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    Wandering Again

    blog pictureWe are back from our Hawaiian Workation and back to real life. We were in Hawaii for three weeks and loved every minute of it. My kids said their favorite thing was being homeless and camping on the beach for five nights. It’s a whole lot easier being homeless in Hawaii than in Canada.

    I really liked being able to work with our whole team on RoosterBookings. The system is a tour booking system for travel agents but we have been working on things to make it awesome for activity providers as well. All of the functionality is there and I think it will be really nice to have a whole slew of activity providers on the system as well as travel agents.

    After getting back to Canada we immediately had the itch to wander again. We packed up the kids and headed down to Kalispell, MT to see the incredible Bill Harley. We love Bill Harley. We’ve listened to him for many years of the mtpr.org show http://mtpr.org/programs/pea-green-boat. The kids even got to shake his hand and talk to him after the show.

    During the show I had to wonder what tour reservation software Bill uses? Ha. Just like me to think of work while laughing my head off and singing along to You’re In Trouble.

  • Turning a Vacation into a Workation

    doug-pitcher[1]We are at week two of our Hawaiian workation. The family is playing while I’m at our corporate headquarters putting the finishing touches on the travel agency software we’ve spent the last two years developing. We have it live and running on a few tour operator websites but we are really excited to release the full version to anyone needing a booking system for travel agents.

    It’s a wonderful life working from Hawaii. I find myself getting up in the morning fairly early and then working a full day and being done by 2 pm or 3 pm since all my regular clients and employees are done their day on the mainland by then.

    While here on the North Shore we decided to camp on the beach for five nights. I know it sounds like we were skimping out on a hotel expense but the kids actually wanted to rough it on the beach for that time. We brought tents and sheets and we camped Hawaiian style. We put up what’s called an Easy Corner that protects everything under it from rain and debris. Thank goodness I have friends that know the ins and outs of camping here. They were on the state park tour reservation system right at 5 pm the week before and got us a permit for the five nights.

    Camping was such a good experience. The kids spent about six hours a day in the water and I worked out of the makeshift office when not in the corporate office.

    One of the days while I was working later in the day I ran a process for a client on the US East Coast. They were six hours ahead of our time here. I was sweating in bed around 3:30 am and got a call from the client. I pulled myself out of the tent and headed to a park bench and supported them for an hour or so. I thought if anyone drove by they would have thought a homeless person was squatting on an uninhabited bench.

    I’m not sure but I’d guess our kids are about the only Canadians that can say they lived the homeless life in Hawaii and I’m the only Canadian that actually consulted on a beach in Hawaii at 3:30 am.

    There’s something to be said with a workation. It’s allowed me to spend a lot longer away from our normal life in Canada and has given me a lot of time to work on making our travel agency system the best tour operator software possible.

  • What to look for in a good travel itinerary

    Thank goodness for travel opportunities. We’ve had one of the worst winters ever in recent memory. We are 125% snow pack in the mountains and if things don’t warm up soon, the Canadian wilderness where I live will turn into an uninhabitable wasteland where only Vikings and crazy people live.

    To escape the winter doldrums I’ve fled to Hawaii with my family and am visiting our corporate headquarters on the beautiful North Shore of Oahu. While I work during the day my wife and kids are off exploring. As I’ve thought of their adventures I started thinking about how to best meet their recreational needs and my work obligations as well. What we really need a good plan or itinerary of our daily schedule.

    We started planning out this trip and listed all the locations, events, and educational prospects we wanted to accomplish in the three weeks we are away. As with most trips we try to get as many educational activities planned to give our kids the most varied outlook on life as possible.

    We started listing such things as visting Pearl Harbor, Nuuanu or punch bowl creator, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. After deciding all the activities we wanted to do we looked at pricing and timing of when we could go to all of these.

    When all was said and done we consolidated all of the events into one document.

    Of course the plan we set up wasn’t as detailed as most travel agents give their clients. It doesn’t include check in times, check out times, drop off place, drop off time, return time, etc. But it did include potential dates, description of activity, and the venue we were planning on going to.

    The idea was to include everything we needed into one document. That way we didn’t have to find the multiple websites, emails, and files when we wanted to do something.

    It’s really nice to also have a multiple week holiday schedule broken out into several potential daily schedules and still be really flexible to change what we want to do depending on how we feel that day.

    I would list out all the activities we decided to do while we are here but really all that matters is we are in a warmer climate and enjoying the fact we don’t have to plan out our wardrobe based on the negative degrees we see on the thermometer like most crazy Canadians at this time of year.

  • Travel Agency Booking System. Do I really need one? Or can I do without it?

    I like to travel a lot. I think it’s mostly because I live in Alberta, Canada and about 8 months out of the year it is either cold, windy, or both cold and windy. As the cold weather comes I longingly look for travel opportunities and trips I can take that are exciting and fun but in all reality, I’m just looking for a location I don’t have to wear my woolen winter underwear at.

    My family and I just came back from a road trip to Sonora, Mexico. I really didn’t want to drive 30 hours to Mexico and my wife thought I was crazy to even suggest such an adventure. She convinced me it would be way more practical and safer to fly instead of drive.

    Grudgingly I agreed to check out our options. I did my usual internet search and found a couple of travel agencies that professed to have what I wanted. The location I wanted to go was a bit foreign to my usual travels so had to rely on someone else’s expertise to help with agenda and scheduling.  My big issue was finding flights to the location along with scheduling some of the activities I was interested in (I wanted to take my boy fishing out on the ocean). The problem in my search was the travel agents website was very frustrating. I couldn’t choose any options. I had no idea if it was just a web page put out there as a front for nefarious business dealings. I emailed the information email address but didn’t hear back for about a week and by that time it was too late. I actually got the email when I was driving through Tucson in +38 Celsius weather. Not that I’m complaining. I’d rather have plus anything then Negative 38 c.

    Here I was, someone wanting to find and pay for a travel agent to help me on my vacation plans, and I was left to my own guessing and frustrations.

    I understand why some businesses haven’t chosen to implement a travel agency booking system in the past. Sometimes the business owner isn’t a techy type person or isn’t ready to invest money to have someone do the implementation for them. But both of those issues are minimized when using RoosterBookings.com. It’s easy to integrate a fully functional booking system in a new or existing website and it’s only $25 a user per month.

    There is no reason to at least try it out. You may be saving a poor Canadian like me having to drag his family 30 hours across tundra, desert, and places unknown just because I had no way to find your services.