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Mike Marchev has a saying every travel agent should repeat each day: “Your clients are somebody else’s prospects.”  With others in the marketplace vying for the attention of your clients, it is important for you to consider exactly how accessible the public perceives your travel business. Accessibility is sum of the characteristics that makes you easy to remember, easy to find, approachable, likable, and worthy of trust. Each of these elements are wrapped up in your approach to the market and should be given fair consideration as you position your company in your community. Read the rest of this entry »


Only a Rip van Winkle could have missed the news of what is probably the most aggressive expansion ever in the luxury travel segment: Crystal Cruises’ addition of three new ocean cruisers, two new river “yachts,” a 62-guest yacht, a Dreamliner, a smaller jet to complement the Dreamliner, and a substantial stake in Lloyd Werft, the German shipyard that is building Crystal’s ships.

Celebrating its Silver Anniversary, 25-year-young Crystal Cruises is aiming to extend its luxury brand in the air, on the oceans, and on the rivers. Five ships are on order, a yacht is being refurbished, and there’s more to come. “We’ve only released a series of announcements thus far,” Rodriguez told me on Crystal Symphony last week. “There’s a lot more to come, but even with what we’ve released thus far, and as we continue to grow each of those brand extension experiences, it’ll be very exciting.” 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 »


Videos and Visual Marketing Trends

The other day at the airport, I was browsing the magazine rack and was instantly drawn to the gorgeous cover photos and the inspiring images inside each of the different magazines. It made me want to change my flight and escape to an exotic locale.

Then as I was in the gatehouse scanning my social feeds, I realized I was drawn to some posts over others for some of the same reasons as when I was flipping through magazines.

Are you like me when you pick up a magazine or read an on-line article? Do you scan the title, look at the photos and read the captions? Then, after all that, do you read the opening lines? Read the rest of this entry »


Are you watching the travel trends?

Last week, Travel Weekly published the results of the 2015 Consumer Trends survey. Any agent worth their salt should take some time to read the results, and adjust their business accordingly; or at least see if their business needs adjusting. The topic that caught my eye was that consumers say they will be (or have been) taking shorter vacations—quick getaways versus the 7-night or longer trips. I can concur with that from my own experience and have adjusted my business to meet that need.

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A few weeks ago, a travel writer called me and, ironically, asked me if I would mind being interviewed about the topic of “how to get quoted in the press”. I thought to myself, “That’s an interesting topic,” and of course, I was happy to spend time answering her questions. After all, she was calling to ask my expert opinion and planned to quote me in her upcoming article. Read the rest of this entry »


Susan SchafferThe popularity of river cruising is exploding. It seems like every time we turn around, there is either a new announcement of another company entering into the river cruise industry, or an announcement of an existing river cruise company’s fleet expansion.

This year alone, Disney Cruise Line announced its partnership with AMAWaterways to offer family-friendly river cruises, Crystal Cruises announced their foray into river cruising, Celebrity Cruises started to blend ocean and river cruises together, and it seems like new river cruises keep popping up every few months. Read the rest of this entry »


Worms For Lunch?!

Imagine yourself in a fine restaurant. Divine table settings, charming atmosphere. Royal Dalton China. Fine crystal stemware. The Maitre d’ offers you the daily special. You uncover the silver cloche… UGH!!! It’s a pile of worms! Grubby – creepy – crawly WORMS!!!

The French may have managed to get us to eat snails under the moniker of “escargots”, but this was beyond ridiculous even if it qualifies as a “Low Carb High Protein” meal! I would never go back to that restaurant, and I believe you wouldn’t either. Read the rest of this entry »


Formed in 1989, INFOX is a fulfillment house that works solely within the Travel and Tourism Industries, and offers coordinated methods for distributing products and promotional materials by meeting the specific needs of travel businesses in the United States and internationally. For 26 years, our goal has been to help businesses in the travel industry achieve their marketing goals through cost-effective distribution. The INFOX team is highly committed to quality customer service; our management staff has a combined total of 50 years of experience within the company, offering cost-efficient and effective service fulfillment, marketing, and transportation solutions. We take a proactive stand on product development and view our business relationships as partnerships, benefiting from a healthy flow of two-way communication. Read the rest of this entry »


Want to know the secret to getting more clients? Making millions in the travel industry? Being wildly successful? So would I. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a magic bullet or pill to take for instant success.

What I do know is it takes hard work, dedication, education, getting out there, patience, and a positive attitude. Read the rest of this entry »


I was reminded once again how impetuous behavior can cost you. This lesson came during a welcome reception on a cruise ship.

Three individuals “dumped their wagons” on an unsuspecting host at an opening seminar cocktail party right before my very eyes. I was both disappointed and taken aback. The host was shell shocked.

As most of you know, cruise lines do what they can to educate their distribution channels. We were all onboard as guests of a particular cruise line with hopes to become more versed in the product line. I was the motivational segment of the program. Read the rest of this entry »


Peter Wen has worked at Chinatour.com 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 »


cindy-mitchellCindy Mitchell is the Concierge Director at Rental Escapes – her passion, interest, and experience in the Travel and Tourism industry drove her to focus on VIP and concierge services. She loves thinking outside the box to exceed her clients’ expectations of what their vacation can become.

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I’ll bet many of you get frustrated because you send important information to clients in detailed emails… only to find it has not been read. This may or may not cause you additional work with their booking, but at the bare minimum can make their trip either more challenging, or they miss something completely because they didn’t read it. Right? Read the rest of this entry »



The inspiration for Charles Darwin’s definitive work on evolution, the Galapagos Islands are famous for the wide and varied wildlife that inhabit the islands. Galapagos tortoises, sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, penguins, and many more species can be found here on the islands.

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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 »


When you think of “the Outback”, chances are you’re thinking of the iconic scenery and sights of Australia’s Northern Territory. With wide stretches of brushlands, towering rock formations, and hundreds of rare species of plants and wildlife, this is the “real Outback.” Read the rest of this entry »