Travel is frequently listed as one of the “must do” things on peoples’ lists, and resort hotels that not only pamper but also include natural beauty, history, great food, and lots of recreational opportunities are very attractive. Here’s the lowdown, in no particular order, on five of these resort destinations I’ve visited recently; they are located in the eastern part of the country, and some are offering enticing incentives during these tougher economic times (golf, tennis, pools, and spas are part of each location unless indicated):

1. The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Of the five hotels, I’d say this one has the prettiest lobbies and other public areas – colors such as peach and pink combine in magical ways to produce drop-dead gorgeous palettes. The resort became popular in 1778 because it was thought that the mineral waters had healing properties, and people flocked to “take the waters.” Located in the Allegheny Mountains on 6,500 acres, there are more than 700 rooms and 50 different activities you can attempt, including falconry, kayaking, and geocaching. Eight restaurants, ranging from jacket and tie to casual attire will address your culinary needs. Don’t miss: The Bunker Tour ($30/person), a hidden government enclave under the Greenbrier built to shelter Congress in case of a nuclear war. Rates begin at $99/person. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee. (The resort is undergoing some changes – West Virginia businessman Jim Justice of Justice Family Group LLP recently has acquired The Greenbrier from CSX Corp.)

2. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania. The ambience here is woodsier – after all, you are in 2,000 acres of the Laurel Highlands of Southwest Pennsylvania. The resort offers 335 rooms within its six different options – from lodge guest rooms to luxury homes. The property began as a private game preserve, was later used as a conference center, and took on its present character with its purchase in 1987 by the founder of 84 Lumber Company, Joseph Hardy III. The name of the resort honors Chief Nemacolin, a Lanai Lanape Indian. A few less-common activities include a shooting academy, dog sledding, and a bowling alley; you can also land your plane at the resort’s 3,900-foot airstrip. Dining ranges from elegant (jackets suggested) to casual with more than a half-dozen choices. Don’t miss: The Great Escapes E-Newsletter notifies you of upcoming activities, special promotions, and reduced rates. Rates begin at $319/person. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

3. The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia. This National Historic Landmark was founded in 1766 (pre-Revolution), but according to the site’s timeline, archaeologists found evidence that the “hot springs” were used in 7000 BC! With 483 rooms on 3,000 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, miles of hiking trails, a 270-seat movie theater inside the resort, carriage rides, ice-skating and skiing, there is something for everyone year-round. Only 40 miles from the Greenbrier, you could try out both places over a long weekend. A number of restaurants, from formal to casual, will tickle your taste buds. Don’t miss: We’re beginner golfers, and played 9 holes on the Old Course, so named because it was completed in 1892 (we did schedule the last tee time so we wouldn’t delay anyone’s game). The Number 1 tee is the oldest tee in continuous use in the United States. Rates begin at $99. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

4. Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle, New Hampshire. My parents are from the North Shore area of Massachusetts, and I love going to New England any chance I can. So, our July visit to this Marriott Hotel & Spa was eagerly anticipated, and I wasn’t disappointed. An hour north of Boston, this is the most easily accessible resort hotel among the five, with 161 rooms and views of the Atlantic. Wentworth by the Sea is close to Portsmouth, an historic, pedestrian-friendly city. The hotel itself was built in 1874, was closed in 1982, and, after many changes in ownership and its almost-demolition (two different times), it ultimately re-opened in 2003. Historically, the Wentworth is noteworthy as the venue for hammering out the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Japanese-Russo War. Although the grounds are small compared to the first three hotels, golf is available at the adjacent Wentworth by the Sea Country Club, and a 170 slip marina is available for boaters. Dining includes the seasonal Latitudes restaurant by the marina, and the Wentworth Dining Room with a local emphasis (i.e. lots of offerings from the sea). Don’t miss: Portsmouth Harbor Cruise departing at Ceres Street (I’d recommend making reservations in the summer – a few walk-ups were turned away). About an hour and a half long, the Harbor Cruise offers lovely scenery, historical sites, and is fully narrated ($16/person). Rates at Wentworth by the Sea begin at $229. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

