We have an obsession in this country with cheap. Every travel professional knows that client who will spend relentless hours on the internet trying to beat the great cruise or tour package rate.  Chances are pretty good with enough time on their hands your client can beat your “price.”  After all, they now know exactly what to look for, and there is always someone willing to sell cheaper. It’s easy for the client, armed with your information, to beat your price and then to invite you to participate, actually demand that you participate, in the race to the bottom.  Read the rest of this entry »

Windstar Cruises is welcoming the 212-guest Star Pride back to its fleet after an extensive $4.5-million refurbishment that remodeled public spaces, suites, and the ship’s outer decks. She now features the same amenities that her fleetmates Star Breeze and Star Legend received before they entered service. The total investment Windstar has made on these three ships, acquired from Seabourn back in 2013, now exceeds $21.5 million dollars.

“We are extremely pleased with the extensive yacht refurbishment of Star Pride and are excited to be welcoming guests aboard in Windstar’s private yacht style as the Mediterranean cruise season gets under way,” remarked Andrew N. Todd, president and chief executive officer of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, parent company of Windstar Cruises.

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125Having majored in Communications in college and with a solid background in radio, you might say talking just comes naturally to me.  There is certainly no lack of opportunity in my role as BDM Western USA for Goway Travel for the past four years.  Roaming the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies from my traditional base in Seattle, my show is now on the road in California, Arizona, and other warmer climates.

I joined the travel industry about twenty years ago now, and over that time have had the good fortune to visit beautiful and exotic destinations like New Zealand, Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Ecuador, China, South Korea, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Mexico. I do love to talk story, and there are many wonderful Goway stories to tell. Education on the destination is very important to both me and Goway, and I love “getting educated” and creating new travel dialogues. Read the rest of this entry »

As a travel and tourism professional, you know our industry and your clients.

But what ensures that you stand out in the noisy world of social marketing?

Did you know that over 50% of today’s travelers will rush to the keyboard, rather than the phone to make their travel bookings? (source: Hotel Executive) Creating the WOW in your social presence can be the difference between attracting their business or NOT!

Yet, for many in our industry finding the time to succeed is a challenge. What if you have a checklist of habits, like the famous “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey?

Here are 11 essential habits as you grow your social presence: Read the rest of this entry »

OK, so Thursday’s vote in the United Kingdom was a bit of a surprise. Who would have thought they would have voted to leave the European Union? The markets reacted (as they should) and collectively people seemed to panic with a “what now” attitude. David Cameron, the Prime Minister resigned (as expected) and if you listened to most media, the world was in a financial free-fall because of Brexit. But, maybe not so much! Read the rest of this entry »

How’s your “Local Star Power”?

On Father’s Day, my father-in-law decided we should all go the Snoqualmie casino near Seattle for the afternoon. I am not a big gambler, but for a few hours of fun – I was game. One of the players at our poker table repeated with every hand, “Go big or go home”.

This reminded me of a big gamble I made with my travel agency. Outwardly we were very successful and from a sales perspective we were. However, we were in real danger of bankruptcy. So we made the biggest gamble since starting the company: we did a 180-degree turn and began focusing on attracting affluent customers as part of the overall sales strategy. Go big or go home!

Many agents are intimidated by affluent prospects, people who have achieved a high level of social, career, and financial success in their respective fields. I was raised on an artist’s commune in the 1970s. On a scale from 1-10, at the time our social and financial standing in the community was probably in the negative numbers. I was definitely intimidated by the social standing of many people in our area, specifically based on the combination of income, popularity, and power of position. As I got older and came to know many of these folks, I realized the fear was unfounded. It was based on my perceptions of who they were; I was the problem. Do you have the some of the same perceptions about some of your prospects? Are they standing in the way of the success of your career or business? Read the rest of this entry »

Susan SchaeferCruise line-owned private islands are unique to Caribbean itineraries, but within the region they are prolific. Norwegian Cruise Line may have started the trend, but today most of the mass market cruise lines own or share a private island in the Caribbean: Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.

