NAHB Few Gains in Homebuilder Confidence

first_imgNAHB: Few Gains in Homebuilder Confidence Agents & Brokers Bankrate Home Prices Home Sales Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Home Builders Processing Service Providers Unemployment Wells Fargo 2011-08-15 Ryan Schuette August 15, 2011 447 Views in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img The market remains a dim one for new single-family homes, according to an index jointly released by “”Wells Fargo””:https://www.wellsfargo.com/ and the “”National Association of Home Builders””:http://www.nahb.org/ (NAHB). The index registered confidence at 15 on a 0-to-100 scale, staying largely the same since July and remaining above the lowest dip in confidence seen in January 2009.[IMAGE]The Housing Market Index (HMI), conducted by the trade association and mortgage giant for over 20 years, measures home builder perception about single-family home sales and expectations. According to a “”statement””:http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?sectionID=134&newsID=13212, any reading above 50 amounts to a vote of confidence by builders about their market.The August reading showed that two of three component index went up slightly. Current sales hit a new high since March, moving up by one point to hit 16, with the measurement for buyer traffic following by climbing to 13 after a two-month exile at 12. Sales expectations over the next six months fell to 19.The HMI index also put regional improvements in gray territory, viewing a four-point increase to 19 across the Northeast, with the Midwest dipping by two points to 10, the South steadying at 17, and the West moving up to 15 by one point.Commenting on the pale numbers, Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman and a Reno-based homebuilder, said in the statement that “”[b]uilders continue to confront the same major challenges they have seen over the past year, including competition from the large inventory of distressed homes on the market, inaccurate appraisal values, and issues with their buyers not being able to sell an existing home or qualify for favorable mortgage rates because of overly tight underwriting requirements.””He went on to say that 41 percent of HMI respondents signaled losses in sales contracts as a result of stagnation in home sales, with buyers unable to take their properties to market. Also appearing in the statement, David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, fingered job creation as responsible for wavering consumer confidence.[COLUMN_BREAK]””The uncertain economic climate and concerns about job security are discouraging many potential buyers from exploring a home purchase at this time,”” Crowe said. “”While buying conditions are very favorable in terms of prices, interest rates and selection, consumers are worried about what the future will bring, and builders are echoing those sentiments in their responses to the HMI survey.””Adding to their woes, major homebuilding companies suffered losses in the financial sector last week, with a gusty Dow Jones Industrial Average blowing through stocks and shares. Stocks for “”D.R. Horton, Inc.””:http://www.drhorton.com/ scraped by with 3.90 percent Wednesday, with shares each tying off at $9.18, while those for “”KBH Homes””:http://www.beazer.com/ witnessed their holdings fly away at 11.27 percent. Bipolar stocks battered “”Beazer Homes USA, Inc.””:http://www.beazer.com/, meanwhile, by leading the company into a 12-percent drop that closed shares at $1.62 per on the same day.Spokespeople for D.R. Horton and KBH Homes could not be immediately reached for comment.Economists call home construction a vital sector in the housing industry and economic recovery at large. Homebuilding companies annually create millions of jobs, with recent “”Labor Department””:http://www.dol.gov/ reports serving up telltale signs about health in the housing industry and economic recovery: the construction industry as a whole added 5,814 jobs, marginally up from 5,734 in June.Moreover, without new home construction ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a bellwether for new sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô home prices and job creation across the larger economy are also less likely to climb out of double-dip territory.Speaking to _MReport_ for a past story, Vincent Valvo, group publisher at the Massachusetts-based “”Warren Group””:http://www.thewarrengroup.com/portal/, cited wider implications for poor showings in home construction and household formation.””Very few people move into a house with the stuff they’ve got,”” he said. “”They often come in and say, I want to do some landscaping. I need a gas grill. I need new drapes. I need a lawnmower. I need a snow-blower. I need gardening equipment. When you get a house, you go out and buy stuff that has this exponential ripple effect across the economy.””And if people aren’t buying new homes? “”People don’t have jobs, so they’re not buying houses; not buying houses, not buying things; so manufacturers can’t employ people; people don’t have jobs, people can’t buy houses,”” Valvo said.Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst for “”Bankrate””:http://www.bankrate.com/, pulled the focus back to job creation in a past interview.””So much hinges on jobs,”” he said. “”Until we see consistent and substantive job growth, people will question the strength of the economic recovery and the housing market will continue to lag as prospective homebuyers stay on the sidelines.”” Sharelast_img read more

