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Fun Grand Canyon Tours

The Grand Canyon, located on the northern border of Arizona, was designated as a U.S. National Park in 1919. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, it receives more than 5 million visitors a year. The Grand Canyon was carved out by the Colorado River running along the base. The millions of years of erosion gave us the magnificent sight we have today. If you have never visited this unique national park, there are many fun tours available to provide you with an exciting time while you explore the wonders of the majestic Grand Canyon.

Fun Grand Canyon ToursGrand Canyon Helicopter Explorer

See the Grand Canyon from the air with Grand Canyon Helicopter Explorer tours. This fun and adventurous tour will take off from Boulder City, Nevada, just south of Las Vegas, and provide you with rare views of the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead while you travel to the western side of the Grand Canyon. When you get to the western rim of the canyon, your helicopter pilot will take you below the rim and give you a close-up view of the rock formations and geology of this unique landscape. You will also get a chance to see El Dorado Canyon, where your helicopter will set down and allow you to get out and explore the canyon for a little while before heading back to your point of origin.
Grand Canyon Helicopter tours provides transportation to and from your hotel to the Boulder City flight terminal.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Explorer
3900 Paradise Rd., Suite 185
Las Vegas, NV 89169
(888) 635 7272
www.papillon.com/popris/show_package.aspx?package_id=286&lang=en-US

Fun Grand Canyon ToursGrand Canyon Mule Rides

Travel to the bottom of the Grand Canyon by mule when you take a Grand Canyon mule ride. This popular seven-hour tour starts at the top of Bright Angel Trail and follows the trail down to the bottom of the canyon 1,300 feet below. You can also choose a two-day tour where you camp out overnight in the canyon and go back up the trail the next day. The Grand Canyon Mule Ride gives you the opportunity to see the real beauty of the canyon at a slow pace and up close. The mule rides are a preferred method of touring the canyon by many people, and reservations are required for the tour.

Grand Canyon Mule Rides
(888) 297-2757
www.grandcanyongateway.com/department/category/Grand_Canyon_Mule_Rides

Fun Grand Canyon ToursGrand Canyon River Rafting Tours

Experience the thrill of rafting down the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with Arizona River Runners and see it from a vantage point that can’t be found with other tours. This fun and exciting tour will take you over white-water rapids and provide a unique experience for you to remember. You will be assisted by expert guides who will provide information on points of interest and places to watch for while they keep you out of danger along the river. Multiple day trips are available to give you the experience of camping out at night on the canyon floor and experiencing the feeling of the rugged outdoors. Food and everything you need for the trip is provided for you, and souvenirs of your adventure are also available from the Arizona River Runners.

Grand Canyon River Rafting Tours
Arizona River Runners
(800) 477-7238
www.raftarizona.com/

Marketing Dollars For Non-Profits: Is It Smart To Give To Get Back?

As many companies and shareholders have squeezed philanthropic budgets, a number of organizations have placed charitable dollars into marketing department budgets. Investing marketing dollars can be a viable option that is favorable to non-profits as well, but marketers need to think long-term about sponsorship opportunities for real success and value.

With “corporate American being influenced by shareholder pressure not to give, but show returns to the bottom line” more and more businesses ask the question “is it better to give than to receive… or both give AND receive?”

Over the past few years, we have increasingly found ourselves attending meetings (on either side) between non-profit groups and companies that are their potential sponsors. Wait…Huh? Since when does fundraising and securing corporate giving fall under “Marketing Communications”? Well…since the economy took a downturn and businesses – a much greater number of potential sponsors/donors – started recognizing the benefits of channeling charitable dollars through marketing budgets.

Whichever bucket the dollars come from, the business will still see tax deductions – one being a charitable donation, the other a business expense. So, more frequently, savvy execs are asking, which option will deliver the biggest bang for the buck?

Many find investing marketing dollars a viable option to add to their mix, and one that is by-and-large favorable to non-profits as well. A win-win, right? Possibly – if the company is careful to allocate charitable marketing dollars with the same consideration and strategic acumen as it does ‘regular’ marketing dollars. Caveat: with non-profits it can be easy to be a small fish in a big pond… spending a few thousand dollars to get your logo with 75 others on a t-shirt, for example.

The strongest use of charitable marketing dollars most often will come from a pillar upholding every solid marketing strategy: relationships. The reason we often sit in the aforementioned meetings with our clients (non-profit or bottom-line oriented) is that rather than facilitating a one-off sponsorship, we want to foster true partnerships. Long-term exposure, and true care about being seen year-round as an organization that cares deeply about a cause can be more meaningful AND valuable to a sponsor company when the situation is right.

So, we sit down and we discover. We learn what the potential gains are from the relationship, in terms of public image and measurable results. We determine how the non-profit can support the business’s marketing, as well as what the business “has cooking,” and hopes to achieve in the near future. Then, we find the best fit, and develop a balanced package of what will be given and received (the benefits) by both parties.

