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For many travel professionals, social marketing and media has proven its worth. Those who have succeeded using Facebook, Twitter and the like to generate business are actively engaged  by being both creative and authentic. No doubt, the fundamental marketing tactics of local, community oriented public relations, networking, and advertising are far more important and necessary to most travel agents than any social marketing efforts will ever be. However, layer your social marketing tactics on top of a solid foundation of fundamentals and truly excellent results can be the order of the day. Read the rest of this entry »


Only a Rip van Winkle could have missed the news of what is probably the most aggressive expansion ever in the luxury travel segment: Crystal Cruises’ addition of three new ocean cruisers, two new river “yachts,” a 62-guest yacht, a Dreamliner, a smaller jet to complement the Dreamliner, and a substantial stake in Lloyd Werft, the German shipyard that is building Crystal’s ships.

Celebrating its Silver Anniversary, 25-year-young Crystal Cruises is aiming to extend its luxury brand in the air, on the oceans, and on the rivers. Five ships are on order, a yacht is being refurbished, and there’s more to come. “We’ve only released a series of announcements thus far,” Rodriguez told me on Crystal Symphony last week. “There’s a lot more to come, but even with what we’ve released thus far, and as we continue to grow each of those brand extension experiences, it’ll be very exciting.” Read the rest of this entry »


KateI can’t believe it was 26 years ago that I got my first job in the travel industry. My parents had just returned from a big trip overseas booked through Austravel and noticed they were advertising for an administrative assistant in their Bristol, UK office. We always traveled a lot as a family and it seemed like a good fit for a young 18 year old just starting out in her career. I applied, got the job, and never looked back! I quickly moved into their ticketing department and spent a year there, but always yearned to be more involved with the customers and the process of planning their holidays. I moved into sales and was hooked. I enjoyed sharing my experiences with potential travelers and also loved the travel that we got to experience. Read the rest of this entry »


Videos and Visual Marketing Trends

The other day at the airport, I was browsing the magazine rack and was instantly drawn to the gorgeous cover photos and the inspiring images inside each of the different magazines. It made me want to change my flight and escape to an exotic locale.

Then as I was in the gatehouse scanning my social feeds, I realized I was drawn to some posts over others for some of the same reasons as when I was flipping through magazines.

Are you like me when you pick up a magazine or read an on-line article? Do you scan the title, look at the photos and read the captions? Then, after all that, do you read the opening lines? Read the rest of this entry »


Adding value to the travel equation

Times have changed. There used to be a time when travel professionals went home with red smudges on their hands, welcomed and lauded by the travel suppliers. Not so much any more. If nothing else, today’s travel professional is a survivor. There have been countless times when the industry has been pronounced dead—or at least put on life support. Heck, even President Obama dissed us a few years back. But we learned how to survive. Some of it was trial and error; much of it was sheer determination and planning. We were told to nichify (yes, I invented that word) and we did. We were told that to compete against Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz, that we needed to add value to the equation and eschew the transactional nature of the business. But is that really simple to do? Read the rest of this entry »


A few weeks ago, a travel writer called me and, ironically, asked me if I would mind being interviewed about the topic of “how to get quoted in the press”. I thought to myself, “That’s an interesting topic,” and of course, I was happy to spend time answering her questions. After all, she was calling to ask my expert opinion and planned to quote me in her upcoming article. Read the rest of this entry »


Susan SchafferThe popularity of river cruising is exploding. It seems like every time we turn around, there is either a new announcement of another company entering into the river cruise industry, or an announcement of an existing river cruise company’s fleet expansion.

This year alone, Disney Cruise Line announced its partnership with AMAWaterways to offer family-friendly river cruises, Crystal Cruises announced their foray into river cruising, Celebrity Cruises started to blend ocean and river cruises together, and it seems like new river cruises keep popping up every few months. Read the rest of this entry »


Worms For Lunch?!

Imagine yourself in a fine restaurant. Divine table settings, charming atmosphere. Royal Dalton China. Fine crystal stemware. The Maitre d’ offers you the daily special. You uncover the silver cloche… UGH!!! It’s a pile of worms! Grubby – creepy – crawly WORMS!!!