Total Mortgage Services Launches Redesigned Website

first_img Share In Connecticut, “”Total Mortgage Services, LLC””:http://www.totalmortgage.com/ announced the launch of its new and improved website offering users with a dynamic browsing experience across all devices.[IMAGE]””We are very excited to unveil our new and improved Total Mortgage website, which was designed based on the feedback we have received from our customers,”” said John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage. “”Our commitment to offering borrowers industry-leading technology remains a top priority, and we are proud to offer one of the industry’s most user-friendly websites that focuses on educating [COLUMN_BREAK]borrowers to enable them to make the best choice for their home mortgage.”” The new website features responsive Web design intended to provide users with an optimal viewing experience across a range of devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones. Its proprietary content management system allows the company’s development team to make quick updates and improvements, allowing mortgage experts to publish up-to-date rate and product information with maximum efficiency.Visitors to the new website will also notice new resources, such as in-depth guides to purchasing or refinancing a home, in addition to many other tools.””We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers on the new website, and plan to use these valuable responses to inform our plans to roll out additional resources and elements that meet the needs of our customers,”” Walsh said. “”At Total Mortgage we understand that as the mortgage industry and technology changes, we must change with it, and our refreshed website is part of our overall goal to deliver the right mortgage solution and best service to borrowers.”” Total Mortgage Services Launches Redesigned Website Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-05-15 Tory Barringercenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology May 15, 2013 420 Views last_img read more

First Title Radio Show Nears 10 Episodes

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing “”First Title & Escrow””:http://titlecompany.com/ is gearing up to celebrate the benchmark 10th episode of its radio show, the company announced.[IMAGE]The First Title Radio Show debuted on May 31 and has aired seven episodes so far. In that time, host Doug Dennison–a radio, real estate, and government auction [COLUMN_BREAK]expert–has interviewed more than 15 real estate professionals, including representatives from Sperry Van Ness, Florida Keys Real Estate, Rowell Auctions, Inc., and the Five Star Institute. _[Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of_ MReport _and theMReport.com.]_””We want to continue educating our listeners by engaging professionals each week on a variety of industry-specific topics,”” Dennison said. “”I’m pleased to have already interviewed such amazing guests, and look forward to having more experts on the show in the coming weeks.””””Building everlasting alliances with industry resources and paying it forward are principles that are highlighted in the company’s core values,”” said Stephen Papermaster, CEO of First Title & Escrow. “”The show is a shining example of those tenets being realized, and we hope to see continued growth in online listenership.””The First Title Radio Show airs live every Friday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Eastern on “”1240news.com””:http://1240news.com/. Episodes are archived at the show’s “”YouTube channel””:http://www.youtube.com/user/FirstTitleRadio and at TitleCompany.com. Share First Title Radio Show Nears 10 Episodescenter_img July 18, 2013 417 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-07-18 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

NTC Recognized as One of Nations FastestGrowing Companies

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-08-22 Tory Barringer August 22, 2013 447 Views NTC Recognized as One of Nation’s Fastest-Growing Companiescenter_img “”Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc.””:http://www.nwtc.com/ (NTC), a leading service provider to the mortgage and financial industry, ranked on _Inc.’s_ 500|5000 list again this year, coming in hundreds of spots higher than in 2012–despite the fact that the nation’s economic growth rate so far has been underwhelming.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]According to an announcement from the Florida-based company, NTC was ranked “”No. 1900″”:http://www.inc.com/profile/nationwide-title-clearing on _Inc.’s_ list, moving up 830 spots from the position it held last year. To qualify, NTC had to meet a number of criteria, including having generated at least $200,000 revenue in 2009 and at least $2 million in 2012.””It is very encouraging to be recognized among other nationally-ranked companies on this prestigious list–our employees have been working extremely hard for years to establish and perfect the systems we have in place,”” said NTC CEO John Hillman. “”Collectively, we consider this award an honor and a testament to our hard work.””To celebrate its achievement, NTC has been invited to attend the exclusive 32nd Annual _Inc._ 500|5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony, an annual three-day event that brings some of the nation’s most successful business minds together. The event will be held October 10-12 in Washington, D.C. Sharelast_img read more