5. The Wauwinet, Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Greenbrier had the prettiest public places, but the Wauwinet had the most charming rooms (all 35 of them) – each one unique yet elegant – ours had blue and white flowered wallpaper, a high antique pine bed, and a small but modern bathroom. The little extras were nice – especially nice turn-down service with yummy chocolates, personalized stationery, full breakfast included with room, the services of an excellent concierge (she knew us by name), and 4 p.m. port, sherry and cheese. The location of the Wauwinet, on the secluded end of the island between the bay and the ocean, lets you escape from it all, but with jitney service provided to town nine miles away you enjoy the best of both worlds. No pool at the Wauwinet and no golf on the premises, but it’s nearby. Now a member of Relais & Chateaux, the inn was built by two sea captains in 1876, and is only open from May until October. TOPPERS restaurant provides fine dining, and has won many culinary awards. We ate there twice -once for the formal dining, and once on the deck enjoying a spectacular sunset. Don’t miss: Use the Wauwinet’s bikes and pedal (about five miles) to ‘Sconset, a quaint oceanside fishing village dotted with historic cottages covered in roses. Rates can vary – a lot. We were originally going to go over Labor Day Weekend, but found that the price of a room was hundred of dollars less per night on the Tuesday/Wed/Thursday preceding the holiday weekend, so ASK (we were able to book a room for $250/night. Pet friendly? No, and guests (human) need to be over the age of 12.

 

The unwritten rule of effective advertising involves creating ads that appeal to people’s emotions, these appeals can be broadly categorized into fear, sex, humor, music, rationality, emotions and scarcity. These appeals are something that are experienced by everyone universally, regardless of race, financial stance or intelligence.Think back to an advertisement that you can remember, what appeal did it have? chances are it fit into one of the “magic 7” appeals, perhaps even using a mixture of the appeals. Needless to say the successful advertisement is not only the one you remember, but the one you remember in a positive light. Successful marketers are able to create advertisements customers favorably recall in memory… and we all know positive attitudes lead to positive behaviors, such as consumers buying your product! Below is a guide to using the appeals, highlighting both positive and negative consequences associated with using the advertising appeals.

Fear Appeal – The first advertising appeal and perhaps the most effective to date, is the advertising appeal of fear. Fear is an emotion that has existed as long as intelligible life has walked the Earth. Fear advertising concentrates on emotional responses from customers to a perceived threat, typically severity and vulnerability. An example of a fear appeal would be an advertisement for a “web hosting” company focusing on the severity of downtime experienced on the site and the customers vulnerability of losing business due to downtime. The Good – Fear appeals tend to be very persuasive and are great for capturing peoples attention, such as an eye-catching advertisement of an injured car crash victim due to drink diving. The Bad – hard to gauge how much fear to use, too much and you can scare people away from your ads and too little fear and nobody will notice your ad.

Sex Appeal – Another universal aspect of being human, sex has been used for years by marketers to capture attention of the sexes. The use of sex can be subliminal, sexually suggestive, nudity or sensuality, ever notice how most people that appear in ads tend to be attractive? An example of sexual advertising is with the America’s Next Top Model TV series, which has ads showing the girls in sexually suggestive clothes to lure in male viewers to watch episodes. The Good – Sex is proven to cut through clutter, if your advertising in a busy time-slot using sex appeals will help your ad get noticed, this helps increase brand recognition The Bad – Sex appeals can be provocative and may cause negative reactions with different cultures (non-western) and sex appeals are so prevalent nowadays that they no longer carry the WOW-factor they once did.

Humor Appeal – Everyone loves to laugh and most people have negative attitudes towards advertising but positive reactions to humor, a consumer watching a humorous ad laughs, tells people the joke and remembers this greatly helps marketers. There are many memorable TV ads that use humor to promote their brands, the John West Salmon ad where a man fights a bear for salmon effectively leverages the humor appeal The Good – Humor is one of the best methods for cutting through advertising clutter as funny ads are more easily noticed by the increasingly time-scarce consumer, humor gets attention, stays in peoples memories and typically win awards The Bad – it is important that the joke does not overpower the brand or its associated motto, if people remember the joke but not the brand this is not effective. Advertisers must also be culturally aware as what is funny in one culture may be offensive in another.

