Have you had the experience when driving of unexpectedly seeing a car or pedestrian emerge from your “blind-spot”?  The sudden awareness of a nearly missed accident is more than a little disconcerting. One moment everything is fine, and then without warning, you are blind-sided by something as obvious as a Ford Explorer.

The same thing can happen to you in your travel practice unless you take terrific precautions to be self-aware. Read the rest of this entry »

When most of us picture warm-weather cruises, we envision the Caribbean. But there’s another pseudo-Caribbean destination that often gets overlooked due to its location in the North Atlantic, and that is Bermuda. Read the rest of this entry »

KateI can’t believe it was 26 years ago that I got my first job in the travel industry. My parents had just returned from a big trip overseas booked through Austravel and noticed they were advertising for an administrative assistant in their Bristol, UK office. We always traveled a lot as a family and it seemed like a good fit for a young 18 year old just starting out in her career. I applied, got the job, and never looked back! I quickly moved into their ticketing department and spent a year there, but always yearned to be more involved with the customers and the process of planning their holidays. I moved into sales and was hooked. I enjoyed sharing my experiences with potential travelers and also loved the travel that we got to experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Your 3 Word Mantra For Social Ads

What’s short, fun, emotional and simple? A workout? Dinner party? A social ad?

If you guessed a social ad, you’re right!

If you guessed one of the other choices you’ll see why the gym and a dinner party are related to social ads.

In this new era of ‘pay to play’, inspiring ads garner much more than simply clicks. In our industry social ads are essential in:

  • Brand & awareness building
  • Story telling
  • Driving traffic
  • Growing engagement
  • Amplification

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Invent your crisis; create some business

Make up a crisis! Now I’m not suggesting running into your local theater, screaming “fire”, and trying to sell people trips on the sidewalk as they evacuate. Something a lot more discrete (and a lot more legal) would be best. Take a look at the past and the ever-changing world of travel and see if you can create a demand for travel-or at least, a demand to think about traveling. At worst, your name will rise to the top. At best, you will receive some bookings. Read the rest of this entry »

For the 10 years that I have been a luxury travel planner, customizing vacations for high-end clients to every corner of the globe, I’ve never had the guts to use the word “vacation” in my own “Out of Office” automated email response. As the business owner and Chief Decision Maker, it just didn’t feel right to me that I should take a vacation from vacation planning. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchafferAs travel professionals, we are continually looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from online travel agencies (OTAs) or clients booking direct with suppliers. If all we do is take a client’s request and book it, we become order takers, no different than the client booking direct or turning to an OTA to book their cruise. Many travel professionals do take the extra steps to qualify clients and ensure that the cruise they are requesting is a good fit for the client. But how else do you differentiate yourself? Read the rest of this entry »

Stop the Tire Kickers

Nothing is more disheartening having worked for days, delving out advice, building itineraries and providing every aspect of our services to prospective clients, only to have them not book, or even worse, book their trip elsewhere.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, shoppers (often called “tire kickers”) are not a phenomenon exclusive to the travel industry. How many times have you spent the day with a salesperson at a car lot, only to end up buying elsewhere? That where the term “tire kickers” came from. When looking for a special outfit or pair of shoes, how many of us buy at the first store? Most of us want to make sure that we are getting the best value for our money. The key word here is “Value”. Read the rest of this entry »

Blue Sky Tours has been selling custom designed Hawai‘i vacations since 1981. We sell only Hawai‘i and only through travel agents. Our Customer Care agents provide friendly, knowledgeable service, and will help travel agents choose the best island and accommodations for their clients.

