Monthly Archives: October 2008

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your 2009 Marketing Plan – Put it in Writing

TRO has devoted the last few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Follow along with us each day to gain the traction you need to make 2009 your best year ever.

We have spent the last few weeks reviewing the basic components of a marketing plan.  It is now time to put the plan into writing.  The importance of writing your plan can not be overstated, but it can be misunderstood.  Firstly, the process of planning is more important Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

C’mon, listen to the kid

As a relative newcomer to this industry, I keep running into the same issue—and it surprises me.  It isn’t just me, either; many of the newer agents I know see it every day.   Compared to most travel professionals, I’m a baby – I have less than three years in the industry.  Although I have earned my CTA, two LS designations, and am working on my ACC, I have not completed a formal schooling program in travel or tourism.  I’ve never been to Mexico.  Never spent a weekend in Las Vegas.  I’m still a couple years away from an Alaska cruise. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your 2009 Marketing Plan: Be Client Centric

 TRO is devoting the next few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Follow along with us each day to gain the traction you need to make 2009 your best year ever.

We have come a long way since our first article in September on a 2009 Marketing Plan.  Tomorrow we will launch into the actual compilation and writing of the plan, but first we need an organizing principle, something around which we can build the plan’s point of view. 

In theory, we all agree that the client is the key ingredient in the sales process. Yet, when a sale does not go through, it is usually ourselves and not the client for whom we feel badly. This is a completely normal reaction to losing a big sale, but it also points to a dynamic Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Baltimore Here And Now

Two days ago I wrote that we were “virtually” ready to launch the first online travel show powered by TRO’s technology. Today, that first show rolls out. The Baltimore Home Based Travel Agent Show held at the first of this week is history. The virtual counterpart to that show, however, is the future.

The promoter of the Baltimore show, Travel Industry Shows (TIS), and OSSN, the sponsor,  have poured a lot of time and energy into producing not only the physical show over the three day period this week, but have now teamed up with TRO to launch the virtual counterpart, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Rediscovering Oahu

To see and really know the Islands of Hawaii takes a minimum of six trips, one for each island. I for one would be willing to make that kind of commitment. But each island in Hawaii is a world of its own, and each deserves a leisurely pace, an opportunity to get to know it up close and personal. Far too many visitors to the islands make the mistake of trying to see and do every island in a week, bouncing around Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

There are very few tour operators that can boast about being in business nearly 50 years. Sunny Land Tours apparently discovered how to succeed in the industry and has been doing it well ever since 1964. Sunny Land Tours’ founder, Elie Sidawi began his lifelong travel career in 1958 working for one of the largest tour operators in the world located in Lebanon. Once bitten by the travel bug, he moved to the U.S. and founded Sunny Land and grew to be one of the largest specialists to Egypt, Greece and the Middle East.

In the By mid-1980s company expanded its product line to Central and South America, and as a result of this move Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Galapagos have become among Sunny Land’s most important destinations. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Opportunity knocks, but you better listen

This is a great time to be a travel agent. No, it hasn’t been an easy year to sell leisure travel. I can relate. As a supplier who does not sell directly to the public, we are completely dependent on the success of retail travel agents. Your market conditions are our market conditions. Still, this is a great time to be in the travel business and I believe that opportunities abound to gain new customers and to make higher profits.

The travel industry has taken some incredible hits during the last seven years from 9/11, SARS, commission cuts, fuel surcharges and now a global economic crisis. But professional travel agents who survived all of this have become more knowledgeable and capable than ever. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your 2009 Marketing Plan: Make it happen – Part I

TRO is devoting the next few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Follow along with us each day to gain the traction you need to make 2009 your best year ever.

We have spent the last four to five weeks gathering together the various components of our action plan. Now there are a couple of final steps.  This week we will talk about  the importance of  putting your plan in writing, and we will speak to the importance of continually revising your plan.  But before that: The Sermon.

Business plans are important. Organization is essential. Clarity of expression and correctly assessing markets: priceless.

But not a one of these is worth anything without Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Virtually Here And There

Lately it seems as though virtual trade shows are like opinions…everybody has one.  A version of TRO’s Virtual Travel Expo will roll out Thursday, October 30 with over 50 supplier booths. With two other travel media  outlets boasting virtual trade shows, is there room for another?  Yes, and maybe no.  Let me explain.

Firstly, there is no substitute for attending a physical trade show when at all possible.  The face-to-face interaction at a real-life, physical trade show cannot be replicated online. Technology for technology’s sake is not only spurious hype, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

15 tips for your email marketing

A week or so back, TRO hosted an online webinar called Starting or Enhancing a Travel Newsletter (available for viewing) with a terrific response. While a newsletter is an essential piece of a larger marketing plan, getting it read can be a challenge–from a technology standpoint. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

TRO is devoting the next few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Follow along with us each day to gain the traction you need to make 2009 your best year ever.

