Video Conferencing – The Solution For Business Travel

Video teleconferencing, or VTC, has enabled companies to reduce or completely eliminate their annual travel expenses and those companies with international clients are really feeling the advantages of these technological marvels. These days, instead of job opportunities for those willing to travel, those same job openings are being filled by those who can navigate and perform tech service on a company’s teleconferencing system. It’s been a cure-all for companies working hard to reduce overhead. A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder of LegalAuthority.com says it’s a great way for attorneys to meet and discuss legalities of their cases and it’s an ideal solution for a law firm whose partner may already be out of town, but who needs to collaborate with another partner on business matters.

There are other advantages too – from an environmental standpoint. Less travel means a smaller carbon footprint. Anything good for the environment is always preferable and coupled with the savings of fewer airline tickets, hotels and meals, it becomes the right fix for even the larger companies that might have the bigger budgets for annual travel.

The overnight success of Skype has made it even easier for us to meet via web cams. “It’s a great alternative to more traditional meetings – even when out of town travel isn’t part of the game” says A. Harrison Barnes. Today, lawyers are opting for an impromptu Skype meeting to avoid midday traffic or in an effort to get out of the office early. Skype offers its services at no cost, but even those legal firms that choose more advanced capabilities, the cost savings are substantial. In fact, many of the employers on LegalAuthority.com are conducting interviews with potential job candidates via VTC. No worries, though if you don’t have those capabilities, employers are taking advantage of when they can, but they’re still having those face to face meetings, too.

As with all of the incredible gadgets from the 20th, and now 21st, century, intricate VTC systems will drop in prices and before long they’ll be as common as cell phones and laptops. Remember, when cells and personal computers were developed, few people could afford them today, very few of us can imagine a life without our gadgets.

If, however, you are able to conduct an interview via teleconferencing, you’ll want to be sure to approach it as though you were walking into an office instead of logging in online. Dress appropriately, turn your cell off and put your dog in another room. Also, be sure to turn the television and/or music off, too. The last thing an employer wants to do is talk over the soap opera or talk show in the background. Avoid picking up that glass of diet Coke or cup of coffee and certainly, avoid eating while on camera. You’d be surprised at how many forget their manners. Finally, recognize glitches happen. The best preparations don’t always guarantee a flawless VTC interview. Be patient and if the employer decides a face to face interview would best serve his purposes, by all means, accept the request for a face to face meeting.

A few rules and forethought can ensure an excellent interview via one of the latest must haves in technology.

Put Your Best Foot Forward by Hiring a Town Car Service for All Your Business Transportation Needs

Whether you’re picking up a client from the airport or transporting a VIP to a meeting downtown, hiring town car services for your business transportation needs allows you to maintain an atmosphere of professionalism even when you’re on the move. Invest in your professional image by hiring a sedan service the next time you need to get around town.

Even if you usually conduct most of your business in one central location, chances are you’ll coordinate travel with other business professionals, clients, or VIPs at some point. When that comes up, it’s important that said transportation experience is reflective of your business profile, values, and conduct. Instead of letting a prospective client or a potential board member find their own way to their hotel, to a meeting location, or to a special event, consider hiring a professional sedan service instead. Arranging to take care of airport car services or in-town door-to-door transportation shows that you care about a business associate’s time, energy, and comfort, and illustrates that you’re a step above the competition.

No matter what line of business you’re in, you will most likely work with people outside of your immediate sphere at some point. Say that you have a client, specialist, or consultant flying in from out of town–or from out of the country–to meet with your company. They may not be familiar with your city and may not know how to get around on their own. While most airports have taxi stands, it’s simply basic courtesy to facilitate an in-person pickup and subsequent transportation for this individual. You wouldn’t let a family member show up at the airport and leave them to get home on their own–why would you let a client do so? Arranging an airport car service for a business contact illustrates that you are committed to caring for that person as an individual as well as a business associate. It also shows that you realize their time and energy are valuable and shouldn’t be spent navigating an unfamiliar location.

This same principle also applies when it comes to in-town travel. Hiring a town car service to transport business contacts to and from meetings, showings, or events conveys your respect and appreciation to that person. It also shows that your company has the resources to treat others with superior consideration. If you want your company to stand out from the competition, one of the best ways to do that is to make your in-person interactions as memorable and as high-quality as your business actions. When it comes down to it, business decisions have a lot to do with what someone thinks about you and your company personally. Your professional conduct, history, and reputation are, of course, important too, but if you and your firm stand out on an interpersonal level as well, you’ll be a cut above the rest.

Hiring a car service for clients and other business associates is a simple, effective way to make a big impact. It indicates respect and a level of professionalism that will stand you in good stead in every situation.

