Monthly Archives: November 2008

Posted In: Supplier Profile

We are all probably aware of packages focusing on the life and preaching of Saint Paul. However, most of the packages advertised cover only a very limited number of sights related to the Apostle’s course during his mission.

Destination Greece, listening the travel agent community comments and requests, have put together a unique approach to the history of Christianity related to Saint Paul’s life and preaches. Our package combines a land tour to Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Meteora and the Byzantine Monasteries, Veria, Thessaloniki, Philippi, Kavala with a 3-day cruise to the Greek islands (Mykonos, Rhodes, Patmos) and Turkey (Kusadasi/Ephesus). We invite you to share it with your clients.

The Saint Paul experience starts with a visit to Corinth. It was here Apostle Paul came and worked, establishing a thriving church. One can see all of the sites associated with his ministry; the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Odeon, the Bema and Gallio’s Seat. The small archaeological museum is an absolute must!

Our package offers a visit to Lechaion and also the opportunity to see the ruins of early Christian 5th century basilica at the ancient port of Kenchreae before returning to Athens. Athens brings to mind Parthenon, Acropolis, Erectheion and Mars’ Hill (Areopagus) where Apostle Paul delivered his well-known sermon. Of course, the Athens sightseeing tour would not be complete without offering views of the Unknown Soldier, the Parliament House, the Presidential Palace, the Panathenian Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Academy, the University and the National Library.

Our Saint Paul experience continues to Delphi. It was here priestess Pythia pronounced her famous last oracle to Julian the Apostate. And then on to spectacular Meteora with its thousand-year-old Byzantine monasteries precariously built on huge rocks.

The journey follows the Apostle’s steps to Veria and Thessaloniki. Apostle Paul arrived in Veria and according to his custom he went to the synagogue, where to his pleasant surprise, he discovered that the Jews there were “more noble” than those he had encountered in Thessaloniki. And the next stop is Thessaloniki, where Apostle Paul also preached and where he sent his first and second letters. Here one can see the Egnatian Road, the Galerius Arch, the Citadel and the Archaeological Museum.

The Saint Paul experience continues with a visit to the city of Philippi, where Apostle Paul established the first church in Europe. One can see the river where Lydia and possibly the jailer were baptized and the ancient Forum and jail where Paul and Silas were kept. Return to Athens after a visit to in Thermopylae, where the Statue of Leonidas commemorates the location where he and his 300 Spartans stopped the powerful Persian army, and the hill where the weapons and remains of the warriors are buried.

Our package continues with a 3-day cruise to the Greek islands of Mykonos, Rhodes (visited by the Apostle) and Patmos (the Revelation island) and Kusadasi-Ephesus in Turkey.

Apart from the itinerary presented, which makes the Saint Paul experience unique, Destination Greece backs up all our packages with professional, state licensed English speaking guides, a 24-hour assistance telephone service and of course support in Athens, Greece so you know your clients will receive best quality service at their destination.

Should you have any questions regarding our Saint Paul experience, please do not hesitate to contact us at: services@DestinationGreece.com

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Travel Research Online sure knows how to pick ’em.  I just looked at the Travel Agent 30 Under 30 article and who is smiling back at me but none other than our own Nina Van Harn! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Don’t forget about business networking

I recently wrote a column about personal networking, and how important it is to tell everyone you know, and meet, about your travel business. Once you are doing this consistently, the next logical step is to look for other local businesses that will help you spread the word to potential clients.

This kind of business-to-business networking does not have to be all that complicated. It can be as simple as asking your dentist if you can leave travel brochures in his waiting room, or offering to donate a portion of your commission to a favorite non-profit if their supporters book travel through you. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Destination Greece: Trust an expert

It all seems so easy nowadays…the Internet and any number of tour operators operating from toll-free numbers and faceless Internet sites ready to take your order. But is it really that easy?

When it comes to serving your clients, quality services and competitive pricing is only the tip of the iceberg. You want to put your mind at ease and know that everything will work like a Swiss watch. Destination Greece could be considered the Swiss watch. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Concerned? What to do about it!

