During a recent uber trip from Harlem to LaGuardia Airport, my driver stops in front of the Delta departure terminal, turns around and says “I’m a new uber driver, please give me a 5-star rating and I’ll give you one back!” I smile, nod and quickly exit the Toyota Camry to catch my departing flight. Sometime between TSA and my flight, I re-rehearse our conversation in my head and realize, “Wait, did I just get rated by my uber driver???”
If you’ve ever used Uber, you’ll know that after every ride passengers are prompted to give the driver a rating–five stars for a perfect score, less if the car got lost, the driver was rude, or if there was a funky smell as soon as you got in. One thing I bet you didn’t know however, is that those Uber drivers you’ve been rating are rating you right back!
During a recent Florida trip, one uber driver explained “What Uber want is for people to respect the driver, and for drivers to respect the customer. We go above and beyond,” he said. “They can give us a low rating. It can go both ways. That way, we can police each other.” Uber also admits that its drivers can refuse to pick-up low-scoring passengers.
An Uber user who ended up on the blacklist told CBS how she got up there: “I asked the driver what was going on. And he basically told me I had a really low Uber rating: Under three out of five.” No, she wasn’t overtly rude or difficult with drivers to deserve the score, she simply chose to work on her phone rather than chat during her ride: “I feel really judged for being blacklisted for not being really friendly,” she said. Any passengers who manage to get a really low scores allegedly could be banned from using the service, or given a temporary cooling-off period.
If this news surprises you, you’re not alone. Until now finding out what your passenger rating is hasn’t been easy, but the next version of Uber’s app will clearly display the information. For now, you can find out your rating by sending a request to Uber, or by asking your next driver your customer rating.
New to Uber? Want to sign up for your first Uber ride? Click HERE! Want to learn more? I’ll be sharing tips on how you can improve your Uber customer rating and improve your chance of timely Uber pickups soon!
Marriott Hotels, Marriott International’s flagship brand, is putting a whole new “POV” on the guest experience by providing GoPro HERO4 cameras at 17 Caribbean and Latin American resorts and hotels. The exclusive offer allows guests to test drive a GoPro HERO4, the most advanced GoPro yet and capture and share all of their adventures and experiences.
“We live in a digital and social age. Through this program at Marriott Hotels, we’re giving guests a fun way to tell their own travel story using the versatile and memory making GoPro technology and immediately share their content with friends and family,” said Craig S. Smith, President of the Caribbean and Latin America at Marriott International. “Next generation travelers are looking for ways to create and share their experiences and Marriott has made it a priority to constantly introduce innovation into our hotels that is engaging and fits their digital lifestyle.”
“The Marriott Hotels brand continually demonstrates leadership in bringing new travel-enhancing experiences to their guests and the GoPro HERO4 cameras are the perfect device for their guests to capture their Caribbean and Latin American vacations,” said GoPro Senior Vice President of Marketing, Paul Crandell. “Resort destinations in tropical locations are where passionate people go to enjoy amazing new experiences and we can’t wait to see the GoPro photos and videos that Marriott guests create during their stay.”
Guests are encouraged to submit their GoPro photo and video content across social platforms using the hashtags #GoPro, #travelbrilliantly and #viajegenial for the chance to be featured on the Marriott Hotels’ website, www.travelbrilliantly.com/gopro. The submitted content will be curated to share across Marriott International’s social media channels and the in-room entertainment system at our participating hotels. To celebrate the launch of the program, guests’ content will also be selected from social media channels by Marriott Hotels to win prizes such as vacation stays, Marriott Rewards points and GoPro cameras.
Participating properties across the Caribbean and Latin America include:
- Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
- CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort
- CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa
- Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose
- Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino
- Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
- Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
- JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
- JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort
- JW Marriott Hotel Lima
- JW Marriott Hotel Quito
- JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro
- JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
- JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort
- Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort
- San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
- St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino
About Marriott Hotels?
