Online flight booking

Are Airlines Jacking the Price on You?

With the advent of the world wide web, people can easily shop around for the best prices on items or services. Whether its shoes, a book, or airline tickets, it’s not uncommon for a consumer to look out for different sites in search of the best deals.   Have you ever noticed, when looking at airline tickets, the prices go up day-to-day, and in many cases moment-to-moment? I was curious about it so I dug around a bit. I found out about “Dynamic Pricing”.

“Dynamic Pricing”, also known as “Yield Management”, is a set of pricing strategies aimed at increasing profits. It’s not new, but add the technology and capabilities of the internet, and you have a powerful tool for, potentially, identifying customers that will pay a bit more.

Through the use of “Cookies”, websites have access to a great deal of data about their visitors. With that information, the site could automatically adjust the fair based on the collected data. The travel sites’ position is that the change in rates is based on inventory and not cookie data.  This is what I always thought, and it may be 100% true.  I’m skeptical of that 100%. Lol!  William McGee, an aviation adviser for Consumer Reports, conducted a study, in 2016, of 372 searches on nine airline ticketing websites.  What McGee and his team found was:

“Among the 372 searches, we found 42 pairs of different prices on separate browsers for the same sites retrieved at the same time (in theory there should have been no differences). In fact, all nine sites provided different airfares on separate browsers at the same time at least once, although it occurred most frequently on Google Flights (12) and Kayak (8). Out of the 42 pairs that differed, 25 resulted in higher fares (by as much as $121) and 17 resulted in lower fares (up to $84 less) for the scrubbed browser [meaning cookies/browser history removed].”

The technology is there, the incentive is obvious (mo $$$), and the discrepancies are fact, however, there is no admission from the airlines that they strategically employ “Dynamic Pricing” practices as a way of taking advantage of consumers based on their data.

What can you do?
I know it’s a little more work, but you can search for your flight in two browser windows- one that has no “cookie” data, and one that does. And go with the best results that serve your needs.

Browsers now have a “private” feature. Chrome has a way to browse the internet undetected through their “Incognito” feature. For your convenience, I’ve illustrated below how to do this in Chrome.

Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, offers a much more detailed look at “Dynamic Pricing”, in their blog.  READ IT HERE.  

Click here

Going Incognito in Chrome. D The Driver Blog
The Dropdown menu to open an “Incognito” window in Chrome.

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Hawaii hotel MLB

Mauna Lani Closes On Oct 1st!

A buzz topic amongst tourism industry personnel has been the forthcoming closing of The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. In less than a month, October 1st, 2019 the hotel will close its doors.

MLB Mauna Lani entrance
Atrium at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel

Officially purchased last August by DiamondHead Land (a partnership between California based ProspectHill Group and Patrick Fitzgerald). The new owners have carefully assessed the property and have announced the plans for a 100 million dollar make-over. The renovations are expected to take 12 to 14 months to complete. “We are honored to carry on the legacy of the Mauna Lani – hailed as an unparalleled destination and frequently cited as a model of thoughtful stewardship – and bring it into a vibrant new era,”, said Mr. Fitzgerald in a statement. “We are confident we can build on the Mauna Lani’s reputation as a world-class resort to offer even greater value to our cherished guests.”  Mauna Lani is also steward of the ancient Hawai’ian  Kalahuipua‘a royal fish ponds.

Mauna Lani Bay Back Lawn
Mauna Lani Bay

Although the 400 workers of the hotel will have to find another source of income, while the renovations take place, the new owners have vowed to assist them with finding employment and to bring them all back when the hotel reopens. I truly hope so. For a great deal of those workers, Mana Lani has been their second home for 20-30 years. guests who’ve been coming for years have developed relationships with many of the staff members.

Foot bridge over water at MLB

Ocean front pool MLB
Pool Time at Mauna Lani

With great change, trepidation and anxiety is expected.  Let’s hope that the changes turn out to be good for all involved; the workers, the guests, the new owners, as well as the continuation of the ecological stewardship and historical preservation that Mauna Lani has been known for.



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D’s Wardrobe Highlight: Hats and Footwear

“D, where do you get your hats?”, is a consistent question I get.  I know I look so fly that some people want to get some of that flavor and take it home with them. Lol!  So, if you’re on the Big Island, be sure to visit The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo, at 256 Kamehameha Ave, in Hilo’s Bayfront.  Although this is where I purchase my Scala Hats, they sell so many other things; gifts, memorabilia, clothes. And they’re all very nice. Tell them D The Driver sent you!