Music Appeal – Music is something that everyone enjoys, music is something that is both personal and causes people to recall moments that are both good and bad in their life. Music helps capture attentions and link to the consumers emotions. An example of music appeal is soft drink company 7UP using the song ‘sunshine’ by the Partridge family, this helped resonate the message to their target market. The Good – using a well known song can bring back positive nostalgic memories in consumers causing them to have positive attitudes towards your brand, music’s intrusive nature means that people can still be attracted to the ad even if they are avoiding ads in general. The Bad – certain music can cause negative reactions in consumers if they relate to bad memories in the past.

Rationality Appeal – The rationality appeal relies on consumers actively processing the information presented in the ad, this appeal is typically used in print media due to the consumers having more time set aside to read the advertising in this medium. Typically rational appeals focus on the practical, functional or utilitarian needs of consumers. Rational appeals are typically used in advertising drugs or healthy lifestyle products like Vitamins, such as recent ads by pharmaceutical company Swisse which used Australian Cricket captain Ricky Ponting who asserted the individual vitamins to appeal to knowledgeable consumers. The Good – rationality is great for high-involvement products and for B2B advertising The Bad – the rational appeal must be credible as false claims can cause negative brand attitudes.

Scarcity Appeal – Scarcity is based on limitations, typically this is in the form of limited time to purchase or limited supply. Scarcity is often used with fear appeals, to help empower customers by missing out on a potential immediately negative event. Australian advertisers use scarcity appeal in cricket memorabilia advertising, by offering The Good – scarcity is great for encouraging users to take action, and is often effectively used with other promotions like coupons, sweepstakes and contests The Bad – scarcity appeals must be genuine or consumers will harbor negative attitudes towards your brand.

Emotional Appeal – Appealing to the emotions of consumers is an effective technique for capturing attention and fostering attachments for a consumer to your brand, it is generally more effective to concentrate on positive emotions like happiness, joy, trust and love. Typical industries that use emotions in their advertising copy are banks and insurance agencies who often center on optimistic emotions like happiness and joy in an attempt to reconcile commonly held stereotypes of these industries as corporate mega powers. The Good – emotional appeals combine with nearly every appeal very effectively, can be the key to building up brand loyalty amongst customer base The Bad – emotional appeals must match the target market and current PR history of the company, consumers are increasingly aware of advertising messages.

In summary, the seven appeals of advertising are useful to understand when in the beginning stages of creating an advertisement whether it be online or offline, building your advertisement around a given combination of appeals acts as a good starting point. Some tried and tested combination’s of advertising appeals includes the combination of fear and rationality (typically used in anti-smoking advertising), and the use of music and emotion generally are a good basis for any advertisement. In the end the appeals should be taken into consideration with other factors, namely your organizational marketing objectives, media strategy, target market make-up and brand strategy. If for example your organization is a local newspaper that caters to a demographic of 40 and above, and its looking to improve its brand loyalty by expressing its concern and care for the local community, a emotional or rational appeal would be most appropriate in helping you reach your marketing objective of brand loyalty with your target market.

 

Due to British colonialism in India, India’s culture has been significantly affected by the West. With globalization, Indian fashion today does reflect the Western influence. Halter tops, handkerchief-cut kurtas etc are common today and have become a part and parcel of one’s wardrobe. With 28 states, 7 union territories and multiple dialects, India is a land of great diversity and each state has its own unique fashion.

Conventional sarees, blouses, salwar kameezes and necklines have undergone great changes. The latest Indian fashion trend has a touch of the West. Indian fashion designers are working day in and day out to meet the new demands of the market. Let us see some of the Western influences on Indian dresses.

Short- Style Kurtis

Even a few years ago, traditional kurtis with bold prints were popular among the masses. Though they still continue to be in demand, yet short-style kurtis with halter necklines are giving their traditional counterpart a tough competition. Earlier, kurtis were worn along with chudidars, but today wearing them over jeans is the latest Indian fashion. Right from a celebrity, to the girl next door, short-style kurtis are a rage. Floor length anarkalis are also in high demand these days.