With 500 hotels and resorts in nearly 60 countries around the world, Marriott Hotels is evolving travel through every aspect of the guest’s stay, enabling the next generation to Travel Brilliantly. Boldly transforming itself for mobile and global travelers who blend work and play, Marriott leads the industry with innovations, including the Greatroom Lobby, Future of Meetings and Mobile Guest Services that elevates style & design and technology. All Marriott hotels participate in the award winning Marriott Rewards frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information, visit www.MarriottHotels.com. To join the ongoing Marriott conversation, like Marriott Hotels on Facebook (Facebook.com/Marriott) and follow on Twitter (Twitter.com/Marriott, @Marriott).
During one of the busiest travel and spending time of the year, wouldn’t it be nice to find discounts that fall right into your lap? With Marriott Rewards LocalPerks program, you can find the best deals on food, services and freebies — no coupon clipping required.
Recently, I got the chance to experience the Marriott Rewards Local Perks program for myself at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa and the groundbreaking technology is just what every traveler needs to make their travel experience a personal one! Marriott Rewards is a leader in the hospitality industry as the first major hotel loyalty program to adopt geo-targeted offers using beacon technology with LocalPerks. It joins notable brands that are using the groundbreaking technology in retail, tech, and entertainment, reaching their consumer in a new way with geo-targeted, mobile offers that utilize Bluetooth and are delivered via push notifications on their mobile device. It’s changing how brands interact with consumers.
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa
Marriott Rewards’ LocalPerks sends guests exclusive, localized (geo-targeted) experiences using beacon technology as they pass by beacons located in the hotel via push notification. Offers range from food & beverage and golf to spa deals.
Marriott Rewards is leading the charge for the future of hotel loyalty programs through its mobile offerings and the launch of LocalPerks. Whether it is for work or play, the next generation of travelers maintains an almost-constant interaction with their mobile device, and this behavior is continuing to grow.
Download Marriott’s app and accept notifications to receive geo-targeted deals straight to your smartphone.
If you are an iPhone user: Make sure your Bluetooth is turned on. Download Marriott’s Marriott Guest Services application and accept push notifications. When prompted, accept location services and opt into receiving LocalPerks. Walk past a beacon and you will receive a LocalPerks push notification inviting you to an on-property deal.
With beacon technology, Marriott Rewards’ LocalPerks sends guests exclusive, localized experiences as they pass by beacons located in the hotel via push notification. Offers, include food & beverage, golf, and spa deals, will change as they move to the corresponding locations across the property.
During a walk around, I received a Marriott Rewards push notification for a free drink with purchase at Pazzi’s Restaurant.
Marriott Rewards loyalty program is undergoing an evolution by introducing industry-first enhancements designed to engage with members through their preferred technologies. Marriott has listened to guests and are now connecting with them in a way that makes the Marriott Rewards experience more tailored, instantaneous and convenient. With 16 brands and 3,800 properties worldwide participating in Marriott Rewards, the potential opportunities are the broadest of its kind.
Marriott Rewards’ is embarking on a revolution to reshape the way consumers engage with loyalty programs, to make it modern, easy and meaningful. Through this revolution, Marriott is providing guests with additional options to earn and spend points beyond the hotel stay. LocalPerks is a way to give them more immediate benefits while on-property, making each stay more personalized, memorable and loved by all.
LocalPerks also offers unexpected perks during our guests’ trip that is enabled through mobile technology that is part of their daily habits. Want to experience Marriott Rewards LocalPerks soon? Discover great deals and freebies of your own at one of the 14 properties all within the company’s flagship Marriott Hotels brand below.
- Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
- San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina
- Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
- New York Marriott Downtown
- Denver Marriott West
- Charleston Marriott
- Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park
- Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa
- Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
- Cincinnati Marriott North
- Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel
- San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront
- Irvine Marriott
- Marriott Marquis Washington, DC
For more details on Marriott Rewards LocalPerks and to discover what dining and spa deals await your next Marriott experience, visit Marriott.com
With outlets at every seat, conference tables for holding meetings and cafe cars to grab a bite to eat, Acela delivers the speed you expect and the convenience you deserve.
It’s that time of year again. Time where families begin preparing for familiar hellos, road trips, and long journeys home for the holidays. Although holiday travel in November and December has a long history of notorious tales (its one of the worst travel times of the year) it doesn’t have to be another headache this time around. If you’re looking to avoid holiday travel hiccups and want a hassle-free travel experience this season, check out these five holiday travel hacks below.
