Category Archives: Travel & living

Five businesses that should consider social media a must

Five businesses that should consider social media a must

Surviving the social media jungle can be a real challenge for marketers. Always engaged, staying sharp and open to interaction, monitoring feeds and coming up with catchy messages to post on a regular basis…that’s no easy thing. Yet it’s all worth it. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing those leads converting into sales and knowing that you did that.

The modern world is defined by social engagement and connectivity. The rise of the Internet as a universal communication tool has opened a world of possibilities for e-marketers.

I’m still amazed at how some companies, such as apartment communities or hospitality units don’t use social media to promote their brand. Here’s how I see it: first of all, the basic account for all social media channels is free; even if you won’t see a lot of sales coming directly from your profile, you’ll get tons of exposure. That’s got to count for something, right? Other people pay big bucks for getting that kind of exposure the old-fashioned way.

Then, social media is not as aggressive as traditional marketing channels so prospects won’t feel bombarded with sales ads and targeted campaigns. Most social platforms display user-friendly interfaces and offer tons of options for users to avoid getting spammed with promotional material. The real challenge you’ll have to face as an e-marketer is going around all that and make customers feel that they want to interact with you and have you as a Facebook friend.

How do you achieve that? Well, this is a job requirement for any marketing specialist: demonstrate creativity. You have to come up with original content, new material and interesting facts on a daily basis, put it up on your site or blog and then share it on social media. Not only will this help you gain and retain customers but it will also help your business rank higher in Google’s organic search.

As a rule of thumb, post a promotional message for every other nine posts that are not related to sales or marketing campaigns. Also, studies have shown that posts with pictures get the most visibility, especially among Facebook users. Don’t forget to connect your Facebook and Pinterest accounts, to make sure you reach a broader and more diverse audience.

Additionally, teaming up with other local businesses might be a good idea that will help you maximize engagement and boost your pool of followers. Tag fellow e-businesses (not competitors) in your posts and ask them to do the same for you. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask them for free mentions, they will do it as a favor in return.

And remember, more than anything people appreciate honesty. They know that you’re there to sell something but let them feel it’s their choice what and when they want to get it. On the other hand, it’s very useful to provide information about your products, respond to comments and inquiries and be as polite as possible. As with most businesses, bad reviews are bound to come online at some point. Keep in mind that disgruntled customers tend to be very loud and vehement in their protests so it’s very important you stay calm and refrain from any unprofessional behavior. Nothing good ever comes out of heated discussions; better try to understand what the problem is, find out if it’s something that you can fix, do your best to solve it and send out a positive message. Other prospects might be listening too, and if they are reasonable people, they will appreciate your efforts and care.

Of course the list might go on and on, but I believe the following set of businesses may draw loads of benefits from setting up social media accounts:

  • Travel agencies. As they say, a photo speaks a thousand words. An active presence on Facebook and Pinterest, putting on display fabulous vacation offers, is a must for travel agents and leisure marketers.

Antalya, Turkey, Kekova Island

  • Restaurants & cafes: right about noon, everybody’s attention turns to Facebook and where to go for lunch. Make sure your specials always land in your followers’ feeds.
  • Pet stores: now there’s an image that won’t go unnoticed.. or un-liked for that matter. Acquisition follows next.

  • Home stores: home accessories, design ideas and home décor get the most hits on Pinterest. Set up a blog and start pinning your products right away, if you haven’t done it already.
  • Event agencies and services. Weddings, proms, pool parties, entertainment and social festivities always get the most interest from fans. Make yourself wanted by displaying your most successful events and boast your accomplishments every time you get the chance.
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Technology, Travel & living, Trending


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Make the most of summer with a trip to Antalya

Not long ago I discovered the beauty of this mix of natural serenity and urban culture known as Antalya.
Once a major city in the Byzantine Empire, Antalya still bears the mark of an ancient civilization that sought grandeur in its every endeavor. The luxurious resorts, the grand mosques and churches, the immense flea markets, the huge ports, the hubbub of the streets, all remind of an era long gone.

We stayed at the Sea Life hotel which is located right next to the sea, on the long blue flagged beach known as Konyaaltı, one of several pristine beaches located in the Antalya region of the Turkish Riviera.

Konyaaltı features some of the clearest waters I have ever seen and it enjoys a marvelous location on the outskirts of the city with the Taurus Mountains as a backdrop. Parasailing, fishing, kiteboating, diving, swimming and snorkeling are just a few of the water sports available for adventurous tourists.

Lara Beach is one of the longest sand beaches in the area, also known as the „Las Vegas in Turkey” because it hosts many replicas of famous places around the world, always full of life and superb entertainment destinations.