Mortgage Rates Down in LeadUp to Fed Announcement

first_img Share Fixed mortgage rates moved down just “a tad” this week, keeping movements within a fairly narrow range year-to-date as the first quarter comes closer to an end.Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, released Thursday, showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging 4.32 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending March 20, down from last week, when it averaged 4.37 percent. A year ago, the 30-year FRM average was 3.54 percent.Since falling from 4.53 percent in 2014’s first weeks, the 30-year fixed average has seen limited movements since, staying in the 4.2-4.3 percent range.The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.32 percent (0.6 point), down from 3.38 percent in last week’s survey.Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, attributed the fall back to weak housing data earlier in the week, though he added there may be a pickup soon—compliments of the Federal Reserve.“Mortgage rates eased this week as housing starts declined 0.2 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000, below consensus forecast,” Nothaft said. “The rate on the 10-year [T]reasury note rose following the Fed’s announcement Wednesday afternoon and, if this holds, interest rates may begin to trend higher going into next week.”In adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.02 percent (0.4 point), down from 3.09 percent previously, while the 1-year ARM moved up a basis point to 2.49 percent (0.4 point).Meanwhile, Bankrate.com reported in its weekly national survey that the 30-year fixed came down this week to 4.46 percent from an even 4.50 percent, while the 15-year fixed was down to 3.48 percent from 3.51 percent.The 5/1 ARM also slipped, dropping to 3.26 percent from 3.30 percent last week.According to analysts for the finance site, “[t]he mostly static nature of mortgage rates in recent weeks” is due to a dearth of meaningful news regarding the economy and the situation at the Fed.“With the Fed maintaining the taper and pledging to hold short-term interest rates at record lows, there were no bombshells in [Fed Chair Janet] Yellen’s initial meeting at the helm of the Fed,” Bankrate said in a release. “While investors are reading into a slightly earlier timetable for Fed rate hikes, Yellen assured observers the Fed had not changed their policy.” March 20, 2014 494 Views Bankrate Federal Reserve Freddie Mac Housing Starts Mortgage Rates 2014-03-20 Tory Barringercenter_img Mortgage Rates Down in Lead-Up to Fed Announcement in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Originationlast_img read more

Solutionstar Announces Acquisition of Title365

first_img Share Acquisitions Company News Solutionstar Title365 2014-11-21 Tory Barringer November 21, 2014 431 Views Solutionstar Announces Acquisition of Title365center_img Solutionstar, a subsidiary of Texas-based Nationstar Mortgage Holdings, announced Friday it has entered into an agreement to acquire Experience 1, Inc., the holding company for Title365 and two other technology subsidiaries in a $36 million cash deal.In its announcement, the company described the strategic acquisition as another step in its “continuing growth as the nation’s premier real estate technology company.”With the new addition, Solutionstar says it hopes to expand its purchase title services, further diversify its revenue streams, expand into new markets, and position the newly combined enterprise as a premier player and innovator in the national title arena.Friday’s announcement is just the latest in a series of strategic moves on Solutionstar’s part to grow as a leader in real estate technology. In May, the company acquired Real Estate Digital (RED), a real estate data aggregation firm that provides online marketing, data, transaction management, and digital media solutions.The company took another major step earlier this month with the addition of renowned technology executive Kal Raman as CEO.”When I was hired to take the helm at Solutionstar, we promised to continue to make significant, sustained investments in innovation and expand our products and services to elevate the company as a national leader in real estate technology,” Raman said. “Acquiring RED was an important step in that evolution, and acquiring Title365 underscores Solutionstar’s commitment to leverage our technological expertise to deliver comprehensive, end-to-end online services for homebuyers, home sellers and real estate professionals.”The transaction, which is subject to customary approvals and consents, is expected to close in January 2015. in Headlines, News, Technologylast_img read more