1. Buy Your Ticket For Cheap
When researching your flight, go through the booking process (make sure you don’t click purchase until you’re ready) until you reach the seat selection step. Take a look at the seating chart and see how many open seats are left. If most of the cabin is still available, there’s a good chance that demand is low, so prices may drop. If the cabin is nearly full, however, you’ll probably want to go ahead and purchase at the going rate.
2. Travel Hack Like A VIP
When it comes to traveling by plane there’s nothing’s quite as nice as scoring your very own row of seats for you and your travel buddy. Up your chances of snagging this dream come true the next time you’re travelling with a companion by booking the aisle and window seat, rather than two seats next to each other. If someone does happen to book the middle seat, he or she will likely swap with one of you for the window or aisle. If no one takes the middle seat, you’ve just scored yourself your own row.
3. In Case Of Emergency – Protect Yourself
Who needs paper when you have a smartphone? Instead of carrying an extra set of paper copies of your passport, visa, license and other important travel documents, simply take photos, store them on your smartphone and email them to yourself. In case of emergency, simply log into your email or retrieve photos from your phone and validate your identity immediately.
4. Pack a Pillowcase For Almost Everything
One of my must have travel necessities is a handy satin pillowcase. It is the most useful travel accessory you’ll use from the beginning to the end of your trip. You can stuff it with clothes or your jacket for a makeshift pillow; cover your hotel pillow with a pillow case you already know and love or use it as your laundry bag and stash all your dirty clothes inside during your trip.
5. Keep A Travel Kit Handy
How many times have you gone traveling and forgotten your toothbrush? Avoid this from now on by creating an extra set of those often-forgotten items. A toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, razor and Q-tips are trusty stand-bys, as are an extra phone charger, bottle opener and headphones. Keep this stashed in your suitcase so you never have to worry about forgetting these items next time you go to pack for a trip.
If you follow these travel hacks, you’ll sure to be prepared and ready for your next weekend trip or family vacation this holiday season. What are your favorite holiday tips/tricks for holiday travel survival? Share your favorite tips in the comment section below.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Amtrak via The Root. With outlets at every seat, conference tables for holding meetings and cafe cars to grab a bite to eat, Amtrak delivers the speed you expect and the convenience you deserve. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Amtrak.
Do you hate fighting for your spot at over-crowded power outlets in airports? Tired of lugging around external battery chargers or charging smartphone cases?
If you’ve ever wanted a truly connected piece of luggage, Bluesmart luggage has just created the perfect carry on for you! Bluesmart luggage connects to a mobile app that allows travelers to track the bag’s proximity, digitally lock and unlock it, check the bag’s weight, show travel data and track routes.
The best feature may not be luggage related at all: The carry-on has a battery in it that can be used to recharge six devices. Currently, the lowest level for a suitcase is a $215 contribution (the first tier of $195 is sold out), the campaign expects to ship the first smart bags in July 2015. For more information on Bluesmart and stylish smart travel visit DivasOnDestinations.com.
Travel enthusiasts and international jet-setters abroad rejoice! There’s a new tool available that will make your international travel a whole lot easier and will make you feel like the ultimate traveling VIP! Best of all, IT’S FREE! With the Mobile Passport App approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors can submit customs and immigration details via phone or tablet upon landing and skip the usual passport control lines.
Airports Council International-North America worked closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to design and implement a secure, fast, and traveler-friendly process for Mobile Passport Control. The Mobile Passport App was sponsored by ACI-NA and developed by Airside Mobile, Inc., a proven innovator in applying mobile technology to airport processes.
If you’ve ever stood in those border control lines, then you know that they can sometimes last for hours and really kill the excitement of international travel. Once your information is verified, you’ll be sent a bar-coded receipt which will allow you to speed through a special (VIP-like) checkpoint. The service has launched at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in August, with plans to roll it out in other airports throughout the country later this year.