Top 3 Reasons To Invest In Traverse City MI Real Estate – A Great Small-Town Travel Destination

According to TripAdvisor, Traverse City is the second best small town travel destination in the US. The Grand Traverse Bay is what gives the city its name. The city is governed by a mayor and 6 commissioners, and is a home rule charter city. From a residential as well as a commercial perspective, investing in real estate here truly makes sense. Here are the top three reasons to invest in real estate in Traverse City.

Tourism
Traverse City is the biggest producer of tart cherries in the country. It is famous for the week-long Cherry Festival held during the first week of July every year. Tourism is a key industry of the city, attracting crowds during both summer and winter. In fact, the Cherry Festival and other attractions of the city draw almost half a million tourists annually. The city boasts of a number of natural attractions like fresh water beaches, abundant forests, a National Lakeshore, the ever-popular Mt. Holiday with a number of skiing locations, and the recreational trails of the VASA system.

With so many attractions all around the city, owning a home here has many obvious advantages. The property can be rented out for tourists visiting the city. It can also be used as a guest house for companies to house their executives. Owning commercial properties in the city also has tremendous benefits since the region has a burgeoning tourist population all around the year.

Business
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation administers the CDBG or Community Development Block Grant Program which is federally-funded. Projects that provide jobs and support new businesses are provided with grants. Businesses that deal with manufacturing, tourism, and multi-state distribution can request for grants for their role in improving public infrastructure. There are many federal and state-funded programs that help entrepreneurs and businesses setup shop in Traverse City and avail a multitude of incentives.

Housing Assistance
The Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency is engaged in helping residents with a number of different issues like paying bills, paying off debts, and even avoiding foreclosure on their homes. The agency provides counseling as well as a one-time cash grant to homeowners who are faced with mortgage foreclosure. They also provide reverse mortgage counseling for senior citizens. These and other benefits help keep families in their homes even during hard times.

With so many benefits for the home owner as well as the businessman, Traverse City is truly a great choice for those wishing to relocate to the Northern Michigan region.

South African Cape Town Travel Information

“Tavern of the Seas”

In 1652 Jan van Riebeeck sailed into Table Bay and laid the foundations of South Africa’s oldest city. His first undertaking was to establish a vegetable garden for the purpose of providing passing merchant ships with fresh food. Before long, weary sailors from around the world dropped anchor in the bay to replenish supplies.

The settlement soon earned the titled: ‘Tavern of the Seas’, and to this day, Cape Town has maintained a reputation for friendly hospitality. With its majestic Table Mountain backdrop, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. An eclectic mix of architectural styles reflects the tastes and dictates of the past – and the more functional demands of the 20th century.

The city’s Edwardian and Victorian buildings have been meticulously preserved, and many outstanding examples of Cape Dutch architecture are found in the city and its environs. Cobble stoned streets, mosque’s and the flat-roofed pastel homes of the Malay Quarter entrance a cosmopolitan ambience, and in a recent development, the restoration of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront evokes images of the seafaring activities of the 19th century.

For a closer look at life at the Cape in earlier times, interesting historical collections are on display in several museums. Cape Town’s shopping options invite you to endlessly browse – and buy. Elegant shopping malls, department stores, antique shops and at galleries abounds. Specialist boutiques in Long Street and the narrow little alleys intersecting it offer an enticing array of unusual articles not readily obtainable elsewhere.

At the end of the day, gourmets and lovers of sophisticated entertainment have a treat in store.

South Africa’s legislative capital is situated at the foot of Table Mountain, the famous flat-topped mountain with views out across the peninsula to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It is possible to walk up, but for the less intrepid, there is an excellent cable car.

The main hub of the city centre is the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the beautifully restored old Victorian harbor which offers free entertainment, a wide variety of shops, museums, including the excellent Aquarium, taverns and restaurants.

Boat trips leave from here for harbor tours or the notorious Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and many other nationalist leaders were imprisoned. The relics of early colonial government are centered on Government Avenue, with many fine old buildings and museums, including the Parliament Buildings; Groote Kerk (mother church of the Dutch Reformed faith); the Cultural History Museum; National Museum; National Gallery; Bertram House and Company’s Garden, planted in 1652 to provide food for passing sailors.

Nearby sights of interest include Bo-Kaap (the home of the Islamic Cape Malay people, confusingly of mainly Indonesian origin); the Castle of Good Hope in Darling Street, built in 1666; the Old Townhouse on Greenmarket Square, housing a permanent collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings; and the early 18th-century Koopmans de Wet House.

