People talk. Sometimes, they talk about you and your travel practice. Sometimes they say really nice things about your skill, the last trip they booked with you, and the wonderful experiences they had. Every now and then, someone might say something not so nice. When that happens, your brand is damaged. You probably know your brand is not what you say it is: your brand is what others say it is.  However, it is possible for you to influence the public perception of your brand and to raise the positive profile that others have of your travel practice. In the event of a problem, it is possible to effect damage control and to take possession of the course of conversation.  But none of this is possible if you are not closely monitoring your brand image. Read the rest of this entry »

The Baltic Sea is the most popular summertime cruise destination in Europe. All the major cruise lines offer varied itineraries that enable guests to explore the shores of this northern sea, with some itineraries starting or ending in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, or London. Itineraries can be as short as one week or as long as two weeks depending upon the ports of embarkation and termination. Read the rest of this entry »

P11-821ecThere’s never a boring day for me! I’m always busy and always thinking of new ways to support our Travel Leaders Franchisee’s! My focus is to help them grow their business by supporting and developing programs and tools for their Host Agency program. I interface with multiple audiences that include existing Agency Owners, Managers, and Independent Contractors (ICs), as well as prospective ICs, industry Host experts, and vendors. Not to mention a smart and proactive internal team at TLFG! I am most proud of the newly launched Travel Leaders Hosts website which links ICs to Owners. I love being that middleman and seeing the success stories emerge! Read the rest of this entry »

7 Steps to Socialize your Marketing Campaigns

Is your next marketing campaign percolating in your mind? If you want to do something different to set this marketing promotion apart, how about putting your campaign on caffeine?

While your BDM’s have given you awesome marketing tips, you really want this campaign to pop! You want to capture attention. Whether this campaign revolves around a supplier promotion, your next exclusive group departure, or a new destination you’ll be promoting, you want to make a splash.

How can you integrate your social and traditional marketing to give it a jolt? Read the rest of this entry »

How do you juggle your business?

Let’s face it, running a travel business can be tough. It can be even tougher when you are running it solo. Without employees or contractors, it all falls squarely on your lap and it becomes very easy to spend your day putting out fires rather than handling productive tasks that will make you money. But it does not have to be that way. Read the rest of this entry »

Never Stop Learning

Whether you’ve been in the luxury travel business for months or years, one of the most important lessons to always keep in mind is that there is always more to learn. This thought crossed my mind today while I was sitting with a few of my newer Independent Contractors at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel listening to the Sabre trainer we hired to do a three-day crash course in air and hotel booking.

I learned early on in my luxury travel career that having GDS skills was key to my efficiency as a travel advisor as it allows me to address client requests at any hour; I am able to track and run reports for clients who travel frequently, and the speed with which I can research and book hotels and air is unmatched. In general, it’s just an invaluable tool to take with me on my global travels so that I am never more than a wifi connection away from a flight change or last-minute hotel booking. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchafferI was happily cruising along in the Caribbean last Friday night when my husband turned on the stateroom television as we got ready for dinner. That’s how we learned about the attacks in Paris. It definitely put a damper on the evening for those passengers that heard the news (it was obvious a good number of passengers hadn’t heard anything yet). The discussions I overheard were full of grief for those in Paris, but you could also hear the panic start to set it.

It’s the panic we hear from clients after any major catastrophe, whether it’s natural (such as hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) or man-made (such as terrorism), and it all boils down to this: is it safe to travel? Read the rest of this entry »

A cornucopia of English gardens

To mark the 300th anniversary of ‘Capability’ Brown and in celebration of England’s many fabulous gardens, landscapes and events, VisitEngland is promoting ‘Year of the English Garden as a major theme for 2016. As most of the places your customers will want to visit lie out of London, you now have the opportunity to develop new itineraries which spend 5-6 nights in the countryside packed with value added visits to privately owned castles, stately homes and gardens. Pubs and tea rooms get added into the mix and with jetlag parked, your clients are then ready for 2-3 nights in London plus extensions on an independent basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Established in 1974, Mill-Run Tours prides itself on being the first US-based air consolidator. Today Mill-Run continues to maintain its place as the premier company in its segment of the travel industry. Beyond airline consolidation, Mill-Run offers a comprehensive range of offerings from air travel across the globe, including tours and packages, auto rentals, and accommodation options. Their aim is to continue growing strategically while consistently providing their clients innovative travel products and unparalleled service – always delivering the highest quality travel offerings with meticulous attention to detail, value, and professionalism every step of the way.

