Bus travel takes a different role in the car-driven culture of the United States than it does in most countries. Because the area of the US is so vast, flying is often the most attractive transportation option for traveling between cities and can be priced quite competitively when factoring in time and convenience. For shorter distances driving is usually the first choice for US domestic travelers. However, for routes that are under five or six hours, the bus is almost always the most economical and often the most convenient form of travel. Furthermore, as Amtrak (the national rail service) continues to see cuts in government funding, bus service is often the only ground transportation option for many destinations. Visitors who are planning to stick to major cities will most likely find having a car to be inconvenient, expensive, and unnecessary. Therefore, taking the bus between destinations is a great option.
Many Americans view traveling by bus with some trepidation, and, whether deserved or not, bus service in the US often has the reputation of being rather basic. In truth, the level of service varies greatly among bus carriers. Some carriers, like LuxBus in California or Transfloridian in Florida, offer deluxe buses and feature services that are rarely even found on airlines today, such as on-board entertainment and complimentary food and beverage service. Still, standard bus service is generally more on the budget level and offers few amenities. Food options are more likely to be a ten minute stop at a roadside fast food restaurant than on-board meal service.
The bus industry in the United States is dominated by Greyhound, which is the only remaining nationwide bus carrier. Several other companies such as Trailways and Coach USA are made up of independently owned bus companies that share marketing functions and branding. In addition there are several strong regional players in the bus industry. While these companies compete with Greyhound, they often end up sharing service on routes that do not have enough traffic to sustain two carriers. This is similar to “code sharing” in the airline industry.
The most recent development in the U.S. bus industry has been the “Chinatown bus” phenomenon. Several years ago a few enterprising business people in New York’s Chinatown started running buses from Chinatown in NY to Chinatown in Boston, charging less than half of what traditional bus companies did and a fraction of what it cost to take the train or fly. They targeted Asian immigrants who wanted to shop or visit relatives and needed inexpensive and convenient transportation. Although the buses were modern and comfortable, the service was bare bones—no advertising, customer service, or bus stations. Customers simply went to the bus stop, waited for the bus, and paid the driver upon boarding. For those willing to do without frills, these companies offered virtually the same service as Greyhound at a substantially lower price. Before long, word spread about the service and all kinds of travelers started using these bus lines. They became especially popular with students, budget travelers, and people for whom the service was simply more convenient.
Soon more bus companies duplicated this model and started offering service in other markets. Now you can find this type of bus service in Philadelphia, Virginia, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. At this point the term “Chinatown bus” is used more loosely to describe this sort of low-cost/low-frills service. Many, if not most, of the company’s do not have Chinatown as there main location and may not cater to the immigrant population at all. When these companies first started operating, concerns were raised about safety standards. There is still controversy within the industry about whether these low-cost bus companies are complying with the same regulations as the traditional companies. Nonetheless, all bus companies operating in the U.S. must undergo the same inspection standards and must comply with the same rules.
Finding information about scheduled bus service is not always easy for visitors to the US. Historically bus companies have sold tickets at on-site ticket booths. Many now sell through their own websites as well. Whereas for plane travel there are many online booking sites that allow travelers to compare different carriers, it is more difficult to find route information for bus service. GotoBus.com is a centralized booking site focused on bus travel. It offers search capability similar to Expedia or Travelocity and sells tickets for many different bus and tour companies.
Overall, the bus is a great option for visitors to the US who are looking for transportation between major US cities. For most cities, a car is not necessary and will be inconvenient and expensive. In metropolitan areas there are more choices for bus service today than at any time in the recent past. Particularly for shorter distances, it is the best way to go for the budget minded traveler.
Umrah and Its benefits
Umrah is one of the most important Sunnahs of Prophet Muhammad, and many of his sayings encourage people to do it. Muslims choose to do this important Sunnah by booking All Inclusive Umrah Packages 2023 all over the world. It is like the fifth main pillar of Islam, which is called Hajj, and is sometimes called a “mini Hajj” or “mini pilgrimage.” Umrah has a lot of blessings and benefits that are hard to count.
Benefits and rewards of Umrah:
Muslims get a lot of worldly and religious benefits from Umrah, and it also cleans their souls. When Muslims think about the benefits of Umrah, it blows their minds. All of the good things that come from doing Umrah are listed below.
Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad:
The best thing about Umrah is that it is the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, and when someone does Umrah, they follow one of Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnahs. If you follow just one Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, you will be rewarded in ways you can’t even imagine. People who do Umrah get all the benefits of doing Umrah, and by going to the Roza of Rasool, they feel closer to Rasool.
