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Yearly Archives: 2013

Are you absolutely in love with New Year’s Eve? Do you proudly adorn yourself each year with sparkling hats and numbered sunglasses? Do you  stretch yourself to the limit year after year, traveling through the busy streets to get to the nearest fireworks display or working to create the best New Year’s Eve party that your friends have ever seen? If so, FlipKey may have your ultimate travel itinerary all planned out for 2014. While many individuals around the world designate January 1st as the dawn of the new year, some cultures abide by different calendars and thus celebrate the new year during different seasons. It is true that the Gregorian calendar that is followed in America is also the most widely recognized and utilized calendar in the world, but several other religious and astronomical calendars are referred to in other parts of the world, thereby designating a stream of holidays different from our own. While all of these calendars have a date designating the end of one year and the start of a new year, the way that this day is celebrated, and the season in which it appears, differs greatly for each. If you love New Year’s Eve and you’d like to learn about how it’s practiced in the rest of the world, check out this world-wide New Year’s Eve itinerary!

Super Bowl XLVIII seems to be stirring up breaking news and unfortunate controversy nearly every week. This week was no different either. Three new stories emerged that showed the opportunities, and the possible issues, that face the year’s biggest sporting event in the United States.

Story #1 – There will be no tailgating at the Super Bowl. Also, no black cars or taxis to the Super Bowl (aka no drop offs), if you have a car, it needs to be parked there the entire game.

Looking to break out of the (literal) box that is your run of the mill, square-walled vacation accommodation? In an attempt to inspire you to step out of your comfort zone, but still help you find a comfy place to stay, our travel experts here at FlipKey have compiled a list of the top 10 most extraordinary and unusual vacation rentals on the market today. These sometimes bizarre yet always incredible homes are just too impressive not to share.

Some travelers and foodies prefer to enjoy finished products. The first bite or the first sip of a freshly made anything is appreciated and enjoyed. Others are more inquisitive, more curious as to how that amazing piece of food or art or any other inanimate object was created. Here we’ve compiled a list of the top ten factory tours for those who need to know the journey of how a product goes from concept to completion.


Golden Flake
Birmingham, Alabama and Ocala, Florida

Golden Flake may be a Southern brand, but their products have universal appeal, especially their classic potato chips. On their walking tour, you’ll see how they’re made, from humble spuds all the way to freshly crisped chips. Or, you might see the production of pork skins, tortilla chips, or cheese curls. The company has factory locations in both Birmingham, Alabama, and Ocala, Florida, which is near Orlando.

The second installment of The Hunger Games franchise entitled “Catching Fire” premiered November 22 in theaters across the US. This extremely popular book series has captured the hearts and minds of all ages, and has bled into popular culture at all turns. It also launched the careers of both Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence.

The country of Panem (where the story is set) is split up into 12 districts, each with its own exports, and each existing to serve the needs of the wealthy Capitol. The districts are in chronological order starting with District 1, which is the wealthiest and closest to the Capitol. District 12 is farthest away and exists in abject poverty. After the First Rebellion, it is rumored that District 13 was bombed and completely destroyed. As a further penalty for rebelling, the “Hunger Games” were created, but that’s another story for another day.

puget sound wine

When we think of wine, often times we imagine exotic, European locations where dew drips off a perfectly ripe grape and old women stamp with their bare feet to squeeze out the juices. While that may be true (and a nice Hollywood stereotype), there are still many beautiful regions for wine production right here in the United States. Today we are featuring one of the regions that made our list of Top Wine Travel Destinations, the Puget Sound in northwestern Washington state.

By Clotilde Dusoulier

During the holidays, an estimated 68% of your brainwaves are devoted to thinking about chocolate. I just made this up, but I bet that figure is pretty close to reality. And if you’re going to do any traveling this season, what better opportunity to seek out the best local artisans – especially if they’re bean-to-bar operations that allow you to take a peek at their manufacturing process. Here are some of our favorites, in the US and beyond.

THEO Chocolate

Where? Seattle, WA


An American pioneer in sustainable and fair trade chocolate, Theo makes bean-to-bar chocolate in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. They are committed to changing the world one chocolate bar at a time, and their range includes limited-edition bars whose proceeds support various nonprofit organizations, so you can feel extra good about that bar of sea salt dark chocolate you’ve inhaled. The holiday selection – Nutcracker brittle! Peppermint stick! Gingerbread spice! – makes splendid stocking stuffers. One-hour factory tours are offered daily, led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides who will tell you all about the chocolate craft and its social and environmental implications, with lots of samples thrown in. Same-day online reservations are recommended.

The FlipKey team is excited to be attending the 2nd European Seminar hosted by the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) on 9-11 December 2013, in Bruges, Belgium.If you’re a professional rental agent looking to grow your business and would like to interact with some of the most influential minds in the holiday rental industry, book your flight to Bruges! Join FlipKey representatives and other industry professionals from Europe and beyond for this two-day event with more than a dozen new education sessions specifically for holiday rental professionals.

The event will offer more than a dozen informative educational sessions and many opportunities to network with industry professionals to share ideas and best practices. General sessions include The Future of Search and Travel presented by Roel Naessens from Google and more. Additionally, five concurrent sessions will cover a variety of topics from branding and marketing to the impact of mobile and social media on the holiday rental industry.

Check out a a full list of presenters and session topics here, and click here for more gorgeous photos of Bruges.

FlipKey’s own Koryn Okey (@korynokey) will be presenting on Five Ways to Get Your Properties Noticed Online during a Wednesday morning session!

One hundred percent of 2012 attendees said they are likely to recommend this event to a colleague. Don’t miss this opportunity to join industry leaders and suppliers at this seminar. Just one tip, one new resource, or a single connection during this event can make or save your company money.

Don’t delay!  Register now for the 2013 European Seminar. Your industry peers will be in Bruges this December – we encourage you to be there, too!

For more information visit www.vrma.com  or contact Jill Curtis, Director of Membership in the U.S. by phone at +1 (317) 454-8315 or email membership@vrma.com.

Meet Walter, our FlipKey featured owner! He’s shared some tips below that have helped him successfully rent out his Myrtle Beach condo for over ten years.

Prompt Customer Service

One of the main things that helps to differentiate his homes from the competition is the experience he provides with prompt customer service and his determination to resolve any issues.

Promote to Past Guests

Along with excellent customer service to keep renters coming back, Walter has also capitalized on his ever-expanding rolodex of past guests by sending them mailers and reminding them of their relaxing stay in his homes.

Walter’s Wisdom

The last piece of advice that Walter has left us with is the reminder to “Price your unit fairly, respond to complaints the way you would want someone to respond to your complaints. Always leave the customer feeling like you are truly concerned and want them to come back.” Great advice from a vacation rental veteran!

View Walter’s listing here.