For decades, Mill-Run has been a prominent supplier of consolidator flights. The company has invested all these years of industry knowledge to helping travel agencies in the USA offer premier services to their customers. It offers expertise and business relationships formed with airlines to provide exceptionally low airfares for the benefit of agencies and travelers alike. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturation in the travel industry

I started writing this article many months ago as my busy season started in May. We have now come to the end of November, finally having a chance to complete it, so perhaps this is a year in review with still a month to go. I have written many articles in the past for TRO about issues in the industry and how I feel they should be handled; and also about concerns of the challenges we all face in this volatile world in which we live. It has been a year like Grand Central Station – crazy busy where I thought I had reached a saturation point and not knowing what to do. I thought I had reached my limit and perhaps many of you have felt this way at times. Business has been excellent, as I have read from many this year, which is a good issue to have, especially when you are self-employed as I am. It can also be bad, as there has to be a balance. Read the rest of this entry »

Technology makes it easy to speed through (and around) sincerity.

Be warned, I can tell when I am just number 345 on your database even though you begin your email with my first name: “Hi Mike!”

Please do not get me wrong. I have all the toys, and I love playing with them. I am the first one to check my emails while exiting an airplane and sending the latest gizmo whammy by FTP up to my website. But, after reading this article again, I also think that I am going to sit right down and write somebody a letter, with a pen… on paper, and stick it in an envelope… and write from my heart… and lick the stamp myself. Read the rest of this entry »

The National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) is the foremost Travel Industry Association dedicated to providing the finest education, training, networking, and representation in support of Career Travel Consultants.

Established in 1986, NACTA was and still is the original travel association with the mission to represent the interests of individual travel consultants, gradually expanding to all professional sellers of travel. NACTA’s host travel agencies and suppliers support this growing distribution channel. Read the rest of this entry »

Kirk Demeter, President of Down Under Answers

IMG_2203Kirk Demeter, President of Down Under Answers, has built a foundation of more than two decades of passion in the travel industry. He began building his lifelong career travelling the world for a year following his graduation from the University of Washington in 1989, never knowing this journey would light up a spark and lead him to build a business for the purpose of allowing others to experience the joys of traveling.

Immediately on his return, he joined a Seattle adventure tour outfitter (Progressive Travels) and was shortly promoted to Director of Marketing, where he excelled at promoting tourism and adventure travel to New Zealand even before New Zealand themselves knew they had such a market. The Gulf War in the early 1990’s presented an opportunity, and with Kirk’s entrepreneurial spirit and his determined personality, combined with his expertise in adventure travel and his passion for the South Pacific, he started his own business called Down Under Answers. His focused business plan, obvious expertise in travel to the South Pacific, and his ability to exceed customer expectations, grew the business beyond his expectations, allowing him to open his first office in 1992 in downtown Seattle. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s that time of year again. Old Man Winter has started to show signs of his arrival, and Wave Season is just around the corner.

Undoubtedly, as soon as the first big snowfall hits, there will be people calling our office in a panic, desperate to turn their minds to something other than shoveling, snow-blowing, and trying in vain to keep the salt on the roads from eating through the paint on their car. They’ll be looking for something warm…something that doesn’t require three layers of clothing.  Read the rest of this entry »

A region of intoxicating cuisine, lavish architecture, and charming villages, Northern Spain is the quintessential image many think of when they imagine the heart of Spain. Insight Vacations is your guide to this fantastic region full of history, art, and Spanish culture!

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Although Northern Thailand is well known on the tourist trail, there are communities that have, until now, had little or no access to tourists and the tourism dollar. That is set to change when G Adventures and its community partners in rural Thailand welcome travelers on a new trekking route, beginning November 2. Read the rest of this entry »

Halong Bay, or the “Bay of Descending Dragons”, is a bay in the Quảng Ninh Province in Vietnam. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay is considered one of the natural wonders of the world, with limestone grottoes accented by slopes of forest. Comprised of around 2,000 islands rising from the Gulf of Tonkin, legend tells that this bay of islands was created by the flailing of a dragon, whose tail cut and crushed the rock into the islands we see today. When the dragon retreated into the sea, the water rose, surrounding the gouged rocks.

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