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Way back in October of 2004, Chris Anderson published an article in Wired Magazine called “The Long Tail.”  Anderson later elaborated the concept of the Long Tail in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. The theory is that while every industry has its blockbuster products, there is a “long tail” of product sold in much smaller quantities that, collectively, is often larger than the most popular items.  Anderson went on to explain how technology, like online access to thousands of suppliers by millions of consumers, was making it possible for niche businesses to thrive in the new economy.

Does travel have a long tail? It does indeed.  If you look at the cruise industry, for example, the mass market Caribbean cruises dominate the scene – these are the “blockbuster” inventory items of the travel marketplace. But behind that massive body of sales is the long tail of niche cruises – Antarctica, river cruising, eco-cruises, the Amazon, the Galapagos. Vast crowds travel every  year to Las Vegas, Disney and Cancun. But a much larger combined crowd travels to Iceland, national parks, Tanzania and lesser known destinations seeking out new and different experiences. Read the rest of this entry »


When I think of Stockholm, I think of a place with a strong Viking heritage, those fierce warriors who ruled the seas. Stockholm is a royal city with the Changing of the Guard and a Royal Palace. Stockholm is an orderly city, and some Swedes say that makes them boring. I find them to be anything but. Come along and let’s explore Sweden’s capital.

One event that people of all ages can appreciate in Stockholm is the Changing of the Guard. The Royal Guards have been charged with protecting Sweden’s Royal Palace since 1523, and you can watch the pageantry every day of the year. 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 »


What’s so special about 21 days?

Experts say that’s how long it takes for us to form a habit. At the beginning of summer it sure seemed simple to fall into ‘easy livin’. Now that fall is nearly here, what social marketing habits can you start or reform? Which ones can you leave behind permanently? The start of a new season is a great reason to rethink some old habits to see if they’re still working for you. Read the rest of this entry »


Everyone has their up and down days; both personally and professionally. There are days when you want to throw in the towel,  and others that make it all worthwhile. If you need proof of that, just read some of the entries in our Travel Agent Diaries series.  Last week an acquaintance (not a client) in town asked me why I continued to operate in a dying industry.  After I schooled him on the fact that we are indeed not dying, I gave it some thought and came up with six reasons why I keep doing what I do! Read the rest of this entry »


The Chicken or the Egg?

I had an interesting conversation with a student of my online program a few weeks ago.  She lives not far from me, so instead of the usual phone consultation I asked if she would meet me for coffee.  It was a beautiful Seattle morning and as we talked, part of her story had a familiar ring to it.  In fact, I hear it so often, I have come to expect it.

She has been in business for about a year and has done everything her host/franchisor instructed.  She wrote a marketing and branding plan, built a website, became active in social media, and participated in numerous product webinars, but something was missing.  That something is “Sales”.  They trickled in here and there, but not enough to sustain the business, much less make a living. Read the rest of this entry »


Susan Schaefer
I recently read an article, originally posted back in May, about the growing problem of cruise ship pollution. The article was focused on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas, but the issue is not unique to that ship or cruise line. It’s not even unique to cruising, as cargo ships also contribute to the problem.

Many travel agents have become more Mother Nature friendly over the years, declining to book hunting safaris, and some go so far as refusing to book dolphin swims or trips to Sea World for their clients. For each travel agent it is a personal decision on what they will or won’t book. They weigh the decision between profit and good stewardship of Mother Earth. However, just about all of those travel agents book cruises, more than likely oblivious to the pollution created by all of these ships. Read the rest of this entry »


Daniel Zim - Head ShotStarting September 7, you will be able to board an American Airlines carrier on one of the first scheduled flights in decades to Cuba. For Americans making that voyage, it could remain one of the most regulated, red-tape ridden trips on the planet, despite the Obama administration’s efforts over the last two years to drastically loosen restrictions through executive action. As Congress returns to regular business this week, the House of Representatives will consider legislation that could end the ban on travel to Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »


Some very good reasons for post Brexit UK travel

With economic data showing that the British economy is faring better than many experts predicted from Brexit uncertainty, the exchange rate has gone from $1.47 on 23rd June to $1.31 today; setting up a perfect scenario for a short fuse UK trip.  That said, the news gets even better for enterprising travel agents because everything I’ve listed here will take place all over again in 2017, which gives you a full year to convert at least one of these events into an even more valuable piece of new business. Read the rest of this entry »


American Cruise Lines is the largest U.S. river cruise company and operator of the newest fleet of river cruise ships in the United States. It offers more than 35 itineraries ranging from 5 to 22 days in length, with destinations around the country including the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast, and the entire Mississippi River system. The line has been continuously recognized for providing superb service to guests and travel agents before, during, and after a cruise to create a seamless and personalized experience.

