The voice of the travel agency community

Thinking Backwards

I don’t like most game shows. I’m a high-functioning introvert, but the bright lights, noise and screaming frighten me. With one exception. I really enjoy Jeopardy. When I happen to catch it on television during an evening of channel surfing, I like playing along at least for a minute or two. In the no-stress environment of my living room, I am really good. Especially when I discount categories like “Broadway Musicals.”

What I really like about Jeopardy, though, is the format. Alex Trebec gives you the answer and the object is to provide the correct question – forcing me to think backwards. That little bit of a twist on my mental hardwiring engages an ability to dig a bit deeper for each challenge. Jeopardy teaches us to think differently. Read the rest of this entry »

The Greek island of Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. In some ways, Corfu feels more Italian (thanks to the Venetians and the Italians who occupied the island) than it does Greek. Certainly the many pine trees that we saw during our visit reminded us of the Tuscan landscape as does some of the dialects we found around the island. The island, also known by its Greek name Kerkyra, remained in Venetian hands from 1401 until 1797. The Venetians erected fortifications to repel Turkish invaders, and indeed, the historian Will Durant claimed that Corfu was one of the few parts of Greece never conquered by the Ottomans thanks to the Republic of Venice. Read the rest of this entry »

med-1For me travel has been an all-consuming passion,  both personally and in my profession. Aside of course from the obvious, travel is the one thing I love.

I was born in Marcona, Peru, in a mining camp where my dad, a Wyoming native and ex-Navy warrior, met my mother, a mild mannered, flower loving, ex-middle school teacher (talk about opposites attract,!). As a family of three we moved to Venezuela when I was 6 and set roots there for 20 years. My dad traveled the world as a Mining Consultant and my mom was a Travel Agent, and together we had our share of amazing adventures. No surprise I chose travel and tourism as my career! My professional career started right after high school working for American Airlines, going to college and getting my Travel and Tourism Management degree. I bring about 20 years of experience to Europe Express, combing the back-end knowledge of a world class GDS, Amadeus and the front-end experience in Sales from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel, storytelling, and social media marketing

“A human life is a story told by God and in the best of stories told by humans, we come closer to God.” – Hans Christian Anderson

What is your reaction when someone says “Let me tell you a story?” Most likely you listen attentively. The human mind loves a good story. Some portion of our psyche seeks a beginning, a middle, and an end. Every story has characters, a setting, and a series of incidents resulting in something memorable. Sound familiar?

Social media with its mix of graphics, text, and sound is the perfect medium for telling a travel story, for conveying not only the left-brained logistics and cost of travel but also the right-brained romance and vision. Read the rest of this entry »

In the interest of keeping this professional site, well…professional, I think we all are familiar with the term BS. When I was a kid, my father used to tell me, “Never try to BS a BSer.” And while maybe not the most politically correct advice, it is certainly solid. In the travel industry, it is particularly valid. Read the rest of this entry »

Luxury Travel: Not a 9-5 Career

It’s no secret that running your own luxury travel business comes with a set of demands that aren’t for anyone who likes to close up shop at 5 pm daily. The nature of this business, along with the expectation for consistent and rapid responses, dictates that it’s pretty challenging to completely turn off the phone and email (despite knowing that doing so is good for your health). As a student in the art of meditation who is constantly striving for balance and better time-management, I am actually the perfect example of a business owner/travel advisor/entrepreneur that struggles at times to get the balance just right. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchafferAfter years of attending networking events, I have learned to really scrutinize business cards that I have collected. I have also watched what others have done with the business cards that they collect. One particular gentleman in my networking circles is very pragmatic: if someone’s business card doesn’t fit into his business card binder, he tosses it. Nothing annoys him more than oddly shaped business cards. He also discards any cards that do not easily describe what the business does. For example, my business name (Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel) makes it easy for him to know that I’m in the travel industry. If my business name was The Schaefer Agency, without a tagline describing my business, no one would know what kind of agency I operate (Insurance? Real estate? Talent acquisition?). Read the rest of this entry »

Selling YOU with a powerful ME statement

You’ve heard over and over again that you have to sell YOU as much as, or more than, you sell a supplier or destination.  It sounds good, but it isn’t always obvious just how to do it.