Karpuzkaldıran Beach is home to the Lower Düden waterfall (a.k.a. Karpuzkaldıran waterfall), a group of waterfalls formed by the Düden River whose waters drop off a cliff directly into the Mediterranean Sea for an incredible water show 12 km north-east of Antalya.

Photo credits: Claude Valette via Wikimedia Commons

Once you’ve had your share of pool time, sun, rest and relaxation you can start exploring. Hadrian’s Gate, a triumphal arch which was built in the name of the Roman emperor Hadrian, who visited Antalya in 130 A.D, is located just off Atatürk Boulevard. As the story goes, the queen of Sheba passed through the middle arch on her way to Aspensos and spent a happy night with King Salomon.

As you leave Hadrian’s Wall behind, it’s time for a road trip, followed by a boat trip and so on…Heading West, you’ll find Kemer, a vivacious resort town with great beaches and wonderful eateries, perfect for young people in search of fun and vibrant nightlife.

With every new step you take, you get further absorbed in history, mysticism and Byzantine culture. Kumluca is a welcoming town 90 km (56 mi) west of the city of Antalya, on the Teke Peninsula. Kumluca is a very wealthy district; the Mediterranean climate is favorable for growing fruit and vegetables under glass all year round. Orange trees and olive trees are a common sight all over the place and, along with fish products, they are the mainstay of the local economy.

Further west, Finike is best known for its oranges, the symbol of the town. It is much quieter than Antalya and a paradise for those seeking peace, simplicity and relaxation, all in an urban setting. Ancient and modern perfectly complement each other in this dual city with people on mopeds wandering the city on one hand and the imposing yacht marina on the other.

The remnants of the ancient civilizations that roamed the Turquoise Coast eras after eras are still visible, with antiquities going back as early as the Bronze Age. The Demre, Myra and Kekova establishments abound in lost treasures and historical monuments.

Myra’s Greco-Roman theatre is the largest theatre in Lycia and one of the main attractions of Myra.

Demre is the Lycian town of Myra. The Roman theatre of Myra is located here, still as impressive as it once was, as well as two necropoli of Lycian rock-cut tombs in the form of temple fronts carved into the vertical faces of cliffs.

Lycian rock-cut tombs carved in the cliff above the Greco-Roman amphitheatre in Myra, Antalya, Turkey

The Lycian town of Myra is also home to the Church of St. Nicholas, the saint referred to as Santa Claus.

And my favorite part of the journey: the trip to the charming Kekova Island where you can learn about ancient times and marvel at the remains of the sunken city of Simena.

As you travel the blue seas, you can still spot remnants of the old village, stairs, access gates and archways, all covered by the clear waters of the Mediterranean.

The sunken village of Simena in Kekova near Demre district of Antalya province

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Travel & living


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Tips for your next vacation in Crete, Greece

It’s almost time for the summer vacay and if you’re anything like me you’re already hunting for deals. I still can’t decide whether I want to travel to the island of Hvar in Croatia or Lisbon, Portugal this year. Last year I traveled to Greece and I can tell you it was an excellent choice, a dream worth pursuing. That’s why I wanted to describe my experience in a few lines and let you in on a few secrets of the marvelous vacation spot.

Hersonissos by night

Like most Greek resort islands, Crete offers an abundance of things to do, see and marvel at. We chose Chersonissos, (Hersonissos) – a charming harbor town right on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea – because we had read that it was a blend of history and contemporary fun. While we appreciate the serenity and rough beauty of secluded places, we wanted to feel the vibe of the Greek streets and mingle with the natives for an authentic bite of Greek culture.

Chersonissons was everything we had hoped for. We found a nice place to sleep in the middle of everything – a cute B&B adjacent to the main party street – and a 5-min walk to the beach called Hotel Floral. Not too fancy yet clean and nice.

Hotel Floral in Hersonissos, Crete

Where to sunbathe, swim, read and chill
We tried several beaches, all great as the fantastic blue-green of the sea is all the same wherever you go along the rocky shores. The water is warm, clean and refreshing – just perfect for taking a dive. Our favorite was Kahlua beach, a pebbly shore with nice staff and good eateries where lunch was a treat every time – delightful and not expensive.

Kahlua beach in Hersonissos, Crete

Star Beach, probably the best or the most popular beach in Hersonissos, is the go-to place if you’re looking for fun, beach games, para-sailing and foam parties. If I were to return, I would probably stay at Star Beach as it provides great accommodation in both villas and hotel suites and it draws eclectic crowds from all over the world.

