I’m thinking about containers and contents lately. We all love great containers. Last year, I went to a local shop and purchased a new hummingbird feeder crafted by an artist somewhere near Asheville. Instead of the plastic parts found on a standard retail feeder, this one has a very unique red bottle as a container. It is decorated with copper tubing from which the hummingbird drinks and metal flowers are soldered onto the copper. It is a real work of art, and I enjoy it tremendously.

I’m pretty sure the hummingbirds, however, care more about the content in the bottle.  If I put something less to their liking in the bottle, it doesn’t matter how attractive the container.  Not only will they not drink from it, they will eventually quit coming to that particular bottle. Birds are quick learners. Read the rest of this entry »

This past Wednesday, I disembarked Seabourn Sojourn along with my son and cinematographer Chris Stanley. We were on board shooting a new show featuring “Adventures Ashore” throughout Europe. During our ten days on Seabourn Sojourn (and in the ports where she called), we saw the sights, met the locals, and had some fun in the sun-splashed Mediterranean. 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 »

“I have a Facebook page, but I can’t get anyone to like or comment on anything!” is something I hear often from travel professionals. They know that social media can help build their business, but they can’t quite seem to get things moving on their page. I can relate. I spent YEARS with a Facebook page that might as well have had crickets chirping in the background. Fast forward to today, and we have an active and engaged community of over 22,000 fans on our page and Facebook drives a lot of traffic (and bookings) for the agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Got 5 minutes? If not, you may lose a client!

I have often said that the industry has changed. One of the biggest changes, if not the biggest change, is that today’s customers quite likely know more than you do. There is a world of information at their fingertips and we are no longer their “google.” Customers come to us based on our relationships, or because they need someone to wade through the muck of booking travel, or because of some access to travel that is not necessarily available elsewhere. They no longer come to us for information about destinations. Sure, they will ask our opinions and thoughts and take them under consideration, but if you think your customers are coming to you with a blank slate, you are sorely mistaken. Read the rest of this entry »

In addition to being a business owner and a luxury travel advisor, many of my friends and followers on social media have come to know me as a self-motivator who often shares daily messages of encouragement. Typically, these posts are along the lines of not being afraid to go after what you really want, dream big, and of course, do bigger. While at times the messages might sound a bit cliché, they are often the extra little push to get me through a current challenge or to have the strength to both deal with a difficult client and complete a punishing spin class in the same hour. I love when I get a message from someone else telling me they “needed that today”, as it’s clear I’m not the only one who needs constant reminders that I really can do whatever I decide to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchafferIf you could double your cruise commission, would you do what was necessary? If you’re not already selling cruise tours in eligible destinations, you are definitely leaving serious money on the table. One simple example: a 7-night Alaska sailing southbound from Seward to Vancouver with two passengers in a balcony stateroom. Cruise-only would cost the clients approximately $4,350 for just the 7-night cruise, and the commission (assuming 10%) is roughly $360. However, if you sell a cruise tour package including a 6-night pre-cruise land package, the client total is $7,900 and your commission nearly doubles, jumping to $716. The land portions of cruise tours are typically fully commissionable. There are no NCCFs (non-commission cruise fares) to complicate the math. Read the rest of this entry »

What about me?

When my internet provider bought out a competitor the switch made my life miserable. I had all sorts of problems, and let’s just say that I wasn’t a happy surfer.

My local newspaper printed an article about the whole mess mentioning how clients were more than mildly upset. When I saw my cable company in the headline, my attention was drawn to the article. It said in effect, “Hey bub, if you are the recipient from this bogus treatment, I’m talking to you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Before social media, the Internet, and cell phones, there was Sky Bird Travel & Tours. With over four decades at the front line of the travel industry, we’ve forged solid relationships with major airlines from all over the world. These airline partners trust us to pass along their best deals to our community of trusted travel agents. Competitive net fares from Sky Bird Travel & Tours provides financial advantages to our travel agents, so they can offer their clients incredible deals on vacations all over the world while securing higher commissions. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you have a backup plan?

Back in 2010 my Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and we made the decision, as a family, for hospice care. Between surgeries, hospital stays, and her passing, it was a grueling couple of weeks. While all this was going on, I attempted to take care of my current clients. I was in no shape to take on new ones at the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Relying on memory is a fatal practice. Here is the long and short of it: Write everything down. Take notes.

Memories can be short. Nights are for sleeping, not tossing and turning trying to remember if you have forgotten some important issue for tomorrow’s sales presentation. 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 »

It’s that time of year again. While other people are decorating their homes with decorative gourds and trying to cram pumpkin spice into every conceivable foodstuff, I’m doing early brainstorming for Wave Season.

I mean, it’s not that pumpkin spice is necessarily a bad thing, but I’d rather spend my time trying to hone my storytelling skills and my ability to paint vivid pictures with words. I know an awful lot of people in the Upper Midwest area of the country, and they’re going to start seeing snow any day now. Read the rest of this entry »

A true gem in the crown of South Africa, Cape Town is one of the most progressive and contemporary cities in Africa. From delightful wines to thrilling wildlife encounters, everyone will find something to treasure in Cape Town.

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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 »

The original vacationer’s dream, Havana charmed many a traveler in its heyday before the Communist revolution in the 1950’s. With travel restrictions on US citizens easing and relations between the two countries warming, Cuba is poised to reclaim its title as one of the hottest Caribbean travel destinations. Havana, its capital city, is already getting out her best dress for new visitors, made of salsa dancing, vintage cars, and a survivalist spirit found nowhere else. Let Downtown Travel be your guide to this mesmerizing Caribbean paradise. Read the rest of this entry »