7 Of the Most Important Wheelchair Travel Tips

Here are 7 of the Most Important Travel Tips for Wheelchair Users:1) Have a shower cap with you at all times!This may seem like a weird tip for wheelchair users, but a simple shower cap can come in very handy. Imagine that you are out exploring a city and rolling from place to place, then suddenly it starts to rain. What do you do to protect your chair from getting soaked and potentially malfunctioning? If you have a shower cap, just throw it over the joystick controller area. It is the perfect size to completely cover the joystick area, but you will still need an umbrella to protect the rest of your chair of course.2) Whatever you do – FIND A LOCAL WHEELCHAIR REPAIR SHOP BEFORE YOU TRAVEL!Before you even think about traveling somewhere new, use the magical powers of Google to locate a wheelchair repair shop in your desired destination city. You never know when your chair will tear up or when the airline will damage your chair. There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere, only to learn that your chair isn’t functioning. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!3) Take more money than you think you will need.This is one of my favorite travel related quotes and couldn’t be more true. I always try to calculate how much money I need to take on a trip to cover meals, attractions, taxis and souvenirs, and then add at least $250-500 for unexpected circumstances that could arise.4) Book transportation before you leave home.Many cities do offer wheelchair accessible transportation of some sort, but it may not always be readily available when you want it. At the least, book in advance an accessible taxi from the airport to your hotel and then from your hotel to the airport for your departure. After arriving at your hotel, the concierge should be able to help you get transportation around the city, but feel free to book as much as possible beforehand. It’s no fun sitting at your hotel waiting on a taxi. Trust me, I know from experience. I once waited almost three hours for an accessible taxi that never even came.5) Take parts of your wheelchair as a carry-on.Plan to take an empty bag to the airport with you to put parts of your electric wheelchair in as a carry-on. I always detach the footrests and the joystick of mine, and I have detached the headrest before as well. I have heard horror stories of disabled travelers arriving to their destination to discover that parts of their wheelchair are banged up or even missing completely. Luckily, I’ve been pretty fortunate to not have experienced this, other than losing a joystick knob once. Also, take your wheelchair cushion on the plane to sit on throughout the flight. It is much more comfortable than the plane seat.6) Check the voltage at your destination.Wheelchair chargers can be tricky when traveling. So tricky in fact, that my charger has blown up twice in two different countries. I took a converter to charge my USA charger with in Germany and England, but as soon as we turned it on to charge it blew up. The chargers are so powerful that they just can’t convert properly as needed. In London I ended up finding a repair shop that sold chargers so I had to buy a 240 volt charger on the spot. This wasn’t cheap though. It cost a whopping 250 £. For future trips that you have planned, do some research and see if anywhere will let you rent a charger while you’re in the country. This is a great website where you can check the voltage of every country: http://kropla.com/electric2.htm7) Never ever EVER book a vacation over the internet!When you are booking flights and hotels, always be sure to call instead of booking online. Sure, it’s fun to browse online and the web can definitely help you make a decision as to where to stay, but somewhere saying that it is wheelchair accessible online can mean many different things. I once found a hotel online that said it was wheelchair accessible, so I called them to reserve it and I asked what was accessible about the hotel. The receptionist responded by saying “We have an elevator”. They did not have a roll in shower, wide doorways, or anything that I needed… just an elevator. As far as flights go, when you book a flight you have to request bulkhead seating (the front row of seats) over the phone. The bulkhead seats usually have much more room to get into the seat and sometimes the armrest will lift up, making these seats ideal for wheelchair users.

Benefits of Online Shopping Directory Services

With the rapid growth of the Internet, one of most prominent services made available through the Internet is Online Shopping. Regular shoppers, who used to go to a physical store to search for products and compare prices, are now rushing to online shopping stores due to the inherent advantages they provide. For these online shoppers, the tool that helps them to perform an effective online shopping is Online Shopping Directory services. Some others identify these services as Price Comparison Services.

Similar to any other directory service, Online Shopping Directory lists products which are available to be purchased online. These product listings represent different vendors, categories, brands, etc. The benefit of an Online Shopping Directory is twofold. While these services help shoppers to easily find the products they are looking for, they also help sellers to list their products. It is worthwhile to find out what benefits these services provide for shoppers and vendors.

Benefits for Online Shoppers:

The online shopper, who can be a veteran or a newbie, will find an Online Shopping Directory a very useful service to search for the product that they are looking for and perfect to assist their home shopping. Before the final purchasing decision is made, an average shopper spends a considerable amount of time searching for the product having an affordable price, acceptable quality. Not only price and quality, many other factors like guarantee terms, return policy, warranty, and delivery time are also critical to make the final decision. Shopping directory will provide most of this information with varying degree to the shopper to make an informed decision.

Since there are many different products available for the specification that the shopper is looking for, the shopper has a greater flexibility to cross compare these similar products using various aspects such as brand, quality, price, user ratings, warranty, etc. This will drastically reduce the effort and time to find the right product and also make online shopping a pleasurable experience.

Any online shopper would like to find the best bargain available for the product they are looking for. Online Shopping Directories again become handy to find the best bargain since they provide the best online shopping deals available on the Internet. Make a note to find a directory which has regular updates so the deals you will get are up to date.

Benefits for Vendors:

Vendors will also find that online shopping directories are an ideal place to list the products available from their online shop. One of the key benefits is the user base of these directories. By listing a product, vendors will instantly get access to this large user database which will definitely increase the traffic to vendor products. Since online shopping directories provide searches for shoppers to filter the products they are looking for, there is a higher possibility of getting your product information indexed to potential buyers.