The French may have managed to get us to eat snails under the moniker of “escargots”, but this was beyond ridiculous even if it qualifies as a “Low Carb High Protein” meal! I would never go back to that restaurant, and I believe you wouldn’t either. Read the rest of this entry »


Formed in 1989, INFOX is a fulfillment house that works solely within the Travel and Tourism Industries, and offers coordinated methods for distributing products and promotional materials by meeting the specific needs of travel businesses in the United States and internationally. For 26 years, our goal has been to help businesses in the travel industry achieve their marketing goals through cost-effective distribution. The INFOX team is highly committed to quality customer service; our management staff has a combined total of 50 years of experience within the company, offering cost-efficient and effective service fulfillment, marketing, and transportation solutions. We take a proactive stand on product development and view our business relationships as partnerships, benefiting from a healthy flow of two-way communication. Read the rest of this entry »


Want to know the secret to getting more clients? Making millions in the travel industry? Being wildly successful? So would I. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a magic bullet or pill to take for instant success.

What I do know is it takes hard work, dedication, education, getting out there, patience, and a positive attitude. Read the rest of this entry »


I received an email from an old friend and business associate this week that brought to light two important business lessons. I would like to share them both with you today.

We had lost touch along the way and after a year of futile attempts trying to contact him, his email came in via “Linkedin ” This is an online networking personal database based on the “who-you-know” theory of success. Read the rest of this entry »


Peter Wen has worked at Chinatour.com for just over 3 years and is currently the Sales Director at the company. Born and raised in China, Peter came to the United States to peter wen headshotpursue a graduate degree and eventually graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Master’s degree in Economics in 2012. Although working in the travel industry wasn’t his first choice, he found himself highly passionate about helping travel agents know more about the ancient country of China. His ultimate goal is make China a more popular destination in the industry and help travel agents realize how easy and profitable it is to sell China packages.   Read the rest of this entry »


Heller photoRich Heller is currently the Marine Operations Manager for G Adventures and has been a member of the company’s marine programs since 2006. During his near-decade with G Adventures, Rich has had the opportunity to visit some of the world’s most remote and beautiful destinations, usually by boat. With years of experience guiding and supporting tours in the Antarctic and Southeast Asia, Rich brings a mix of field experience and passion for wildlife, remote destinations, and shipping that collectively assists G Adventures to create life-changing experiences for its travelers and partner communities around the globe. Read the rest of this entry »


I’ll bet many of you get frustrated because you send important information to clients in detailed emails… only to find it has not been read. This may or may not cause you additional work with their booking, but at the bare minimum can make their trip either more challenging, or they miss something completely because they didn’t read it. Right? Read the rest of this entry »



The inspiration for Charles Darwin’s definitive work on evolution, the Galapagos Islands are famous for the wide and varied wildlife that inhabit the islands. Galapagos tortoises, sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, penguins, and many more species can be found here on the islands.

Read the rest of this entry »


Xiamen is known as one of China’s “most livable” cities, and with its tree-lined beaches, countless attractions and lush surrounding countryside, it’s little wonder visitors are drawn here. Even if it’s for only a short stay, one should never miss the opportunity to visit the “gateway” to China. Located at the southeast coast of China, Xiamen is one of the major port cities in the Fujian Provence. Popular with both Chinese and international tourists, the city is famous for its island seascapes, subtropical climate, rich history and customs, and great regional cuisine.

Xiamen has been a major trading port for hundreds of years as it boasts a broad deep-water gulf, and thanks to its year-round temperate climate, isn’t subject to freezing or silting. This makes it a perfect port-of-call for commercial vessels and cruise ships alike.  Read the rest of this entry »


When you think of “the Outback”, chances are you’re thinking of the iconic scenery and sights of Australia’s Northern Territory. With wide stretches of brushlands, towering rock formations, and hundreds of rare species of plants and wildlife, this is the “real Outback.” Read the rest of this entry »