Casual Crinkled Crepes & A-Lined Skirts

Lehengas have always been loved by ladies among all age groups. The traditional embroidered lehenga is one of the best Indian bridal wears. However, lehengas have evolved into a casual crinkled crepes and A-lined skirts which are considered ideal for a party, social gathering or an informal meeting.

Half-Lehenga Style Saree

Saree is the most traditional Indian wear. Sarees are the perfect wear during weddings, religious functions and parties. However, the latest Indian fashion has seen the evolution of a new style saree which mixes both the saree and lehenga into a single wear. This is capturing everyone’s attention. This type of saree is known as half-lehenga style saree. This is pretty comfortable for those who are not well-acquainted with the traditional hanging saree.

Strap & Halter Neck Blouses

Earlier and even now, short-sleeved or long-sleeved blouses are very much popular among ladies. However, today blouses with straps and halter neck styles have also started making inroads. These types of blouses have become very common and are in great demand.

Denims

Denims are highly popular among men and women in India. Earlier in parties, formal wear was a common sight. Though it still is, yet today in many parties and even in offices, there is no dearth of people wearing denims. There are several international brands of denims available in India and each and every day the market is witnessing arrival of new designs.

There are always new styles which are developing from time to time. The western influence on Indian clothing is making them trendy and elegant. A new design can evolve anywhere. It is up to us to adapt to the changes according to our own style, convenience, preference and choice.

 

Today seniors can’t afford not to get moving! With all the hype around nutrition and exercise the aging population is well aware of the benefit of an active lifestyle.

Most seniors of the 55 plus group are keen to reap the rewards of healthy aging through a variety of activities. They are not newcomers to the gym so to speak. Most have kept active with some form of physical activity throughout their lives, whether it is hardcore workouts in the gym or a congenial round of golf on a summer’s afternoon. Women of this age group have also managed years of multi-tasking, most having juggled full time careers, while raising families and still found time to fit in some form of exercise. These women became well acquainted with aerobics, step classes, strength training and power walking. Also, stress relievers such as yoga and pilates were embraced to combat tension and fatigue. In many cases these activities were their salvation of an overly busy lifestyle.

It is only natural then, that these baby boomers are looking to continue their active lifestyle into retirement. Quite possibly, with the time constraints lifted at this stage in life, it leaves them to focus more sharply on their health and wellness.

A huge opportunity exists for gyms and programming facilities to cater to this senior market. The number of seniors is set to skyrocket in the next five to ten years and if gym operators are to jump ahead of this curve, they should set their marketing sights on appealing to and attracting this demographic.

How to go about this? What are seniors looking for when it comes to staying fit? Firstly it is important to see a visual image that they can relate to. Marketing success is all about seeing yourself in the picture, being that person who is strong, fit and beaming with energy. If a beautiful twenty something image is smiling back, then age becomes a handicap in the mind of the senior, derailing their good intentions, making them feel like they can’t compete. The perfect image that will empower the market they are trying to impress is an attractive fit senior pursuing the exercise of his or her choice. An ad such as this will pop with the 55 plus market, creating a role model with whom they can immediately identify and connect. Seniors like everyone else need to be able to put themselves into that ad campaign and honestly believe that it could be them looking out. This puts the wheels in motion for a positive mindset and a “can-do” attitude.

Seniors are only as old as they feel. Once again we come back to the mind-set, which is a very powerful tool. Boomers today are constantly fighting the aging stereotype that has depicted seniors in the past. Seniors in their sixties often look, act and feel ten to fifteen years younger than their actual age. Advertising should play up to this pretense which promotes this healthy reversal known as “turning back the clock”.

Another means of promoting fitness is to educate the senior who wants to get moving and who wants information as to how this will benefit them and enhance their life. They need to know the positives, what they can expect, and can look forward to as a result of embarking on the fitness journey that the marketer proposes. The campaign needs to encompass every aspect of their life, proving that properly presented, seniors will understand that an opportunity to change is being offered which will impact and alter their lifestyle. It’s within their reach, all that remains to be done, is to get out there, set realistic goals with realistic time frames and make it happen.

