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People rationalize their buying decisions using the most precise logic. Once they have made a decision, a buyer can list all of the features that drove them to purchase. The reality, however, is that people make buying decisions in a large degree based not on logic, but on emotion – how they feel about the product and, more importantly, about you. That’s why a good travel consultant must understand both the client’s logical thinking process as well as their emotional make-up. At the end of the day, buying decisions are based on other than pure logic. Read the rest of this entry »


Last night the Seabourn formally introduced Seabourn Encore at a festive evening ceremony pier side in Singapore. International recording artist and world’s best-selling soprano Sarah Brightman presided over the naming ceremony as godmother of the new 600-guest ship, the first of two new all-suite vessels for the company. Read the rest of this entry »


Danielle van der Kwartel close upIf someone had asked me 25 years ago where I saw myself, I would have never imagined my current life. After graduating from school in the Netherlands, where I was born, I was accepted at a management-training program with Hyatt International in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. At the moment, I wasn’t even aware where Puerto Vallarta was and I had no plans to end up staying in Mexico. Little did I know!

When I arrived in Mexico, I did not speak the language and I learned it in three intense months. After four months in Puerto Vallarta, I had fallen deeply in love with Mexico, its people, and its culture, and knew I was never leaving. Read the rest of this entry »


Social marketing can be as fickle as fashion!  There’s always a “What’ Hot” and a “What’s Not” list springing up in both.  As we turn over another calendar year, let’s look forward and back to learn, plan, and stay on trend.

Remember poodle skirts, leisure suits, and big hair? You laugh, yet I sure loved my big hair… back in the day.  Now those fashion faux pas are as out of date as:

  1. MySpace
  2. Social ads that aren’t targeted to specific, well-defined audiences.
  3. Images that are poor quality or not sized right for the particular platform.

These vintage tactics can be as easily updated as those flared pants that made a comeback after bell-bottoms. Read the rest of this entry »


Are you tuned up?

It’s funny how words change. Or maybe it is how we define them. Take the word “tune up.” To a musician, it may be the preparation for a concert. To a mechanic, it is all about spark plugs and filters. So, let’s cut to the chase and just say that for this week, I am talking about your website. And I am about to list some recent figures about the Internet that you will want to know. Read the rest of this entry »


Polar Bears Aren’t Crazy

Don’t worry about what others think!

Today’s article is being printed a few weeks after your New Year’s Celebration, but I think my message still holds water.

As I have on almost every previous New Year’s Day, I saw a TV news segment that once again caught my attention. There stood a bunch of half-naked people freezing their privates off while most of them successfully dodged another heart attack. Some were older than others. Some a tad more buff. Most of them should have shunned the TV camera. Read the rest of this entry »


It can come as a surprise when a cruise line (or two) closes up shop, cancelling future cruises, and stranding current cruise passengers.  That is what recently happened with both Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery when their parent company (All Leisure Holidays Group) announced it was going out of business that day without any warning. Usually there are telltale signs, but not always.

We have had cruise companies shut down before; Cruise West comes to mind.  But travel agents had an inkling something was going on.  When commission checks aren’t sent in a timely manner, and calls about where the commissions are go unanswered, that’s usually our first clue.  When a supplier suddenly starts pushing for cash payments instead of credit card payments, when that hasn’t been a payment practice of theirs in the past, that raises huge red flags.  Clients who pay by credit card (not debit cards) have a recourse with the credit card company to get their money back.  Paying a supplier with cash is never a good idea. Read the rest of this entry »


30 Second Marketing

What is it?

They are called elevator speeches and are intended to prepare you for very brief, chance encounters in an elevator. But elevator speeches are not just for elevators!

An elevator speech is a short, 15-30 second, approximately 150 word sound bite that succinctly and memorably introduces you. It spotlights your uniqueness as well as focuses on the benefits you provide. This is something that should be delivered effortlessly. And it is an excellent way to market yourself.

So, who better than you to describe with passion, precision, and persuasiveness what you do? A great elevator speech makes a lasting first impression, showcases what you do, and allows you to position yourself for meeting new potential clients. Read the rest of this entry »


Jackson Hole offers a wide variety of year-round activity for the entire family. Teton Village, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and the Town of Jackson—all located within the iconic Jackson Hole, Wyoming valley—offer lodging opportunities for every budget. Choose from moderate motels to luxurious, historic inns and vacation homes. Stay steps away from the ski slopes or steps away from the antler arches in Town Square. Jackson Hole Central Reservations offers the most comprehensive selection of lodging and activities in the valley! Read the rest of this entry »


Anita Pagliasso took a leap of faith in 1992. Following her passion for travel, she switched gears from owning a successful and thriving electronic manufacturing rep business in the heart of Silicon Valley, CA., to opening her home-based travel business, Ticket To Travel. In 1993, Anita accepted Gary Fee’s challenge to become the San Jose/Bay Area Chapter director, which during parts of her 20 plus year reign became the OSSN flagship chapter. 