Another benefit of an Online Shopping Directory is the indirect exposure of your product listings through the affiliate services provided by the Online Shopping Directories. These affiliations will expose the products listings of the Shopping Directory through the affiliate web sites making a network of listings. This will again increase the chances of selling your products.

To harness these benefits, vendor must make sure that the product details such as short, long descriptions, features, benefits which are provided to the online shopping directory are properly articulated. Also verify that the keywords which you think your product should be listed with are included in the descriptions. By having the right content as well as adhering to the online shopping directory submission guidelines, the traffic to your product listing can be increased.

Can all these benefits be gained at an affordable price? The answer is yes. In fact most Online Shopping Directory services provide free listing of products and services. If you are owner of any number of online shops, it is worthwhile to consider these benefits and harness the true potential of an Online Shopping Directory to market your products.

To conclude, Online Shopping Directory is a great way to list products as well as to search for products to buy. If you are a regular shopper or a seller, the best practice is to spend some time to find the best Online Shopping Directories out there on the Internet having a wide range of products, larger user base and up to date information. Some online shopping directories are targeted to specific shopping market segments such as online shopping UK, US online shopping, etc. By knowing what market segment a particular online directory focuses on will help you to find the product or to sell your product easily.

4 Principles For Strengthening Your Social Brand

A social brand is a transparent brand, and that’s just what consumers want. They’re tired of being lied to with offers that are too good to be true. They’re sick of being interrupted with irrelevant ads in their daily lives. They get enough of it from tv commercials and website popups. So when they visit their favourite social media sites, they expect brands to behave and be tame. Consumers want a less bombarding and more personal experience.

Your brand is reflected in everything your company says and does. And when you ‘say’ and ‘do’ via social media, that reflection travels at the speed of a browser refresh and amplifies louder than a thousand clicks of a share button.

Practicing these four principles will help you strengthen your social brand communications across all digital media.

1. Remember your brand’s core values

Whenever you sit down to craft a message, write an email, update your fan page, send out a tweet, or respond to a commenter, think of your brand’s core values and personality. Before writing a single word, ask yourself: will this help or hurt the brand? Is it congruent with what the brand stands for? Stay aligned and relevant, and you will communicate your message more appropriately.

If you’re just getting your brand onto social sites, then start by listening to your audience first. What are they talking about? What are they sharing with their friends? What questions are they asking? Once you get to know your audience’s interests, questions, and frustrations, you can begin interacting with them and offering up the type of content that they’re already sharing.

2. Help your employees believe in your brand

Absolutely everyone in your organization holds the responsibility of reinforcing your brand. If your people don’t believe in the brand’s vision and values, then they won’t be able to properly interact with outside parties. If they confuse or offend your customers somehow, it will only damage your image. This translates to the offline world as well. Employees must understand and agree with your brand before they can go off on their own and talk with consumers, partners, investors, suppliers, distributors, and the media. Make it a habit to consistently praise and reward actions that show brand responsibility.

Workers come and go. On average, a person holds a job for around two to five years. Somehow, it is up to you to make sure the brand’s culture is passed down to the newbies, like a legend is passed down to younger generations one conversation at a time. The experienced workers who understand your brand may be gone tomorrow, and the fresh ones that join have no idea what’s going on… until you educate them. Ongoing internal training is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page and your corporate culture doesn’t weaken over time.

3. Build relationships and create brand advocates

A social brand has to be social. Period. Throwing up a Facebook page with your logo on it and getting some “likes” is merely a half-assed attempt at social branding. It takes deep two-way conversations with consumers, and the building of relationships. Some companies use social media mainly for customer service, and it works wonders for them. For example, of all the tweets sent out from Whole Foods Market on Twitter (@WholeFoods), 85% are responses to customer comments, according to Bill Tolany, Head of Integrated Media.

Offering special treatments or incentives to happy customers can turn them into brand advocates. If a customer already likes your product or service, and you treat them right, they may start to share your vision and spread your message for you. What’s more, brand advocates naturally influence the opinions and buying behaviours of their family and friends, because that’s who people trust the most.

You could even think about starting your own brand advocacy program. Check out the Ford Fiesta Movement, in which 100 “Fiesta Agents” across the US get to drive a Fiesta for 6 months, complete monthly missions, and share their experiences in various ways. You can also check out the Microsoft MVP Program, consisting of around 4,000 teachers, artists, doctors, engineers, and technologists who share their know-how with huge online followings.

4. Respond properly to negative feedback

A social brand is an exposed brand, open to negative feedback and criticism. But dealing with negativity in the right way can turn a critic into your next customer or an angry customer into your next number one fan. The results of negative feedback depend entirely on how you deal with them. Handle them well, and you become a star; ignore them, and you might as well hang your logo on the corporate wall of shame.

We can’t be all things to all people, so you’re bound to receive complaints in one form or another. When an unhappy someone posts a complaint about your product or service, others tend to follow along and add their two cents as well. Whatever you do, don’t ignore this. It can snowball out of control unless you respond properly. However, if you say something wrong, it’ll make things worse.

One of the best and easiest things you can do is simply offer help (or maybe an apology) to the original complainer. It shows that you care about how your customers feel. And as customers, we love that sort of thing, don’t we?

Being a social brand means talking to people as a professional human, as if you were talking to them face-to-face. With pretty much any company and any type of response, you’ll want to keep it friendly and helpful, but at the same time, feel free to let your brand personality shine through. Then, before hitting the send button, get a second pair of eyes to check your tone of voice. Align your messages with the vision and values of the company. Continually educate your employees and make sure they are with you 100%.