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“When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups.” ~ John Coltrane

There are many reasons to be grateful for having a career in travel planning, but I think the most important is the impact a travel professional has on the life of the client. Travel professionals assist clients to turn vacations, family travel and even business trips into the best possible experiences. By visiting the streets of new cities, meeting people from around the world and exposure to different cultures, we are all made better people, citizens of a larger reality. As a travel professional, you have the opportunity to play an important part in people’s lives. Read the rest of this entry »


Emerald Waterways has announced a brand new Provence sailing for 2017, “Sensations of Southern France,” an eight-day voyage that will take place aboard the company’s newly built Emerald Liberté.

The sailing takes passengers from Lyon to Arles along the picturesque Rhône and Saône Rivers, passing through Chalon-Sur-Saône, Tournon and Avignon, where guests will be treated to an on-board, Provençal style dinner by acclaimed local chef and Top Chef France finalist, Fabien Morreale.

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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 »


Inspire Yourself

I’m about to give you permission to have more fun in your job. Creative thinking requires raw material. If you find yourself in need of fresh ideas or a new perspective in your digital marketing, one of the best ways to generate intuitive insight is to browse through magazines, the internet or even stock photography at random. As ideas, images and unrelated concepts enter your mind from these sources, you will be surprised at your capability to relate them to your own situation. It’s one of the reasons I find social media so engaging and not the time suck it might at first appear. Read the rest of this entry »


 

Hopefully every year you put together a marketing (and business) plan for your business. There are travel nights, travel shows, advertising, direct mail, email, Facebook ads, and Yellow Pages—well OK maybe not Yellow Pages, I have not been listed in more than a decade! But here’s a thought for you. Are sponsorships part of your overall marketing plan? If not, they should be; and here’s why! Read the rest of this entry »


Local Star Power

Last week, my in-laws decided we should all go to the casino for an afternoon of fun. I am not a big gambler, but for a few hours—I was game. One of the players at our poker table repeated these words with every hand: “Go big or go home.”

This reminded me of a big gamble I made with my travel agency. Outwardly, we were very successful, and from a sales perspective, we were. We did a fairly high volume of contemporary product. Because of this, we were often treated like VIPs—flown first class to inaugural events, served lavish dinners with industry executives, and so on. However, we were in real danger of going out of business due to low margins and high cost of sale, so we made the biggest gamble since starting the company. We turned our business model 180 degrees and began focusing on attracting affluent customers as a large part of the overall sales strategy. Go big or go home!

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It is probably the biggest complaint we hear from clients about cruising; they feel like they are “nickeled and dimed” by the cruise lines. On most cruise lines you have to pay for sodas by the drink or through a soda package. Specialty dining involves additional fees. And then there’s the pressure to pay for spa treatments, buy excursions, pay to play Bingo, etc. We can warn clients and try to prepare them for what to expect, yet they still return and complain about all of the charges they incurred on their stateroom account. Read the rest of this entry »


Travel Agency Industry Service Fee Practices

Part of the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) wide-ranging benchmark reporting program, the Service Fee report, seeks to discover current service fee practices in the travel agency industry in addition to  travel agents’ other revenue sources such as consultation fees, travel insurance, mark-ups and others. It is truly a balancing act for travel agencies and agents to maximize revenues by obtaining commissions from industry supplier partners and charging clients various fees, without overly relying on commissions or alienating prospective customers. The industry as a whole continues the effort of introducing the concept of fee-based professional travel advice to the general public.

Charging Service Fees

Among ASTA agency members, three quarters (76%) indicated that they charged service fees in 2016. It appears that the downward trend continues after the peak in the mid-2000’s with more than 90% of ASTA agency members charging service fees. The possible reasons can be two-fold: some leisure agencies are shifting away from booking air directly while others are exploring additional revenue sources such as consultation fees. Read the rest of this entry »


Founded in 1950, Aerolineas Argentinas is currently a major airline company in South America, with 82 aircraft/average 8 years, providing service to 11.265.000 million passengers transported in 2016, with over 300 departures daily.

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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 »


Writing More Effective Sales Letters

The sales letter will always play an important role when deciding on ways to contact new prospects. Very rarely will your letter make the sale, but it will often pave the way for a phone call or email, which will set the appointment… which will lead to a sale. But first things first. Step one often involves the letter. You probably expected me to focus on an email but I feel the pendulum may be swinging back to a more formal and sincere, initial encounter.

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With over 13 years of experience, Via Tours welcomed over one hundred thousand travelers and gained crucial destination knowledge to assure best local experience for people with desires to travel to Croatia and beyond including Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and Albania. Read the rest of this entry »


unspecifiedTerri Burke (MCC, CTC) has an extensive and varied travel background spanning over 30 years.  Her travel industry career began as a frontline agent and includes executive positions with supplier and retail industry leaders including Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Cruise Planners/American Express, AAA National and the Globus family of brands. As part of her travel industry career, she has successfully developed and coordinated two award-winning online travel agent universities and is a champion of travel industry education and accreditation.  Through the Avalon Waterways Specialist program, Burke inspired travel professionals to become certified with this important online river cruise training tool.

 

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For many travelers from the United States, the island of Fernando de Noronha off the Brazilian coast is an unknown travel destination. With Marnella Tours, travelers can discover the vegetation-rich landscape and unparalleled biodiversity that makes Fernando de Noronha not only a tropical beach destination, but an island full of adventure.

Thanks to Marnella Tours, the supplier sponsor of this column, you can use this 60-Second Geography article in your own travel agency’s newsletters and websites. You may want to pay attention to the many opportunities Marnella Tours provides your agency. Read the rest of this entry »


Athens is the city of classical wonders; a land of gods and temples, of sports and plays, where scholars and philosophers first dreamed up democracy; a must-see city for anyone visiting Europe. Step into antiquity. Step into Athens. Step into the past and discover breathtaking sites from one of the most important civilizations to ever flourish.

Athens is located in the southern side of Greece along the peninsula of Attica. Protected by mountains and nearly surrounded by water, Athens is a city with a bit of something for everyone. Adding appeal to the destination, the hot summers and mild winters encourage visitors year-round.

Tourist traffic has risen over the last few decades in reaction to the city’s rehabilitation of travel infrastructure. There is a state-of-the-art international airport, a new motorway and an expansion of the city’s metro system. Athens is an anachronism; an ideal destination for those who wish to look into the past while staying comfortably put in the present.
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Within the forest-cloaked mountains of northwestern Costa Rica lies a true Eden. Nestled between two cloud forest preserves and situated along a string of active and dormant volcanoes, the small community of Monteverde is a mountaintop paradise renowned for its beauty, biodiversity and outstanding tourist accommodations.

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