Yesterday, we laid out the broad parameters of a Marketing Calendar by noting the major holidays and travel seasons and planning to market well ahead of those dates.  Now however, we need to specifically calendar other aspects of our 2009 Marketing Plan. In doing so you will have definitive benchmarks Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

As promised in my previous column, here are the “nuts & bolts” of connecting with your clients electronically. First, let me start by stating that because there are more options with all the new technology out there than there are types of clients, I can not begin to list them all. However, I will tell you what has worked for me and what I have seen others use. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

If you are like most who have never been to Hawaii, the state’s islands blend into a mass of unpronounceable vowels and indistinct images of a tropical paradise. The geography of the islands is not difficult, however, and all it takes is one trip to make visitors long to become experts. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

TRO is devoting the next few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Follow along with us each day to gain the traction you need to make 2009 your best year ever.

Every travel consultant is very much aware of the seasonality of the travel business. In the winter people head south and in the summer they head to Europe and in the fall they seek out New England, except for the real bargain hunters who decide to cruise during hurricane season. A time and a season for everything, right?

Actually, that is exactly right. We can improve on our marketing by being a bit more scientific in our examination Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Tripology is an online travel referral service that connects travel specialists to consumers who are seeking expert knowledge, advice and travel planning experience.  Using proprietary technology to match travel specialists with consumer requests, Tripology has received and processed more than 45,000 trip requests since the consumer launch of Tripology.com in June 2007.  The company’s roster of registered travel specialists available to provide their insightful knowledge about destination around the world, travel planning expertise, and personalized client service has surpassed 8,500.  This great range of specialists offers travelers a true edge in being introduced to agents that best match their specific travel needs and interests.

“We launched Tripology.com with the goal of creating the #1 interactive travel referral service of mutual benefit to travelers and travel specialists,” said Tripology President and CEO John T. Peters, CTIE.  “Tripology offers the best of both worlds – online and offline – for travelers and travel professionals.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your 2009 Marketing Plan: Your Product Mix

TRO is devoting the next few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Follow along with us each day to gain the traction you need to make 2009 your best year ever.

A key decision in any marketing plan is the choice of product you will use in your travel planning practice over the coming year.  It is time to evaluate and re-evaluate your choices of suppliers. At this time you will review even your core supplier’s performance over the past year.  It is essential for a travel consultant to have very solid confidence in the suppliers Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

As if the ongoing uncertainty in our topsy-turvy economy weren’t enough to make hard-working travel professionals a little queasy about the future, the ongoing battle over the various non-commissionable portions of the cruise fares is making them downright seasick.

Imagine selling a cruise for which your client pays nearly $450, but you only receive $16. Sound far-fetched?

Ask any travel professional who’s booking cruises these days, and they’ll tell you it is part of a new reality Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Save a Tree – Ditch a Subscription

There are a lot of eco-friendly trends in travel. Although far from perfect, many organizations are “going green.” ASTA’s Green Program is certainly a major step it the right direction as the association endeavors to better educate travel agents and suppliers to increase  awareness of travel’s impact on the environment. Many tour operators and hotel companies have sought to minimize Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Who’s your Daddy?

A few years back, I was sitting in Yankee Stadium, with my son, watching the Yankees beat the Red Sox in the ALCS*. The chants were deafening when David Ortiz stepped to the plate…”Who’s your Daddy…who’s your Daddy?” So what does this have to do with travel? Just change out the word “daddy” and replace it with “competition”. Who’s your competition?

When you ask almost any travel professional that question, you will get the usual suspects as an answer. But they are wrong! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

A little something on the side

As a corporate travel agent, I work every day with frequent flyer awards, hotel loyalty programs and all sorts of programs to award the traveler. But what about me? I am doing all the work.  What about  a “Frequent Booker” program?  With the elimination of airline commissions and the erosion of car and hotel commissions, I found that some companies still decided agents are worth a bit more.

Many vendors now offer incentives to entice agents to their products.  All of these programs are designed for travel professionals as a reward for booking their products. While they can (and do) go away at the drop of a hat, below is a list of some of the current promotions that a corporate agent (and sometimes a leisure one) can use on a daily basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Hawai’i Honeymoon Planning – First Steps

Hawaii remains the number one destination for honeymoons year after year because of its romantic sunsets, magnificent beaches, and luxurious hotels. Visitors to Hawaii can also conveniently hop from island to island to experience just about any climate and adventure under the sun, including kayaking, mountain climbing, surfing, scuba, and even hiking in a rainforest. Read the rest of this entry »