Forgiveness of past sins:
Umrah is the act of worship that washes away all the bad things a person has done and makes them as clean as a newborn baby. Before he did Umrah, the Holy Prophet said that it was a way to make up for all of his sins. Muslims do this worship to get rid of the sins they have done in the past.
Removal of poverty:
Another good thing about Umrah is that it gets rid of poverty. This is also something that Prophet Muhammad said in a Hadith. Allah is so happy with the person who does Umrah that He starts to give him all of His blessings. He gives the person who does Umrah money.
Physical and spiritual strength:
Muslims get physical strength from Umrah because it requires them to travel to holy sites and walk while doing Tawaf of the Kabah and Sa’eey. It gives pilgrims spiritual strength as well.
Strengthens and empowers faith:
Faith is strengthened and made stronger by Umrah. During Umrah, Muslims visit holy places like the House of Allah, which makes their faith stronger. During the days of Umrah, Muslims also don’t do anything wrong. They live a pure life in the holy places, paying respect to the Holy Kabah and all other holy places.
Guest of Allah:
During Umrah, a Muslim is a guest of Allah, and Allah gives him many of His blessings. Allah helps Him by giving him rewards and benefits, and He also forgives His sins from his past lives.
Unity and brotherhood:
Another benefit of Umrah is that it brings Muslims from all over the world together in one place. When all Muslims do the same things in the same way and wear the same clothes, it looks beautiful to the rest of the world. During the rituals of Umrah, there are no longer any differences between people.
Equality and humility:
Every year, millions of Muslims do Umrah. Even though they come from different parts of the world and have different cultures, they all wear Ihram. They are humble because they wear simple white clothes, and they are all equal because they look the same. You will realize these things when you will perform the Umrah pilgrimage after booking cheapest umrah packages.
What should Ladies wear for Umrah?
Here’s an article about what women should wear to Umrah from our travel agency, which also offers the best and Cheapest Umrah Packages 2023. Umrah clothes are another name for Ihram clothes. In order to do the Umrah pilgrimage, you have to enter the state of Ihram, which means “not to pollute” in Arabic. Wearing the right Ihram clothes is an important part of doing Umrah because it shows how united Muslims are.
The Ihram clothing is simple and uniform, so there aren’t too many differences between believers. Ihram clothing was made to break down the economic and social differences between pilgrims, showing that all men, no matter their class or rank, are equal in God’s eyes. The right clothes for Umrah are based on both spiritual and practical factors, like the weather and cultural norms. Here are some things to think about when picking out clothes for Umrah for women.
• The Ihram and the clothes for the Umrah
Before going on Umrah, or a minor pilgrimage, a person must enter Ihram, a holy state of dedication and cleanliness. To enter Ihram, you must wear Ihram clothes. When it comes to what men and women should wear for Umrah, there are a few rules to follow. Dress rules for Umrah are less strict for women than they are for men.
Women can go into the state of Ihram in any clothes they want, as long as they are clean. Women can wear any colour they want as long as they cover their whole bodies except for their faces and hands. Most of the women in Ihram wear white or black Abayas and Hijabs. Women’s Umrah dresses can include shoes and other types of closed footwear.
• What are the best clothes for Umrah in Makkah?
The weather in Saudi Arabia can get very hot at times. So, bring clothes made of different materials so that you can still breathe even when it’s hot outside. Most of the time, basic cotton clothes are the best choice. It’s not a good idea to wear black. Even though black is not against the rules, it absorbs heat quickly and might be uncomfortable. Pilgrims who do Umrah have to walk a long way, so it is best to bring only what they need. Bring only the things you need to make your bags lighter. Choose clothes that are easy to wash, don’t need to be ironed much, and are good for travelling. Those who want to go to Madinah in the winter should bring a light jacket and a sweater. Women could also bring an umbrella to protect themselves from the hot sun.
• Umrah Dress Code That Fits With Culture
Women should dress conservatively and wear long, loose clothes. They should wear a Hijab to cover their hair instead of a loose scarf. Even though it’s not required, it’s a good idea for women to wear an Abaya made of soft, breathable fabric. Because it is loose, not see-through, and hides the shape of the body while still keeping you cool. Women could also wear Shalwar Kameez or another traditional outfit.