This brings us to another point. Marketers should focus on the enhancement of senior life overall, as a result of engaging in exercise and activities, rather than the promise that, if you join up you will achieve this enviable body or snag that hot date. The quality of life and the heightened enjoyment of everyday activities which seniors can have as a result of exercise need to be highlighted.

Marketing programs should also contain testimonials and feedback from actual seniors delighted with their progress and accomplishments, similar to that of “before and after stories of weight loss”. Seniors want to hear how it has enhanced and changed other people, who are just like themselves. They want to hear the successes, for example, how exercise lowered blood pressure, how strength training enabled other seniors to do more, how medication was reduced, how endurance was stretched. It all gives the feeling that anything is possible, if they can do it, then I can as well. It sends a message and an incentive to become a joiner.

Seniors often prefer to sample a program on a trial basis to see if it’s going to be the right fit for them. Offering special programs geared to this group is smart when limiting them to one or two classes. Fitness activities can be offered at many different types of senior living facilities. Places such as retirement communities and nursing homes already recognize the need and benefits of fitness and nutritional programs. Approaching these senior residences is an effective strategy of marketing to large groups of seniors. There are also many senior assisted living residences that do not have organized fitness classes or programs in place yet, but they will soon. Visit these places and offer a free class or program, if these programs are successful you will know that this appeals to seniors and if the need is strong enough to continue. This will help to target the senior market, zeroing in on what works and what doesn’t.

Marketers of fitness need to alter their sales approach to seniors. This age group is not impulsive and will appreciate a thorough, softer sell approach. Seniors need and want information and prefer patience. This in turn builds trust, instilling confidence in the senior contemplating buying a membership. It basically reaffirms that they are doing the right thing in taking this first step to join.

Seniors as consumers hold certain expectations that need to be met for fulfillment. As part of the packaging of the programming, seniors also need and crave socialization and to be part of the group. They need leadership, to have an instructor to safely guide them through the program, with an eye to protecting them from injury and awareness of ailments like arthritis and osteoporosis in the participants. They look for convenience, with minimal stairs and easy entry, or even better brought to their home. Lastly they want value and attention, to feel like they are progressing and that their state of well being is something that is noted.

As with any market, the sales approach needs to be geared to their age defined needs and preferences. In the year 2010 and in the coming years the greying of the boomers market will keep growing by leaps and bounds. There will be an even greater emphasis on slowing the effects of aging and possibly the reversal through movement and exercise. This, the marketers realize is what it’s all about at any age. Seniors, like everyone else, want to maintain a high quality of life and that definitely includes exercise to make it happen.

The Ndebele wedding is celebrated in three stages, this can take several years. The first stage is Labola for the bride; this is paid in instalments of both money and livestock. The second stage is a two-week sequestration of the bride during which time other women teach the bride how to be a good wife and the third stage is completed when the bride has her first child.

The groom to be sends a letter to the bride’s family to request a date for the Labola negotiation. He then has to purchase a sheep; some blankets, a broom and a few clothes for the girl’s family. The grooms parents then visit the brides parents and pay the Labola, after this they take the girl to the boys family to get to know him and his family.

Preparation for the wedding day will include writing up a guest list and sending out of the invitations, this happen two weeks before the wedding day. Food is bought and cooked the traditional way this will include ‘mielie pap’ (traditional maize meal) meat and salads, fruit, sweets and cake are served as dessert on the day.

The official ceremony will take place in a church, family members will be present for this so that they can witness the couple saying their wedding vows and the placing of rings on each others fingers. After the church ceremony the couple will change into traditional clothes and go with the guests to the girls home to eat. After they have finished to eat the couple will sit at a table, which has been especially decorated for them. Everyone present will talk to the couple and give them gifts.

The groom will then thank the guests where after they will go to his home. The oldest boy in the family will be there together with all the parents and grand-parents to give the girl an Ndebele name.

