Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily express our character produce our effectiveness or ineffectiveness. ~ Stephen R. Covey

As Stephen Covey indicates, habits are powerful forces in our lives, perhaps even more so than we suspect. Good habits we often perceive as difficult to form and bad habits impossible to break. Ironically, the reverse also appears to be true. Good habits seem as flimsy as the first excuse to disrupt a routine and bad habits arise before we notice their presence. Read the rest of this entry »

Today we’re visiting two Corsican villages. They’re high up in the hilltops; getting there is half the fun, so let’s get going.

Only 115 miles long at its longest and 52 miles wide at its widest, Corsica is famous for its stunning scenery. Corsica also boasts more than 600 miles of coastline and in excess of 200 beaches.

The island is also known for its charming villages. Have your camera handy as you stroll the narrow streets through some of the island’s most beautiful villages, such as the one we visited, Pigna. You’ll enjoy exploring the narrow streets and alleys. Duck into a church or find that perfect spot overlooking the valley and sea for a cool refreshment before moving on to the next village. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_6167It was a busy afternoon at the Career Fair which I, at the last minute, decided to attend. As I was walking around and glanced over the different booths, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was hoping to find. I wanted to stay in the hospitality industry, but try something new. I suddenly spotted the Image Tours, Inc. logo printed on a large banner and headed for the table, instantly intrigued to know more. I remember thinking how interesting it was to find such a unique company that was very relatable to my personal interests, yet still very different than any other job I’d had in the past. That’s where I met and spoke with Mike, the company’s president. From there I was contacted for an interview, and started working within a month! Read the rest of this entry »

3 Vital Ways to Add Video into your Social Marketing

Did you know that a 1 minute video is worth 1.8 million words? Research predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.

Yet, so many travel and tourism marketers shy away from video thinking it’s too ‘techy’ or too difficult to learn.  Many travel pros say they just don’t have the time.  Let’s debunk these myths and see how you can jump into that video producer’s seat.

Video from Still Images

Creating your own videos from that stash of FAM trip photos, cruise ship site inspection photos, and destination photos is quick and easy!  There are so many tools available now to elevate your own images into short, shareable video that there’s no reason not to embrace this form of marketing.

You can simply upload your still images into one of these platforms, select some music, and add some transitions and text.  The tool does all the heavy lifting for you, creating a slick video in the time it takes to say “Cool Video”. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcasting for travel. Give it a shot.

Recently, I partnered with a friend to create a podcast for a non-travel business. To be honest, I had no idea how simple, effective, and powerful they could be. In fact, I was so blown away that I likely will be starting another one for my travel business soon enough. Podcasts have been around for a long time and recently are taking off. With most consumers accessing content from mobile devices and most states preventing people from using them while driving, podcasts are becoming huge with commuters in addition to people at work who can listen. Read the rest of this entry »

The Reason Travel Agents Fail

As a sales coach and business consultant in the travel and tourism industry, the question I am asked most often is, “What do I have to do to become successful?” It is a simple question and one that really has a simple answer.

Contrary to popular belief, the reason many travel agents fail is not due a lack of product knowledge, lack of planning, or lack of marketing. In fact, we tend to be pretty good at all three. The cost of entry in travel sales is typically very low, so it’s usually not for lack of funding either.

No, the reason many agents fail is so obvious, it is often overlooked. According to legendary management consultant, Peter Drucker, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep customers”. That’s it – period. Nothing else happens in this or any business until someone buys something. This first sale generates the revenue to help keep the lights and internet on. It helps to create momentum and funds marketing initiatives. This sale, and the others that will follow, helps you to create the lifestyle you want for you and your family. But it all starts with a single sale, or does it? Read the rest of this entry »

Susan Schaefer

Apparently food is on focus of several cruise lines right now, with recent announcements from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Holland America. Over the past few years, cruise ship food has been slipping in quality as far as many passengers have been concerned. It appears that the cruise lines have listened, and changes are coming.

Royal Caribbean ditches Dynamic Dining

Royal Caribbean recently announced that they are eliminating Dynamic Dining from all ships except for Quantum of the Seas. When it was introduced, Dynamic Dining was a new approach to cruise line dining, but even after some tweaking it hasn’t caught on with passengers. The basic premise of Dynamic Dining was that passengers did not have to be tied to one restaurant or one particular seating time for dinner every night. Instead passengers were free to pick from several no-charge restaurants and make reservations for times they wanted to eat every night. The problem was that there was no traditional dining option offered, which didn’t sit well with seasoned cruisers that liked have the same server and same table mates every night. Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Zim - Head ShotPeople who love to travel as much as they love their pets face a dilemma whenever they travel by air. They can either board their pets for the duration of their sojourn or they can bring their pet with them. Owners of non-travelling pets have no shortage of local boarding options (there are even Airbnb substitutes like But the focus of this column will be on the travelling canine and the type of information that travel agents should provide to clients when such inquiries are made.

Cargo or Carry-on

Checking a pet as cargo can be quite expensive. Depending on the size and breed, prices for shipping a dog as checked luggage can exceed the cost of transporting a human on a domestic ticket by as much as five-fold. Aside from the expense, many passengers are uncomfortable with the idea of keeping man’s best friend in dark, unfamiliar surroundings next to piles of luggage. Additionally, airlines do not offer encouraging words to make pet owners want to check their pet on the baggage conveyer belt. Airline policies typically decline all liability, expressly disclaiming any guarantee that your pet will arrive at its destination safely. And the media strikes fear in the heart of dog owners whenever reports surface of pet DOAs. Read the rest of this entry »

How to be found and build clients

Regardless of what you sell, one of the ongoing challenges running any business today is first being found. Getting potential clients “in the door” and then turning them into clients who purchase products using our professional services and expertise is the next critical step. In the case of travel agent professionals, once we get that first sale and get the booking in, the next step is getting those clients to come back and continue booking through us. What’s the best way to be found and build your clientele? Read the rest of this entry »

SIT Italy was founded in 1999 by Giuseppe Aloi, a native Italian entrepreneur from the southern region of Calabria, with a background in the hotel business and a vision for the future.

