Wandering in Miami’s South Beach

A vacation isn’t a vacation unless one escapes the irritants of ownable life. Because really, where traveling is concerned, is that not what a temporary interlude is for? To run off to new reality and discover a hidden existence from apart from daily trifling. To discover there is more to the person than just making breakfast for the kids or working a 9 to 5 job. Traveling light is ascertaining there is MORE to life than what meets the budget or the eye.

To travel lightly has a lot of advantages, more so on the sanity of the person. It is to appreciate the beauty of the culture without literal and emotional baggage to carry around, half of which you don’t even need for a carefree jaunt. More than that, one will not be forced to take expensive accommodations because some form of protection is needed for all those material things.

The famed city of sun and sand, Miami, is a Bohemian respite. Do not expect another Soho or even a quaint San Francisco. There are no people in heels or expensive suits although this is not brought about by any lack of such whatsoever. Even if the place is one of the richest commercial beach towns, there are no airs of uptightness. Miami has energy in itself, albeit surprisingly calm amidst the cosmopolitan. South Beach is a myriad of skin, slip-ons, shorts, suntan lotion and more skin. In a place where nudity is pride, the laidback atmosphere will make a beach trip more than just visual pleasure.

South Beach is home to 7 miles of beach area where the traveler can engage in what philosophers refer to as ‘necessary boredom’. Swimming is a must, as is walking through the coastline, eating in the several seaside restaurants with access to affordable seafood, talking to pet owners or chess players, actively crisscrossing along with the thousands of bikes and rollerblades or just sitting by the coast with book and iPod ready.

If tired of the constant sunshine, go through Ocean Drive, home to the once infamous Art Deco Buildings of high crime rates. This only adds to the mysticism of the now historic area though. Don’t take a guided tour. Instead, stroll through the streets of Ocean Drive, 18th Street and Collins Avenue as if you had all the time in the world. Everywhere you go anyway, you’re sure to bound into one of the over 800 historic places in the district. The Streamline Moderne, a dominant area in the Art Deco style, is prominently evident in the Cardozo and Avalon Hotels. One can also visit the Wolfsonian-FIU museum, a fascinating display collection of the modern era.

Planning the trip on December? You might even chance upon the Art Basel Miami Beach, a display from almost 200 leading art galleries and over 1,500 artists. If not, there are still several public displays for artistic consumption whatever month you’re planning to travel.

Lincoln Road is also a great cultural sightsee even without visiting shops, boutiques and cafes. The on-street performance artists are constant wonders for tourists and locals alike. Lincoln road now reflects what architects dub as ‘MiMo’ or Miami Modern Architecture. The road itself was redesigned and is now home to concert halls, bars and restaurants but these shouldn’t be the main sightsee to a conscious traveler. Instead, go to Lincoln Theatre where a Frank-Gehry designed space can be seen. The theatre has a constant stream of upcoming artists whose performances are considered steals for such talents. For as little as $10 to $30, the traveler can now have access to Comedy Festivals, Indian Dance Festivals and Film festivals.

Even without paying, Lincoln Road can provide eye candy by going through galleries and studios for new artists at the Art Center South Florida.

The Growing Value of Mobile Marketing for Tourism, Or How to Lure Hungry Travelers That Love to Shop

“Esta com fome? Como cerca de sushi? Google ‘melhor sushi em Miami Beach’ em seu telephone.” Imagine a Brazilian couple on vacation in South Beach. They spent some time at the beach, walked around town, bought some souvenirs, and now they are getting hungry. They’re sick of the expensive tourist traps and want to find a good place to eat at a good value. At home, when they want to discover a new restaurant they Google their search term, do a little research, and go out to try something new. They’ve brought their smart phone on vacation with them and it has proven to be an invaluable tool in a foreign city – pointing out good deals, giving restaurant reviews, showing maps, and sending photos.

So the question is, “How many local merchants are marketing directly to them with mobile ads?” Definitely not enough. And, if those merchants are located in prime destinations – Miami, New York, L.A. – for American and international travelers then the effectiveness of the ads could be fantastic, but if they aren’t using these tools the lost opportunity costs are also high. Mobile marketing has already caught on with Europeans, and based on my interactions with tourists, I notice that wealthy travelers from South America always bring their Blackberry or iPhone on trips and see it as an important status symbol.

There are around 5 billion cell phone users vs. only 1.8 billion internet users, both huge numbers, thus the potential lies with the mobile internet. Although there are only 51 million smart phone users, this is where resources should be focused because the phones offer the best user experience and the ads will be seen by the wealthiest mobile phone users. Take into consideration that smartphone sales will surpass worldwide PC sales by the end of 2011, according to RBC, and it looks like now is the time to start using mobile marketing ads to reach people wherever they may be.