Those interested in learning more about black and ‘Cape coloured’ culture should visit the District Six Museum, Buitenkant Street, and take one of the many excellent guided tours of the outlying townships of Crossroads, Langa and Khayelitsha.

It is probably not safe for tourists to venture into these areas on their own. Cape Town also has excellent sporting and shopping facilities.

The Baxter Theatre and Artscape Theatre Complex offer a mix of local and international fare. Nightlife is concentrated in the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point, and parts of the central business district, notably around Long Street. Further out, the Cape-Dutch homestead of Spier and Ratanga Junction theme park both offer a variety of entertainment from classical to jazz concerts.

Excursions:

South of Cape Town a long peninsula stretches south, lined by fishing villages and holiday resorts, including Llandudno, Hout Bay, Kommetjie, Fish Hoek, Muizenberg and Simonstown, a delightful Victorian town with a couple of interesting museums and the only colony of penguins to live on the African mainland.

Inland, the magnificent Cape-Dutch farm, Groot Constantia, was one of the first wine farms in the Cape, while the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, created by Cecil Rhodes in 1895 on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, is one of the finest botanical gardens in the world.

In the summer there are open-air concerts. Nearby Chapman’s Peak has spectacular views, but the scenic drive from Hout Bay is currently closed due to landfalls, and you need to walk the last section to the summit. About an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve covers the southern tip of the Cape peninsula, with a profusion of flowers, birds and animals, culminating in Cape Point.

Don’t miss:

* Going by cable-car up Table Mountain.

* Robben Island.

* Sundowners on the Atlantic seaboard.

* Seafood at the three harbors and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

* Standing on the end of the peninsula at Cape Point.

* The photogenic historic Malay Quarter of the Bo-Kaap.

South African Prince Albert Town Travel Information

Prince Albert is a delightful South African village in the Karoo, which is part of the Western Cape. Although we live in an arid region we are blessed with water from the Swartberg Mountains and the village is a little oasis.

We enjoy a superb climate, with a high sunshine index and spectacular night skies. The village is a small gem, with beautifully preserved Cape Dutch, Karoo and Victorian buildings – 13 of which are National Monuments*.

There is ample hotel and guest house accommodation to suit all preferences and pockets. We also offer farm accommodation.

Prince Albert is known for its sun-ripened fresh and dried fruit, especially figs and apricots. In the Prince Albert Valley , to the south of the village, farmers are restoring vineyards last farmed in the 19th century. Karoo lamb, olives, olive oil and cheese are local delicacies. (See what to buy, farming & produce).

Here you can wander down to the dairy in the evening to buy your milk, cream and yoghurt, and visit our Saturday market for fruit and vegetables picked that morning, fresh baked bread, homemade jams and pickles.

Every April we hold our Prince Albert Town Festival when the village entertains crowds of visitors to a street market, delicious food, music, an art exhibition, competitions, a half marathon and cycle race and lots more.

Just 2kms from the foot of the awesome Swartberg Pass, Prince Albert is the perfect base for exploring all the wonders of the Swartberg including Gamkaskloof – “the Hell” and Meiringspoort

Activities for visitors include a guided historical walk through the town, a ramble along the “Gordon’s koppie”, a ghost walk in the evening, trips into the Swartberg Pass, a visit to the Prince Albert Gallery, where local artists display their work, local shops, the tannery and weavery, traditional Karoo meals, and a visit to the delightful Fransie Pienaar Museum where a local farmer distills “Witblits”.

Hiking, mountain biking, scenic drives, birding and bird- watching are major attractions. (see what to do)

The villages of Klaarstroom and Leeu Gamka fall within the municipal district.

Prince Albert is well situated for overnight stops from Gauteng, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The Garden Route resorts and beaches lie a two hour drive to the south. Oudtshoorn, the Cango Caves and the Karoo National Park are just an hour’s drive away.

The village of Prince Albert sprang from the loan farm Queekvalleij, established by Zacharias and Dina de Beer in 1762. The fertile valley soon attracted other farmers, church services were held on the market square and by 1844 an NG church had been built and a thriving community established.

In 1845 some parishioners suggested that the village be named Albertsburg after “Naar zijne Hoogheid” – his Royal Highness, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort. The Governor’s approval was granted in July and the village became known as Prince Albert.

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha lived between (1819 – 1861).

By 1855 our weekly market had been established and Bishop Robert Gray – the first Anglican Bishop of Cape Town, visited the village and found it “very beautifully situated at the foot of the Zwart-berg mountains.”

In 1857 a reading room was established, leading to the opening of our library in 1862 – one of the earliest in the Cape Colony. Queen Victoria sent a book of Prince Albert’s speeches to the village in 1867, this can now be seen at the Fransie Pienaar Museum.