Experts Say Fed Minutes Could Signal Hike

first_img The Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its April meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and if industry experts are on track, they could point to another rate hike on the horizon. The Fed previously raised rates from 0.75 points to 1 in March.According to Robert Kaplan, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, employment is on the rise, but that may start to level out—and that could signal a rate hike down the line.“We are making good progress toward reaching our full-employment objective,” Kaplan wrote in a recent essay. “The most recent April jobs report showed an increase of 211,000 jobs and a decline in the headline unemployment rate to 4.4 percent. This report is consistent with the three-, six- and nine-month average gains of approximately 180,000 new jobs per month. As we move forward, I would not be surprised if the average rate of job growth slowed somewhat, consistent with a declining level of labor slack in the economy.”Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, agreed that recent job growth is promising, but said it’s still a long way until the country reaches full employment.”We are closer, but we don’t know how far the shore is,” Kashkari said in a press conference at the Minneapolis Fed on Tuesday.But jobs and employment aren’t the only factors that point to a rate hike. According to Kashkari, inflation is also a concern.”Right now inflation is going in the wrong direction, and so that is concerning to me,” he said.Kaplan also covered inflation in his essay, noting that “reaching our 2 percent inflation objective has been slow over the past several years.” Considering this, as well as other factors like energy, aging of the workforce, technology trends and more, Kaplan is on board with another two rate hikes in the coming year.“I continue to believe that three rate increases for 2017, including the March increase, is an appropriate baseline case for the near-term path of the federal funds rate,” he said.Kashkari was the only person to vote against the Fed’s rate hike in March, but has said he is unsure if he will vote similarly in June, when another rate hike is up for consideration.”Anything is on the table, depending on how the data comes out,” Kashkari saidIf he does vote against it, he may not be the only one. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard called the three expected rate hikes “too aggressive” last week, noting the same concerns as Kaplan and Kashkari—slowing job growth and inflation.But, Kashkari said, the Fed’s plan to cut down the bank’s balance sheet should provide a strong alternative to a rate increase, and tax reform could help as well. The Fed intends to publish its plan for trimming down its $4.5 trillion budget by the end of 2017.“I believe we should begin the process of gradually reducing the size of the Federal Reserve balance sheet,” Kaplan said. “I think it will likely be appropriate to begin this process sometime later this year.”Stay tuned to MReport for full details of the Fed’s minutes. Fed Rate Hike Federal Reserve james bullard Neel Kashkari Rate Hike robert kaplan 2017-05-23 Aly J. Yale May 23, 2017 648 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img Experts Say Fed Minutes Could Signal Hike Sharelast_img read more

Real Estate The New Gold Standard

first_imgReal Estate: The New Gold Standard in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, Market Studies, News Gold real estate Stock 2017-07-19 Joey Pizzolato July 19, 2017 557 Views center_img Share Real Estate is American’s favorite long-term investment, according to a recent poll by Bankrate. In its Financial Security Index, which was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, they asked 1,002 adults via telephone—for money that wouldn’t be touched for at least 10 years—what did they think was the best investment?Twenty-eight percent said real estate, while cash investments came in a close second at 23 percent. Bringing up the rear was the stock market, at 17 percent; gold, at 15 percent; and bonds at 4 percent. Six percent of those polled answered “other.” Bankrate suggests that the reason real estate is the favorite is three-fold: rising home prices, perpetually low interest rates, and tax incentives. Plus, there’s the added bonus of having a place to call home, permanently.However, in terms of return on investment, real estate historically doesn’t have the highest yield. Bankrate cites a study by professors at the London School of Business that showed average returns on housing was only 1.3 percent annually, and notoriously difficult to sell even in a strong market. In comparison, stocks usually returned four times that amount.This doesn’t seem to matter, although, there is a slight generational gap when it comes to the idea that real estate is the best investment. More Gen Xers and Baby Boomers believe real estate is a better investment than millennials that do, but not by a large margin. Millennials are split in their vote—30 percent for cash investment, and 30 percent for real estate investment. One reason for this could be that real estate is less risky when compared to stocks, and because millennials have less wealth that their predecessors, are less willing to play with it and take risks?Real estate, in that sense, is a safe investment, especially when compared to other routes.last_img read more

