We are a “deal” obsessed culture, and the “lowest price” mentality seems to be predominant everywhere. As business people, however, it behooves us to think cautiously about any business strategy focusing on price as a way of attracting attention to our services.  Not only are we training our clients to hone in on exactly the wrong issues, we also deeply damage the integrity of our own brands in the process.

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This story originally appeared in Cruise Week by Ralph Grizzle

When coming up with the design of what is being billed as the “most luxurious ship ever built,” Frank Del Rio gave designers only a single image to work with. It was of a corridor in a luxury hotel.

“I leaf through a lot of magazines,” the President/CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings told reporters on Regent’s pre-inaugural sailing, “and I happened to come across this image. At the moment in time, I said, ‘You know, that’s what I want.’”

The hotel corridor was classic, with what appears to be marble floors, white walls, and chair railing, columns, and a couple of modest chandeliers. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_6167It was a busy afternoon at the Career Fair which I, at the last minute, decided to attend. As I was walking around and glanced over the different booths, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was hoping to find. I wanted to stay in the hospitality industry, but try something new. I suddenly spotted the Image Tours, Inc. logo printed on a large banner and headed for the table, instantly intrigued to know more. I remember thinking how interesting it was to find such a unique company that was very relatable to my personal interests, yet still very different than any other job I’d had in the past. That’s where I met and spoke with Mike, the company’s president. From there I was contacted for an interview, and started working within a month! Read the rest of this entry »

How popular are you?

Remember back in high school all the cool kids hung together and the rest of us… well, we were in awe.

Now that social marketing is part of our business lives, being popular socially takes on a life of its own. While gathering fans is important, it’s more important that your fans LOVE you and want to be a part of your conversations.

Firing up clients and potential new clients to seek out your social sites and then engage with you can be a challenge. Here 9 hot and savvy ways to let people know where to find you socially and why they need to join your conversations. We’ll start at a novice level and move into more advance and socially savvy tactics. Read the rest of this entry »

I have written it before, but it bears repeating again, and again, and again: Email works! Point blank—if you do not have an email marketing program, get one! It will be one of the best investments you will make for your business. It does not matter if it is AWeber, Constant Contact, Emma, MailChimp, Marketing 360, or even the one offered by Go Daddy. Just get one. Read the rest of this entry »

Is it really about price?

Lance Armstrong wrote a best-selling book a few years back before he finally admitted to cheating, called “It’s Not About the Bike!” By now virtually everyone knows the story of Lance Armstrong, but the title made me think about a situation we all encounter on a regular basis as salespeople.

How often do you get this call or email? “Can you give me your best price on XYZ Tour?” Okay, you do a little research and send them a price. You never hear from them again. You send a couple of follow up emails or phone calls with no response. You just got sucked in by the oldest of all prospects – the price shopper! You probably wasted a half hour or so, got your hopes up, only to have them dashed. It’s kind of like when we were in high school and the girl or guy you liked wouldn’t return your calls. You didn’t give them a reason to want to call you back (well, in high school it was probably a little more complicated.) Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchaeferPokemon GO hasn’t been out for very long, but it’s already the best-selling game ever, and it’s taken the app world by storm. Of course, the question arose almost immediately; can Pokemon GO be played onboard cruise ships? So far the answer is pretty much “no.” But that’s not going to stop people from playing this addictive game wherever they can, like in cruise terminals before they board and in ports of call. Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Zim - Head ShotStarting September 7, you will be able to board an American Airlines carrier on one of the first scheduled flights in decades to Cuba. For Americans making that voyage, it could remain one of the most regulated, red-tape ridden trips on the planet, despite the Obama administration’s efforts over the last two years to drastically loosen restrictions through executive action. As Congress returns to regular business this week, the House of Representatives will consider legislation that could end the ban on travel to Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »

Your supplier representative has co-op dollars to invest. They are particularly partial to investing in group opportunities. Their money cuts your marketing budget in half (or allows you to do two times the effort). Every marketing dollar NOT spent out of your pocket drops to your bottom line.

However, co-op money is limited. As a former rep and rep manager, the money goes to the best group opportunities as presented in your co-op proposal. Straight out of group boot camp, here are 10 (of 20) ways: Read the rest of this entry »

Exceptional Emerald Value

Now in our third year of serving guests and sailing the rivers of Europe, we are delighted to have earned our second award from the Editor’s of Cruise Critic, ‘Best River Line for Value’. This was a great follow-up to the 2014 award for ‘Best New River Ship’, also from the Editor’s of Cruise Critic. Our ships have been praised for their innovative highlights and modern approach to river cruising; something we believe really sets us apart.