Clients new to cruising may not even realize they may be visiting a privately owned island, until they try to find excursions out of the cruise line offerings. They also might not understand that this is a fairly rare phenomenon isolated to the Caribbean region. There aren’t private islands in Alaska, New England, Europe, etc.

When dealing with clients unfamiliar with the concept of private islands, here is some general information that you can share with them: 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 »

Bad business habits are preventing you from getting more groups and making more money. As we cruise into the fourth week of my REBOOT GROUPS TOP 100 LIST, I want to give you some more food for thought with another 10 bad habits that you may need to break.

JC Penny said, “The best way to stop a bad habit is to never begin it.” As a seasoned travel professional, it may be too late for that. You have adapted certain business strategies that were valid at one time. Because the marketplace has changed so radically, so must your old-school business practices. Read the rest of this entry »

Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships known for its intimate, yacht -style experience and unique voyages to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbors. Its six yachts carry just 148 to 310 guests and cruises to 52 nations, calling at 155 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America. Windstar added to the yacht fleet by including all-suite yachts Star Pride, Star Breeze, and Star Legend in 2014 and 2015. The additional capacity opened up new itineraries such as voyages to Iceland, Panama Canal, and Costa Rica, as well as allowing Windstar Cruises to sail to Tahiti year round. Read the rest of this entry »

No more shiny objects for you

If you’ve been in this business for very long, it’s likely at some point you’ve found yourself completely overwhelmed with the things you’re supposed to do. Are you on social media? Do you have this app? What about this CRM? Have you done this online course? What about listening to this marketing pitch? It’s hard to know who to pay attention to, where to invest your money, and how to most wisely use the only asset you really have — your time. Read the rest of this entry »

Here is how it might sound when calling a prospective new client:

MM: “Hi. My name’s Mike Marchev, from Corporate Travel Systems. My research indicates that your company is growing and opening up new markets. I’d like to meet with you to outline a very attractive service that we offer corporate clients. Does your schedule allow twenty minutes for an introductory meeting?” 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 »

Ann-PhotoAnn Chamberlin, the President of the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA), is responsible for the overall operations of NACTA. This includes member and supplier sales, revenue management, meetings and events, and membership service. Ann leads the overall vision for NACTA and strengthens the company through strategic partnerships and membership growth to ensure NACTA remains the top membership choice for travel consultants.

Ann built her career over 12 years at Holland America Line in various sales capacities including Director of Premium Preferred/National Accounts before accepting the position of Vice President of North America Member Sales and Service for Virtuoso, where she worked for nine years including building their first ever field sales team.

Joining NACTA in January 2012 as Vice President, she was promoted to President of the association in the fall of 2013. During her tenure, she and her team raised the membership criteria qualifications, rebranded the association, expanded the supplier portfolio, and strengthened the chapter system through a regionalized structure. Reporting directly to the President and CEO of ASTA, she works collaboratively with the American Society of Travel Agents to ensure the success of both associations. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer in Europe is a time when a lot of people switch off. As the school year unwinds, Europeans prepare for their summer holidays. Generally, travel arrangements are done around spring, but there are still those who patiently wait for the inevitable “last minute” deals on flights and packages.  Read the rest of this entry »

When visitors think of Greece, they tend to think of the mainland: the Parthenon, an overabundance of venerable ruins and history, and delectable cuisine such as baklava. However, look beyond Greece’s shores to its outer territories floating in the Mediterranean, and you will find  so much more history and recreation than you ever imagined. It’s no wonder that the Greek Islands are quickly rising as one of the cruising industry’s favorite destinations.

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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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Whenever you mention Australia, almost everyone’s mind falls on the metropolis of Sydney. This city is rich in both the natural and modern wonders, from gorgeous beaches to architectural marvels. Even in this urban landscape, adrenaline junkies can find their thrills either in the trees or scaling man-made steel above the rippling waters of the Harbor. Discover all that Sydney has in store for you with Down Under Answers! Read the rest of this entry »

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