The voice of the travel agency community

Getting Ready for 2015

Is it hard to believe we are only two short months from 2015? It certainly is for me. During the next two months you can do yourself no greater favor than to begin working through a marketing plan, a budget and a calendar for 2015. Getting into the travel planning business is very easy.  Staying in the travel planning business is a bit more of a challenge. True we can sometimes simply luck our way through, but in so doing we inevitably waste resources and miss opportunities. Working with a plan is absolutely essential to achieving the best possible results. Sporadic marketing, chasing one opportunity and then another, seldom resolves in a productive manner. Read the rest of this entry »

Silver Wind dumped half of its passenger load in Limassol, Cyprus. The reason: Our next two ports of call were in Israel, and apparently quite a few people were afraid to travel to this country in the Middle East. So they booked a half voyage. I can only say, Boy did they miss out. Read the rest of this entry »

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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One of the more frustrating aspects of being a travel professional is that so many people are unaware of what our job actually entails.  You know what is involved. I know what is involved. And anyone that reads the Travel Agent Diary series knows what is involved. But often it seems no one else understands.

Most of our clients don’t get it.  They think that we just push a few buttons on some website and—presto there’s a trip.  Many times, even our own partners—our travel suppliers don’t understand.  Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchafferCruise ship dining has slowly evolved over the last two decades from the time when dining was a formal affair every night, with an upscale menu to match. Changes in dining have come about gradually, moving to more casual dining attire, more streamlined menus (some would argue less exciting), moving to less traditional dining with freestyle – any time – my time dining, specialty restaurants with surcharges, Chef’s tables and now the new dynamic dining on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing happens till somebody sells something

Customers are not customers until they purchase. Businesses can’t grow without more sales, and your travel business profits won’t increase without new sales.  Sales are the key component.

While it seems very obvious, I hear all too often from travel agents that they are not salespeople.  They consider themselves a counselor, consultant, a group specialist, or cruise specialist. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Vacation Packages (NYCVP) is a full service NYC tour company dedicated to providing visitors and tourists with customized, flexible NYC accommodations, including popular Times Square, midtown hotels and top sightseeing attractions and museum admissions. Read the rest of this entry »

Who is your guru?

There are experts everywhere. We are surrounded by self-proclaimed experts in virtually every facet of our lives–just look around.  There are experts for social media (even specialized experts in one platform of social media), experts for websites, experts for sales…if you can think of it, there’s an expert out there for it!  It can be difficult to weed out all the riff-raff and find the GOOD experts, the ones who not only know what they’re talking about, they have a historical record of positives to back up their expert claims.  I call these experts my “certified gurus.” Read the rest of this entry »

“Public Relations” refers not to a single tactic but to a varied number of ways that a travel agent can reach out to the public at large and raise the profile of their travel agency. Public relations tactics tend to be a favorite of guerilla marketers as they depend more on personal effort than outlays of capital and, properly executed, can be highly effective.

Unfortunately, most travel agencies neglect public relations. Other marketing channels seem much more accessible and easily accomplished. Public relations depends heavily on the direct participation of the travel agent via public speaking, publication or networking. As a result, many travel planners relegate public relations tactics to a low priority in their marketing plan. The truth is, however, that for the travel agent willing to put themselves in full view of their community, few marketing tactics are as effective for establishing the travel agent as a local expert. 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 »

jimtedescoJim Tedesco is an 8 year veteran of the Flight Centre USA brand portfolio. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Masters of Business Administration in Management, Jim began his career in retail and has made wholesale his home for the last five and half years. Read the rest of this entry »

We all have heard over and over again that “change is difficult” but I have to say, that while change can be difficult, what I have found change to be is “constant!”  It’s something we have to live with.

This year, our agency left American Express Travel Network and moved to Travel Leaders.  Of course that was a big change and necessitated not only our engagement and learning curve but we had to “train” some of our clients as well.  And while I was afraid we’d lose some of our American Express clientele, we did not.  In fact, I think we’ve had more business from them than we had in the past! Read the rest of this entry »

Situated in the southern Caribbean sea and off the Venezuelan coast, lies the island of Curaçao. Although tiny in size, Curaçao is a Caribbean island like no other. Its vibrant culture and alluring history, offers travelers a captivating escape that is real and different. Read the rest of this entry »

Sky Bird Travel and Tours is one of the nation’s leading airline consolidators. With over 38 years of experience in the travel business, Sky Bird boasts preferred contracts with over 90 airlines and cutting edge technology. 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 »