Veros Partners with SWBC Lending Solutions

first_img in News Share Veros Partners with SWBC Lending Solutions September 20, 2018 479 Views center_img Veros Real Estate Solutions, a developer of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation, and predictive analytics services, and SWBC Lending Solutions, which provides cost-effective and compliant lending products for originators, loan servicers, and portfolio managers, have partnered to provide complete, end-to-end collateral valuations and analytics services.Texas-based SWBC Lending Solutions, a subsidiary of SWBC, will now offer Veros’ AVM solutions, including the company’s proprietary VeroVALUE suite and the breakthrough VeroPRECISION valuation decision engine, for all mortgage industry participants seeking to maintain valuation accuracy, while cutting costs and increasing operational efficiencies.”SWBC Lending Solutions has a stellar reputation for providing comprehensive services and solutions that touch every stage of the mortgage lifecycle and, with the addition of Veros as a preferred supplier, they will now have the ability to offer even greater benefits to their customers,” said Darius Bozorgi, President and CEO, Veros. “We look forward to working with the SWBC team and to leveraging our innovative products, compliance expertise, and outstanding customer service to support their business objectives, as well as those of their valued customers.””We are thrilled to have partnered with Veros Real Estate Services,” said Ted Robinson, CEO of SWBC Lending Solutions. “They are the leader in AVM modeling and technology, and our customers will benefit greatly from these innovative products.”According to Veros, by adding VeroPRECISION to its product line, SWBC now offers “next-generation AVM decision logic technology.” Based upon machine learning in a production environment, the VeroPRECISION decision engine determines the most accurate valuation at the subject property level.”While some valuation service providers actually compete directly with their partners, Veros is committed to supporting our partners completely and providing them with the resources they need to succeed,” said Robert Walker, CMB, CMT VP of Sales at Veros. “Our sales and support personnel serve as an extension to our partners’ teams, providing them with the resources they need for optimal efficiency and profitability.” Veros 2018-09-20 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Addressing Automation Needs in Mortgage

first_imgThe layout-specific configurations needed for each document variation can take a long time to set up if the number of document variations/types is high.These layout-specific configurations need to change if the layout of a document changes.  The graphical signature approach tends to be less reliable with more than one hundred document variations/types to compare, affecting accuracy in some cases. Image processing time tends to be linear relative to the number of document variations/types.This approach fails to leverage the rich text present in a mortgage file to detect document boundaries for multiple page documents, while also lacking the ability to extract data from the documents once indexed. December 4, 2018 1,735 Views in Commentary, Daily Dose, Featured, News, Technology Addressing Automation Needs in Mortgage However, this system also has certain drawbacks, which include: 3. Visual Classification (a.k.a ‘Fingerprinting’)This legacy approach has recently been remarketed for use in the mortgage industry. While it does have the advantage of sub-second speed, it is not an OCR solution. Instead, an image analysis (non-text based) approach is used to identify documents and page types.Visual classification attempts to differentiate between document types A and B largely by examining the distribution of ink on samples of each known document. Similar to thumbprint analysis, the graphical signature of each document type is learned and remembered. It has the following advantages: Processing speed.Works well on documents with a static layout such as tax forms or a 4506-T form.Training time, as it is relatively simple for the system to learn a small range of document variations from image signature analysis. Many technology options are available today to automate mortgage document processing tasks. Some solutions are well marketed with great claims of mortgage ‘knowledge’ and an ability to provide tremendous results. In some cases, providers use offshore labor rather than technology, or some combination of the above. When conducting due diligence, understanding the differences in these approaches is key to supporting expansion and scalability requirements.Three technology approaches help determine the right solution for automating mortgage processing documents:1. Zonal OCRThe zonal Optical Character Recognition (OCR) approach looks in specific locations, or ‘zones’, on a page for relevant text. The benefits of this system include:Minimizing the OCR processing time since only configured zones are processed by the system.Works well on documents with a static layout such as tax forms or a 4506-T form.However, this process is administratively heavy, as variations in document layout require distinct zonal templates. Many times the relevant text is in a highly volatile location, making it difficult to find.2. Full Page OCRThis approach makes a full-page OCR ‘read’ of every page of every document, much the same as a human being. Ideally, each page is read in less than one second and the content is processed through a set of rules to determine the document type of each page. While this may seem to be the obvious way to approach the task of indexing the diverse documents found in the mortgage industry, most technology providers are unable to deliver the speed necessary to successfully scale with this approach. The benefits of this approach include:Works on all mortgage document variations, even pay stubs with millions of variations.  Ability to index document versions which may have never been seen before by the system assuming they are lexically similar (same words and phrases found throughout similar learned examples).Ability to accurately distinguish between leading and following pages, eliminating the need for adding document separator sheets. Ability to “discover” data in a manner similar to a human being, using words and phrases across the entire document to find key data elements for extraction.High-speed OCR allows for almost infinite scalability with a relatively small hardware footprint. Automation Documentation loan mortgage OCR Processing technology 2018-12-04 Radhika Ojha Sharelast_img read more