• Umrah shoes that don’t cost too much
Umrah requires a lot of walking, so wearing the right shoes can make a big difference in how comfortable your feet are. Wearing shoes that aren’t comfortable can make you tired and cause swelling, blisters, and other pain that you don’t need. During Umrah, you should try not to buy any new shoes. It could take a long time for brand-new shoes to soften and relax enough to be comfortable. It is suggested that you wear shoes that have already broken in enough to be comfortable. Those who don’t have the right shoes should buy a pair a week before the trip and wear them every day to break them in. if you are living in UK then you have to avail the cheap umrah packages uk from Baitullah Travel.
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Check Here Which Online Travel Agent Is Best For Your Business?
Which online travel agency, Viator or Get Your Guide, is the better choice for your company?
Online travel agencies, sometimes known as OTAs, function much like online marketplaces, in which providers of tours and activities from all over the world can offer their wares for sale. After that, OTAs commit a significant amount of time and resources to the process of aggregating services from locations all over the world and promoting their inventory to customers all over the world.
Viator and Get Your Guide are the two most significant competitors in this industry. Despite the fact that OTAs have been seeing moderate but steady growth over the past few years, they are still significantly behind their competitors in the hospitality sector, such as booking.com.
Since the time that this article was written, we have published a guide that allows you to make side-by-side comparisons of the following companies: Viator, Expedia, GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, KLOOK, and Civitatis.
A brief introduction to Viator and GetYourGuide
Viator, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, was acquired by TripAdvisor in the year 2014. Since that time, they have abandoned the practise of pre-screening and curating the operators with whom they collaborate in favour of opening up their platform so that additional businesses can sell on Viator. Since TripAdvisor was able to generate traffic and volume to Viator, this would be beneficial to a greater number of operators, offering operators more bookings than they had previously.
Viator has recently released a platform that allows travel agents to book from a selection of 100,000 trips spanning more than 2,400 locations and earn a commission of 8% on each reservation.
The company has partnerships with major organisations such as Air France, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Priceline, and it operates 10 websites in the native languages of the countries in which it operates affiliate sites.
Over 30,000 different tours and activities are offered by GetYourGuide in over 2,500 different locations spread over more than 110 countries. GetYourGuide, which has its headquarters in Berlin, makes the promise that it can find its users the most relevant and individualised travel experiences. To expand its business in 2015, the company was successful in raising a staggering $50 million in finance, a number that had never been seen in the industry previously. In 2017, the company was successful in securing an additional 75 million dollars in finance to further expand its operations abroad.
After securing relationships with the airlines EasyJet and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in 2017, the company now enables clients to book excursions and activities after reserving their flights through the airlines’ respective websites or mobile applications. The companies Emirates, Hotels.com, hotel.info, airberlin vacations, Opodo, Thomas Cook, and Lufthansa Holidays are among the other significant partners of the company.
Viator and GetYourGuide are well-known internet companies that have partnered with leading competitors in their respective industries, putting your goods in front of a wider audience.
Viator offers a network of 3,500 global affiliate partner websites, which include major online travel agencies, airlines, and hotel organisations. It also has a network of 390 million monthly trip planners, which includes visitors to TripAdvisor. Viator has made its website accessible in thirteen different languages, which has helped them attract users from all around the world. In addition to this, Viator also manages its global advertising programme across the platforms of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook.
Through its purchase of Viator, TripAdvisor has gained a significant advantage in terms of the number of viewers on its site as well as what is known as referral traffic. Before the acquisition, both GetYourGuide and Viator had “book now” buttons on the TripAdvisor listings of their respective providers. Clicking on those buttons brought the user to the appropriate page on either Viator or GetYourGuide. Following the takeover, this was one of the features deleted from GetYourGuide.
Viator collaborates with more than 175,000 travel agents and maintains relationships with suppliers from all over the world. As a result, the company provides increased visibility and access to millions of customers. On their platform for travel agencies, suppliers who offer real-time bookability have the potential to acquire a great deal more bookings than they have in the past because of the huge number of customers that Viator is able to bring to their website.
In a similar vein, GetYourGuide assures its providers that they will see increased sales and reservations. They have a network on online platforms, partner websites, mobile apps for GetYourGuide, and other distribution methods, all of which boost the exposure of the products that suppliers sell in order to generate more sales for those suppliers. GetYourGuide’s partners market its inventory to improve sales using a wide variety of approaches, including but not limited to white label solutions, widgets, links, ads, XML-integrations, pre-trip email integrations, and many more.
GetYourGuide’s use of technology to streamline the booking process has been brought to light as a result of its relationships with major airlines. As part of this effort, clients are given the option of booking and paying for their vacations in a paperless environment.
