Popular Birmingham Airport Hotels

Birmingham is home to the second busiest international airport outside London in UK. Besides attracting hoards of foreign travelers, it also serves a large number of domestic and international flights that carry passengers to major destinations worldwide. It is therefore no wonder that there are several Birmingham airport hotels catering to different types of travelers around the airport.

Birmingham Crowne Plaza Hotel

For travelers who are expecting to enjoy some luxury, the 4-star Birmingham Crowne Plaza Hotel, barely a five-minute drive or a ten minutes walk from the airport is the popular place to relax after a long flight. The hotel runs a free shuttle service that plies every fifteen minutes between the airport and the hotel. The built-in wireless internet connection in the rooms and suites ensures that guests are always connected to their contacts online. The summer terrace overlooking the expansive greenery and Pendigo Lake is a great place to sip coffee on a warm day. It is one of the few Birmingham airport hotels to boast of a self-contained conference centre. The Pendigo Restaurant serves delectable European cuisines. Birmingham Crowne Plaza Hotel also offers parking packages that allows guests to park their vehicles for up to four weeks.

Birmingham Corus Hotel

Birmingham Corus Hotel, also known as the Regency Hotel Solihull is eight miles from the Birmingham Airport. The 3-star rated hotel offers diverse accommodation and leisure packages. A bed and breakfast package cost around ₤39 per person per night. If you are craving for some leisure activities, you can plunge in the indoor pool or head to the fully equipped gym of the hotel. Karaoke and live bands entertain visitors on the weekends. The courtyard restaurant of the hotel serves delicious modern British cuisines. Morrisey’s Bar is a popular watering hole where guests can enjoy a drink while watching sporting events on the large display screen.

Britannia Coventry Hill Hotel

Britannia Coventry Hill Hotel is one of top Birmingham airport hotels. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach the hotel from the airport. Equipped with television, phone, tea and coffee making facilities, trouser press and hairdryer, the en-suite rooms of the hotel offer maximum comfort to a tired traveler. The stay and fly packages of the hotel includes overnight accommodation, taxi transfers and 8 to 15 days parking. The large Seasons restaurant of the hotel promises to satisfy the taste buds of gourmands with its delectable spread.

Food Dehydrator: Why Dehydrating Food Is Better for Your Family

Have you ever heard of “living foods”? Also called “raw foods”, this kind of food is free from animal products, organic, highly nutritious and easy to digest.

It’s a great alternative to the food we’re used to, as it allows the body to get healthier. Nowadays, you see processed foods everywhere you look and these are very unhealthy. In a way, they’re good as trash and that’s not something you’d want to feed your child, do you?

One of the biggest issues people have with living foods is that they’re a bit inconvenient. Because they do not possess the chemicals that foods such as canned goods have, they spoil easily.

Well, not really. More and more people have started recognizing the potential of food dehydrating. By running the food through a food dehydrator, they are preserved without using harmful chemicals a lot of manufacturing companies employ.

Almost all kinds of food can be preserved using a food dehydrator, but one that stands out in families with kids are fruit leathers. It’s a sweet treat, and a great alternative to candies or chips. Fruits that are best for making fruit leathers include strawberries, apricots, blueberries, apricots and cherries.

Food dehydrators are also effective for drying herbs. It’s real easy. All you have to do is wash whatever herb you want to dehydrate and then arrange it on a dehydrator tray. Dry them until they’re all crumbly and they’re good to go. For storage, you can use a Ziploc bag or a glass jar.

One of the biggest advantages of owning a dehydrator is that it can cut your food costs in half. Buying already preserved food from grocery stores can be costly. When you have your own dehydrator, you can dry as many food as you want and as often as you like.

Food dehydrators can last for a very long time. If you have a garden, for instance and have too much food during the season, you can easily preserve them and have them conveniently ready any time of the year. Aside from making fruit leathers, you can also dehydrate bananas to make banana chips (yum!), meats for making jerky and even flowers for art projects purposes.

Having a food dehydrator at home is a real asset, but it shouldn’t be just any food dehydrator. Food dehydrators come with different features which enable them to cater o different needs. If you’re going to cook big batches of food, for instance, then you have to choose a dehydrator that could accommodate a large volume in one go.

Hen Party Destinations – Krakow

When booking a hen weekend a lot of thought and debate is often put into the location. Many people think the easiest option is to hold it in the hometown of the bride, or perhaps head to one of the more popular hen weekend destinations in the UK such as Brighton, Bournemouth, Liverpool or London. Those hens who want to head abroad however are known to frequent such places as Spain, Portugal, Greece or maybe even the south of France. Eastern European destinations are now experiencing a boom however, with travellers who are wishing to escape from the ‘euro zone’ looking at such destinations as Prague, Budapest and especially Krakow for their hen weekend.

