What travel professional doesn’t love travel? A hallmark of practically everyone in this industry is their passion for travel, and it shows.  Is it possible, though, our love of travel gets in the way of our travel business?

Many, if not most, travel professionals back into their careers.  Most business people  choose their area of expertise, train for the skill set necessary and then launch out into the field of their choosing.  The path from neophyte to professional is logical and surrounded by training and support mechanisms.

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Note: As were others, I was saddened by the suicide bomber attack in Istanbul that occurred on January 12. Since the attack, a handful of cruise lines have canceled calls to Istanbul (and some for all of Turkey) for the upcoming season. Having traveled extensively throughout Turkey this past fall, I wish for Turkey’s speedy return to cruise itineraries. I can’t think of a more hospitable nation — or one that is more culturally rich than Turkey and its star city, Istanbul.

First, there is the traffic. The streets and highways are clogged, at all times of day. Getting between the airport and the cruise ship — or between the cruise ship and the major attractions — takes a vigilant, patient driver, and that’s best left in the hands of someone else, especially when there is so much to see that you would be craning your neck if you were in the driver’s seat. 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 »

How to Create Shareable Social Content in Less Time

Do you have plethora of photos?

What about a variety of videos?

How about a bunch of blogs?

What do we do with it all?

For many of us in the travel, tourism, and hospitality world we have bits and pieces of content floating around, waiting to be pulled together into shareable content. This re-worked content can take on new life and can live in a variety of different social and traditional marketing campaigns. Read the rest of this entry »

Zika Virus: A new threat to travel agencies

Here we go again. It seems like every time we turn around, there is some calamity beyond our control tossing a wrench into our business plans. Commission cuts, Avian Flu, Mad Cow Disease, Noro Virus, Ebola… the list goes on. The latest is the Zika Virus, and this is one that I think we might want to watch as an industry as it is quite different than anything we have seen. Read the rest of this entry »

For as long as I can remember, January 1 has always been my favorite day of the year. I like it even better than my birthday as January 1 is the day we can officially say goodbye to whatever we didn’t like about the previous year, and get going on whatever new goals we have set for ourselves.

In the luxury travel world, I especially like January 1 for the opportunity it gives me to breathe deep after an insanely busy holiday travel season and reset as we look forward to the upcoming trips our clients are asking us to plan for 2016. All of a sudden, Spring Break and summer vacation periods aren’t so far away, and this translates to getting back to what we do best—creative luxury travel planning for fascinating people who desire to experience the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchaeferThe Caribbean and Bahamas are the default itineraries for most first time and infrequent cruisers departing from the US. There is a variety in the ports of call to ensure that clients don’t have to continually repeat the same ports every time they sail; but that only lasts for so long. When your clients’ have done a half dozen or more cruises in the Caribbean, and their criteria becomes “new ports we haven’t been to before,” your challenge is to move them away from the Caribbean.

Cruising the Caribbean and Bahamas is definitely convenient. Embarkation ports are easy to fly to, and relatively inexpensive compared to international airfare. In many cases, heartier clients are willing to drive up to 14 hours to get to a port in order to bypass paying for airfare and dealing with the less-than-friendly TSA process. However, when they decide that St. Thomas falls into the “been there, done that” category and they have no desire to go back, what do you do? You can sell the ship as the destination, but that usually wears thin quickly as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Zim - Head ShotTRO is proud to introduce a new column this week: “Ex Bona Fida”. This monthly column will feature lawyers and accounting professionals providing valuable insight into the legal and tax world of the travel industry. Our first column is by Daniel Zim, an attorney specializing in travel law who has worked with such agencies as American Society of Travel Agents, Inc. (ASTA), Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), the U.S. Department of Transportation and state seller of travel programs.

Most law-abiding travel agencies do their best to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Some do not, risking prosecution and hefty fines. Still, others find the right buttons to push and the right people to speak with. One very familiar company with a unique business model may have done just that, receiving what appears to be a waiver of literal compliance with two DOT rules – the code-share and baggage fee disclosure rules.

For years, Priceline has dominated the opaque online travel space, selling airline tickets while withholding from the consumer the name of the carrier, including the schedule and applicable baggage fees until after the consumer makes a nonrefundable purchase. Yet, it is confounding that Priceline is even able to offer these services legally and intuition tells me that Priceline must have obtained informal permission from DOT for its opaque booking practices. Read the rest of this entry »

Selling your agency? Six ways to kill the deal

As baby boomers are hitting their mid-sixties, the rate of travel agency acquisitions is accelerating. Innovative Travel Acquisitions, Inc. has its finger on the pulse of the market and have now completed 602 successful closing transactions since our inception in 1991.