Planet Home Lending Hires Jennifer Folk

first_img Jennifer Folk loans mortgage Planet Home Lending Servicing 2019-04-11 Radhika Ojha in Headlines, News, Origination The Connecticut-headquartered national lender, Planet Home Lending, has hired Jennifer Folk as SVP of National Operations and operations support. In this role, she is responsible for creating scalable operations to support the growth of the company’s distributed retail sales channel.“Jennifer has the depth of experience and the ability to develop strategies to help us to continue our growth,” said Suzy Lindblom, EVP of National Operations at Planet Home Lending. “Being a lender in today’s mortgage market means you have to consider new ways to reach your goals. Jennifer has a fresh perspective along with the proven capabilities to help us do that.”Before joining Planet Home Lending, Folk was SVP of Strategic Planning at Eagle Home Mortgage. She also spent more than four years in operations at Stearns Lending where she was the business lead for various technology initiatives for retail, wholesale and all joint ventures. Folk started her mortgage operations career in 2002 at Nationwide Lending and has worked at MetLife Home Loans and CMG Financial in operations as well.“Joining the team at Planet Home Lending is an opportunity to work with a growing all-star cast of knowledgeable, committed professionals, including Suzy. I’ve worked with her before and respect her leadership style,” Folk said. “I wanted to be at a company where people enjoy what they do and are passionate about making a constructive difference in the industry. The positive energy here is palpable and it is easy to see why Planet’s potential is limitless. I am excited to have the chance to truly make a difference.”Founded in 2007, Planet Home Lending is a privately held, national residential mortgage lender with multiple business channels uniquely positioned to provide competitive products and services. Planet Home Lending Hires Jennifer Folkcenter_img April 11, 2019 594 Views Sharelast_img read more

Top 10 beaches in AustraliaTripAdvisorWhitehaven B

first_imgTop 10 beaches in AustraliaTripAdvisorWhitehaven Beach Bye bye Bondi … once again, you didn’t make the top 10 in Australia, according to the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays took the top honours in Australia again, for the fourth year in a row, followed Surfers Paradise and Noosa Main Beach.Baia do Sancho in Brazil was named best beach in the world, ahead of beaches in the Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba.Top 10 beaches in AustraliaWhitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island QLDSurfers Paradise Beach, Gold Coast QLDNoosa Main Beach, Noosa QLDManly Beach, Sydney NSWTurquoise Bay Beach, Exmouth WABurleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast QLDCable Beach, Broome WAMooloolaba Beach, Mooloolaba QLDThe Strand, Townsville, QLDEmily Bay, Norfolk IslandClick to read the full list of winnerslast_img read more

Travel Associates

first_imgTravel Associates Travel Associates has appointed Sally Sylvester as general manager. Sylvester brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked for Flight Centre Travel Group for more than 18 years.She began her career as a sales consultant, progressing through the ranks to team leader and then employing and developing staff as an area leader.Prior to her appointment as GM for Travel Associates, Sylvester spent eight years in charge of strategic plans and deployment of the Flight Centre Brand Retail operation in New South Wales and the ACT.last_img read more