Sadly the original library burnt down in 1949 but ten years later our new library was opened – please visit to see a permanent display about the village compiled by our librarian.

The new NG Kerk in Kerkstraat was consecrated in 1865 and the following year Ds Adriaan Hofmeyer replaced the small organ with the splendid instrument currently in use. Annie Luttig was appointed church organist in 1892 and held the post for 58 years.

During the 1850’s and 60’s there was much building activity and Carel Lotz created his famous Prince Albert gables. While you are here, please go on a guided historical walk around the village to see our gables, well preserved examples of Karoo cottages, Victorian homes, former cinema’s and our National monuments. Contact the Fransie Pienaar Museum 023 5411 172 or the Tourism Association Office 023 5411 366

In 1881 construction began in the Swartberg Pass but it was only in 1883, when Thomas Bain took over the project, that work started in earnest. In 1886 the pass was opened to the public – but at their own risk, as construction was still under way.

The post-coach left the Prince Albert Hotel every morning at 6.00am, on one occasion the driver stopped at the little settlement at the top of the pass for a cup of coffee and returned to find his coach gone – the horses had headed back towards Prince Albert and the warmth of their stable. The Swartberg Pass was officially opened on 10th January 1888. In 1904 Dr Russell from Oudtshoorn drove the first motorcar over the pass.

In 1891 a shepherd found a gold nugget on the farm Klein Waterval and the Prince Albert Gold Rush started. Enthusiastic miners predicted another Witwatersrand but only 504 ounces of gold were mined from the 1042 registered claims. Relics of the goldrush can be seen at our museum.

The Anglo-Boer War broke out in 1899. A British garrison was established here and there were a few skirmishes between commando’s and troops in the area. Boer Commandant Gideon Scheepers was taken captive on the farm Kopjeskraal and later executed in Graaff-Reinet. Boers seized the mail-coach horses near Botterkraal in 1901.

1912 saw the first issue of a weekly newspaper, The Prince Albert Friend/De Prince Albert Vriend which was published in Dutch and English – the tradition continues, buy your copy of our monthly newspaper at the Tourism Association Office

After you have visited the museum and seen the picture of Kweekvallei painted by Robert Gordon in 1778 walk up Gordon’s Hill to gain a bird’s eye view of the village. The koppies in the distance are just as Gordon drew them, but now a thriving village, home to over 6000 residents lies before you.

The green gardens and orchards bear testimony to the springs of the Swartberg mountains whose sheltering mass provide a spectacular backdrop to our very special, peaceful place.

South African Garden Route George Town Travel Information

The town of George is along the Garden Route in South Africa between Mossel Bay and Storms River, the Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline which features lakes, mountains, golden beaches, cliffs and dense indigenous forests.

The Garden Route has a Mediterranean Maritime climate, with moderately hot summers, and mild to chilly winters. It is one of the richest rainfall areas, most of which occurs in the winter months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian ocean.

George is at the heart of the Garden Route and the mecca of golf in the southern Cape, as it is home to the renowned Fancourt Country Club and Golf Estate and various other acclaimed golf courses.

Board the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe on its daily trip along the coastline between George and Knysna (except Sundays) at the Outeniqua Transport Museum, where one can enjoy a variety of enterprises. Visitors can also board the Power Van here, and enjoy a glimpse of the Garden Route Botanical Garden.

The George Museum with its timber history as theme offers ongoing exhibitions. The Montagu and Voortrekker Passes are national monuments, providing spectacular views of the Outeniqua Nature Reserve, which offers several hiking trails. The George Airport, the Outeniqua Pass, the railway line and the N2 offer excellent access and make George the ideal hub from which to explore the Garden Route and Little Karoo.

Any time of the year is good for visiting the area, depending if you enjoy a peaceful retreat during the winter months, or a bustling holiday destination during the summer.

George is the sixth oldest town in South Africa, situated in the beautiful Western Cape Province and is the Capital of the Southern Cape.

The town is very centrally situated: halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and centre of the Garden Route – ideal from where to explore the areas many variant and diverse scenic wonders. Situated on a 10 kilometre plateau between the majestic Outeniqua Mountain to the north and the Indian ocean to the South.

George also has an extremely sophisticated infrastructure with banks, conference facilities, businesses, major shopping chains, transport and sporting facilities, yet retaining its small town and country atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

The town is also a major accommodation centre with a vast array of facilities on offer to suite every taste and pocket. George has many historical landmarks to be visited. Like The Slave Tree, an ancient English Oak planted by Landdrost van Kervel. Known as the Slave Tree because of the very large chain and lock embedded in the trunk, it has been declared a national monument.