We understand that people have a strong natural desire to be philanthropic, and that when we can stimulate that desire (without crossing any lines), they will give more both in terms of dollars and themselves in general.

Granted, it’s not always this easy. There may not be a fit. Non-profits can’t just make up opportunities, and you can’t just donate big bucks because you want to do good. Some criteria to consider when allocating marketing dollars for charitable giving include:

  1. Does the sponsorship make sense for your marketing objectives? Will it advance them? Remember, you’ll be measuring results just like any other marketing expenditure.
  2. Does the sponsorship have growth potential?
  3. Do you require exclusivity? Can other sponsors come on board without you becoming that ‘small fish’?
  4. Who looks at your charitable giving column, and how important is the amount they see? Will shareholders or your publics react negatively to significantly decreased amounts? Will you have to the opportunity to explain how the charity was given via marketing, and will they find this acceptable?

The bottom line is – well…the bottom line. It may at first seem like a perfect solution if shareholders squeeze philanthropic budgets, but corporate insists on growing the image as a responsible member of the community. However, throwing good marketing money into good works can only benefit everyone if it’s done strategically, justifiably and conscientiously.

Even Though It’s Called B2B, There’s Still A “C” On The Other End

True story…

I was working at an ad agency (not my current one) and was in an initial client meeting with a man that sold cleaning equipment to businesses. He was lamenting that his business was slow and I asked him what kind of advertising/marketing he had done in the past.

He told me he had not done much. Imagine that, no business and no advertising/marketing. Go figure.

Anyway, we ended up getting the account and the first thing he wanted to create was a sales letter, something to send out to prospects. Me being a writer and all scribed such a letter, informing his prospects of all the fabulousness that awaits them if they patronize this particular company.

I emailed the initial draft of the letter to the client for review and his response back to me was something I have never, ever forgotten.

B2B,

“Change the copy. It’s too personal. We are a B2B company, not a B2C.”

My email back to the client went something like this…

“Thank you for your feedback. I understand completely you are a B2B company, however please remember that this letter is going to a person, meaning there’s a real, live person on the other end of the line, hence my ‘personal’ tone in the letter.”

The client’s email back to me…

“I don’t care… change the copy. Don’t want any personal tone, language, etc…”

I made the changes as requested, we mailed the letter… it flopped like a fish, his business continued to flounder (pun intended) and the rest is history.

Of course I am simplifying the results but you get my point.

This gentleman, and how many more like him(?), could not grasp the fact that there was a real human being on the other end of his sales pitch. In his mind, he was a B2B company and B2B companies don’t need to be personal or conversational…that was for the B2C folks.

B2B,

The moral of course I don’t care what you are, B2B, B2C, E=MC2, whatever… until actual businesses, bricks and mortar businesses can speak for themselves — and who knows, Steve Jobs may just have an App for that, you have to remember there is ALWAYS a person on the other end of the line… with emotions, feelings, opinions and so on.

One person in particular who’s a hellluva smarter than me (not too hard to do mind you) once wrote…

“How many marketers are putting 2 and 2 together and recognizing that the most obvious and direct route to sales and profitability starts with conversations with individuals – who, at their core, love to converse – that lead to relationships that lead to advocacy?”

The person in question is Lisa Petrilli who blogs over at LisaPetrilli.com. The aforementioned quote was in a 2010 post of hers entitled “Why You Must Rethink Your Marketing.”

So what do you think of all this?

Are you a B2B marketer who thinks all B2B marketing should be written in a very business-like tone at all times, leaving the conversational slant to the B2C marketers?

Or do you agree with me that even though the second “B” in B2B stands for “business“, at the end of the day, there’s still a “C” on the other end of the line?

Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

Costa Rica makes for an excellent destination wedding location not only because of its natural beauty, but because of the diversity it offers. Couples will find the beautiful beaches and rainforests excellent locations for photo opportunities. When it comes to couples finding the right place to get married, Costa Rica offers many all-inclusive hotels and resorts to choose from. Two of the most luxurious are the Allegro Papagayo and Occidental Grand Papagayo.

Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

Allegro Papgayo Basics

Allegro Papgayo is a resort that boasts an excellent location on Manzanillo beach for couples who want to have a beach wedding. This resort has 300 rooms from which guests can choose the superior, bay view or bay view premium room options.

This resort also has a main swimming pool and a swimming pool for children. Wedding guests with children will find that there are also supervised activities at the resort that the kids can enjoy.

There are several different types of restaurants that the Allegro Papgayo. La Trattoria features Italian cuisine, Los Corales has an international buffet, and La Cantina serves Tex-Mex food.

Allegro Papagayo Wedding Packages

Allegro Papagayo has several different wedding packages that a couple can choose from. One example is the Get Lost in Love Premium Wedding Fiesta Package.