Because the volume of visits to your website is essential to your online success, here are some statistics.
Viator maintains its position as the market leader in terms of traffic. It has an estimated 9 million visitors per month, which places it among the top 10,000 websites in the world in terms of web traffic. GetYourGuide, on the other hand, comes in a distant second with 5 million visitors per month. Within the past two years, their website has undergone significant expansion.
Viator’s traffic is heavily concentrated in the United States, which accounts for 34% of the company’s total traffic. Other popular countries are the United Kingdom (representing 6%), Canada (representing 5%), Australia (representing 4%), and Brazil (representing 4%).
The United States is also the primary source of traffic to GetYourGuide, accounting for 18% of it. The United Kingdom comes in second, with 8%, followed by Indonesia (5%), India (4%), and Germany (4%).
Get the most recent traffic statistics on Viator and GetYourGuide by clicking these links.
Costs related to commissions
Working with online travel agencies (OTAs), despite the huge visitor volume that they are able to garner, is not without its drawbacks.
To begin, there is a sizable commission that must be paid, which is especially the case if you are dependent on OTAs for the majority of your bookings. Although there is no cost associated with signing up, both companies do take a percentage on sales.
Commission on Viator is often set at 20% of the price that is being advertised. Because they don’t want you to undercut them on your website, they need that you provide them the lowest price feasible. In addition, you are forced to give them the lowest price possible.
GetYourGuide isn’t as straightforward and determines the commission amount dependent on the destination of the supplier and the kind of activities that are being given. The total booking costs, such as those associated with credit card fees and bank transactions, as well as the promotion of your excursions through its distribution partners, are covered by the commission rate. Free services including customer support, marketing strategies, content optimization, and translation are also made available to you. Moreover, these services are offered to you without charge. The commission rate, which can range anywhere from 20% to 30% depending on the supplier’s volume, will be determined by your account manager. Higher volume suppliers will receive lower commission rates.
Second, the cancellation rules that are guaranteed by OTAs might often place operators in a difficult position. Customers who cancel their reservations with Viator at least seven days in advance are eligible for a full refund. If they cancel between three and six days in advance, they are eligible for a return of fifty percent.
Customers who use GetYourGuide have the ability to cancel their tours up to twenty-four hours before the time that they were due to depart and still receive a full refund. When trying to estimate demand and sales for the next month, this can be challenging for business owners and managers.
When looking at Viator and GetYourGuide side-by-side, Sean O’Neil from Skift reports that “Viator’s booking numbers have climbed since (TripAdvisor’s) acquisition, (but) the growth of the product offering has (since) stalled.” GetYourGuide, on the other hand, continues to see steady growth in its product offering. According to the same article, Andrew Middleton, head of ancillary revenue for the low-cost airline EasyJet, chose GetYourGuide because they have “the most comprehensive range of tours and activities to suit everyone,” which includes “traditional or alternative sightseeing tours, as well as adventure activities and attraction passes.”
It’s possible that this is a sign that Viator is oversaturated with the same tours and activities from the same popular locations. This is something that operators should keep in mind. It is possible that you will have a difficult time fighting through all of the competition on the platform if you do not have an engaging product or service that differentiates you from your competitors.
Instructions for registering with Viator and GetYourGuide
Signing up does not cost anything in any scenario.
Visit Viator’s Supplier Sign-up website in order to become a supplier for the company. You will first be presented with an application form after clicking on the sign-up button, and then you will be shown the agreement that you need to accept. You will be provided with a login ID and a password for Viator’s extranet upon the supplier’s acceptance of the agreement. This is the primary account that the vendors have access to. Through the use of this platform, they are able to add and edit items, view bookings, manage customers, and perform many other tasks.
Visit GetYourGuide’s Supplier Administration page in order to register for an account with the company. Suppliers can sign up for an account by filling out a form on this page that requests their contact information. After that, you will be sent an email with instructions on how to finish registering for the service by following the link provided and also consenting to the terms and conditions imposed by the company. Following this step, your account will be prepared for use.
Through the facilitation of back-end connections between TrekkSoft and the OTA of the customer’s choosing, the entire reselling and management process is made more straightforward for TrekkSoft’s clientele. TrekkSoft will automatically update the number of available seats for that trip across all of your sales channels whenever one of your customers booked their trip through an online travel agency (OTA).
In addition to this, every time a consumer orders a trip through an online travel agency (OTA), TrekkSoft will instantly update the number of open spots for that particular trip across all of your sales channels.
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