had to take anyone it would be my kids as I want them to experience what I see on my trips.  Next on my list is the Torres del Paine and Patagonia, Chile – nature at its best!Company Website: https://join.travelmanagers.com.au/Contact Email: Graciela.craig@travelmangers.com.au Graciela CraigTalking TravelTravelManagerslast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories The personnel decisions didn’t work out for the Cavaliers and we all know where the next chapter of the LeBron James story went. If the Arizona Cardinals acquire Kyle Orton or Kevin Kolb they need to be doing it because they think one of them can be their quarterback for the next five to seven years, not to keep Larry Fitzgerald. I concentrate on those two names because they are the two players that can set the Cardinals franchise back another three to four years if the move doesn’t pan out. Giving up a player or high draft pick for Orton or Kolb is making a commitment to who your quarterback is. I understand the NBA and NFL have different salary structures and in the NFL it is much easier to reshape a team than it is in the NBA. However, the one position in the NFL that can hamstring you long-term is quarterback. Arizona must truly believe in Kolb or Orton if they go in that direction. If Arizona makes the move for Kolb or Orton and it doesn’t work out they will be watching Larry Fitzgerald in another uniform anyway. As any Cleveland Cavaliers fan would gladly tell you, watching your superstar go onto success in another city is not an enjoyable experience. 0 Comments   Share   Larry Fitzgerald is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, but the Arizona Cardinals can not let his status as a free agent after the season influence what they decide to do with the quarterback position. It is a huge mistake for an organization to base decisions around one player — just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers. For years the Cavs tried to appease LeBron James. They overpaid for Larry Hughes, Daniel Gibson (one of LeBron’s best friends on the team) and Mo Williams. They made poor trades for Antwan Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaycenter_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkelast_img read more


first_img Comments   Share   Colledge, who started for the Super Bowl champion GreenBay Packers, has started 76 of the 80 games he’s played,helping the Packers offense become one of the best in theNFL.At 6-foot-4, 308 pounds, Colledge is a big lineman whofigures to slide into the left guard spot vacated by theretired Alan Faneca. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation The task of rebuilding the offensive line is a great onefor the Arizona Cardinals, but it appears they are finallyready to begin the process. What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke GreenBay guard Daryn Colledge on verge of getting a new dealwith Arizonaless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet ReplyJason LaCanforaJasonLaCanfora Top Stories D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more

Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact And in drafting Brown with the second of their two third-round picks, the Cardinals acquired yet another weapon they can send back to return kicks.If it were up to him, he’d take on the challenge right away.“I would love to return punts,” said Brown. “I can do whatever I want. I believe I can help out, but I just need to learn the system. I’m really happy about the idea of returning punts and showing the coaches what I can do.”Just a week into the job, Brown admitted he’s already found the fastest way to learn that system: Talk to his accomplished teammates.“I feel like I can learn from Patrick Peterson and Ted Ginn,” said Brown, who returned his first ever punt at Pittsburg State for an 84-yard score. “It’ll be a good fit, and I can catch on quick. And in case anything happens, I believe I can do what they do.” – / 7 A three-time Division II All-American, Brown virtually re-wrote the record books with his own two hands, setting new program-highs in career catches (185), receiving yards (3,330) and touchdowns (32).However, it’s his legs that might get him on the field right away with the Cardinals.“I’m just a person that plays fast,” said Brown, who was named the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Special Teams Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013. “That’s the question everyone keeps asking [as to whether or not I can adjust to the speed of the game in the NFL], but when I got into the East-West Shrine Game, I showed them I could play with the speed.“I think it will be a little faster, but I’ll adjust really quick.”That adjustment period might not take that long after all, when considering what he was able to do on the ground.As a senior, the 5-foot-10 standout accumulated 653 yards on special teams, including 389 on just 12 kickoff return attempts. And of those 12 return attempts, six went for more than 30 yards.Additionally, he averaged 13.63 yards per punt return from 2011-13.“My vision and my ability to change directions helped me [become a dynamic returner],” Brown said. “I also had great blockers, so that was a plus.” Brown’s numbers might not seem like a big deal when considering that they came in the MIAA and not the NFL. However, despite having numerous players on their roster with prior history in the return game, the Cardinals had their fair share of issues in that category throughout the 2013 campaign.The team’s primary kick returner, Javier Arenas, struggled mightily to make an impact. In fact, of the league’s 22 qualified return men last season, the former second-round pick had the second-worst average (21.4 yards/kick return attempt).Patrick Peterson wasn’t much better when it came to returning punts. After an electrifying rookie season that featured an NFL-record four return touchdowns and 699 yards, the three-time Pro Bowler has seen a steady decline when it comes to his special teams production.Peterson returned 33 punts a season ago for 198 total yards — good for the third-worst average (6.0 yards/attempt) in the league. The former No. 5 overall pick also didn’t reach the end zone for a second consecutive year, leaving head coach Bruce Arians to suggest that his days on special teams may be coming to an end in 2015.That decision makes a good deal of sense, considering that Arizona’s special teams shortcomings were remedied in part by the offseason signing of veteran return specialist Ted Ginn, Jr.center_img Comments   Share   Top Stories TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim didn’t overlook the slight stature, small school background or lack of experience against elite competition when he made the organization’s selection with the No. 91 overall pick last week.Instead, he chose to focus on John Brown’s greatest asset: versatility.Brown, the first player taken out of Pittsburg State since 1993, was sensational just about wherever he was asked to play during his collegiate career. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact ErrorOK ErrorOK #BirdGang #RedSea #AZCardinals #RiseUpRedSea #AZvsSEA Poll Widget.orgView Results The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Who will win the NFC West Championship Game this weekend?* (see below)The Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football with the division, a first round bye and the chance at not having to leave the state of Arizona in January all up for grabs. The Cardinals are 7-0 at home this season and getting W No. 8 would be oh-so-sweet. Show your allegiance to the Red Sea all week and let Seattle know we ARE the BIRDGANG! Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Seattle SeahawksArizona Cardinals Who has the better fanbase? Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires *Yes, the Cardinals could still win the division in Week 17 with a win at San Francisco and a Seattle home loss to St. Louis. No one wants to rely on those things to happen though. #GoCards Top Stories last_img read more

The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

first_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Comments   Share   – / 42 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact We and Carson Palmer have something in common.When Andre Ellington raced 48-yards to the end zone in Seattle Sunday, cementing the Arizona Cardinals’ victory over the Seahawks, we reacted.Some of us threw our hands in the air, many of us yelled in celebration. Others, like backup QB Drew Stanton, probably did a dance.Palmer, the Cardinals’ quarterback, went in a different direction, and it cost him.The NFL announced Friday it had fined the veteran $11,576 for this move, which he told ESPN was meant for friends of his who were in the stands.center_img Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Seattle. The Cardinals beat the Seahawks 39-32. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Needless to say, we don’t think it’s fair to fine Palmer, so a GoFundMe page known as the “Carson Palmer Thrust Fund” has been created to help the Cards’ MVP candidate cover the costs of the big win. If Carson doesn’t accept the help, all funds raised will go to a deserving local charity.last_img read more