Everyone whose income is even remotely related to travel is concerned.  While it is true that consumers who just lost 30% of their stock investments may not feel like taking the “trip of their lives”, there are opportunities out there. I have three tips to discover the business that you already have that will keep you afloat in a rocky economy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Travel Weekly, YTB and the Paradigm of Annoyance

If you Google “YTB”, as any potential YTB recruit might, here is the entry that the search engine will serve up to you as the top search result:

YTB International, Inc. was recognized as the 26th largest seller of travel in the US in Travel Weekly’s 2008 Power List, based on 2007 annual retail value …

That is some pretty powerful recruiting material. After all, Travel Weekly is “The National Newspaper of the Travel Industry” according to its tagline.  Travel Weekly’s  “About Us” page indicates that Travel Weekly provides “all of the late breaking news, analysis and research that travel professionals need to succeed.”  In the case of YTB, in fact, Travel Weekly has provided more – it has provided the credibility YTB has needed to succeed.

In writing this editorial, I am breaking some rules of good etiquette.  I am quite frankly criticizing a competitor, and therefore my motives could be deemed suspect.  I’ll take my chances.

Put simply, why does Travel Weekly and its very serious and competent editors continue to provide YTB a platform from which it is able to more capably market itself to the detriment Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

My Thanksgiving assignment

My youngest daughter came home from school last week with an assignment for a 500 word essay on why she is thankful at Thanksgiving; and I am sure that this assignment (in one form or another) is being handed out by thousands of teachers all over the country by the time you are reading this. She turned it in yesterday morning and as we wait to hear how she did on the essay, I thought it might not be a bad idea to do the assignment myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Networking is not a 4 letter word

Admit it. When I say “networking”, you cringe.

Because of all the aggressive “network marketers” out there, you immediately assume I’m talking about pushy MLM tactics designed to strong-arm your friends, relatives, and passing acquaintances into fattening your bottom line by joining your “downline”.

Well, that’s not what I’m talking about at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Active Hawai’i

For the active traveler, no location beats Hawaii for the amazing variety of outdoor activities. Let’s start with the easiest – relax! While there are dozens of activities, and a thousand places to involve yourself in those activities on the Islands, know first and foremost that its OK to do absolutely nothing at all. Hawaii’s beaches are world-class, its restaurants unbeatable and the Polynesian culture invites one to let go of all of the mainland tension and relax. No better place on the planet to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

LuxuryRetreats: Yes, even in a poor economy

With the uncertain economy and people keeping their travel wallets closed a bit more tightly than before; as long as your clients are traveling, why not suggest a private villa. Boy that does not sound right, but think about it. And when you do, think about LuxuryRetreats.

It is a given that people are still traveling. They are just traveling smarter. By not mentioning a private villa to your clients, you may be doing a disservice to them and their wallets. LuxuryRetreats represents nearly 2000 properties worldwide ranging from Musha Cay ($32,000/night) and Deer Field Estate in Park City, Utah (with its private gondola to take you to the slopes) to many more affordable properties in the Caribbean, Italy, Bali, Greece, Mexico and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Though no one can predict the impact our current topsy-turvy economy will have on the travel industry, I have faith that the all-inclusive vacation – as a value through boom and bust – will endure. The birth of the all-inclusive during the oil crisis in the 1970s supports my optimism. Tourism in Jamaica was sluggish and Prime Minister P. J. Patterson asked me to create something capable of jumpstarting the stalled industry. Fast-forward 35 years and we seem to have come full circle: oil dependency, financial upheaval and political change. Yet whatever the condition of the economy, the appeal of the all-inclusive vacation remains the same. The one-price-buys-all model is a smart, value-driven choice that offers a distinct advantage: it eliminates most if not all of the financial risk and surprise from a vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Surviving the perfect storm

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of agents from a small, yet powerful consortium called the IT Group on board Carnival’s Elation. This meeting was not nearly as large as the Baltimore Home Based Travel Agent Show, but in a more intimate setting you really get a chance to see the seriousness of some of the agents and owners of today’s agencies.

