Crony Chauffeur Services

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ground transportation taken looked closer

When air travelers touch down at an unfamiliar airport, they have a few options for the next leg of their journey.
Rent a car. Take a taxi. Step onto a shuttle. Board a bus or a light-rail train.
While online travel agencies such as Hotwire, Orbitz or Travelocity make it easy for travelers to book a rental car when they make flight and hotel reservations, customers who prefer not to drive have largely been left to their own devices once they're on the ground.
"The ground transportation category has largely been ignored," said Charles Fraas, CEO for GroundLink, a global car service. "For years, it has really never met the consumer’s needs."
The industry is widely fragmented with numerous local suppliers, Fraas said. That's made it difficult for travelers to find broad, geographic coverage and reliable service, he added, and there's a wide discrepancy in pricing. “We’re really challenging the travel industry to think broader.”
GroundLink lets customers book a car via phone, online or through a mobile app and offers 12 classes of service, from sedans and sport-utility vehicles to stretch limos and party buses. Customers can see the price of their car before they book and view their driver's location.
GroundLink currently is available in 5,000 cities and 110 countries. “Many of these countries, you can actually book a car with us with one-hour notice,” said S. Daniel Leon, general manager of mobile for GroundLink.

Another option for travelers is, an online marketplace for private car service. CEO T.J. Clark said his company's mission is to make it as easy to book a car service as it is to book a hotel or flight online.“Many places in New York, you can get a car with us in five minutes,” Leon said, adding that the company plans to expand to more U.S. cities in 2012.
“What is so surprising is that less than 5 percent of the bookings in this category are being done online,” Clark said. has aggregated 2,000 local suppliers from around the globe and entered them in a single, common interface that lets customers input, for example, the number of passengers and where they are going, and see instant results that include price comparisons, star ratings and customer reviews. will be live with five of the 10 largest airlines, two of the four largest hotel chains and three of the top six online travel agencies in early 2012, Clark said.
“Car service is a great service,” Clark said. “It’s reliable, safe and it can be affordable.”
Clem Bason, president of Hotwire Group, told that until about six months ago it was difficult to compare prices for ground transportation options. He thinks and GroundLink can help fill in that information gap. “It’s clearly meeting a need,” he said.Bob Lewis, director of ground transportation for Sabre Travel Network, the world's largest global distribution system, said corporate travel agents often are able to book private cars for their clients but he sees significant opportunity for growth in the leisure-travel market.
"I’m not sure that a cab is always the most comfortable choice,” Lewis said.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Civilization's most important places to Travel'

By Rob Lovitt
Philippe Renault / / Aurora Photos
Where Cultures Took Shape: The bullring in Ronda is thought to be one of the oldest in Spain.
Consider “Great Places of History: Civilization’s 100 Most Important Sites” (TIME Books, $29.95), a new, 154-page hardcover book that captures the span of mankind’s time on the planet through more than 200 photographs.
“It’s a book about culture and history and human beings,” said editor Kelly Knauer. “We didn’t want it to be a series of ‘postcard’ shots.”
According to Knauer, the book is an outgrowth of TIME’s Person of the Year feature, which annually profiles a person the magazine’s editors consider to be the most influential on the world stage.
“We looked at the globe and said, ‘What are the 100 places that really influenced history, where historic events happened, where great trends began or societies crystallized that affected the course of civilization’,” Knauer said.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the book features several of what Knauer calls “the usual suspects” — the Acropolis, Angkor Wat, Moscow’s Red Square — but it also highlights lesser-known places that played roles in culture, war, scientific inquiry and other fields of human endeavor. Among them:
  • Avebury: “Everybody knows Stonehenge,” said Knauer, but this nearby Neolithic ruin “was actually a larger site back in the day and probably more important.”
  • The Silk Road: “It wasn’t just a highway for goods,” said Knauer. “It was the conduit by which Asian culture traveled to Europe and vice versa.”
  • Shakespeare’s Globe: Yes, the London theater is a replica of the original, but its inclusion speaks to the importance of its one-time resident scribe. Said Knauer, “Shakespeare shaped the way we think because he shaped the way we talk.”
At the same time, including such modern sites underscores the book’s premise that there’s more to history than a compilation of dusty archeological sites. It’s a living thing that’s happening all the time.
Consider, for example, the last entry in the book, which captures a trio of giant sculptures rising above the Nevada desert during the festival/encampment/cultural experiment called Burning Man.
“Who’s to say history isn’t being made there?” asks Knauer. “We may not know what comes out of there for 30 or 40 years but I bet something interesting will.”
Philippe Lissac / Godong / Corbis
Sacred Spaces: Pilgrims gather outside the Church of St. George, a rock-hewn church in Lalibela in northern Ethiopia.
Domingo Leiva / Getty Images
Bastions of Power: Tikal, an archeological gem once ruled by the Mayans, is located in northern Guatemala.

