The voice of the travel agency community

An Axe to Grind

“If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”Abraham Lincoln

Louie was one of the hardest working men I had ever met. A restaurant owner, he was up first thing in the morning, worked all day in the kitchen and on the floor and went to bed late at night. The next day, he would do it all again. I was amazed at his ability to put in those hours and I was sure that his new venture would be a great success. A year later, he was out of business. I told Louie’s story to one of my business mentors and he shook his head knowingly. He was not surprised at the restaurant’s failure. “Too many business people have to work hard because they don’t work smart.” Read the rest of this entry »

When cruising the Alaska Panhandle, you will find that the major ports of call are becoming quite commercial with a plethora of gift shops and jewelry stores. The main streets of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway are starting to resemble St. Martin or Barbados with the same familiar retail establishments selling diamonds, gemstones, and gold watches at so called “bargain” prices. Read the rest of this entry »

Chris Eason HeadshotI began my career in the travel industry in 2002 as a sales person for a hop-on, hop–off trolley tour company in historic Boston.  Prior experience in the hospitality industry and spending the previous 23 years in Beantown made me a good fit for the position. I grew up here, went to college at Northeastern University, and was (and still am) an all-around Bostonian. My favorite part of the job was welcoming people from different parts of North America and all over the world to “my” Boston.  I appreciated that they chose to visit my city on their vacation, and I wanted them to leave saying the people of Boston are friendly, helpful, and welcoming.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Travel Agencies Can Learn From Zappos

Is it possible for customer service to become a cult? I think so. Many companies tout  customer service as their key differentiator. No company I have ever seen carries through on that mission like Zappos. They even have a name for it internally: the WOW philosophy. The CEO is Tony Hsieh – Author of “Delivering Happiness” and he occupies a cubical in the middle of their offices along with the employees with whom he works. If you order shoes from Zappos, shipping is free. They also pay for the shipping on returns. There is no limit on returns, either, and you can return a pair of shoes up to 365 days after purchasing them. If the customer wants shoes that are not in stock, call center employees will find the shoes on a competitor’s web sites and direct the customer there. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you seen it? There has been a subtle shift in the cruise lines lately: changes in dining options, changes in drink options, etc. While the cruise lines have always been notorious for developing the latest and greatest kitsch—surfing, boxing, bowling, roller coasters, zip lines, etc., they have also been equally notorious for nickel-and-diming the guests to bolster the bottom line. But is that changing? Read the rest of this entry »

Working with that Special Client

Lauren Liebert is a Honeymoon and Vacation Specialist at Ticket to Travel, a San Jose-based travel company that specializes in customized itineraries. Lauren has been with Ticket to Travel for over a decade and makes it her goal to provide her clients with the best service available. Today, Lauren specializes in booking trips for high-end clientele. We spoke to Lauren about luxury booking and how to excel at making upscale reservations. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan Schaffer“I specialize in all cruises, all-inclusive resorts, honeymoons, escorted vacations, Disney, Europe, Alaska, and much more.” Or how about, “I specialize in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.” Until there are multiple planets we can ship clients to, specializing in Planet Earth is not a specialty. And you cannot specialize in “and more.” Read the rest of this entry »

The future is very bright for the travel industry. It’s true – demand for luxury travel grew in 2014 (and continues into 2015), many agencies are reporting a banner year, and experts expect travel to continue to grow into 2016 and beyond. How do you cultivate your share? With a plan.

Really, there are five steps you must take to monetize your passion for travel. As we begin to think forward to 2016 I suggest you find a plan. Follow the five-step plan below to cultivate your own banner year. Read the rest of this entry »

Based out of Montreal, Canada, Rental Escapes is a concierge agency that also specializes in luxury villa rentals. We focus on creating unforgettable getaway experiences in villas around the world, with over 2,700 of the world’s most exquisite luxury villas and estates in destinations such as the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe, and everywhere in between. Our client’s care and experience is our number 1 priority, and all guests can expect to have their dream getaway come to life.
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It’s Friday. It’s the first Friday of the official summer. Let’s keep this short, sweet, and powerful. Your business is nothing unless you market it. That is pretty plain and simple. If people do not know you are there, how can they purchase from you? The answer is simple—market yourself. Here are five down and dirty ways to do just that! 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 »

DSC_2068Levi Sanchez began with Blue Sky Tours 17 years ago and currently holds the position of Travel Agency Engagement Manager. He has worked extensively in various departments within Blue Sky Tours, and worked on the promotion of Hawaii to the travel agency community through his extensive knowledge of the region.  He is involved with travel agency engagement, policy, training, technology, and product strategy within Blue Sky Tours. Read the rest of this entry »

I have to admit this year has been very busy up until this month. I find myself behind in tasks that involve marketing, learning, and the dreaded office organization. However, as we all know, they are vital to our success even though our clients aren’t always directly affected by them. Read the rest of this entry »

History, art, and warm coastal beaches: three words that perfectly sum up the country of Italy. The different regions of Italy each have their own personalities, some a vibrant blend of Italian and neighboring regions, others a laid-back Mediterranean coastal town. It’s no wonder Italy is the height of European history and culture, and Central Holidays is your guide to this amazing country.

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Las Vegas needs no introduction: “Sin City”, “The Entertainment Capital Of The World”, and “The City Of Lights”, all spot-on descriptions of this dusty desert city. While most think they know the real Las Vegas, all glitz and glamor with sequins falling from the sky, there is so much more beyond the Strip and all its casinos. You can scale rust-colored sandstone canyons, enchanted by dazzling acrobatics, and visit some of the best entertainment of the past and present.

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Vienna has always been known for its dedication and love of the arts: from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s tenure there after his time composing in Salzburg to the modern-day fame of the Vienna Philharmonic. During the summer, Vienna transforms into a haven for music and art lovers, presenting dozens of festivals and events celebrating its pride in the arts. From youth festivals to magnificent opera, from grand orchestral performances to celebrations of centuries on horseback, there is a breath-taking performance around every corner. Let the Vienna Tourist Board share the best of their beloved Vienna with you this summer! Read the rest of this entry »