agentsEvent Famil photosWendy Wu Tours

first_imgagentsEvent & Famil photosWendy Wu Tours Over 60 VIP travel agents, trade partners, suppliers and staff attended Wendy Wu Tours’ latest big bash on Tuesday night in Sydney, to celebrate the launch of WWT’s new website for agents.Agents can now book a group tour online, 24 hours a day, in less than two minutes, find all the latest prices, tour information and campaigns, and manage their ‘Bambu’ points, the company’s agent reward scheme, plus see individual commissions for each tour at the point of sale.“We have listened very carefully to our agents throughout the design process and have customised the portal with functionality specific to the trade,” said Joe Karbo, group chief executive. “As a company, we are in the process of an ambitious global digital transformation overhaul and we’re putting agents at the centre of this change by delivering a site that dramatically speeds up the booking process, provides a seamless experience and allows agents to concentrate on giving a superior service to customers.”At the official launch party Managing Director Andrew Mulholland gave away over $2000 in prizes, in his role as Emcee. “I’m really excited for the opportunities that this website offers agents to grow. Imagine, no more waiting on the phone, and you can even start a booking at your desk and finish it on the train on the way home on your mobile – it’s shortly going to be one of those simple things that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without! No other speciality wholesaler in our market has ever offered the ability to book complicated tours online, the way that Wendy Wu Tours now offers,” Mulholland said.L-R: Stephanie Dyer, WWT, Tracey Thallon, Flight Centre, Sonia Orrego, WWTAri Magoutis, Express Travel Group & Joe Karbo, Global CEO WWTDale Woodhouse, Singapore Airlines & Andrew Mulholland, MD WWTCatherine Allison, Helloworld & Vara Glover, Head of Sales WWTAndrew Mulholland and Joe Karbolast_img read more

Missed it by that much During the 1980s Saskatc

first_imgMissed it by that much! During the 1980s, Saskatchewan Tourism took control of its marketing by engaging US actor Don Adams, known for his role as Maxwell Smart or Agent 86 on the TV series Get Smart (1965-1970).Would you believe Adams appeared in a number of commercials for Saskatchewan Tourism in character as Maxwell Smart? The ads were directed by Tom Davidson and the clip below is featured on his YouTube channel.Smart’s clumsy investigative skills, his bulky and conspicuous shoe-phone and popular one-liners all feature.Given that Adams was born in Manhattan, the choice of actor may seem odd — however between 1985 and 1988, Adams was staring in a Canadian TV show comedy called Check it Out which was popular in Canada.In the heart of North America, Saskatchewan is bordered by Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Alberta. To the south it borders the American states of Montana and North Dakota.Unfortunately Adams or Smart doesn’t make it past mostly studio locations in these adverts, due to the time of the year the commercials were filmed, although there is a staged fishing scene, presumably to make reference to the origins of the name from the Plains Indian word, ‘kisiskatchewan’, meaning ‘the river that flows swiftly’ (the area’s major river).You may be hoping for your own cone-of-silence after watching these but they are an interesting snapshot into 1980s tourism marketing. *FlashbackFridayCanadaSaskatchewan Tourismlast_img read more

Trafalgar is getting behind International Womens

first_imgTrafalgar is getting behind International Women’s Day today (8 March 2019) through its support of the official #BalanceforBetter movement and raising awareness for women’s empowerment in local communities across the world.Trafalgar’s initiatives with women have been successfully enhanced by the framework of its parent foundation, TreadRight, to ensure that female artisans and entrepreneurs are supported long-term, in an ethical and sustainable way.“Companies like Trafalgar have become a proven catalyst for social change, helping to bridge the gender-gap in remote communities,” said Celine Cousteau, TreadRight Ambassador.“According to our ongoing market research, there is a rising trend amongst conscious travellers seeking holidays that incorporate a strong social element, and a correlation between the positive upliftment of women in local communities and responsible travel initiatives,” said Gavin Tollman, Trafalgar Global CEO.“We’re particularly proud of our #JoinTrafalgar initiatives that empower female artisans, and we’ve seen an ongoing trend in conscious travellers actively seeking experiences aimed at uplifting women in local communities. Our unique offering fulfils this.”Trafalgar encourages more women to host and interact with foreign visitors through its carefully curated range of Be My Guest, Dive into Culture and Stays with Stories experiences, helping women regain a stronger foothold in their communities and revive their culture and traditions. Many of these elements of Trafalgar’s guided holidays are completely organised and run by women, who have been encouraged to take full ownership of their skills and knowledge.IMAGE: The Iraq Al-Amir Cooperative Society supports the women of Wadi Seer in Jordan. rAs part of the JoinTrafalgar programme, guests have an opportunity to visit the on-site Handicrafts Village and learn how this TreadRight-supported initiative helps to preserve the heritage of these women, while equipping them with the skills to increase their income and raise their standard of living.last_img read more