Star Beach, Hersonissos, Crete

Where to eat
Greek restaurants all have something in common: friendly staff and bohemian atmosphere. You absolutely have to try their world-famous Star Beach, Hersonissos, a signature dish of Greek cuisine along with souvlaki and Pita with Gyros. We thought Acropolis, a family-run traditional restaurant right on the beach, served the best moussaka on the island. They also have a great selection of fish, desserts and wine (which we got for free courtesy of the cheerful staff).

Greek Moussaka at Acropolis, Hersonissos, Crete

We also loved Greek Corner, a super cool spot for fun-seeking tourists. While the food was scrumptious and the cocktails amazingly refreshing, we couldn’t take our eyes of the band – a group of Greek artists playing traditional music while a skillful dancer engaged tourists in traditional dances. We were also drawn to the party and danced to the Zorbas, a mesmerizing song by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. We literally had to jump over fire; it was awesome, totally worth trying.

Zorba dancing at Greek Corner, Hersonissos, Crete

Our third favorite was White Lion, a more contemporary tavernita where everything was delicious (including the complementary shots, on the house).

What to visit
While there are many lovely spots on the island, loaded with history and authentic charm, Lychnostatis is a place not to be missed. It is an Open Air Museum and a small remnant of ancient Cretan life. You get to admire Greek arts and crafts first hand and see for yourself how people lived, what they ate and how they built their villages.

Lychnostatis Museum in Hersonissos, Crete

There are guided tours through the museum and you even get to experience for yourself certain customs such as making wine, the old-fashioned way. I tried it for myself and I can tell you it’s a painstaking endeavor. Grapes are trodden by feet and the juice runs off into special basins; an there you have it – the nectar of the gods – fantastic.

Wine-making, the old-fashioned way

On the last day we embarked on a trip to Sissi, a cute, simple fisherman village next to the sea. We took the Black Rose Pirate Boat whose captain reminded us of Jack Sparrow – for real. The trip was great, we got to admire some beautiful locations, swim into the clearest waters of the Mediterranean and engage in friendly conversations with Greek people.

Black Rose Pirate Boat docked at Sissi Harbor, Crete, Greece


Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Food, Secret garden, Travel & living


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Officially amazing: 5 curious records

There are many extraordinary things in the world but some are simply astounding. Here are our top 5 awesome records that put the fun in “fun-tastic”.

Tallest dog living. His name is George, Giant George and he’s a Great Dane owned by David Nasser of Tucson, Arizona, USA. George was measured 1.092 m (43 in) tall on 15 February 2010 and he’s absolutely gorgeous, don’t you think?

“Gangnam Style became the most “liked” video in YouTube history in 2012 with 4,911,081 votes. “We’re pleased to present his official certificate to such a global phenomenon,” said Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday, who presented the certificate at the radio studio. “Gangnam Style is an infectious, joyous song that has brought a smile to the faces of a tenth of the world’s population, and the result is that it’s the most liked video of any kind in the history of YouTube!”

The fastest toilet record is held by “Bog Standard”, a bathroom set consisting of bathtub, sink, and laundry bin, which can travel to a speed of 68 kmh (42.25 mph). The curious motorcycle ensemble was presented on the set of Lo Show Dei Record, in Milan, Italy, on 10 March 2011.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

The tallest man living is Sultan Kösen (Turkey, b.10 December 1982) who measured 8 ft 3 in on 08 February 2011. He also holds the records for widest hand span and largest feet on a living person. Though life up there is not always fun, he learnt to enjoy it and keep an optimistic outlook on his existence. One of the advantages of being that tall, he says, is being able to help his mum out with jobs such as changing a broken light bulb and hanging curtains.

Are you ready to see the largest egg from a bird living? Well, you should know it weighed 2.589 kg or 5 lb 11.36 oz and was laid by an ostrich (Struthio camelus) at a farm owned by Kerstin and Gunnar Sahlin in Borlänge, Sweden, on 17 May 2008. Now that would make one big omelette!

Image courtesy of

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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Celeb, Travel & living, Trending


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Chasing the summer season to the Island of Crete

I’ve always thought of summer as a gateway to fulfilling dreams, to traveling and marveling at the beauties of the world. Well this year it was a trip to California that fueled my desire to see more and taste more. The actual thought of being able to witness the grandeur of nature is so inspiring. My next stop this summer will be the Island of Crete, Greece. The Land of the Gods they call it…

Seaside Village, Isle of Crete, Greece


Indeed there’s something about Greece that makes it still mysterious and interesting. Deeply immersed in history and mysticism, the birthplace of Zeus, Crete is just my kind of place, one that pushes the “explore” button.

Navagio Beach Zakynthos Greece image via beautifulplacestovisit

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece


I’ll tell you all about it when I come back.

Balos Bay, Gramvousa, Crete



Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Travel & living


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