The market changes from year to year. Sometimes it is a buyer’s market, sometimes it is a seller’s market. Sometimes it is pretty neutral. Right now, we are in a strong seller’s market and for those considering a sale, it is all about the last 24 months of sales! Anything beyond that is inconsequential. Read the rest of this entry »

In the valley between the Teton Mountain Range and the Snake River along the border of Wyoming and Idaho is Jackson Hole, so named by trappers who could only enter the valley through deep slopes and fell as if they were descending into a pit. With the largest and most active airport in Wyoming, Jackson Hole is popular for any visitor looking for more of a down-to-earth vacation experience, including trout fishing, ranch stays, white water rafting, and horseback riding. However, if you’re still hoping for a touch of the cosmopolitan, then take advantage of the spectacular shopping, stunning nature-inspired art, delicious hearty cuisine and elegant fare, and plenty of wellness programs for mind, body, and spirit. Read the rest of this entry »

Tom Varghese, Travel Tom

Many travel professionals come from a variety of walks of life, and have made travel their second career. This holds true for Tom Varghese as well. Before he opened his agency, Travel Tom, he was a Vice President for a major Wall Street corporation. We recently sat down with Tom and talked about his transition from Corporate America to travel agency owner, as well as his unique perspective on the travel industry. Read the rest of this entry »

“In the first 18 years of your life you learn to be like everybody else. From age 18 on, you should be developing your uniqueness.”

The Art of the Sale– Philip Delves Broughton, page 192

Chapter 7 : Design of Sales

I am afraid I can’t alter the first 18 years of your life. Good, bad or indifferent you managed to get through them to where you are today. Everything and anything that has happened up to this moment in time qualifies as “yesterday’s news.” Done. Finished. Caput. Read the rest of this entry »

With over 27 years’ experience, Journeys Connect is a privately owned wholesale tour operator offering group and specialty vacation packages to destinations throughout Europe. Our dedicated team works to understand as much as possible about your customers’ goals and needs, and are committed to delivering excellence in product, value, and destination knowledge.

Journeys Connect group and specialty services are available exclusively on a Business-to-Business basis, to travel industry professionals. Read the rest of this entry »

TN for Publications

Todd Neuman began his career in the airline industry in 1979 in Chicago, working for Delta Air Lines while also attending college and earning certification as a private pilot. He is a graduate of the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa, with a degree in Business and Aviation Administration.

An airline industry veteran with more than 30 years experience, Todd has held senior management positions with World Travel Holdings, a leisure travel company based in Burlington, Massachusetts. Prior to his engagement with World Travel Holdings, he also served 22 years with US Airways in several management positions in the sales and marketing departments. During his tenure there, Todd was instrumental in business development to support the airline’s aggressive expansion into the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Hi, I’m Vincent Soriano, Founder and Managing Director of Art Of Travel, a company incorporated in Prague, Czech Republic. Originally from the Philippines, I first visited Prague in the late 90’s and immediately fell in love with it.

Working then as head of sales for an independent 5 star resort in Thailand with 1,100 rooms and a Convention Center for 6,000 guests, my job was to literally travel around the world to promote the resort. For the owners, they firmly believed that face-to-face meetings were the best way to win business. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the most popular areas in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is filled with much of that quintessential tropical allure: exotic wildlife, fresh beaches, and fragrant foliage around every corner. Whether you’re looking to escape into the jungle or stretch out one the beach to get some sun, Costa Rica Dream Adventures is your ticket to one of the most exquisite locations on Earth!

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For 69 years, New Hampshire-based Alexander+Roberts has been helping Americans to travel comfortably around the world, offering 112 original journeys to Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and the Antarctic. Since its pioneering days as the first American travel company to the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War, the company has continued to innovate with its Small Group and Small Ship Journeys for 6 to 16 guests as well as its Private Tours and Custom Travel:

+ Innovative: Our original itineraries encompass a wide range of destinations from the popular capitals of Europe and Asia to emerging destinations including Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Cuba, Albania and Montenegro.
+ Personable: We’re well-informed and flexible in meeting your diverse needs and desires.
+ Refined: The personal experiences we craft for our small group tours with never more than 16 guests and private journeys are honed by nearly 70 years of expertise.
+ Authentic: We enrich your travels with genuine cultural engagement and real opportunities for learning. Read the rest of this entry »

New Zealand has earned a reputation in the past few decades as a truly mesmerizing visual backdrop for some of the most epic films ever put to screen; but many neglect to explore the cities, the urban areas of New Zealand, full of the same natural beauty and more. One of these incredibly cities is Auckland, a city full of history, culture, and just as much heart-stopping flora and fauna as you could dream of in the countryside. Down Under Answers is your ticket to exploring this amazing city filled with color and surprises around every corner. Read the rest of this entry »