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Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments: January 18-22January 22, 2010 By: Kirk Cassels
Every week, I peruse the comments and do my best to say something witty or entertaining about them while tying them in to pop culture references or travel industry topics. But this week is a different. For travel professionals, among many others in various industries, the past week has not been the most uplifting in regards to news. Reports on the earthquakes in Haiti, as well as in the Cayman Islands, continue to saturate the airwaves and web with saddening images and stories. Please keep texting "Haiti" to 9099 and searching for ways you can help those who need support in rebuilding their lives and homes.
With that being said, let's take a quick look at other topics that are on the minds of readers.
What's In A Name?
For more than a year, we've been releasing reports on Disney's plans to build a family-oriented resort in Hawaii. This week, the entertainment and resort giant finally named that new resort, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii. But as many in the industry get excited about this new selling point, one reader, named unclepat, is not as enthused, writing:
It seems that Disney hasn't done a good job of embracing the Hawaiian culture and using a name that identifies or closely resembles their resort, surrounding area or experience.
According to Hawaiian dictionary au.lani means
n. Messenger of a chief. Rare.
One would hope that this global giant would be more aka mai (smart) when it comes to embracing the local people and culture to create a true sense of place.
I guess unclepat feels Disney's naming is arrogant? unclepat, if you're reading this (or if anyone in concurrence with unclepat is), can you shed some more light as to why the name of the resort is not so aka mai?
Versus Over Viceroy Anguilla
Viceroy Anguilla is a dump. This is simply a reprint of a press release written by the developer. The place is way behind schedule and will not be fully open in November. Virgil Napier is a jerk. There are NO sunrise views at Viceroy and Barnes Bay is a tiny strip of sand and is the main beach for this resort. Their restaurants will be empty as they are too big to ever be full. They are nasty people and have hired one Anguillian for every 10 foreigners they employ. They are bad for Anguilla and will fail in short order.
I wasn't around to add my two cents on the comment becase I was on my honeymoon at the time. However, it appears another reader has recently visited the story to share her own point of views. Ashley Metz posted:
Wow! What a ridiculous comment from Freddie Elmon. He obviously has a hidden agenda by posting this comment. I have been to Viceroy Anguilla personally and can state without hesitation this is one of the most beautiful and luxurious resorts not only in the Caribbean, but possibly the world. How he or anyone else can say otherwise is quite absurd. They are employing hundreds of Anguillan's and providing a substantial tax base for the island. The villa I stayed in was fabulous. The food was amazing and the location was serene. Please don't listen to this man's jaded comments, as he obviously has a hidden agenda.
Pike is currently attending the Sundance Film Festival so he can't shed any light right now and neither can I since I've never been to Anguilla. So, for those of you familiar with the island or the property, please add your take on the matter. As of now, we have one pro and one con for the property. Who's going to be the tie-breaker?
While we're on the topic of Viceroy, it appears another one of the company's properties is receiving some not-so-friendly revies. Commenting on the news that the Viceroy Hotel Group is taking over L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, reader gtd writes:
Shame really. Fine hotel; probably won't be a great fit for the neighbors either.
What's the deal with the neighbors that they won't be so happy? Elaborate please.
Time to Talk Traverus
Traverus is rapidly becoming as controversial a company as YTB or JoyStar. You may recall a reader named Jimmy Plymouth posting a comment on a recent weekly wrap about Traverus, to which I responded last week. It appears Jimmy was not satisfied with what I had to say. So he returned to the original story to share the following:
I served my country, I went to school and became a chef. $40,000 for a piece of paper that says I'm Certified to cook.
I have two children, do you know how much time cooks/chefs spend in the kitchen?
I've had the privalege to date two "TTA" and trust me all I heard were complaints. And after working a "hard day" at the office they come home tired. What kind of life is that?
I changed my career thanks to TraVerus, and the things I've learned using the Network Marketing aka Word of Mouth aka People to People method open my eyes to "the Corporation" way of life.
In my opinion, if you aren't in network marketing your a slave! You've been brainwashed into believing that someday all that hard work will pay off.
The Truth Will Set Us Free!
Good Men Net-Working Together!
I don't think anyone would try to discredit Jimmy for his work, nor dare dishonor him after his service to our country. Most readers have been very anti-Traverus, and Jimmy is obviously a supporter of the company. I greatly value his input as I belive opposing voices help foster dialogue that can hopefully clear the air on this issue, which does not seem to be going away anytime soon. Jimmy, thanks for coming back to share. Hope to hear more from you and hope your job searches are going well.
Cut By Carnival?
A 16-month old story about Carnival Cruise Lines' travel agent forum with executives recently received a bold and unhappy complaint by one reader. Let's cut to the chase and take a look. Mary Levin wrote:
COURTESY CALLS TO AGENCY SHOULD BE GIVEN WHEN GROUP SPACE IS BEING CALLED WHEN MINIMUN DEPOSITS ARE IN ACCOUNT, NOT JUST TO CANCEL AND THE AGENT HAD NOT RECEIVED A CALL. MY GROUP WAS CUT FOR JULY 18, 2010, ON THE PRIDE AND THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME... WITH OUT NOTICE AND I AM ANGRY. NO ONE GIVES A HOOT. I NEED ASSISTANCE TO RETAIN THE PRICE ...4 OUT OF 8 CABINS WERE CANCELLED AND THE CLIENT CAN'T UNDERSTAND...NEW RULES SHOULD BE THAT $250.00 DEPOSIT SHOULD BE GIVEN AT ALL TIMES IN THE INITIAL CONTRACT. I HAVE BEEN DOING BUSINESS FOR 35 YRS ROYAL TRAVEL PLANNERS....TANYE'JOHNSON'S GROUP... THIS IS A WEDDING PARTY AND SHE IS FUMMING. HER RELATIVE GAVE AN AGENCY JUST 125.00 DEPOSIT AND THEY WERE NOT CUT...WE WERE NOT NOTIFIED...
So a wedding, a cruise and a vacation were ruined for consumers as an agent's desire for courtesy and professionalism is shunned, right? Is that what I'm seeing here? I'm very sorry to hear about this, Mary. I hope someone that reads the site can help you out. It's a shame to hear about this news, particulary on the heals of Carnival's preparations for travel agent webinars to aid agents. Perhaps the webinars are a good opportunity to address the issue?
No matter what the issue may be, don't forget to check in with AgentNation as often as you can. Plentiful travel professionals (in addition to our editors) are meeting there daily to network about anything from the best places to visit to how to find the best dude ranch for family reunions. Log in now. And if you haven't signed up yet, don't wait any longer.
Until next week...