I was invited to speak about niche marketing due to my success with Single Parent Travel.  While everyone seemed to understand the reasons behind creating a niche to supplement (or even replace) their current business, few had any actionable methods to get there. We discussed specific ways to discover, develop and promote to any niche market. It was well received and I was flooded with questions for the duration of the cruise. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Luxury found

I entered the travel industry in 2006 with the intention of specializing in luxury travel. Having been an American Express Platinum card member for many years, I was very familiar with their Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program which offered negotiated rates and complimentary amenities (such as free breakfasts and room upgrades) to their clients. I wanted to compete with the excellent product that American Express was already offering.

My first affiliation was a brief one. I joined a large hosting agency that belonged to a consortium that promotes exclusive amenities and competitive rates at four- and five-star properties. I had asked the manager of that agency whether their consortium would be able to match the values available through American Express. While he told me this was the case, I quickly learned that they could not compete. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Aloha Families!

There may be no more diverse destination on the planet than Hawaii.  Not only is the terrain amazingly varied – deserts, beaches and lush rainforests, mountains and oceans, deep valleys and soaring volcanoes – but the climates there range from sub-arctic to tropical.  The available activities are almost without end. The culture is a mix of Polynesian, Asian, European and American.  But perhaps the most varied aspect of the Islands is the way that this tremendous confluence appeals to so many different types of people – young, old, active and beach lovers, there is something for everyone in Hawaii.  And all of this means one thing above all others – Hawaii is the world’s greatest family destination. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Knowing your customer through your website

Travel agents are starting to use their websites as an effective component of their sales and marketing campaigns.  The content, tools, ease-of-use, and technology exist today for agencies of all sizes and web skills to have their own effective web presence, and to focus their websites on their particular specialties.  We know that consumers are shopping more and more on their agent’s websites, before they make the decision to buy. Now is the time to use your website to differentiate yourself in the market. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

My new hybrid travel word

Over the past few years, there has been a glut of hybrid words in the travel industry. Stay-cations were for those unable to take a va-cation. Baby-moons were for those who were a little too late for the honey-moon. The boys weekend in Vegas? The man-cation. And of course the MLM crowd has their pay-cations. Well, here is a new hybrid for you. And you heard it here first;  I am heading out on a me-cation! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Internet shchminternet…

I’ve heard it everywhere. Travel agents are a thing of the past!  Internet travel is the wave of the future.  Book directly with an online website, an airline, or even be your own travel agent with the new “travel like an insider” programs.  Is it really a consumer’s best choice?

I’ve been in travel for a long time. I’ve seen the technology and tools for our industry grow over the years.  Believe it or not, technology is what we use on a daily basis to assist in any way we can to help the client.  We are constantly checking our email, voicemail and GDS for issues that may occur, even at night and on weekends. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Lanai: Your Private, Tranquil Hawaii

This is an island with no traffic lights, no shopping malls and plenty of peace and quiet. Lanai is the smallest and perhaps least known of the Hawaiian islands, “Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island.” From 1922 to 1992, the island was given over to the cultivation of pineapples, owned by the parent corporation of the Dole Pineapple company. Now, however, Lanai is gently easing into tourism Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

The economy is in a decided slump. The dollar is dwindling against most world currencies. Yet, consumers are still traveling; but, more and more often they are looking for more value for their travel dollar. One of the largest growing segments in the travel industry is apartment and villa rentals. And for agents looking to offer quality properties and value to their clients, Endless Vacation Rentals® may be just the answer.

Endless Vacation Rentals® is a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide, one of the industry giants.  With obvious inventories from Wyndham Worldwide Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your 2009 Marketing Plan – Living the Plan

TRO has devoted the last few weeks to assisting agents in developing a 2009 Marketing Plan. Today’s installment is the last one in the series.

If you have followed along each day of this series on writing a Marketing Plan for 2009, you should now have a much more clear view of your marketing goals and the strategies that you will use in the year to come. You have taken your own story, the reasons you are in the travel industry and your own unique selling points, and infused your marketing plan with the passion Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

With the changes we have seen in the travel industry, many may be thinking about getting out. Maybe it is time to sell? Maybe it is time to buy? As with life itself, timing is the key to acquisitions. As we crawl out of the economic havoc from October in the stock market, growing unemployment lines and the election uncertainty, the travel distribution industry will suffer short term but survive and bounce back in the mid and long term.We are a very resilient industry having recovered Read the rest of this entry »