The app is available for download now in Apple’s iTunes App Store and in Google’s Play App Store. Learn more about the Mobile Passport App here: www.mobilepassport.us
When it comes down to staying connected while on the go, it isn’t always easy to power up without being chained to an power socket in the airport. Sure some flights now have power outlets available for every seat on certain flights (Thanks Delta) but for those times where there’s no power outlet in sight, these essential power packs could be the lifeline you need on your next trip.
For the charger connoisseurs
This isn’t your ordinary travel charger, in my opinion, it is the mother of all things chargstastic! Most portable power packs only put out 5 volts via USB because the only carry enough power to meaningfully charge smartphones. But this one offers 5-, 9-, 12-, 16-, 19- and 20-volt output so it can charge notebooks, digital cameras and other portable devices. Its 23,000 mAh capacity is enough to charge an iPhone 12 times and a tablet several times or bring a notebook back to life. $99.99 ravpower.com
For the iPhone Fashionista
The Everpurse Mini not only charges your iPhone, it ensures you’ll never need to riffle through your purse for it again because the phone docks nearly on the outside. The built-in charger has enough capacity to recharge your phone three times for up to 48 hours of typical use. The design is simple and elegant, right down to the clasp doubling as a USB connector to charge the purse. $129, everpurse.com
For the practical traveler
Tylt Energi + Backpack
This no-nonsense carry-on hides a secret battery capable of recharging your smartphone four times or powering up your tablet at least once. What’s more, the rucksack’s cleaver design lets you route the cables to any of its fave external pockets or two external pockets. The backpack also has a slot hidden in the back panel for attaching it to a roller bag, a headphone compartment on the strap and a full-length zipper pocket on the front for airline tickets and passports. $199.99 tylt.com.
If you’ve ever wandered about the glitz and glory that is the Kentucky Derby – did you know you can place your bets on finding the hottest fashions, prettiest horses and all the fun at a track a little closer to home? Recently, a few of my blogger friends and I were guests of America’s Best Racing and visited the historical Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, NY. Check out some of the racing fun and fashions found at our day at the races below.
On your mark, get set, GO! In addition to the beautiful stables filled with race horses trained to win, the racing experience begins way before you step foot inside of the racing center. You can’t just show up for a fascinating day of racing without the right fashions from head to toe. That’s why my girls and I made our way to Dora Marra for luxurious fascinators to kick our day at the races off right. Dora Marra offered a variety of stylish head pieces for our big day at the races. We were like kids in a candy store looking for the perfect fascinator for Saratoga [Check out our hilarious behind the scenes video and more photos from our Dora Marra shopping day.]
The fascinating fashion: Picking the right attire for the races isn’t an easy feat. I wanted a dress that wouldn’t show up my amazing feather fascinator, but I also wanted to dress for the weather (which is unusually hot and humid for this time of year in upstate New York). I opted for this coral and cream number which got it’s fair share of compliments while at the races.
Necklace & Accessories: J. Crew / Michael Kors
The fascinating horses: There were plenty of thoroughbred horses on display at the Saratoga Race Course grounds, many of them were seasoned pros just waiting for their next chance to prove themselves on the track. This beautiful runner was not only very active, he practically made posing for a selfie impossible. Every time I got in close enough for a good selfie, he’d move in for a kiss (or headbutt) and I freaked out. Eventually we settled on a topic of conversation that made us both calm, happy and ready for our candid photo.
Place your bets: Did you know that you can enjoy the races with or without placing your bets? With bets starting at $1 – I couldn’t see why you wouldn’t want to get your feet wet with a little wager. Tickets to the races start as low as $5 (that’s cheaper than a movie ticket!) While there, guests enjoy the sun, shopping, food and up close and personal thoroughbred moments throughout the 350-acre racetrack in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Although the season has come to an end, visiting the Saratoga Race Track next summer should definitely be on your to-do list. It’s the perfect opportunity to grab your girlfriends, dress up and enjoy a fabulous day of fun! For more information on Saratoga Racing and to plan your next trip visit NYRA.com. In case you’re looking to get into some racing fun before next summer, you can also check out the fall racing schedule throughout at Belmont Park in Hempstead (Long Island) NY below:
Huge thanks to Dan, Victoria and the entire NYRA team for a lovely day in Saratoga Springs, I can’t wait to do it again soon!
