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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.” ~ Marianne Williamson

We tend to play it safe. We set goals we are certain to hit rather than swinging for the fence. We accept our limitations. Let’s increase next year’s sales by 5%.  Let’s go for 15%!

But what if we didn’t? What if we went for a 50% increase?  100%? What if you set a goal to top three million a year as a travel professional? What would your business plan look like, what tactics would it include? I know travel professionals who do it! They have a strategic and tactical plan to back them up, certainly, but they started with a big, big, goal. Read the rest of this entry »


Oceania Cruises has unveiled a collection of more than 30 new itineraries for the Winter 2017-18 season aboard Regatta, Marina, Riviera, and Sirena. Ranging from nine to 34 days, these new voyages afford discerning travelers to embark on an Oceania Cruises voyage that is close to home or explore paradise half a world away.

Highlights of the new voyages include Sirena’s in-depth exploration of South America, including an all-new Amazon voyage from Miami to Rio de Janeiro and a 35-day journey from San Diego to Rio de Janeiro which includes coastal Mexico, the Panama Canal, and Devil’s Island.

Regatta covers the South Pacific in almost its entirety, including a reprisal of the epic circumnavigation of the Australian continent and an adventurous jaunt through the Coral and Timor Seas to Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »


Danielle van der Kwartel close upIf someone had asked me 25 years ago where I saw myself, I would have never imagined my current life. After graduating from school in the Netherlands, where I was born, I was accepted at a management-training program with Hyatt International in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. At the moment, I wasn’t even aware where Puerto Vallarta was and I had no plans to end up staying in Mexico. Little did I know!

When I arrived in Mexico, I did not speak the language and I learned it in three intense months. After four months in Puerto Vallarta, I had fallen deeply in love with Mexico, its people, and its culture, and knew I was never leaving. Read the rest of this entry »


Did Video Kill the Blog Star?

“Video Killed the Radio Star…” Catchy song lyrics never die. Do you remember this 1979 tune by Buggles along with Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club?  I never knew who the artist was, but the tune still sticks in my head.  As we think about the impact of video on social marketing and blogging, there are some parallels.

In today’s world, would we need to change the lyrics to “Video killed the blog post”?

Or has video helped the world of blogs? Read the rest of this entry »


How do you refresh?

Wi-Fi has now become so generic that we expect to be able to connect anywhere from our mobile devices. For me, I tend to be tethered to a desk for work—I am not sure why, but it is what it is. I am an advocate to taking a break and getting away from it all—even for a few moments. And many times, that is just what the doctor ordered for a fresh mindset.

If we want to be innovative and generate ideas that will benefit our lives, we have to think. We need to brainstorm. And we need to relax, so our minds can formulate. Particularly now, as we look forward to a new year, a fresh perspective may be just what the doctor ordered. Read the rest of this entry »


Dynamic Prospecting

The following is an excerpt from The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Selling Travel  by Dan Chappelle, MCC to be published in January 2017:

Have you ever had a close friend or family member ask you to help plan a vacation for them? You help them find the perfect package for their needs—and then you never hear from them, only to find out they booked it with someone they hardly know (or direct). You spent a lot of time and effort with nothing to show for it. Did you wonder why they did this?

Stanford University sociologist Mark Granovetter conducted a groundbreaking study in the 1970s about how people get jobs. In his study, Granovetter found that people rarely found jobs in the newspaper or other resources available at the time—and it wasn’t because a close friend or relative helped them get a job, either. He found most people got jobs through acquaintances, or what he called “weak ties.” Read the rest of this entry »


Susan SchaeferWe first talked about the new Fathom Cruise line back in July 2015.  After launching their alternating itineraries to Cuba and the Dominican Republic less than eight months ago, Carnival Corporation has announced they will cease operations of Fathom Cruises in the summer of 2017, barely a year after they started sailing.

Carnival Corporation has not given up on Cuba, however, stating that they hope to announce Cuba sailings in the future on their other cruise lines.  They just will not continue to have a cruise line solely dedicated to “voluntourism” and social impact itineraries.  Instead, they will be looking to incorporate aspects of Fathom’s unique focus into other cruise lines and itineraries. Read the rest of this entry »


Daniel Zim - Head ShotPeople who love to travel as much as they love their pets face a dilemma whenever they travel by air. They can either board their pets for the duration of their sojourn or they can bring their pet with them. Owners of non-travelling pets have no shortage of local boarding options (there are even Airbnb substitutes like rover.com). But the focus of this column will be on the travelling canine and the type of information that travel agents should provide to clients when such inquiries are made.

Cargo or Carry-on

Checking a pet as cargo can be quite expensive. Depending on the size and breed, prices for shipping a dog as checked luggage can exceed the cost of transporting a human on a domestic ticket by as much as five-fold. Aside from the expense, many passengers are uncomfortable with the idea of keeping man’s best friend in dark, unfamiliar surroundings next to piles of luggage. Additionally, airlines do not offer encouraging words to make pet owners want to check their pet on the baggage conveyer belt. Airline policies typically decline all liability, expressly disclaiming any guarantee that your pet will arrive at its destination safely. And the media strikes fear in the heart of dog owners whenever reports surface of pet DOAs. Read the rest of this entry »


Today businesses focus not on just being found, but also making sure their products and services are purchased and used. And not just the one time, but again and again. In the travel industry, we are more than just a service because we help our clients create memories of a lifetime. As a result of social media, there are numerous, diverse channels that can be used to market what we do. Getting clients to continue to book through us again and again really gets down to building that successful client relationship, and where personalization is the key. Read the rest of this entry »


Aegean Mediterranean Cruises & Tours has 43 years of experience creating memorable vacations, weddings, honeymoons to Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Morocco and Israel.