 

Weddings are joyous occasions, full of the promise of starting a wonderful new life together. Why not increase your chances for future happiness by including some traditional symbols of good luck in your special day? These are some of the things said to bring good luck for weddings.

The best known “good luck package” is the something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue (and sometimes also a sixpence in your shoe). Most every bride knows this expression, but did you know the specific ways in which each item is intended to grant you good fortune? The old item represents your ties to your family and the past, and shows that even as you move towards a new life, your family will still be there to love and support you. The new, of course, represents the newlyweds’ new union and life together, and is most often the wedding gown or bridal jewelry.

Something borrowed can be any item that the bride can wear or carry, such as a friend’s veil or a piece of her mother’s bridal jewelry. What many people do not realize is that the borrowed item should ideally come from a happily married woman, the idea being that the bride is borrowing some of her wedding bliss. The color blue has symbolized fidelity and faithfulness since ancient times, making its purpose in the good luck package obvious. It might be even luckier if the groom wore some blue too! Many brides are not familiar with the old English “sixpence in your shoe” part of the good luck package, but quite simply, it represents hope for future wealth. A bride can find at sixpence at a rare coin store (most stock them expressly for this purpose, and they are not expensive) or take her chances with a penny.

Speaking of blue, did you know that a sapphire engagement or wedding ring is also supposed to bring good luck to the marriage? The blue sapphire stands for fidelity and love, just as it does in the “something blue” rhyme. For the same reason, aquamarine rings are supposed to be lucky, but the gem is not nearly as durable as a sapphire, and cracking the stone in your engagement ring seems unlucky indeed! For that reason, brides might wish to consider wearing lucky aquamarine earrings or choosing blue crystal earrings as an alternative.

Brides with Chinese heritage will want to bring some red into their weddings, as it is the good luck color in China. Of course, the double happiness symbol is a natural element to include in a wedding. Meaning “joy and happiness”, the symbol is one of the most powerful good luck charms. Feature it throughout the wedding, on the cake, the invitations, even on the bridal gown. There is no such thing as too much good luck on your wedding day!

Some of the things which are supposed to bring good luck to a wedding are beyond the control of the bride and groom. It is often said that rain on the wedding day is lucky, although that is a type of luck that most brides would be willing to forgo! An old English custom says that finding a spider in the bridal gown is lucky, but again, not too many brides are hoping for that particular lucky omen. Of course, there are those who believe that you make your own luck, by choosing the right partner…but wear something borrowed, just to be safe!

International travel can be a great experience; it allows you to witness many new cultures and lifestyles. International travel has many benefits which make it better than your traditional domestic vacation. Depending on your destination, traveling abroad can also save you money because of the current exchange rate. These rates change and may not be available in the future. A good exchange rate or activity that you would like to see may not be available if you put off planning the vacation. Another benefit of planning an international trip today is the current technology, which makes booking a trip easy. Technology can help eliminate the hassle of finding the best prices and locations based on your budget.

Traveling, whether for a long weekend away to a nearby country, or clear across the globe, is invigorating, refreshing and expands so much in one’s life that it is something that more people should do. Traveling abroad can greatly change your life for the better because there are many cultures and lifestyles to experience. These cultures can provide you with an entirely new perspective on life. Once you begin experiencing the beauty of the world, you may even begin planning yearly international vacations.

Currency rates fluctuate regularly and, as stated before, this may be a good reason to plan an international vacation today. Money is necessary if you are planning to travel and see the sights the country has to offer. If your currency can be exchanged at a reasonable rate, this can greatly improve your vacation experience. This is an important reason for traveling internationally now since you can get the most out of your trip. If you put the trip off the exchange rate may change for the worse and you can lose money after arriving at your destination.

Practical reasons

However, let us get down to the more practical reasons for traveling internationally. Frankly, it is understandable why most people would be hesitant to travel now. The economy appears to be in bad shape and many people are trying to save money. However, in some instances, this can be beneficial for travel, the airlines may lower their prices in order to get your business and this can save you money. Airline prices also fluctuate between airlines and by looking around you may find a special promotional vacation package that may not be available in the future.