Anita serves as the Conference Director for the Travel Agent Forums, where she is responsible for educational content, securing relevant authors, keynote speakers, travel industry top executives, and co-coordinating panels and panelists, all while working closely with the staff at Travel Show Marketing Group.  Read the rest of this entry »


Follow-Up Before Delivering First-Class Service

The first part of today’s lesson involves the most important reason why most professional sales people are not more successful. Regardless of the industry, the geographic location of your company, or the size of your average order, this single shortcoming is responsible for damaging more sales careers.

Ask any professional sales person what he or she feels is their biggest roadblock and it will sound like the words follow-up. If you’re looking for just two words to help guide you to more profitable sales without hesitation or apology, they are the words “follow” and “up.”

Over the years, sales people have earned the reputation of saying whatever needs to be said to close a sale. Not unlike today’s politicians, sales people say and do what is required to make the sale. That may be the reason why sales professionals have such poor reputations. After the contract is signed, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen next. One thing can be counted on, and that is the salesperson is off focusing on the next prospect at the expense of their current customers. Read the rest of this entry »


The Spring Travel Agent Forum will take center stage in less than two months at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, and will welcome more than 1,000 independent travel agents at every level in their career, seeking continuing education, supplier networking, and destination experiences to support their professional growth. The Forum, which will be held from March 26 – 29, is the industry’s largest event of its kind, and will house hundreds of travel suppliers from across the globe, affording delegates the chance to shop destinations, commissionable vacation packages, and various business resources to support their business needs.

For the first time ever, the Forum will offer a supplemental One-to-One Meeting Showcase, providing pre-determined mutual interest meetings among select suppliers and an audience of hosted travel agents, who have been carefully vetted based on their potential business contribution and overall sales volume. These hosted agents will individually represent a minimum of $800,000 in annual business, with clientele bookings spanning the globe. Supplier participation will cover the full gamut of commissionable vacation offerings, both from a product and geographic standpoint.  Read the rest of this entry »


NACTA version 2 photoAnn Chamberlin, the President of the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) and is responsible for the overall operations of NACTA. This includes member and supplier sales, revenue management, meetings and events and membership service. Ann leads the overall vision for NACTA, strengthens the company through strategic partnerships and membership growth to ensure NACTA remains the top membership choice for travel consultants. Last July, Chamberlin also added the title of Senior Vice President, Operations for the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of ASTA, focusing on membership growth and support, chapter operations, and consortia partnerships. Read the rest of this entry »


South Africa is one of the continent’s most cosmopolitan countries, and Cape Town a big city with plenty of energy and buzz. But for many visitors, Cape Town is more than just buildings and sidewalks; it’s a gorgeous natural oasis cohabiting with the urban flair mankind has created. Whether it’s hiking up stunning Table Mountain or strolling through the botanical gardens, Cape Town has never lost sight of its foundation: the one that surrounds it every single day. Read the rest of this entry »


It’s October 20th, and I find myself in Dearborn, Michigan. It has been a long time since I was last in Dearborn. I’m wearing a tuxedo; it has been a longer time since I last wore a tuxedo. I’m here at the amazing Henry Ford Museum to celebrate Sky Bird Travel’s 40th year in the travel industry in 2016. The company has sponsored a gala, a black tie dinner to appreciate its friends and customers, and the evening is nothing if not spectacular. Surrounded by authentic aircraft of decades ago in the museum’s “Heroes of the Sky” aviation section, an Indian ensemble plays on traditional instruments. Everyone is mixing and, while it is apparent many know each other from years of business past, striking up a conversation in this setting is easily done as everyone admires the antiques surrounding us. Read the rest of this entry »


The largest lake in South America, Lake Titicaca has seen its fair share of civilizations come and go over the centuries. On its islands and shores you will find the decaying remnants of ancient Incans reflected in the calm waters of the lake. In fact, according to the Incans, the sun and moon were both birthed within the waters of the Lake.  Aside from its rich historical and cultural heritage, Lake Titicaca offers simplicity in abundance: blue skies, clear waters, and beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see. Read the rest of this entry »




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