Then there’s the challenge of finding the balance between talking about your strengths and customer benefits without it turning into a “sales pitch.” Does anyone really want to hear how great you think you are?   It’s a real but important challenge to tackle.  Here’s why… Read the rest of this entry »

Africa Answers takes you back to the glamor of old world travel; imagine Out of Africa with Meryl Streep as you explore, discover and experience all that an Africa vacation has to offer.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Africa Answers is a US based wholesaler specializing in travel to over 15 different countries in Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Botswana, as well as destinations in the Middle East and Indian Ocean islands. Africa Answers was launched in November 2010 as a subsidiary company of Down Under Answers, which has been specializing in travel to the South Pacific for over 23 years. Read the rest of this entry »

So, you still want to be a travel agent, travel the world and make a lot of money. Not so fast. There is a lot to learn before you are ready for that first client.  Before the commissions and fees start to roll in, you really need to know a little bit about yourself and how you fit into the industry. What’s next? Let’s start with the basics–where, when, how, what and why. Read the rest of this entry »

I see it all the time. Sometimes multiple times in a single week. And when I am party to it, I see red. I feel the hair stand up on the back of neck, and my heartbeat seems to shoot into overdrive.

Why don’t more people realize that it takes months, even years, to earn a customer, while a single mismanaged phone call can put a dent in your income without saying a word? Read the rest of this entry »

Founded in 2004, Jetairfly has already, despite its young age, become the second largest airline in Belgium. With a fleet of 22 aircraft, Jetairfly is well equipped for medium and long-range travel. They began in 2004 with 5 aircraft, but thanks to its intensive fleet renewal program, Jetairfly has the most up-to-date and modern fleet in Belgium. Read the rest of this entry »

GreGG Trumanv1Gregg Truman has been working with Venere since it became a premier travel agent online hotel booking tool in North America. His 20+ years of experience in promoting international travel has become a valuable asset as he personally assists travel agents through the Venere travel agent program. Gregg has long believed that travel agents are the key to any industry success and the results since he has been working with Venere are impressive. There are now over 3,000 travel agents in the Venere program in North America, and the support team, led by Gregg and based in New York, helps travel agents on a wide range of issues. Gregg also leads scheduled Venere webinars on for professional travel agents on a regular basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Lately, a lot of people have been asking me for travel advice. Not much of a surprise, really, what with me being a travel agent and all. My specialty is currently cruises, but I’ve been doing travel for a very long time, so I’ve gathered quite a bit of information outside of my niche. That’s good, because the questions I’ve been getting recently haven’t been cruise-related. Read the rest of this entry »

Built by the visionary Maharaja JaiSingh in the 18th century, Jaipur is a beautiful city full of colorful buildings and amazing history. From the world’s largest stone sundial to ancient palaces, Jaipur has some for the explorer within everyone. Come and see the “Pink City” at its best with Adam Travel!

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Tours 4 The World began as BuyNetFares in 1992, started by Rosana Chermisqui. BuyNetFares sold tour packages to Latin America to travel agents through different advertisers, and due to the success of its relationship with the airlines, also became an airline consolidator. At that time in the 1990’s, it was easier to sell packages that included airfare, especially from JFK, LAX, and MIA. Read the rest of this entry »

The largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba is a charming mix of colonial aesthetics, vintage cars, and a local musical blend that is unrivaled. During its heyday in the 1950’s, Cuba was a popular destination for American tourists because of the distinctive European flair of the country. The architecture is exquisitely preserved from the days of colonists and Caribbean pirates, with cobblestone streets, huge, bombastic town squares, and opulent buildings. Beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters top off all the amazing sights that the island has to offer! Read the rest of this entry »