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PhoCusWright "Young Leaders" Q+A Series: Tristan Gatsby Mace of Want Me Get Me

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At this month’s 2012 PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, many in attendance agreed that the Travel Innovation Summit, held on Day One, was, always, a highlight. (Read our conference dispatches here and here.)

It comes as no surprise that some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees and presenters were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. At the conference, they breakfasted together behind closed doors, networked, and schmoozed investors. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel.

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East Coast Hotel Deals Popping Up in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

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While some NYC hotel rooms are still occupied by those displaced from Hurricane Sandy (with FEMA even picking up the tab), there are still vacancies in New York City and along the East Coast—with a handful of fine properties flaunting noteworthy discounts and donations in the coming days and weeks:
 
New York City: The Surrey
Sandy Discount: $50 gift certificate to use for a future visit; $40 off spa treatments; and a glass of prosecco.
Sandy Donation: 5 percent of all spa packages go to the American Red Cross.
 
Newport, RI: Vanderbilt Grace (pictured, top)
Sandy Donation: $20 per person for Restaurant Week packages booked to the American Red Cross.
Sandy Discount: 2 nights accommodation; two champagne breakfasts; one lunch; one fine dining dinner; and wine upon arrival for $575.

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Notable Hotel Openings: Ritz-Carlton Vienna

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Travel + Leisure is having a minor love fest with the Austrian capital of Vienna these days—its buzzy contemporary arts scene, revitalized Biedermeier districts, proximity to an increasingly wonderful wine country, perennially spirited cultural calendar, and most recently, the opening of a new luxury hotel.

In grand Viennese style, the Ritz-Carlton property (the company's first in Austria, ninth in Europe, and 80th worldwide) is housed in not one but four 19th-century palaces along the elegant and centrally located Vienna Ringstraße. The hotel's exterior is classically opulent, yes, but it's the property's interiors that make it so special.

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Donate Your Points and Miles for Hurricane Sandy Relief

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Few would've imagined that this week’s storm with the friendly-sounding name could wreak such havoc and devastation along the East Coast. In the wake of 20,055 flights cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy and with infrastructure is slowly coming back online, there are still an estimated 7.8 million people without power, billions of dollars in damage, and many whose lives will never be the same. They need help. Here are some easy ways for you to help out:

Based on contributions to the Red Cross Disaster Relief, American Airlines is giving AAdvantage members one-time bonus reward miles, starting with 250 miles for a minimum donation of $50. Go here for donation details.
 
Other airlines with charitable initiatives:
Continental Airlines
Delta Air Lines
United Airlines
US Airways

And hotels:
Choice Hotels International, Inc.
Drury Hotels
Hilton Worldwide
Marriott International
Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Please consider making a difference to those who desperately need it and give today.

Photo credit: iStock

Calling All Gastronauts: Travel + Leisure and CNN Eat Like a Local

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We are thrilled to announce the launch of a delicious new multi-platform series—100 Places to Eat Like a Local—with CNN. Combining iReports from you, television spots, chef recommendations, editor finds, and more from our network of hungry globetrotters over the coming months, we’ll be spotlighting the best local food finds around the world. From secret oyster bars and pizzerias to beloved dumpling houses and farm-to-table restaurants, we want to know where you love to eat—and what places (and culinary experiences) are worth the trip. Stay tuned for more appetite-inspiring updates and travel ideas.

Photo credit: Marlow & Sons in New York City

Live the Dream: “EX-PATS” Debuts Fourth Episode on YouTube

If you haven’t checked out EX-PATS, the Reserve Channel’s new series on YouTube, you’re missing out—not only on great al desko daydream opps, but also on some truly inspiring stories of people who’ve dared to leave it all behind for a new life in a foreign country.

The fourth episode takes viewers to a jungle-filled archipelago in Panama, where a surfer and former medical salesman from San Diego, Neil Christiansen, founds the nonprofit organization GiveAndSurf.org to fund a pre-school for the isolated island children from Bahia Honda. Press “play” for a look at his inspiring story.

New Travel Site WantMeGetMe.com Turns Everyday Travelers into VIPs

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Launched in beta last week, the new hotel booking website with the memorable name, WantMeGetMe.com, challenges its growing list of top hotels to entice a new breed of traveler—wannabe VIPs—with luxe amenities, everything from complimentary Wi-Fi and valet parking to guaranteed upgrades and champagne.

This “Catch Me If You Can” approach is the first of its kind for a travel site, and given how many travelers nowadays already expect special treatment, the future of this free members-only site looks bright. But let’s take a closer look.

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Live the Dream: “EX-PATS” Launches Third Episode on YouTube

The Reserve Channel’s new series on YouTube, EX-PATS, is off to a great start. As the name suggests, the show profiles people who’ve traded in their lives in the mainland U.S. for a more fulfilling existence elsewhere—they’ve followed the road less traveled, found happiness, and want to share their stories.

Created in cooperation with Travel + Leisure, the third episode returns to St. John to meet a wooden boat builder from Vermont, Jamison Whitbek, whose love of the open water and island life inspired him, and his family, to move to St. John fulltime. Today, he owns and operates a sailing charter; his hand-crafted 55-foot catamaran, KEKOA, is staffed by women—and occasionally his three kids. Watch for a peek into a dreamy life that many think about, but only a few pursue.

Where would you want to move?

Suite Memories: Maine Inn Debuts Luxury Accommodations for Families

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Come summer, or fall, there’s no better place to be than Maine. I grew up in Vacationland, so perhaps I’m biased, but, it’s hard to argue with warm salt air breezes, overstuffed lobster rolls, and coastal scenery that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a postcard. And while there are some great seaside spots to stay in the Pine Tree State, few come close to offering what Inn by the Sea does—especially for families.

I recently checked into the Cape Elizabeth property with my husband and almost-two-year-old daughter as a way to decompress from a larger family gathering, get in some rare beach time, nose around Portland (just 7 miles away), and see first-hand what may be Maine’s first luxury suites designed with families in mind.

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Live the Dream: “EX-PATS” Debuts Second Episode on YouTube

Last month, we introduced you to a new series on YouTube’s Reserve Channel called EX-PATS that took viewers to St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands in its premiere episode. This month, those daydreaming about moving to a foreign country can look forward to another great story from a neighboring island, St. Croix.

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