So what has seen an increase in the number of hens heading east? Locations such as Krakow have always been a popular destination for the stag do, but now it’s becoming just as popular amongst the girls. One of the reasons is the aforementioned cost, with Krakow not belonging to the Euro meaning cheaper prices, particularly with the strong pound meaning that the exchange rate for pounds to zloty is the highest it’s been for a number of years. And whilst hens often prefer to head somewhere with hot weather and a beach, what Krakow lacks in this area in certainly makes up for in its beauty. With a stunning market square with ancient buildings, winding historic streets and a beautiful river bank, there is plenty to see whilst in Krakow for your hen weekend. The market square is also the largest in Europe, with the scene often being described as something from a fairytale as horse drawn carriages amble around its perimeter under the shadow of the famous basicilica of the Virgin Mary. There’s also the nightlife which is known to be one of the top party destinations in Europe with the city boasting more pubs per square meter than any other city. In terms of prices there are also few destinations which are able to get near the value which a weekend in Krakow offers, with beers being priced on average about 1,50 GBP a pint and a decent restaurant meal costing between 6 and 10 GBP. And whilst the prices are cheap, the quality of a weekend in this city is certainly not.

So you’ve made the decision that Krakow is the hen weekend destination for you, you now have the job of deciding what activities to do whilst here. Aside from the usual drinking which is involved in a typical hen weekend, there are a number of different hen activities which are to suit everybody’s tastes and budget.

The first thing to arrange is the transfers. This is fairly simple and there are a few options available. First of all you could just take an ordinary bus. But where’s the fun in that? There are many other options which are way more fun and guaranteed to get your hen weekend off to a flyer. The first of these is suitable for smaller groups and is a strip limo. Hop on board a stretch Chrysler limousine fit for a Hollywood star and kick back and relax with a glass of bubbly in hand as it takes you on a short city cruise before dropping you off at your accommodation. Or perhaps if you want something completely different then you can decide to go for a really unusual way to start off the hen weekend and have a communism style airport transfer! You’ll be met at the airport by a drive in a traditional communist outfit who will offer you pickles and a vodka shot before driving you to your accommodation in a traditional communist vehicle. Whilst it’s certainly not as classy as a limo, it’s certainly a start to the weekend which you’ll never forget.

When it comes to hen accommodation in Krakow there are a number of options, from 4 star spa hotels, to apartments right down to budget hostel options all within a stone’s throw from the historic city centre.

During the day there are plenty of activities to participate in which don’t involve drinking (and some that of course do). There is a famous white water rafting centre on the outskirts of Krakow where you can take part in a challenging white water rafting activity. Or how about some dance lessons? Taking some salsa or pole dancing lessons in Krakow is becoming very popular amongst hens as well as things such as cookery classes or chocolate making.

As previously mentioned if you want a good party then Krakow is the perfect location to do it. You can arrange for VIP entry to a number of top clubs for a fraction of the price you could do it in other cities.

Of course when you’re somewhere like Krakow it’s a shame to only see the hotel and the inside of bars, which is why there are also a number of Krakow sightseeing activities available for hen parties as well. These range from very standard things such as a guided tour of the city in a heated buggy, right through to more obscure things like a tour of the communist district. Another way to see the city is via its famous hot air balloon. Situated on the banks of the Wisla river, the balloon takes you up on a 15 minute journey and gives you a great view of Krakow and the surrounding areas. Venturing a little bit out of Krakow there is also the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. Whilst it may not fit in with the idea of having fun on a hen party, many people feel that whilst you’re in the area it’s something you really should see. Transfers take about 90 minutes, and once at the camp you’ll be given a guided tour in your language of both Auschwitz and Birkenau. Another famous landmark is the Wieliczka Salt Mines which are also a must see landmark if you’re in the area.

The surrounding areas of Krakow are also famous for winter sports too, with Zakopane reachable if you’re going to be here for more than a couple of days. Snowmobiling is one of the most popular winter sports.

So just what are the most popular hen weekend activities in Krakow? It seems that a lot of girls like the vodka tasting and cocktail making, as it’s still drinking but with a bit of education and organised fun added to the mix. Surprisingly AK47 shooting is also quite popular, as the hens get to try firing authentic guns such as a Polish uzi or a Kalashnikov. There are also more traditional hen activities such as relaxing spa days or pamper parties which always go down well with the bride-to-be as she looks to relax ahead of her big day.