Although my footwear changes often, lately I’ve been rocking these Nike SB Check Solar skate shoes.  They’re simple, stylish, and comfortable!

Hat&Snkrs

You can also purchase these items through my Amazon Affiliate links, here:

Shoes: Nike Men’s SB Check Solar

Hat: Scala Classico Fedora

 



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Is The Coast Clear?!

920x920
Is the coast clear?  For Kona, yes. For Hilo, not so much. Yes, Hurricane Lane, has been down graded to a cat 1 tropical storm, but the damage has been done.  Hawaii Islands’ East side experienced record breaking rainfall!

 

Hilo Bay map

The Waiakea Uka area of Hilo experienced a whopping 45.80 inches! Hilo International Airport (ITO) was soaked with 31.85 inches of rain.

The last 3 days have gone on record as the most rain Hilo has ever experienced in a three-day period. Wailuku river, overrun with rain, flooded Hilo’s Bayfront. The National Weather Service called the flooding “catastrophic.”.  Although Hurricane Lane has dumped the most rain that Hilo has ever seen, at 45.8 inches, the record for the most rainfall in the state, goes to Hurricane Hiki — drenching Kauai back in 1950 with 52 inches!

1808241906-Hilo-Bayfront-Under-Water-After-Hurricane-Lane-Hits

More than 100 residence were forced to evacuate. 6 shelters, island wide, have been opened to assist those in need. To find out how you can support, contact the Hawaii State Chapter of the Red Cross (808) 734-2101.

Honu at Punaluu Beach

Kailua-Kona With D The Driver

The last blog I wrote was at the tail end of May. That was just before I took my trip back to the East Coast. It was on this visit when my laptop was stolen from my rental vehicle. Although I did not allow the theft to rob me of a good time visiting friends and family, it did impact, among other things, my ability to write my weekly blog. With a laptop, there’s freedom- Freedom to turn virtually any place into “my office”. Any of the beautiful beaches, parks, or cafés magically transform into places for me to manage accounts, do paperwork, communicate with clients, and consistently write my D The Driver Blog. A lot has gone down since I last shared.

The Volcano.
The breakout lava flow is still flowing- like a river, in fact! Fissure 8 has emerged as the dominant source of the lava activity. The Big Island is getting Bigger! For the latest maps and information, dealing with Kilauea and lava activity, please visit the USGA’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory site.
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

Added a 12 passenger van service option.
Now, if you would like to apply my exemplary service to the delivery of your group, of up to 12, on an outing or retreat, I can take care of that!

12 Passenger Chevy Van

Absolute Ba;ance In Hawaii
Yoga Retreat Participants from Tokyo, Japan.

The cruise ships are back!
After the news coverage gave everyone a good fright, the cruise ships discontinued their stops to Hawaii Island’s Hilo and Kona ports.
When Norwegian Cruise Line announced it would be adding the ports back onto its Pride of America itinerary, here’s what they said:

“As we have always said, Hawaii is an incredible destination,” the cruise lines said. “We have visited its ports for well over a decade and we are very happy to be returning to Hilo and Kona. Please know that the safety and security of our guests and crew remains our first priority so we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation.”

I had the privilege of driving a pleasant older couple from Fort Lauderdale, FL, last Tuesday. I picked them up at the pier. They told me that they wanted to drive around, see a few sites, and find themselves at a beachfront restaurant, for lunch. So we cruised South on Ali’I Drive, up to Keauhou Bay and the scenic lookout, and then we headed North to Hualalai Resort where they enjoyed a nice lunch at The Four Seasons’ Beachtree Restaurant, situated on the beach! Then, the final stop before returning to the pier- Kona Mountain Coffee- for some gifts. I returned them to the pier with a half hour to spare and big smiles on their faces. They thanked me for a wonderful afternoon and said “If you’re ever in the Fort Lauderdale area, give us a call.”. I just might do that. Haha!

With so many things to see and do on this wonderful island, what would you like to do or see?
Give me a shout, and we can work it out!

I hope to see you in the Kona Sunshine!

Hawaii Shores
D The Driver At Your Service!