Emerald Waterways’ river cruises are deluxe, all-inclusive vacations. Pricing covers airport transfers to and from the ship, complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, all tips for shore side and onboard staff, complimentary Wi-Fi, a shore excursion each day, bicycles, and complimentary tea and coffee available 24 hours a day. Read the rest of this entry »

Be empowered, be free!

To empower is “to have the authority or power to do something” and also “to make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.” That one word really carries a lot of weight! Empowerment can come from yourself, your boss, and even your client when they give you the authority to make travel related decisions on their behalf. To be empowered is to be confident! As you can see empowerment could come from others, but most importantly it must come from yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

“Research. Love it or hate it.”

The Little Blue Book of Advertising by Steve Lance and Jeff Woll, page 81

In a recent article I suggested the wisdom of doing one’s homework in the form of due diligence when trying “enter the conversation they are already having with themselves.” This procedure can also be placed in the category of Market Research.

I know what you’re thinking: This is beginning to sound academic and complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. To position your thinking properly, I want you to start thinking more like a detective trying to crack another interesting case. Read the rest of this entry »

Although David Holman is a professional travel consultant, he is currently working on a mobile app that all travel professionals can share with their clients and incorporate into their own business models. We recently sat down with David to learn more about Travel with Purpose.

Travel Research Online: Let’s start with a quick description of Travel with Purpose.

David Holman: It is a mobile app and website that will match travelers seeking volunteer opportunities with nonprofits looking for help on projects or for ongoing needs. There is a growing trend towards people desiring to make a positive, meaningful impact on the people and places they visit. Currently, it requires a lot of footwork prior to travel to accomplish that goal. By making it easier to connect with nonprofits, even last minute, we hope to grow that legion of travelers who desire to “Leave It Better.” Read the rest of this entry »

Michael WhiteheadMichael Whitehead was born in India and attended school all over the world, but not limited to: Hong King, Singapore, Scotland, England, and the United States. This included the same secondary school as the former Prime Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair, although Blair arrived after Michael had already left. Michael began his career in the travel industry in the early 1970’s by joining Cathay Pacific Airways as a trainee manager in the Hong Kong head office. He stayed with Cathay until 2002, and between 2002 to 2008 when he joined the Air Astana team, Michael worked with an all cargo airline based in the USA, Polar Air Cargo.

In 2008 Michael joined Air Astana in Istanbul as Regional General Manager for Turkey, the Middle East, and Africa. In April of 2011 he moved to London, and now his responsibility covers the United Kingdom, Ireland, the USA, and Canada.

Michael is married with three daughters, all now in their thirties, and currently lives in London. Read the rest of this entry »

In the first two quarters of the year, we had a good wave of bookings for London—both groups and individuals. With many of our suppliers invoicing us in GBP, we naturally also maintain a GBP currency account.  But with the sudden drop of the GBP due to the recent Brexit vote, we did get hit with exchange rate losses. To offset this, and since no one knows what’s going to happen next, our immediate solution will be to sell, sell, sell London. Read the rest of this entry »

Alaska is often dismissed as simply a cold, frigid land devoid of life. Nothing could be further from the truth: from brown and black bears to humpback whales to our country’s national bird, the Bald Eagle, Alaska is teaming with wildlife and history. During the spring and summers, the vibrant greens carpeting the land rivals anything you’ll see in the tropics or Ireland, with stately mountains rising in the distance. The coastal town of Sitka offers the best of all worlds, from close encounters with local wildlife to a walk to living history, there is something for everyone, no matter what you’re looking for.

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Before its formation into a town in the 18th century, Reykjavik had been inhabited for almost a millennium already. Legend has it that the first inhabitant was a sailor who threw his pillars into the sea and vowed to settle wherever they washed up, which happened to be in Iceland. In 1801 Reykjavik became the capital of Iceland, and in the mid-20th century saw a boon from the second World War that most countries did not, thanks to occupation of the countries by the Allied Nations. The city differs from many other Nordic metropolises, with is cozier spread of smaller buildings reminiscent of the coast of Canada rather than the heavy opulence of many European countries.

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On the north side of Fuji-san, the honorific title given to the majestic form of Mount Fuji, are five small lakes that comprise the Fujigoko region in Japan. Also known as “Fuji Five Lakes” in English, this area is popular not just for those looking to conquer the beautiful mountain, but also for the natural beauty that has sprung up along the foot of Fuji-san. From the five lakes themselves reflecting the perfect peak of the stone giant, visitors enjoy taking strolls along the forest trails, eating the region’s famous udon noodles, and playing out on the lakes in boats both motorized and man-powered. Read the rest of this entry »

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