Busabout is celebrating its 21st Birthday with an

first_imgBusabout is celebrating its 21st Birthday with an agent incentive during Busabout’s 21 Day giveaway.Every booking made between 21 March 2019 and 10 April 2019 goes into the draw to win an epic prize every single day. Agents must register and also be a member of Busabout’s Facebook group Busabout Shoutabout. A new prize will be revealed each day on Busabout Shoutabout along with a vintage brochure cover.In addition to this incentive, Busabout is launching three deals for clients.-Save $50 on trips between 5 – 9 days and 6, 9, 12 & 15 stop European Hop-on Hop-off passes-Save $75 on trips between 10 – 15 days-Save $100 on trips 16 days and above, Unlimited Europe and USA Hop-on Hop-offBetween March 21 and April 10 clients and agents can lock in these deals by entering the Promocode: BAB21 at check out.For more details please visitIMAGES AND VIDEO HERE:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zh1n7aw7gdgd863/AABzLRktGIF8svDViFzt639Ma?dl=0last_img read more

Dbacks president Derrick Hall Franchise still f

first_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ “They’re playing well now on both sides of the ball and leading their division. They’re front seven is as good as anybody’s and cause a lot of disturbance. It’ll be a true test for us.”“I’m going to have to do extra preparation and make sure that I’m focused and ready every snap out there on the field. We just need to play our own game and focus on the details of our own offense and try to simplify things and do them right,” said Kolb.It was frustrating for Kolb to suffer the toe injury when he did as he’s struggled to grasp the Cardinals offense in his first season with the team.“We still don’t feel like offensively we’ve played an entire game as a complete unit and that’s a big deal of ours.”“We need to get to that point so we can see how good we can be. We feel like we’re getting better in all phases,” said Kolb.It will help that Kolb makes his return at home in the friendly confines of University of Phoenix stadium.“We’ve been on the road now for what seems like a couple months,” said Kolb. What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke PHOENIX – Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb expects to return to the field on Sunday against the Cowboys.“I feel really good. It was good to get back in the action. Obviously, we’ll see tomorrow how it feels after a full day like that, but I have full intention of playing,” said Kolb after going through his first full practice Wednesday since returning form injury.Kolb has missed four games since suffering a toe injury against Baltimore and will need to shake the rust off quickly to face a tough Cowboys defense. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocationcenter_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more

Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute ri

first_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Warner said the team will have to be able to protect the36-year-old QB, especially as he’s returning from aserious injury, as well as tailor its offense to fitManning’s skill-set. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Top Stories Arizona Cardinals fans think Peyton Manning would be agreat fit for their team. However, does the QB feel thesame way about the Cardinals?That could be the determining factor for where the futureHall of Famer plays next season, according to formerCardinal Kurt Warner, and as of now he’s unsure of whereManning will end up.“I believe he wants it to be in Indianapolis, but I’m notsure he or anyone else believes that’s in the cards,”Warner told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf. “Thatbecomes the next challenge; if it’s not Indianapolis,you’ve got to find the right fit for Peyton Manning.”center_img Comments   Share   What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’last_img read more

Arizona Cardinals tight end Todd Heap has played i

first_imgArizona Cardinals tight end Todd Heap has played in just 12 of a possible 24 games with the Arizona Cardinals, including just two this season.The 32-year-old has been sidelined since the team’s Week 2 win over New England with a knee injury, and there’s little doubt Heap would like to get back on the field. Until then, though, the veteran will be subject to all that comes with an injury, including frustration from being unable to help the team. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories “If I’m out there I want to be helping the team and not putting myself at risk at the same time,” he said. “Does it help to go out and limp off the field every other play?“I don’t think that’s going to help our team right now.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett voiced his displeasure after Monday’s loss, saying his coach “called out some guys in the training room that we need on the field. We need them.”Heap might be one of those guys, and he responded to his teammates comments as a guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Tuesday.“I don’t know exactly who those comments are directed at,” Heap said. “If they were directed at me, I hope he would come and talk to me.”No one is saying Dockett was referring to Heap, and there’s little question the tight end would like to get back on the field. However, he said there is a difference between being injured and being in pain, and that “playing through pain is not an issue.”“Now when there’s an involuntary thing that happens that you can’t play through, that’s a different story,” Heap said. “I don’t think the whole training room or locker room deal is an issue with our team right now, I think it’s more of guys just need to get out and do their job.”Heap said besides being able to play through pain, much of the decision to get back on the field is determined by how effective he’d be. As of now, he thinks he’d do more harm than good if he tried to tough it out and play.last_img read more