The voice of the travel agency community

The importance of being empathetic

This week I ran across a quote that will forever be a favorite: “Courage is the foundation of integrity.” I love this quote not only for its plain simplicity, but also because it surpasses all of the political ties these days threatening any significant or momentous thought. Nearly all of us can agree.  I searched for its origin, but the quote is ascribed to a number of people.  If you have a definitive source, please let me know. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking into Silver Wind’s reception area late Tuesday afternoon felt a lot like coming home. There were familiar faces, the first of which belonged to Flavio, the affable hotel director who hails from picturesque Positano. Flavio is a genuine reflection of Silversea’s Italian heritage. I had sailed with him in Australia and New Zealand on Silver Shadow a couple of years ago.
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Leslie Nearon 2One of the things I like most about working at OASIS is my boss KeIly Bergin and our marketing director Lisa Baron. I love working with both of them and helping our agents; there is never a dull moment.

The primary focus of my job is to train our agents on our proprietary booking engine and reporting tool. Every booking that the agents make must be reported so that we can track and pay commissions. Our booking engine also shows rates and promos for all major cruise lines, and my training helps our agents find the perfect cruise for their client. It is a one-stop-shop, if you will, which makes booking a cruise very fast and convenient.

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Cruises, airplanes, and the Ebola scare

And just like that, panic starts its slow creep into the psyche of the traveler.  As I said last week, the risk of an every day traveler contracting the Ebola virus is near zero.  It still is nearly impossible for the average traveler to contract it and I stand by my original assertion—however non-medically backed it may be!

But this past week, we saw failures in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that leaves me wondering if Ebola has the potential to become the epidemic the media has portrayed due to the sheer ineptness of the people charged with protecting and preventing it in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane MooreRecognized as a leading expert in the industry, Diane Moore joined Paul Gauguin Cruises in 2010. Although Diane originally had joined as Executive Vice President, she was quickly promoted to President. As a seasoned veteran of the cruise industry, Moore was previously the President of Windstar Cruises. Read the rest of this entry »

Disney World, climate change, and your travel agency

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

— Mark Twain

As a travel agent and writer I have a special interest in the many attractions of central Florida, where I recently spent almost a month familiarizing myself with the latest developments.

New Fantasyland, now complete, is packing them in at Magic Kingdom and Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival is better than ever. I can also confidently report that the new Harry Potter expansion at Universal Orlando Resort is an unqualified success. The same can be said of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal’s first moderately priced resort hotel. The place looks spectacular and the food, while fast, is just fine. Based on my own observations and the feedback I received from others, they have beaten Disney at the “value” game. With a fifth hotel, the Sapphire Falls Resort, coming online in 2016, the outlook for Universal Orlando vacation packages looks rosy. Read the rest of this entry »

Distinctive journeys to create a truly memorable travel experience or adventure…..

G.T. Tours is your partner in travel! For the last 30 years their marketing and sales staff has specialized in designing and operating innovative and unique nature, adventure and cultural oriented travel experiences for individual clients, families or small groups to Central and South America. The company takes pride in tailor-making trips to suit the taste and interests of travelers, and to create a truly memorable holiday or adventure. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping my act together

I was recently thinking about what tools I used to keep myself in order. Let’s face it, this industry lends itself to disorder at best, to chaos at worst.

Back in August 2010 I declared Microsoft OneNote the next best thing since sliced bread.  I fell in love with OneNote.  I lived, breathed, and died by OneNote.  And for the record, I still use OneNote.  But I have been introduced to and have also fallen in love with Evernote.  It’s the next best thing since…well, OneNote.

There is a definite learning curve to working with Evernote.  But once you get the handle of it, it can be a powerful tool.  And you don’t have to give up OneNote if you want to continue using it as well. Read the rest of this entry »

In a marketing context, you want to treat good pubic relations much as you would a testimonial, exposing it to potential, new and existing clients.  Just as testimonials shorten the sales cycle with clients who do not know you, so does a good media placement.   Testimonials and  a good media placement properly promoted are a short cut: others are happy with your performance, providing assurances I will be as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Far and High Adventure Travel
specializes in small group tours, private journeys, trekking and hiking trips, and solo/independent travel. Specifically, the company offers trips to Nepal, Tibet, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Bhutan, and Mongolia. Far and High Adventure Travel’s main operations are based in Kathmandu, Nepal while their sales and marketing, tour development and customer service teams are headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Read the rest of this entry »

Alejandra Elejalde, Marketing Director of Solar Tours

photo - Ale

Originally bon in Peru, Alejandra Elejalde arrived to the United States with her parents when she was 15 years old. After living in Virginia for some time, her family eventually moved to South Florida where she would complete high school. Alejandra later obtained a double major in Business Administration and International Business and Business Management from Florida International University.  Read the rest of this entry »

Every fall most of us attend one or more of our industry conferences and I am no exception.  I just returned from our consortia’s conference, which was held in Florida this year.  Putting a national conference together is no easy feat, as organizers are challenged to accommodate business updates, training, networking, keynote speakers and fun all in a short amount of time.  So I always try to be understanding and put my best foot forward.  Although, a couple of days ago I felt that if I talked shop to one more person I was always going to spontaneously combust! Read the rest of this entry »

Bordered between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, Belize is a country repleted with natural attractions such as Mayan ruins, large cave systems and wildlife reserves. Read the rest of this entry »

Iceland ProCruises, the only Icelandic owned expedition cruise line, proudly sets sail to Iceland and Greenland beginning in June, 2015. With over 20 years experience in Iceland tourism, the owners of Iceland ProTravel, a leading ground operator, are excited to launch Iceland ProCruises as a unique way to explore Iceland and Greenland in a distinctive setting that highlights wildlife, nature, culture and history. Read the rest of this entry »

Weddings can be expensive: cost of a wedding planner, catering, floral arrangements, small -and I do mean small- gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen are just the tip of the iceberg. Read the rest of this entry »