What if someone told you what the internet would be like a year before it got big? Do you think you’d be more successful now? Well, the opportunities with the mobile web could be bigger! The current web gives us immediate gratification, but we have to have a computer and an internet connection. The new mobile web comes to us wirelessly, into our hands through smart phones and mobile devices that are geographically positioned to where we are now. What if you could sell what people want right now, where they are at this moment? Mobile ads provide this functionality, and at a low price.

Print media is still expensive, not measurable enough, and not profitable enough. Too many small local businesses never even took full advantage of using the internet to connect with customers, but if there was a steady stream of tourists it often didn’t matter. But now with more competition and less people traveling, it is wise to stop spending money on print ads and flyers that visitors never see or just throw away and pay pennies a click to reach them on the smart phones they won’t leave home without.

Small businesses in touristic areas can even reach people before they leave home. For example, a boutique hotel in Miami Beach could run ads on smart phones just for people in New York City that say “Coming to Miami this winter?” It could be released the coldest day of January and offer a free visitors’ guide to South Beach in exchange for their email. This costs $.05 a click and now the hotel has the freezing traveler’s email address to which they can send the free guide and a special offer to visit the hotel as soon as possible!

There are many ways to get creative with mobile phone advertising and offering coupons is one of the smartest ways to reach out to new customers and earn their loyalty. The applications for tourism focused coupons are tremendous, for example, many people from South America go to the U.S. to shop for electronics and luxury goods that are very expensive back home. A women’s boutique at a mall could send out coupons via their mobile ads and partner with a tour van operator to take people to the shop. For restaurants in competitive areas a mobile coupon for a couple of free beers could go along way and the competition will never even know how it is being done since the offer arrived personally, straight to the end user’s phone and not via flyers that litter the street.

Furthermore, since Social Networking tops U.S. mobile app downloads and 50% of all social media interaction occurs on cell phones, using mobile ads to promote a business’ Facebook page is smart too. Detailed information, tourist guides, coupons, and reviews can be found on their Facebook site and there is less need to establish an expensive website. Now the business is motivated to treat the tourist very well, maintain contact, stimulate positive reviews, make more friends, and stay in touch so the visitor comes back the following year.

In conclusion, local businesses in tourist driven areas can use mobile marketing at a low price to directly reach potential visitors and bypass the myriad travel sites that take commissions. They can easily provide value and earn the loyalty of their guests before they even meet, and then once the traveler is impressed the relationship can blossom via social media. The potential to get creative with this is great because this method is in its infancy and whoever gets in now is going to do very well. You can see a great example of using Facebook to stay in touch with past guests, and promote a small hotel and vacation rental in Santa Teresa Costa Rica by clicking the link.

Vacation Rentals in South Beach Florida

For tourists all around the world, there are many reasons to visit South Beach Florida. Whether you are native to the Miami area or are visiting the United States from around the globe, there are numerous types of vacation rentals to take advantage of when traveling to this sunny state. With all of the many theme parks and attractions that Florida has to offer, sandy white beaches and relaxation aren’t the only reasons why someone would want to find vacation rentals in South Beach Florida.

For couples or families traveling to Florida the options for rentals are vast. From townhouses to apartments and villas, you are sure to find a place to stay while you enjoy everything that Florida has to offer. Condominiums and homes designed for out-of-towners are the perfect place to relax all with the comforts of home. Some hotels are perfect for business travelers and short visits, but many tourists will opt for a more relaxed atmosphere that comes from vacation rentals when they plan on staying in Florida for an extended period of time. Fully furnished and completely stocked with everything you may need during your holiday, there are many affordable and attractive vacation rentals in South Beach Florida.

Miami rental specialists can help anyone who is preparing their next Florida holiday so that everything is taken care of well before you have to leave to ensure the freest vacation possible. There are many different vacation rentals to suit any couple traveling alone or a large family on vacation. With villas and condominiums from 2 bedrooms right up to 6 bedrooms, you are sure to find a cozy rental for just the two of you or one that will be large enough to accommodate you and your entire family or friends traveling with you. The included amenities can vary from rental to rental, so be sure to ask what is included with your rental.

If you are traveling with a family pet, there are many vacation rentals that are designed specifically for those families who vacation with their animals. Pet-friendly beaches and specific rental units are available to ensure that those with pets can still enjoy everything that South Beach Florida has to offer. If taking a holiday with your pet is an option that you are pursuing or one that is unavoidable be sure to ask your travel agent or rental-booking specialist about the choices you have for a townhouse or villas that will accommodate animals.

The locations of vacation rentals can vary from the heart of downtown in the middle of the local nightlife and excitement to just steps from the beach. With so much to see and do in South Beach Florida, securing the perfect vacation rental will make your holiday easier and more enjoyable. Rentals are flexible enough for one week or one month in duration, so be sure to check out any specials for returning visitors or long-term vacationers. Air conditioning, on-site pools and even game rooms are just some of the amenities that you can find through many South Beach Florida vacation rentals.