Have you had the experience when driving of unexpectedly seeing a car or pedestrian emerge from your “blind-spot”?  The sudden awareness of a nearly missed accident is more than a little disconcerting. One moment everything is fine, and then without warning, you are blind-sided by something as obvious as a Ford Explorer.

The same thing can happen to you in your travel practice unless you take terrific precautions to be self-aware. Read the rest of this entry »

When most of us picture warm-weather cruises, we envision the Caribbean. But there’s another pseudo-Caribbean destination that often gets overlooked due to its location in the North Atlantic, and that is Bermuda. Read the rest of this entry »

KateI can’t believe it was 26 years ago that I got my first job in the travel industry. My parents had just returned from a big trip overseas booked through Austravel and noticed they were advertising for an administrative assistant in their Bristol, UK office. We always traveled a lot as a family and it seemed like a good fit for a young 18 year old just starting out in her career. I applied, got the job, and never looked back! I quickly moved into their ticketing department and spent a year there, but always yearned to be more involved with the customers and the process of planning their holidays. I moved into sales and was hooked. I enjoyed sharing my experiences with potential travelers and also loved the travel that we got to experience. Read the rest of this entry »

“I have a Facebook page, but I can’t get anyone to like or comment on anything!” is something I hear often from travel professionals. They know that social media can help build their business, but they can’t quite seem to get things moving on their page. I can relate. I spent YEARS with a Facebook page that might as well have had crickets chirping in the background. Fast forward to today, and we have an active and engaged community of over 22,000 fans on our page and Facebook drives a lot of traffic (and bookings) for the agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Invent your crisis; create some business

Make up a crisis! Now I’m not suggesting running into your local theater, screaming “fire”, and trying to sell people trips on the sidewalk as they evacuate. Something a lot more discrete (and a lot more legal) would be best. Take a look at the past and the ever-changing world of travel and see if you can create a demand for travel-or at least, a demand to think about traveling. At worst, your name will rise to the top. At best, you will receive some bookings. Read the rest of this entry »

In addition to being a business owner and a luxury travel advisor, many of my friends and followers on social media have come to know me as a self-motivator who often shares daily messages of encouragement. Typically, these posts are along the lines of not being afraid to go after what you really want, dream big, and of course, do bigger. While at times the messages might sound a bit cliché, they are often the extra little push to get me through a current challenge or to have the strength to both deal with a difficult client and complete a punishing spin class in the same hour. I love when I get a message from someone else telling me they “needed that today”, as it’s clear I’m not the only one who needs constant reminders that I really can do whatever I decide to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchafferAs travel professionals, we are continually looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from online travel agencies (OTAs) or clients booking direct with suppliers. If all we do is take a client’s request and book it, we become order takers, no different than the client booking direct or turning to an OTA to book their cruise. Many travel professionals do take the extra steps to qualify clients and ensure that the cruise they are requesting is a good fit for the client. But how else do you differentiate yourself? Read the rest of this entry »

What about me?

When my internet provider bought out a competitor the switch made my life miserable. I had all sorts of problems, and let’s just say that I wasn’t a happy surfer.

My local newspaper printed an article about the whole mess mentioning how clients were more than mildly upset. When I saw my cable company in the headline, my attention was drawn to the article. It said in effect, “Hey bub, if you are the recipient from this bogus treatment, I’m talking to you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Before social media, the Internet, and cell phones, there was Sky Bird Travel & Tours. With over four decades at the front line of the travel industry, we’ve forged solid relationships with major airlines from all over the world. These airline partners trust us to pass along their best deals to our community of trusted travel agents. Competitive net fares from Sky Bird Travel & Tours provides financial advantages to our travel agents, so they can offer their clients incredible deals on vacations all over the world while securing higher commissions. Read the rest of this entry »

Donna Zeigfinger, Green Earth Travel

A veteran of the travel industry for over 30 years, today Donna Zeigfinger owns her own agency, Green Earth Travel. Recently we sat down with Donna to talk about her business, her unique niche specialties, and her view of the progression of the industry over the last few decades.

Travel Research Online (TRO): Donna, have you always been home based?

Donna Zeigfinger (DZ): No; after finishing travel school in the 1980’s, I got a two-week internship in a local brick and mortar agency. After my internship ended they decided to hire me. I worked there for a couple of years before moving on. Overall, I’ve worked for the three different brick and mortar agencies before setting out on my own as a homebased travel professional. Read the rest of this entry »

You must manage to see your offer from the eyes of your prospects or customers. This is known as empathy. Being empathetic is easier said than done.

When you want a distinctive edge, start envisioning the world from your customer’s side of the table. Popularly known as empathy, seeing things through your customer’s eyes is a pretty intelligent way of operating your business. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Wen has worked at for just over 3 years and is currently the Sales Director at the company. Born and raised in China, Peter came to the United States to peter wen headshotpursue a graduate degree and eventually graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Master’s degree in Economics in 2012. Although working in the travel industry wasn’t his first choice, he found himself highly passionate about helping travel agents know more about the ancient country of China. His ultimate goal is make China a more popular destination in the industry and help travel agents realize how easy and profitable it is to sell China packages.   Read the rest of this entry »

Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS

Kelly BerginDec2014Kelly Bergin served as vice president of business development for OASIS from 2009 through 2014 after spending over 25 years in the travel industry. She was recently promoted to President, responsible for helping new sellers of travel launch their careers and aiding established agents in growing their business as successful entrepreneurs.

The travel industry veteran owned her own leisure travel agency in Salt Lake City for seven years and previously worked as a business development manager for both Princess Cruises and Funjet Vacations prior to that. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes, no matter how much we try to help our clients, there are just some things that are completely out of our control.

I had finally convinced a long time friend that she needed to do a cruise. So she and a 30-year friend booked their first cruise with me to Alaska. It was a 10-day ‘end of the season’ cruise that was actually lower in price than some of the 7-day cruises – it was truly a good deal. Read the rest of this entry »

A quiet oasis away from the modern conveniences and distractions of many of the other Turks and Caicos islands, Grand Turk life moves at a more sedate pace. The island is resplendent with classic glistening beaches and azure waters, making it a popular stomping ground for major cruise ship lines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Xiamen is known as one of China’s “most livable” cities, and with its tree-lined beaches, countless attractions and lush surrounding countryside, it’s little wonder visitors are drawn here. Even if it’s for only a short stay, one should never miss the opportunity to visit the “gateway” to China. Located at the southeast coast of China, Xiamen is one of the major port cities in the Fujian Provence. Popular with both Chinese and international tourists, the city is famous for its island seascapes, subtropical climate, rich history and customs, and great regional cuisine.

Xiamen has been a major trading port for hundreds of years as it boasts a broad deep-water gulf, and thanks to its year-round temperate climate, isn’t subject to freezing or silting. This makes it a perfect port-of-call for commercial vessels and cruise ships alike.  Read the rest of this entry »

Considered to be England’s second city after London (although a local would argue the contrary), Manchester is a fun mix of historical culture and heritage mingling with modern gastronomy, cocktails, and trendy dance clubs. This dynamic city has an attitude all its own, reveling in the fun while simultaneously preening over its historical significance. The locals are always ready with a cheeky grin and ready to direct you to their favorite sight in the city or, if you ask nicely, their favorite pub for a pint.
Read the rest of this entry »