Vacations are meant to be fun and enjoyable and this is another reason for traveling abroad today. There are many locations to visit from the beaches of the Caribbean to the beautiful and exquisite city of Paris, France. Experiencing something new is always the best way to live and an international vacation provides just that. This can spice up your life by allowing you to find things that you would not normally consider trying.

In fact, these days traveling is so much easier, more efficient and less time consuming than it used to be. We can travel across the globe faster and it requires much less energy than was required years ago. It is also possible watch TV, movies or listening to music while traveling. On some airlines, you can even follow the path of your airplane via satellite!

Technology and travel

Due to the technology available, planning a vacation can be stress-free as well. By using the internet to purchase your international flight tickets, you can plan your trip, get travel advice, and shop around for great deals. Technology has come a long way especially for finding the best travel packages. You can book your hotel, car, flight, and even your entertainment all on one website. If you are unsure of your destination, you can browse through the millions of videos and pictures of different locations to find which location best suits you. Planning an international trip can be an enjoyable experience when compared to the hassle involved years ago.

It is highly recommended to travel abroad at least once in your life and there are many benefits to planning your trip now. Saving money is the main reason for planning your trip today. When traveling abroad, you may have to exchange your money for the local currency. Currency exchange rates change frequently and this can have a large impact on your vacation. Since you do not know what the rates are going to be in the future, it is best to plan your trip while a good rate is available. You should also consider planning a trip because of the cultural value. Experiencing new cultures and lifestyles can help provide much value to your life. It may even change your life completely because you may find something new that you like. If you are planning an international trip, you should consider these suggestions because they can help you get the most out of your trip.

 

The 21st century has been the age of so many technological breakthroughs and advances, technologies aimed for one purpose and that is to make the lives of people better by helping them become more efficient in their work. One such technological breakthrough is computer technology.

Computer technology has grown in great proportions starting from a computer with a size that of a room to a small well-designed palm top computer. Computers nowadays have become an indispensable part of the lives of people, especially at work, at companies, businesses, schools, offices and even in homes.

It has made the world smaller, but has it made our world better? It would then lead us to ask whether computer technology is good or bad. Now let us try to look at first some of the bad effects. With the advent of computers and with the internet it has become easy to access pornographic sites, children are more exposed to explicit content; some students would lose focus on their studies as they play computer games. The number of obesity cases has increased and it has been attributed to too much computer activity that led to less physical activity among a number of people.

On the other side of the coin, computers have opened a whole new world of possibilities. It is now easier to gain information on world events; you can even find a job in the internet; you can spread advocacies to a vast number of people all over the world; and most importantly it is now easier to be connected with one another even if you are on the other side of the globe.

Computer technology, just like any other material on earth has been created with a common good in mind. Just like a knife, it has been made to cut and slice food to speed up cooking time for people but it can also be used to kill people, and you cannot ban the use of knives in order to stop killing. And so you can’t blame computers for the problems it may have caused for it is the people who use them who caused the problem. It has disadvantages and advantages that must be taken into consideration.

But the problem is not computer technology itself; the problem resides on the people who use it. Computer technology is generally good for it can bring in a lot of good if it is used properly, but can do great harm if used unwisely.

People have choices on how they make use of earth’s resources, and that choice will determine how certain materials will affect people, be it good or bad.

 

Using an assistant agreement is vital when hiring a real estate assistant. It should describe the working relationship between you and the assistant. The first thing you should consider is whether he or she is an employee or working as an independent contractor. If you choose to have an employee you have to deduct taxes, social security and unemployment insurance from their pay. This involves a lot of record keeping on your part plus the added expenses you incur by having an employee…

So after consideration most agents that hire assistants choose the independent contractor status. You do not have to do any of the withholding. You just have to provide a 1099 form. There is no salary only a commission or fee as payment or services rendered payment. This fee will also be deductible on your taxes as an expense.. It would be wise to check with your accountant to see how to handle the payment schedule.

