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Almost time for spring cleaning?

Yikes! We are already deep into the second month of 2018. There’s no more “new car” smell to this year. But it’s not too late to revisit key aspects of your marketing plan and benchmark how well the year is progressing. In fact, there is no better time to do so. The year is not too far gone to re-energize your efforts, to make adjustments to your plan.  Marketing plans are organic – they are not carved in stone and fixed for the year. You can and should make adjustments throughout the year. It’s not even too late to write your 2018 business plan if you have not done so already. As we have said here many times before, the very act of planning is almost as important as the plan itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Six Tips For Booking Your 2018-19 River Cruise

Five years ago, we came up with a list of Six Tips for Booking Your 2013 River Cruise. Half a decade later, many of these tips are still relevant –  and some of them are even more relevant than they were back then.

As we head into the start of the 2018 river cruise season, there are six things you should consider when planning your 2018 or 2019 river cruise. And as with 2013, the main tips we can provide to prospective river cruisers: plan ahead – and take action.

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Jump in as we learn about Travel Show Marketing Group, and their place in the travel industry. From tradeshows to Hosted Travel Agent programs, Travel Show Marketing Group does it all.

Travel Show Marketing Group (TravelSMG), an independent event organizer which caters to the B2B leisure travel agency channel, has implemented a number of new initiatives crafted to enhance the overall travel agent and supplier engagement experience, while offering a plethora of unique educational opportunities.

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Going for the Gold – Winning Social Marketing

Are you loving the bird’s eye view of the Olympic action?  I’m loving the determination and focus of these athletes.  Just making it to the Olympics is a feat unto itself, but imagine the dedication it takes to win a medal.

We all know about the 10,000 hours theory–that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in an industry or sport.  I’ve read that Biathlon athletes start training at 8 or 9 years old.  Mogul skiers hit their peak at 23 to 26 years old.   That’s the time frame these athletes have to accomplish their 10,000 and get onto the Olympic podium.

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Earlier this week, a client came over to pick up his leather document holder with his cruise documents and asked me to print out his boarding pass for his upcoming flight!  Wait…no that’s not right. That was back in 1998.  Long gone are the paper boarding passes and heaven forbid that a cruise line supply a leather folio for printed documents. It’s all electronic baby in this hustle and bustle world. And if you are not on board…well you will miss the boat.  I am still mystified at how many agents are still clinging onto yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

Beware The Red Flag

For years I have gone on record to remind my readers that a career in sales can be easy, fun and profitable. I say “easy” because all you’re doing is sharing what you already know, and offering educated opinions to interested prospects. I say “fun” because making money is fun. Helping people is fun. Being your own boss is fun. Making people happy is fun. I say “profitable” because getting paid what you’re worth spending time with the right people for the right reason insures that you will remain in business for some time to come.

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Don’t Forget About Cruise Tours!

Some time ago I heard this in a cruise line training class about cruise-tours, and it has stuck with me ever since: “If you are not selling cruise-tours, you are leaving money on the table.” They weren’t exaggerating. As an example, let’s consider an agency that gets 10% commission with Princess Cruises. Take a 7 night Alaskan cruise with cruise line vacation protection, and add a 4 night pre-cruise tour.

The cruise-only commission works out to about $498. The cruise-tour commission works out to about $769. That is a difference of $271 you would be leaving on the table if you focus on booking cruises only. Obviously, the higher commission percentage that an agency gets, the more significant the difference is between cruise-only bookings and cruise-tour bookings.

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Bridal Fairs 101

According to Tripsavvy, couples spend an average of $4,466 on their honeymoon. That’s three times as much as the average U.S. adult spends on a vacation. Luxury honeymooners, which comprise 15% of the market, spend an average of $9,954 and vacation for 11 days. (, Wedding Statistics and Honeymoon Facts & Figures, By Susan Breslow Sardone, Updated 08/22/17)

Are you getting your share of this lucrative market? One viable way to reach these prospective honeymooners is to participate in bridal fairs and expos. I have compiled some tips that have helped me prepare for successful events.

