A Happy Wife is a Happy Life: Google's View of Travel.
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Tuesday, 3rd April 2012
'A happy wife is a happy life', who would have thought one would hear those words uttered at the Google ThinkTravel event held in Singapore on last Wednesday.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryLoren Schuster (right), managing director of Google Singapore started the day by recounting a one-month trip he and his wife made while he was in between jobs, on his way to joining the company whose recruitment process, we were told, is as rigorous as climbing Mt Kilimanjaro (I made the mountain bit up).

Firstly, he did the planning. His wife said he had the time. "My goal was not to talk to anyone and do everything online."

Secondly, while they both agreed they wanted activities – hiking and yoga, his wife stipulated she wanted an art retreat and so he had to build a holiday around that, hence the allusion to "keeping the wife happy" and "a happy wife is a happy life".

After much dreaming and searching, he found an art retreat in Portugal around which he then planned hiking, walking and biking activities, and he discovered a yoga cruise.

For flights, he looked at various OTAs, then booked directly on TAP and found the fares cheaper. For hotels in Istanbul, he again looked at various OTAs, went to hotel sites to compare prices, read reviews on TripAdvisor for "non-official validation". He booked one hotel on Agoda and the other direct, based on price. For the art retreat, he paid through Paypal.

During the holiday, he used TripAdvisor to find restaurants and found one with famous egg tarts. He became a fan of the yoga cruise Facebook page, got updates and connected with like-minded travellers before the cruise.

In Istanbul, it being a big city, he relied on the iPad and smartphone to get around and walked everywhere, using Google Maps.

Post-trip, he shared his photos with friends. He received a feedback form from a hotel. There was no incentive, no sharing, it was only for the hotel's use and so he didn't bother to respond. Agoda, in contrast, offered incentives and would make it available to other travellers and he responded to that.

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