Have you tried packing for a vacation or business trip recently? With stories of TSA thefts, airlines magically misplacing luggage and more – packing for an upcoming trip can be stressful. Trying to pack up accessories, make up and toiletries for a weekend trip has become more cumbersome than ever …and those TSA liquid restrictions don’t help out at all. I once had to dump out three bottles of my favorite moisturizer, body spray and shampoo because of the liquid restriction being enforced. That’s why I was thrilled to step up my travel with a little organizational help from the EMME bag.
The EMME Bag is a compact nylon travel bag that’s perfect to replace your beauty bag, jewelry bag and toiletries bag on your next trip. The compact design comes with an easy to carry handle and second zipper to expand and increase capacity to handle all of your travel essentials.
Want to travel with your favorite mouthwash, coconut oil, lotion or more? The EMME bag not only has the capacity to handle what you want to pack but has containers for it all.
The EMME Bag comes complete with 14 containers and miniature bottles for eye creams, sprays, balms and more. The 7 interior pockets come with suggestion inserts that help guide you with easy packing suggestions and 2 zip out pouches that can easily be removed and reattached during the TSA screening process.
The clear three panel design makes it super easy to store your items, securely while the zip-out design allows you to keep all your toiletries and jewelry in one place. The EMME Bag is the ultimate travel accessory to suit frequent traveling needs. This high quality, compartmentalized bag is not only for toiletries, but it’s my new favorite frequent flyer supplies bag. Not only does the optimized design makes going through security at the airport as simple as possible but it makes unpacking and settling in your hotel a breeze with the easy unfolding design.
With a quick unzip, you can easily store everything you need using the built-in hanger on a towel rack or door handle for easy access, while freeing up the limited vanity space you need. If you want to take control of your travel packing potential the EMME bag is the ultimate travel accessory for you.
The EMME Bag is available online for $75 at EMMEbag.com. Want to save $15 on the next travel accessory that you’ll ever need? Save 20% and pay only $60 when you enter our special readership discount code – “DIVA” at checkout. Get social and stay in touch with EMME bag on Twitter at @EMMEBag and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/emmetravel today!
Your next business trip or vacation will only be as great as your next hotel stay. A hotel room with alleyway scents and views, bad plumbing or noisy neighbors can potentially ruin an entire travel experience. One of the most asked questions I’ve received is “How to score upgraded hotel stays?” I’ve discovered what travel insiders have known for years, upgrading your next hotel stay is a lot simpler than most people think. From rooms with spectacular views to complementary meals, beverages and more – uncover four insider secrets to upgrade your next hotel stay recently shared on Essence.com today.
Upgrade Your Hotel Room
There are many ways to request complimentary room upgrade, but you’ve got to be smart, stealth and polite about it. Typically, guests checking in later in the day have a better chance at scoring an available room upgrade. One of the best ways to score a complementary upgrade is to greet the front desk agent with a smile and tip up front. By simply walking up with a smile, id, credit card in hand and greeting the front desk agent with a $20 tip you open up a world of upgrade possibilities. Make sure you’re assertive and let the agent know “This is for you. Whatever you can do for me, I’d appreciate a room upgrade, late checkout, wine, whatever…” and watch the hotel experience upgrades come rolling in.
Upgrade Your In-Room Ambiance
Celebrities like Beyoncé, Mariah and Madonna upgrade their hotel room ambiance with signature essences like flowers or candles all the time. Nothing makes a hotel stay feel more like home than adding unique touches that appeal to the senses to ensure a more relaxing stay. That’s where a pre-planed hotel travel kit with lavender bath salts & pillow mists become essential when packing for your next trip. Packing satin pillowcases, scented candles & a Bluetooth speaker for your favorite music are also great additions to include in your hotel travel kit. For less than $20, you can create and pack your essential hotel room kit filled with your favorite scents, sounds and even sweet treats that will make your next hotel stay a great visit.
Looking for more insider secrets? Check out my full article on Essence.com HERE.