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Inspirational English Gardens

If you have clients who are looking for a customised UK tour or you’re thinking of making a pitch to a group of Master Gardeners, your local garden club, rose or herb society, this week’s collection of privately owned gardens will knock their socks off!

To set your ideas apart from the rest, use as a starting point my 4 word mantra of TRAVEL LESS, SEE MORE and to make these and other horticultural masterpieces work, here are some other tips for you to consider.

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Even the Lone Ranger Had Tonto!

Many home-based agents have found how difficult it is to run a business all by themselves. You have to wear so many hats, and quickly find out that most of those hats do not fit. Home-based agents frequently don’t make the time and effort to determine their strengths and weaknesses at the outset of starting their business, and thus set themselves up for failure or disappointment.

Many agents have found that one of the keys to their success is not only finding a good host agency, but mutually benefiting from understanding the skills and strengths of each party in this type of partnership agreement.

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Enthusiasm Sells

I once was given an opportunity to address an audience for 10-minutes at an annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona. I remember it as being held at the Biltmore. I was attending as an invited guest with no presentations scheduled. The invite caught me by surprise, as an impromptu ten minutes isn’t much time to “connect” with an audience. It is almost impossible to say anything that will give them anything worth thinking about. I agreed without giving it any further thought.
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Traipsing through Taiwan with Super Value Tours

Once known as Formosa, the island of Taiwan is one of the most sought out travel destinations in East Asia. With so much culture and history to the area, it is sure to provide an experience unlike any other for all types of travelers. Thanks to Super Value Tours, the supplier sponsor of this article, you’ll get to see Taiwan in the best way possible.

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Joel Cohen, New York City Vacation Packages

Joel Cohen is a travel industry veteran, having worked closely with the President of New York City Vacation Packages, Barry Tenenbaum, for over 40 years. Both an accomplished author and speaker, Joel Cohen has appeared at many travel industry events. He was once named the Who’s Who of American Business Leaders, and with his customer first attitude it is no wonder why. Joel has helped to build great relationships with both travel agencies and industry suppliers. To find out more about Joel and New York City Vacation Packages, continue reading.

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Amazing Auckland with Goway Travel

Auckland, New Zealand has quickly become one of the most popular travel destinations. Auckland’s devotion to education and the arts has garnered it status as a Beta + World City, but that’s only one of the reasons to visit Auckland. Thanks to Goway Travel, the supplier sponsor of this article, you’ll have every opportunity to see Auckland in all of its glory.

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Mountainous Beauty in Glacier National Park

The United States is home to 59 National Parks, spanning all over the country. It can be hard to decide which to visit next but after learning about the wonderful things Glacier National Park has to offer, the choice will be an easy one. Thanks to Vacations By Rail, the supplier sponsor of this article, you won’t miss any of the beauty or history of Glacier National Park.

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Located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is the Nicoya Peninsula. Known for its magnificent beaches, it is the perfect place for a rugged adventure or a lazy day lounging in the sun. The Nicoya Peninsula has quickly become a popular destination for travelers all over the globe, and thanks to Costa Rica Dream Adventure, the supplier sponsor of this article, you’ll have the opportunity to see all of what these beautiful beaches have to offer.

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Mission: Cancellation

Travel Agent Matthew Exline shares one of his client stories for this week’s Travel Agent Diaries entry.

I have a story I would like to share about how I was able to save a client’s trip, and ensure that he reached his destination safely and on time.

The client, whom I will call “Joe,” was traveling to an extremely remote and dangerous area of a Southeast Asian country on a humanitarian mission. The stakes were high due to major security concerns, and it was extremely important for Joe to arrive at his destination on time in order to carry out his mission. I was responsible for arranging his complex air itinerary from Florida to a tiny obscure airport in this remote area.

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