One way to make organizing a hen weekend a lot easier is to take a package deal. Many people think that this is going to work out a lot more expensive (how can it be a good deal for me with the agent also making a profit, is a question which is frequently asked). The reason is however if the agents have a good relationship with the suppliers then they will get the best deals available. Think about it for a second, if you run for example a shooting range, would you give the best price to a group of people who are going to turn up once and you’ll never see again, or are you likely to offer the better price to the agent who guarantees you an extra 300 customers a year? If you decide to opt for a package too it makes the organizing process so much easier. It means you only have to collect one payment from everybody and that covers transfers, accommodation and activities.

The Direct Link Between Business Results and Organizational Culture

Organizational culture has always been seen as the “soft” side of business. It has been defined as the values of the organization by which an organization can maintain a “positive” work environment in which people will work. But, this is short-sided and missing one of the most important weapons organizations can use to improve business results. However, we need to look at culture differently to make a more direct link to business results.

Business results for many organizations involve one or more of the following criteria:

  • Profitability
  • Market share growth
  • Customer satisfaction/loyalty
  • Cost containment
  • New product/service development
  • Organizational growth and/or diversification

Each one of these criteria answers “what” organizations need to accomplish. And, while strategic plans provide a roadmap for each functional area’s role in accomplishing those criteria (goals), this still represents a further clarification of “what” each functional area needs to accomplish for the overall outcomes to be achieved.

The culture of an organization answers “how” each functions direction and the ultimate goals of business results are achieved. The organization’s culture is similar to an American Football Team’s choice of culture. Are they going to be a “running” team or a “passing” team? As you can easily tell, this isn’t based on a set of values like teamwork, integrity, communication, which are assumed for any effective organization. It is much more specifically designed based on the nature of the business and how it will maintain a competitive edge.

For instance, the culture of a fast-food chain is very different than a gourmet restaurant. In a fast-food chain, the culture is fast-paced, highly standardized, highly mechanized, and designed for mass production. This impacts an approach to decision making, communication, teamwork, and performance management very different from a gourmet restaurant which is slow-paced, ambience-oriented, highly individualized for each customer, and focused on quality over timeliness. While each type of restaurant may have similar values, the way they carry out their functions need to be very different and in alignment with the organization’s purpose, goals, and desired business results.

The culture therefore answers, “how” an organization must function to optimize business results. The culture of an organization is represented by how the organization “executes” to achieve its business outcomes and goals and is represented by the following criteria or questions:

  • Is decision making timely, involving the impact departments and implemented in a unified manner or is decision making stuck in over-analysis, silo-decisions which don’t include impacted areas, and is inconsistently implemented by those making the decision?
  • Is information shared openly between functional areas, and up and down the organization in a way, which is useful for people to make decisions without getting bogged down in over sharing of information?
  • Do people feel safe to surface problems when they are small and take initiative to find solutions or do people wait until a problem becomes a crisis and then begins by finding who to blame for the problem rather than bringing the appropriate people together to solve the problem?
  • Are future leaders being developed at all levels of the organization in a clear and deliberate manner that includes success planning and individual/team development plans in preparation for growth and an aging workforce, or is the organization too busy achieving so many priorities and goals that it doesn’t have time to fully implement or follow up on development plans even if it is a company goal or value?

However you may have answered each of these questions as a subset of your culture, these represent your “habits” of execution that is either contributing to your business results or becoming a roadblock to achieving your business results in the most effective manner possible.

How can you effectively develop new products and respond to customers in a timely responsive manner if you aren’t making decisions effectively?

How can you effectively grow or reduce your workforce to respond to changing business conditions if you aren’t developing them as leaders (technically or managerially)?

How can you accomplish a higher level of business results with less resources, when crisis management is dictating people’s focus and energy which costs valuable time, money, and human effort?

Just as any performing group gets very clear and assesses their execution before a live performance, organizations which are successfully becoming benchmarks, are determining the optimal execution necessary at each level of the organization and within each functional area to optimize business results. They define the “habits” of execution necessary for success and measure their execution linked to business results.

While organizations are tracking competencies and scorecards associated with business results, the highly successful organizations are tracking their key “habits” of execution correlated to their business results, which encompass competencies but in a way, which focuses on delivery not just skill.

Assessing Your Culture Linked to Business Results

1. Have you clearly identified the “ideal” habits of execution for each level of management and individual contributors that would optimize your business results?

2. Do you have a process for measuring those habits on a regular basis and fine-tuning them to get even better results the way any other performing team reviews and up levels their habits of execution?

3. What are the habits of execution in your organization that are undermining your success on a regular basis and which level of the organization is mostly accountable for those habits?

4. What is the organization doing to change those habits in a coordinated way?