American Cruise Lines’ small ship design creates an intimate atmosphere for guests looking to receive the attentive and personalized service that is hallmark to the brand. The line boasts spaciously large and comfortable staterooms, most between 300 and 600 square feet, and feature roomy bathrooms, large opening picture windows, and private balconies. World-renowned chefs prepare traditional American and regionally inspired cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. Read the rest of this entry »


Jacob Marek, Introvertravels

Focusing on a niche is something we hear about quite often. We have discussed some of what might be considered the typical niches: small ship cruising, luxury travel, all things Disney, vegan travel, etc. Jacob Marek has possibly touched on an underserved niche; introverts. We recently sat down with Jacob to discuss his business and his new-found niche.

Travel Research Online (TRO): Let’s start with what you did prior to starting your own travel agency. Read the rest of this entry »


“What do you do when someone says no I’m not interested or I haven’t made up my mind yet?”

Selling Your Services by Robert W. Bly, page 123

At the risk of repeating myself and sounding like a broken record, today’s quote demands that I remind you of the following percentages:

50% of sales people quit after the first contact.

25% of sales people quit after the second contact.

The majority of sales occur after a salesman contacts a prospect a number of times. If you’re looking for a concrete number, I will say after six times. This may approach 10 or 12 in certain instances. Read the rest of this entry »


Although David Holman is a professional travel consultant, he is currently working on a mobile app that all travel professionals can share with their clients and incorporate into their own business models. We recently sat down with David to learn more about Travel with Purpose.

Travel Research Online: Let’s start with a quick description of Travel with Purpose.

David Holman: It is a mobile app and website that will match travelers seeking volunteer opportunities with nonprofits looking for help on projects or for ongoing needs. There is a growing trend towards people desiring to make a positive, meaningful impact on the people and places they visit. Currently, it requires a lot of footwork prior to travel to accomplish that goal. By making it easier to connect with nonprofits, even last minute, we hope to grow that legion of travelers who desire to “Leave It Better.” Read the rest of this entry »


Sharon-Flax-Brutus_0996-Crop-Web[1]Veteran tourism professional Sharon Flax-Brutus is the Director of Tourism for the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, a statutory body serving as the guiding unit for the development, marketing and promotion of the destination’s image, tourism product, and training.

Sharon Flax-Brutus’ confirmation to one of the Government’s top economic pillars is characteristic of her 30 plus years of experience garnered from working in diversified posts within the tourism industry in the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean region and the United States. 

Sharon has achieved notable accomplishments as the Director of Tourism that have been pivotal in strengthening and developing partnerships within the tourism sector regionally and internationally. Her portfolio includes sustainable and economic development initiatives along with the teaching and implementation of green practices for the accommodations sector; industry training and varied interactive tourism education programmes for youth interested in hospitality, culinary and tourism careers; the BVI became a member country of the International Institute for Peace. Read the rest of this entry »


Now that summer in Europe is almost done, we shift focus from our incoming Europe business to outgoing Southeast Asia. Not that we totally leave out our Europe business. There’s demand, albeit in lower numbers than in summer; but destinations like Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bali, Singapore, and Hong Kong all offer a nice change of products to sell for the travel agents and their clients we serve from different parts of the world. Read the rest of this entry »



Cienfuegos is not easily cowed by the popularity of her sisters, Havana and Trinidad; she has a unique identity and flavor all her own. Thanks to a hint of French thrown into the usual Cuban cultural suspects of Spanish colonial and South American influences, Cienfuegos stands apart from the rest on this warm island. From truly breathtaking architecture to a stroll through Cuban culture, Cienfuegos has as much to offer visitors as Cuba’s larger metropolises, if not more.

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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.

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Johannesburg is a city filled with stunning sights and a deep, rich history that its residents invite visitors to explore and understand. Well past the days of fighting for democracy, Johannesburg has blossomed into a beautiful art-filled center of light in South Africa, drawing people near and far like moths to a flame. Whether it’s to touch a piece of history, watch the local wildlife grazing lazily on the savannah, or stroll through one of the city’s most famous public spaces, Johannesburg is a city that will always strive to never disappoint.

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