Their areas of expertise include:

PRIVATE LUXURY Yacht Charters and Sailing Programs, for individuals & Groups, Luxury VIP Villa Rentals, in Mykonos, Santorini, & all other Islands,

CONVENTIONS, Incentive & Special Interest Groups,

Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Read the rest of this entry »


Focusing on a very narrow niche can be very successful, and Sharon Little has proven it with her strict focus on romance travel in Jamaica. We recently sat down with Sharon to ask about her business model and experiences in the travel industry.

Travel Research Online (TRO): How long have you been in the travel industry?

Sharon Little (SL): Here in the United States it has been approximately six years. Prior to that I worked in the UK for Thomas Cook for approximately 15 years.

TRO: Have you always been in the travel industry?

SL: Yes. I studied travel tourism in college. After college I got into business travel after college but switched to leisure travel pretty quickly. Read the rest of this entry »


Speak Like A CEO: Word Choice Creates Selling Ideas

“Choosing your words wisely can sell an idea.”

Speak Like A CEO by Suzanne Bates, page 117

I have come to the point where I have developed a pretty clear list of likes and dislikes when it comes to word choice. I guess that comes with bumping into more than a handful of people over the last 68 years. I have had the privilege of seeing many admirable traits among my peers, associates, and competitors. I have also been witness to a number of indiscretions that I don’t care to comment on today. Read the rest of this entry »


The debut Family Travel Advisor Forum has officially wrapped, and by all accounts, was a tremendous success. The Forums was produced by Specialty Travel Forums, a division of Travel Show Marketing Group, an independent event organizer. This exclusive event took place at the Royalton Riviera Cancun in Mexico from Tuesday, November 1 through Saturday, November 5, with optional post-event familiarization itineraries.

“The results are in, and clearly, it’s all about family! The first ever Family Travel Advisor Forum has far exceeded our expectations, and based on the very positive feedback we’ve received from suppliers and sellers alike, a success across the board! It is an absolute privilege to produce an event that brings suppliers together with such a passionate and successful audience; really, some of the best in the business, and who contribute to their professional growth and longevity in the marketplace,” said Jennifer Fernandez, Vice President Events & Content, Specialty Travel Forums. Read the rest of this entry »


FOTO BOTTINI 1 (Small)The Regional Director for Aerolíneas Argentinas, Marcelo William Bottini manages all commercial and administrative operations for offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.

Mr. Bottini began a remarkable twenty-seven year career with VARIG Brazilian Airlines in 1979 working in back-office support and ultimately rising to the level of President and Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, he led VARIG Brazilian Airlines through reorganization to be recognized as the Best Airline by industry peers by successfully restructuring it after it was sold in a public auction. During nine months of intense and brutal negotiations, involving government, creditors, unions, employees, and others, a unanimous decision on the complex Recovery Plan was reached, avoiding the failure of the largest and best known airline in Brazil. Read the rest of this entry »


Every Tuesday for years, I’ve always enjoyed reading about the trials and tribulations in the Travel Agent Diaries. A year ago, I went back and forth, wondering if I could do it. Sometimes you just have to have a leap of faith and jump in with both feet – I’m so glad I did it! The process made me think… monthly, about how to improve my business. Read the rest of this entry »



The Tahitian Islands are a lush paradise, brimming not only with sun-drenched beaches and vibrant foliage but also an ancient heritage set to the heartbeat of the rise and fall of the tides. The Polynesian people are warm and inviting to those who come to their shores to explore and bask in the natural beauty of each island. From the Society Islands to the Marquesas, there is only a plane ride between you and a trip to tranquility.

Read the rest of this entry »


It’s October 20th, and I find myself in Dearborn, Michigan. It has been a long time since I was last in Dearborn. I’m wearing a tuxedo; it has been a longer time since I last wore a tuxedo. I’m here at the amazing Henry Ford Museum to celebrate Sky Bird Travel’s 40th year in the travel industry in 2016. The company has sponsored a gala, a black tie dinner to appreciate its friends and customers, and the evening is nothing if not spectacular. Surrounded by authentic aircraft of decades ago in the museum’s “Heroes of the Sky” aviation section, an Indian ensemble plays on traditional instruments. Everyone is mixing and, while it is apparent many know each other from years of business past, striking up a conversation in this setting is easily done as everyone admires the antiques surrounding us. Read the rest of this entry »


Bangalore has recently emerged as an urban Indian powerhouse: an outdoorsman’s dream, a foodie paradise, and a center of technology and innovation, yet all contained within a city still holding true to its heritage. Thanks to Bangalore’s mild temperatures year-round, nature enthusiasts can pick their poison and race off into the sunset to get their adrenaline pumping. Those looking to take it easy will adore the city’s lush forests and breathtaking gardens, as well as the unique architecture on some of its most prominent buildings. Looking to fill your grumbling stomach? Bangalore has that covered as well. No matter what you’re looking to get away from (or to), Bangalore has you covered. Read the rest of this entry »




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