Giuseppe, with his Ph.D. in Business, had already traveled extensively when he joined his uncle to operate several Sicilian hotels in the early 90s. His financial knowledge helped boost the business and Giuseppe’s many American friends and acquaintances, from his visits to California, populated the hotels on a regular basis.

As the end of the millennium approached, Americans were flocking to Italy for the superior value, cultural experiences, and magnificent historical sites that the country offered. The trend continued into the 21st century and Giuseppe soon found himself arranging special vacations for travelers who wanted more than a seat in a coach, a more authentic travel experience in his fascinating homeland. Giuseppe’s passion for Italy, combined with a unique understanding of this new tourist, led him to devote all of his time to creating customized programs for the savvy traveler. Read the rest of this entry »

Fascinated, yet foiled by Facebook again

I had another topic in mind for this column; but then this morning as I was browsing quickly on Facebook I realized that I needed to change focus.

I try to limit my time on social media during the business day, but I do manage several pages and groups so I feel the need to check it a couple of times.  Here are the four steps I try to take: Read the rest of this entry »

“The piano master Horowitz told his students never to be afraid to dare. Never be afraid to play without asking advice. I’m not going to teach you, but to guide you.”

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime In Golf by Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake, page 117

Let’s face it, you don’t need to read, study, practice, or be mentored by anybody to fail miserably. You can manage this all-important business skill all by yourself.

I have gone on record to offer the following advice for years: “Fail faster.” It is through failure that you will succeed. Your business will become familiar with near misses and total debacles if you are taking your company seriously. But there is a sure-fire way to avoid failure. In fact, many travel agents have become skilled at this avoidance tactic. It works every time and it does not cost a dime. You probably are already familiar with this tactic. All you have to do is… nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

Planning a family vacation can be difficult. Parents want to have a relaxing time and share wonderful experiences with their kids, but finding a destination that appeals to kids and adults alike is harder than it seems… especially if you don’t want to drive all the way to the coast and spend hours in line at a theme park once you get there.

The best solution might be one you hadn’t considered yet: a Colorado adventure vacation at a dude and guest ranch!

Bringing your kids on a family trip to Colorado for a week – or even longer – can be just what you need to get a bit of relaxation, change your perspective, and pull everyone closer. To understand why, here are five things you’ll never hear your kids say while visiting one of Colorado’s dude ranches: Read the rest of this entry »


Cally Papas is the President and sole proprietor of Cloud Tours Inc, a tour operator specializing in travel to Europe and the Middle East for over 47 years. Cally’s parents immigrated from Greece to New York City, where she grew up and has lived all her life. She graduated from Queen’s College with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, and from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Teaching English As A Second Language. She never visited Greece until she was a young adult, and once she did her life was never the same! In Greece she fell in love with the country and its people, and discovered a deep passion for travel. Upon returning from her trip, she decided to pursue a career in travel and landed a job at Olympic Airways. Cally began her career with Olympic as a receptionist and ended in the executive position of National Marketing and Sales, the third highest US position in the company. Cloud Tours was one of her accounts, and when the previous owner wanted to retire, Cally seized the opportunity to run her own business and create something new in the world of travel. Read the rest of this entry »

I can’t believe it is time for me to put pen to paper again or in this case fingers to keyboard. I blinked and it is the middle of September with the 4th quarter just around the corner. I’m just on the heels of two trips: my Amazing Aussie Adventure with Travel2 and my host conference in Charlotte with Gifted Travel Network. I haven’t even had time to do my follow ups or load my photos which is on my ever growing list of things to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Margaret River is one of Australia’s most lush and fertile winelands. This region in Australia’s west country is still relatively quiet in the tourist circles, which has led to the continued preservation of the area’s many natural features and draws. Among these are the stellar surfing coves, smaller Australian towns full of charm and vigor, and the natural wonders that have developed for thousands, if not millions, of years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Before its formation into a town in the 18th century, Reykjavik had been inhabited for almost a millennium already. Legend has it that the first inhabitant was a sailor who threw his pillars into the sea and vowed to settle wherever they washed up, which happened to be in Iceland. In 1801 Reykjavik became the capital of Iceland, and in the mid-20th century saw a boon from the second World War that most countries did not, thanks to occupation of the countries by the Allied Nations. The city differs from many other Nordic metropolises, with is cozier spread of smaller buildings reminiscent of the coast of Canada rather than the heavy opulence of many European countries.

Read the rest of this entry »

On December 10, 1997, the capital of Kazakhstan was officially transferred to the city of Akmola. In line with the Presidential Decree signed on May 6, 1998, Akmola was renamed “Astana”. The new capital was unveiled internationally on June 10, 1998. In 1999, Astana was awarded the title of “The City of Peace” by UNESCO. Since 2000, the capital city of Kazakhstan has been a member of the International Assembly of Capitals and Major Cities. Astana is the northernmost capital city in Asia. At present, the territory of Astana makes up more than 722 square kilometers (279 square miles).  Read the rest of this entry »

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