All of our Customer Care agents are certified Hawai‘i experts by the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau and are devoted to helping travel agents create custom vacations for their clients. With an extensive range of products, Blue Sky Tours is able to offer the best schedules, hotels, car rentals, and tropical activities in Hawai’i. An aggressive pricing strategy ensures agents who book through Blue Sky Tours have a competitive price to secure every sale. Read the rest of this entry »

Donna Zeigfinger, Green Earth Travel

A veteran of the travel industry for over 30 years, today Donna Zeigfinger owns her own agency, Green Earth Travel. Recently we sat down with Donna to talk about her business, her unique niche specialties, and her view of the progression of the industry over the last few decades.

Travel Research Online (TRO): Donna, have you always been home based?

Donna Zeigfinger (DZ): No; after finishing travel school in the 1980’s, I got a two-week internship in a local brick and mortar agency. After my internship ended they decided to hire me. I worked there for a couple of years before moving on. Overall, I’ve worked for the three different brick and mortar agencies before setting out on my own as a homebased travel professional. Read the rest of this entry »

If you want to get to the top of this profession, you have to stop worrying about yourself and start thinking about helping others. Sounds absurdly simple. It isn’t.

Your primary goal is to stop selling and to start helping others.

When you try to sell, it appears to everyone that you are selling, and nobody I know enjoys being “sold.” But when you are legitimately openly and sincerely interested in helping people, you will have their undivided attention, and eventually the combination to their checkbook. Selling and helping are two entirely different mind-sets. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Wen has worked at for just over 3 years and is currently the Sales Director at the company. Born and raised in China, Peter came to the United States to peter wen headshotpursue a graduate degree and eventually graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Master’s degree in Economics in 2012. Although working in the travel industry wasn’t his first choice, he found himself highly passionate about helping travel agents know more about the ancient country of China. His ultimate goal is make China a more popular destination in the industry and help travel agents realize how easy and profitable it is to sell China packages.   Read the rest of this entry »

Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS

Kelly BerginDec2014Kelly Bergin served as vice president of business development for OASIS from 2009 through 2014 after spending over 25 years in the travel industry. She was recently promoted to President, responsible for helping new sellers of travel launch their careers and aiding established agents in growing their business as successful entrepreneurs.

The travel industry veteran owned her own leisure travel agency in Salt Lake City for seven years and previously worked as a business development manager for both Princess Cruises and Funjet Vacations prior to that. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes, no matter how much we try to help our clients, there are just some things that are completely out of our control.

I had finally convinced a long time friend that she needed to do a cruise. So she and a 30-year friend booked their first cruise with me to Alaska. It was a 10-day ‘end of the season’ cruise that was actually lower in price than some of the 7-day cruises – it was truly a good deal. Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey’s busiest port city, Kuşadası grew from an ancient stronghold of art and culture to the bustling resort town it is today. The city’s name comes from the Turkish terminology for “Bird Island”— “kuş” meaning “bird” and “ada” meaning “island.” Part of the coastal town’s infamy comes from the Catholic belief that St. John and the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, both settled here.
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Xiamen is known as one of China’s “most livable” cities, and with its tree-lined beaches, countless attractions and lush surrounding countryside, it’s little wonder visitors are drawn here. Even if it’s for only a short stay, one should never miss the opportunity to visit the “gateway” to China. Located at the southeast coast of China, Xiamen is one of the major port cities in the Fujian Provence. Popular with both Chinese and international tourists, the city is famous for its island seascapes, subtropical climate, rich history and customs, and great regional cuisine.

Xiamen has been a major trading port for hundreds of years as it boasts a broad deep-water gulf, and thanks to its year-round temperate climate, isn’t subject to freezing or silting. This makes it a perfect port-of-call for commercial vessels and cruise ships alike.  Read the rest of this entry »

Considered to be England’s second city after London (although a local would argue the contrary), Manchester is a fun mix of historical culture and heritage mingling with modern gastronomy, cocktails, and trendy dance clubs. This dynamic city has an attitude all its own, reveling in the fun while simultaneously preening over its historical significance. The locals are always ready with a cheeky grin and ready to direct you to their favorite sight in the city or, if you ask nicely, their favorite pub for a pint.
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