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Competition Understood

I once had a travel professional take me to task because I provided them with an article in USA Today which also contained advertising for other travel programs. That would never do, she assured me, because like so many other papers and magazines, USA Today was “filled with travel advertising.”  Likewise, many agents will not link to travel articles that include the contact information of hotels or tour operators.

I believe many travel professionals sometimes work with an over-broadly image of their competition because they have failed to properly define their customer base and their proper relationship to their clients. To these few, the landscape is filled with competition. This perspective is informed by the idea that the travel consultant is “selling” travel.  That is what Travelocity does, just as suppliers do.  They sell travel with few frills, often based on price alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Jump in as we learn about Travel Show Marketing Group, and their place in the travel industry. From tradeshows to Hosted Travel Agent programs, Travel Show Marketing Group does it all.

Travel Show Marketing Group (TravelSMG), an independent event organizer which caters to the B2B leisure travel agency channel, has implemented a number of new initiatives crafted to enhance the overall travel agent and supplier engagement experience, while offering a plethora of unique educational opportunities.

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15 Social Marketing Tactics You Can Do in a Flash

Does your email box fill up faster than you can say ‘Travel’? Do you feel like the phone hasn’t stopped ringing? (not a bad thing) Are you left with 10 or 15 minutes between meetings and wonder how to make the most of your time?

Getting from frazzled to fruitful…

….swamped to strategic…

…chaotic to connected is do-able when you make the most of short spurts of time.

In today’s world it seems that busy is the new badge of honor.  Crazy! Stunned! Buried! Overloaded!  These are words that seem to be everywhere.  How are we to get anything done…we’re too busy!

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Disclaimer: This is a fluid situation and like anything in Washington, it can change in a heartbeat!

Well, the government is shut down. And while we bemoan any governmental intrusion into our lives, it is a necessary evil and often times we simply go about our lives oblivious to the government. Not so much with a shut down. A government shut down can have far reaching impacts on the travel industry.

But, as of now, it seems that our industry may have dodged a bullet in this latest shutdown. In 2013, President Obama seemed to use much of the public facing aspects of the government shutdown as a bargaining chip in negotiations with congress. National parks were closed, lines were out of control in the airports, Veterans were unable to visit open-air monuments, etc.

This time, it seems a little less disruptive. And as of now (Sunday evening) here’s what we know.

National Parks. Interior Secretary Zinke is working on a program to keep them open and accessible. However, there will be reduced staff and individual parks may not be able to be open. Currently the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island along with the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia are closed. The Smithsonian Museums are planning to be open on Monday (January 22) yet no decision has been made beyond that. It is quite possible that if no deal is reached in the budget, that the Smithsonian Museums will close on Tuesday. To give you an idea of the impact of a shutdown, in 2013 it is estimated that National Parks turned away 750,000 visitors per day and lost out on $500 million of visitor spending. Animals at the National Zoo will still be fed and cared for.

Air Travel. There should be minimal disruption this time around. The TSA and Homeland Security are two departments that will keep nearly all of their employees working—albeit without a paycheck for now. And contrary to a rumor I heard, there will not be an influx of federal employees traveling on vacation—if they are furloughed, they are expected to be back at work as soon as this is resolved.

Travel Documents. Passport processing will continue as normal; but with fewer employees. If you are submitting a Passport application in the next 6 to 8 weeks, expect a longer than normal wait time. Keep in mind that backlogs in any aspect of the government will take time to clear. If you have foreign clients looking to come INTO the US and require a Visa, this may prove to be a problem as the Visa processing abroad is closed. Passport offices located within federal buildings will be closed.

So, what do you do if a client is impacted? Punt! Well, kind of. First of all, contact the venues if you can to ascertain their level of “openness”. Investigate similar options in the destination. For example in Washington DC, while the Smithsonian museums may close, the Holocaust Museum and the Newseum will remain open as they are privately funded. Keep in mind that in addition to National Parks, there are plenty of State Parks and monuments that will remain open. Make sure you check out the local Visitor’s Bureau for suggestions.

And another bonus…if you are in a destination like Washington (and to a lesser extent any other US metropolitan area) the daily crowds will be less and getting around will be easy.

When the resolution happens is anyone’s guess, but I do not think this will be a very long one. It is politically embarrassing that it is happening when one party controls all the moving parts, yet cannot agree. Stay tuned. Hopefully this column will be moot by the time it is published!

This may sound at first like a foolish question. Of course you are ready to make more money. But it is not a foolish question. In fact, it is question worth asking again and again.

The truth is that most so-called “travel professionals” do not want to make more money. I know this to be a fact, because if they did they would be making more money.

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Cruise Ship Inspection Freak Out

The newest dog bone that the media has latched onto are the recent unsatisfactory sanitary inspections of three Carnival cruise ships. If you sell cruises, you will likely have a client bring up this topic sooner or later. With my clients, ironically it’s the non Carnival clients that are sharing concerns about the inspection results. My Carnival clients seem to be oblivious, even though I know they are on top of the news. Maybe they just don’t care; maybe because their upcoming bookings aren’t on any of the ships being reported in the media.

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Inspirational Tours Beyond The Manchester Gateway

With Virgin Atlantic offering Manchester-bound non-stop flights from Atlanta, Boston, New York and San Francisco, take a closer look at some of the inspiring new tours that are available for independent travellers and customised groups beyond the Manchester Gateway

In the past, Manchester Airport has been seen largely as the gateway to the north of England, but as the map shows, it’s also the starting point for a new generation of imaginative tours to Scotland, the Heart of England, North Wales and Ireland.

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Hi, Mary.

I am interested and have been considering this career for the past few years.

Wondering if you have a recommendation of a host agency that would better cater to the Family Adventure Travel niche? This is where my passion is, and I would really like to find a company that can foster and mentor me in this startup.

Thx

Madeline

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Enthusiasm Sells

Today’s message calls for a little imagination on your part. I want you to envision a large pie cut into three, large pieces. One piece consists of half the pie, while the other two represent 25% each. Can you see it?
I want you to now name each piece. One is Attitude; One is Skills; and the last piece is Knowledge.

If you marked the largest piece “knowledge” you would be wrong. Of course it is important that you know your subject matter…or at the very least, know where to find the sought after information.

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Choose from over 300,000 Properties & Benefit from a dedicated Travel Agent Program

Discover the benefits and features of the leading hotel booking website for travel agents, with properties ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts, to local favorites, B & B, apartments, Relais & country homes, and vacation rentals. Hotels.com for travel agents features 300,000+ properties in over 200 countries, a selection that’s not typically found in traditional GDS systems + millions of independent reviews from real travelers.

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Tava Foster, Travel Advisor and Tour Manager, Ramblers

Tava Foster is the Travel Advisor and Tour Manager for Ramblers, a walking and hiking tour company based in the US that specializes in tours in the UK and Ireland. With a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a Master’s degree in TV/Video Production, Tava currently oversees the sales, marketing, and tour management for Ramblers as well as New Adventures; New Adventures is part of the Kendelo Travel Family, along side Ramblers. Tava Foster has been a traveler at heart since she was young, and is thrilled to share her love and passion for active tourism with clients. To learn more about Ramblers and Tava Foster, continue reading on.

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Culture in Cape Town with South African Airways

The coastal South African city of Cape Town is a breathtaking destination complete with a rich blend of cuisines, and no shortage of activities and heritage sites. Capital of the Western Cape province, Cape Town should be next on your travels list. With an array of flight options thanks to South African Airways, the supplier sponsor of this article, a trip to Cape Town is within your reach.

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