Monday, 7 November 2011

No passport required - See the world

Fascinated by foreign culture but turned off by the high cost of international airfare?
Think globally, travel locally. From the “Danish Capital of America” in Solvang, Calif., to the docks of “Greek Town” in Tarpon Springs, Fla., cities and towns across America offer a glimpse of foreign lands without the cost or hassle of going overseas.
“It’s hard for a lot of people to go abroad right now,” said Anne Banas, executive editor of Smarter Travel. “ Travelling domestically and getting the flavor of some of those places has a huge appeal, especially in this economy.”
Carol Barrington
Der Lindenbaum is a German restaurant in Fredericksburg, Texas.
If that sounds appealing, the following places all offer a warm willkommen, velkommen or kalos orisate.
Fredericksburg, Texas: Founded by Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach in 1846, this town in the Texas Hill Country doesn’t wear its Germanic history on its sleeve — or, apparently, its pant leg: “You’re not going to see chalets with people running around in lederhosen,” said Daryl Whitworth of the local convention and visitor bureau, “but the town still harkens back to the way the old Germans lived.”
The results of their efforts are on display throughout the city’s downtown, much of which is contained within a National Historic District. Stroll the Marktplatz, or Market Square; explore the historical exhibits at the former Vereins Kirche, a church-turned-pioneer-museum; and enjoy some Black Forest cake or German pancakes at one of the town’s many cafes and bakeries.
New Glarus, Wis.: Looking for a place where you can eat, drink and yodel? Head to America’s “Little Switzerland,” where chalet-style buildings, Swiss flags and bilingual street names honor a history dating back to 1845.
In summer, that history is on display at popular attractions like the Swiss Historical Village Museum(closed for the season) but come fall you can get a taste of it at local favorites, including the New Glarus Hotel — try the kalberwurst, or veal sausage — and the New Glarus Brewing Company. Gatwick Taxis
Wherever you go, you’re likely to get a sense of “heimat” or home, said Beth Zurbuchen, president of the Swiss Center of North America: “It doesn’t have to be a building or a place; it can be what’s in your heart and people come from all over the world to experience it.”
Solvang, Calif.: Already famous for its windmills, thatched-roof buildings and copies of Copenhagen landmarks like the Little Mermaid statue, the self-proclaimed “Danish Capital of America” is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. 
Tarpon Springs, Fla: Thirty miles north of St. Petersburg,Tarpon Springs has maintained a close cultural link to Greece ever since the first generation of Greek fishermen came to harvest sponges from the local waters in the early 20th century.To join the festivities, check out the folk crafts at the Queen of Arts Show & Sale (Nov. 4-5) and the Julefest parade (Dec. 3), which features holiday floats, vintage vehicles and displays of Danish music and dancing.
Since then, the sponge industry has had its ups and downs but the Greek connection is alive and well, especially on the sponge docks along Dodecanese Blvd. During monthly (April­-November) Night in the Islands events, for example, the street is closed off, lights are strung and live Greek music provides a backdrop for dining, dancing and conversation.
“It’s not a performance; it’s a participatory event,” said Tina Bucuvalas, curator of the city’s art and historical resources. “Everybody gets up and dances — it’s a lot like being in Greece.”