This package includes an on-site wedding planner, elegant wedding decorations, floral displays and arrangements including the bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonniere, CD music, documentation services and a judge, wedding cake, sparkling wine for a celebratory toast, a reception that is semi-private, one romantic breakfast in bed for the couple, and one romantic dinner for the couple.

Allegro Papagayo
Playa Manzanillo
P.O.Box 48-5000
Papagayo Gulf, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Phone: 506-2-690-99-00
Fax: 506-2-690-99-10

Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

Occidental Grand Papagayo Basics

The Occidental Grand Papagayo features beautiful views of the Northern Pacific Coast, which include volcanic cliffs and tropical forests, making this resort an ideal location for an outdoor wedding. This resort features 169 rooms, from which guests can choose the deluxe room, the deluxe ocean view room, the grand concierge deluxe room, the grand romance deluxe room, the royal club luxury room, the royal club junior suite, or the royal club master suite.

There are three main restaurants at the resort. The Italian has Italian cuisine, L’Buffet features buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and D’Oriental has oriental food.

Occidental Grant Papagayo Wedding Packages

Wedding packages at the Occidental Grand Papgayo vary from the basic to the premium, but all carefully planned. An example of a basic wedding package is the I’ll Stand By You package.This package includes a service for up to 20 guests, an on-site wedding consultant, decorations, floral arrangements, a judge as well as documentation services, CD music and more.

Occidental Grand Papagayo
Playa Buena
P.O.Box 48-5000
Papagayo Gulf, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Phone: 506-2-672-01-91
Fax: 506-2-672-00-57

Birthday Travel Ideas

Most Americans like to celebrate birthdays with a fun activity. Sometimes, on special birthdays, like turning thirty or fifty, people make bigger plans to travel a little further from home to do something extra special or unique. Depending on your style and sense of adventure, birthday travels can be either very exciting or slow and relaxing. No matter what you find fun, planning a special birthday trip will give you something to look forward to and provide a nice change of pace.

Birthday Travel Ideas

Take a Train
It doesn’t matter where you go, getting there is all the fun on a train. Look out the window and enjoy the scenery. Amtrak is the only people carrier in the U.S. and you can book a trip directly from their website. They have an auto train available, which will allow you to take your car, or you can buy a rail pass that will allow you to make several trips over a few weeks. Train tickets often cost a little less than airline tickets. You will have to schedule these trips in advance and you may need to modify your travel dates to find a train schedule that accommodates your needs.Birthday Travel Ideas

Disney World
The king of theme parks is Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. Disney World is actually made up of four different parks and has some fun places to stay right on the park grounds. Going to Disney and staying there can cost a couple thousand dollars for an average family. Fortunately, Disney sometimes offers packages to get into all four parks and accommodations for a discounted price. You may wish to avoid Disney during peak times, such as spring break or during the very hot and muggy summer months.

Other Theme Parks
There are hundreds of theme parks all over the country, including Universal Studios in Orlando Florida, Cedar Point in Ohio and Knott’s Berry Farm in California. In addition, there are Six Flags parks scattered around the country. These are just a few of the larger theme parks, but there is probably one within a few hours drive of where you live. Most parks offer kiddy rides, roller coasters, water rides, specialty foods and other entertaining experiences. Depending on how much you want to spend and how far you want to go, you can plan a trip tailored to your desires.

Birthday Travel IdeasTake a Cruise
A cruise is a great birthday getaway because everything is taken care of for you with just one price. cruises can be as short as three days or as long as a month. If you live near a coastline, check the local ports to see if any cruises depart from there. This may save you an airline ticket. Another idea is to travel to the closest bay, lake or river near you and take a dinner or sunset cruise. Stay in a local hotel and enjoy the rest of your trip visiting the area.

Extreme Sports
Travel to your adventure. Take a bungee jump, go rock climbing, ride a hot air balloon ride, go to auto racing school, jump out of an airplane, or go on that whitewater-rafting trip you have always wanted to take. Use your birthday as an excuse to spend the money and get your nerve and go for it. Visit Wildthings.com for more information on the kinds of extreme sports you can do for your birthday.

Birthday Travel IdeasAmerican Landmarks, Cities and Sites
Perhaps there is somewhere you have always wanted to go right here in the United States, such as the Mall of America, the Grand Canyon, Manhattan, Graceland or Myrtle beach. This could be a weekend or week-long trip. It could even be a day trip since some people who live near popular tourists attractions have never actually been there themselves. Go to the library and take out your state’s tourist book, like Fodor’s or Let’s Go, and see if you’ve missed something in your own backyard.

Overseas
Take the trip of a lifetime for you birthday. Visit the Eiffel Tower, the Alps or the Pyramids. If you’re flexible on where you would like to go, search for the best deal possible online or through a travel agent and go for it. On your birthday, you may end up in the green hills of Ireland sipping Guinness or on a Gondola ride in Venice.

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