You should hire an assistant that has an active real estate license because if they don’t have one it will limit them to doing only what an unlicensed person can do. This will make a very big difference because there are many tasks that need a licensed agent to perform. Some of the requirements you should consider when interviewing an assistant would be having computer skills in programs such as Microsoft word, excel or comparable programs. If they don’t have a laptop computer you may have to provide one. Although it’s an expense the investment will prove well worth it.

Let’s talk about what else an agreement should do.

  • Define the work hours
  • Define commission or payment services
  • Explain what duties you expect from an assistant
  • Assist with showings
  • Assist with market value reports
  • Go on market value report appointments with you
  • Set Appointments
  • Do open houses
  • Record keeping
  • Mailings
  • Hand out flyers
  • Place signs for open houses
  • Make phone calls on your behalf
  • Prospecting for new business
  • Review the daily updates on the MLS
  • Preview new listings
  • Meet all of your clients and customers
  • A team player attitude

You must determine a payment schedule of how much, when and how often the assistant should expect payment. Your business growth should have a direct effect on commission increases for the assistant. A confidentially clause is important to have in your agreement. The assistant must know that what goes on between both of you stays confidential. Having this all on paper will set the guidelines. Your assistant will know their job description and their duties.. A real estate assistant agreement should protect both parties.

No business exists and operates in a vacuum, but as a part and parcel of the environment in which it finds itself. Efficient and effective marketing strategy is a function of the marketing manager’s ability to understand the environment in which the business operates.

The marketing environment consists of a set of factors or forces that operate or influence a company’s performance in its chosen target market.

Jain (1981:69) defined the marketing environment to include all those factors that may affect the organization directly or indirectly in any perceptible way. Marketing environment factors affects the organization by the way of input and the organizations also affect the environment by output. The relationship between the organization and the marketing environment is often referred to as “inseparable” the organization and it environment are constantly in a state of: give and take” or homeostasis.

The marketing environment consist of those forces or element that impacts on the company’s capability to operate effectively in its chosen target market.

The marketing environment is divided into two major components. The elements are,

Internal environment: the internal environment is concerned with the controllable variables. Controllable variables are categorized into two groups, they are; the strategy variables and unmarketable variables. External environment: the external environment is concerned with the uncontrollable variables. These variables are called uncontrollable because the marketing manager cannot directly control any of the elements. The marketing manager is left with the option of adapting to the environment by prompt observation, analysis and forecasting of these environmental factors. The external environment can further be divided into two components, the micro environment and the macro environment.

Micro environment:

The elements that fall under the micro environment consist of forces or factors in the firm’s immediate environment that affect the firm’s capability to perform effectively in the market place. These forces are suppliers, distributors, customers and competitors. Let us discuss each of the variables in details.

Suppliers:

Suppliers are business customers who provide goods and services to other business organizations for resale or for productions of other goods. The behavior of certain forces in the suppliers can affect the performance of the buying organization positively or negatively. The critical factors here are the number of suppliers and the volume of suppliers to the industry. An audit of the suppliers will enable us to appreciate their strength and bargaining power, which the suppliers hold over the industry as a whole. The answers to the issues concerned have the potentials to affect the capability of firms in the industry to effectively deliver need-satisfying goods and/ or services. The trend today is that buyers attempt to persuade the supplier to provide exactly what the firms want. This process is known as “reverse marketing”.

Customers:

Customers are those who buy goods and/ or services produced by the company. In a purchase chain, different people play significant roles before a purchase decision is made. The various influences must be understood. The customer may be the consumer of the products where he/she is the user. The critical factor here is that needs and wants of consumers are not static. They are fast changing. The changes in the preferences of the consumer create opportunities and threats in the market. The changes called for the marshaling of separate strategy to either fit into windows of opportunities or survive the threats in the market. A good knowledge of consumers’ behavior will facilitate the design and production of goods and services that the customers need and want, and not what they are able to produce.

Competitor:

A competitor is a firm operating in the same industry or market with another firm. The consideration here is that, Firm A produces a substitute to that of firm B (industrial approach) or firm A and firm B seeks to satisfy the same customer need (market approach.