And the King Edward VII Library building is said to be the best example of Edwardian architecture in George.

See more about the Garden Route [http://www.travelinsouthafrica.co.za]

Cape Town Travel

Preparing for a a visit begins with choosing when to fly. Like many tourist destinations, Cape Town has its peak and off-peak seasons that you must know if you want to avoid getting closed on for a flight schedule you were counting on. The busiest season lies in the months of December and January, where people need to book a flight for as early as three months in advance! If your time can afford it, choose a less busy time of the year so that you are sure to be convenient during your flight as well as your travel.

Where you will stay is the next consideration. There are a lot of choices from five-star hotels to apartments, and lodges to guesthouses. The prices of these vary according not only to the services they offer or the popularity of the place, but also to its location and again, the season. For instance, those nearer to the main tourist spots of the town are bound to ask for a higher price than those far away from it; and generally, prices take on a hike during the peak seasons when the demand for accommodations are equally higher.

How do you get around Cape Town? From the Cape Town International Airport, you have a number of options to get to your hotel or lodge. There are taxis, car rentals, bus services, and, depending on the Cape Town travel deal you have landed on, you may have accommodation services that will pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel or lodge. In Cape Town, the same transportation services are available. One way to get around Cape Town that’s gaining favor from tourists, however, is backpacking. Many tourists in search of adventure prefer to set themselves on foot in exploring the town, and Cape Town can not be more accommodating. There are spots for mountain climbing, hiking, lodges complete with bars and cafés, restaurants and hotels. Backpackers, as well as other tourists, also have the options to wine and dine or party at the beach. There are a lot of establishments that provide fun for tourists all around Cape Town.

Setting yourself for a Cape Town travel also asks for learning about the major tourist spots that you shouldn’t miss. There is the famous Table Mountain, where people can get on top of with a cable car. During the ride as well as once you are on top of the mountain, you get a spectacular sight of the city, which you can explore with the telescopes that come with the cars. There are restaurants on Table Mountain, too, where you can have you can enjoy your stay on top. Robben Island is another favorite site in Cape Town for its historical significance. Where Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned, Robben Island is now a perfect spot to view the city and spend an evening in. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, with its cultivated garden of flowers, streams, and ponds, is also an ideal place to swing by during your travel. The place is ideal for picnics, as is eating in the restaurants scattered around the garden. There are a lot of other sites that tourists can – and should – explore. A Cape Town travel isn’t complete without visiting at least a few of these.

Cape Town Travel Guide

The ability to travel to far off places and experience different cultures and ways of living is a luxury available to only a limited group of the world’s population. Traveling should be a learning experience and the best way to get this experience is to interact with the local community.

Many people believe, taking a flight and booking into a luxury resort or hotel is traveling. While you might see some of the attractions you won’t experience the reality of the country or city if you don’t experience some of the local ways.

Lots of accommodation venues are only focused on luxury and restaurants adapt their menus to offer international cuisine that are known to travelers. Cape Town has many luxury lodges, villas, hotels and apartments that provide superior accommodation as well as world renowned restaurants offering the best of the best.

While all of these are wonderful you should try to include some local experiences during your Cape Town travel time to get a real feel of the country and its people.

There are a few ways to do this. Staying in one of the many bed & breakfast venues in Cape Town will give you an opportunity to communicate with the owners and other guests. Use this chance to find out more about the area. Locals are the best advisors on great places to eat shop or visit that might not be focused on the tourist market, but are excellent experiences. Olympia Café in Kalk Bay is such a venue. Their main focus is on the excellent food they provide with no other pretences.

The local townships will give you an idea of how 90 percent of the country’s people live. Slowly but surely township accommodation is becoming more and more available and a night or two in a township will allow you to become part of the different and vibrant culture of these areas. Some of the township areas are dangerous, but your hosts would definitely know where it is safe and where not. If you don’t want to spend the night, there are township tours with knowledgeable guides that you can consider.

Another way to really experience a place is to walk. South Africa has a walking culture. Many people walk the streets to get to their jobs, schools or shopping areas. The weather is excellent, although during summer it can be very hot. If you plan to walk try to stay out of the sun between ten and four. It is always safer to be part of a group when you are walking and nighttime walking should be avoided if possible. In busy areas and places such as the waterfront it is fine, but avoid quiet streets after dark. The many parks, gardens, promenades and the botanical gardens are stunning areas for walks and all the exercise will allow you more opportunities to experience the excellent cuisine of the Cape without feeling guilty.

Make an effort to really talk to the people. The people in Cape Town are friendly and helpful and most will be able to speak English.