Monthly Archives: June 2010

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Big Ideas: Do it again, go on!

I was reminded of this simple yet profound truth on a webinar I was conducting just last week. This one is important my friends, and very deep. Tune in. And listen to what I am about to share with you.

As I always do, I asked my coaching students for their recent good news-bad news stories. I do this so we can all learn from each other, both good and bad. The topic was distribution, and more specifically, how we can increase our service distribution path. I offered an idea and one “student” immediately shared the fact that she had done exactly what I was talking about … and that it worked to perfection.

I applauded her positive efforts and asked her to share more of the story and how the success evolved. Remember, this was on a seminar conducted just last week. Her reply was met with disbelief and more than a modicum of chagrin. Read the rest of this entry »

Having been born in Tampa and spending the better part of my youth on the beaches of Clearwater, Pensacola and Panama City, I have a deep affinity and love for my home state of Florida. After 64 days of continuous oil and methane leaking off the coast of Louisiana, my beloved home state is now at high risk for severe contamination. And the end is nowhere in sight.

Never before have I felt such a strong urge to immediately make the sojourn back to the coasts of my beloved Florida to revel in what are still some of the most amazing and pristine beaches in all of America. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Do Your Clients Trust You?

Do your clients trust you? I’m pretty certain that the degree to which you are at this moment successful as a travel consultant has a lot to do with your native ability to develop a bond of  trust with your clients. The mix of the confidence you exude, the knowledge you have and the way you communicate is working for you. To the extent that you are losing sales and have not yet achieved the client base you want, it may be worthwhile to examine the elements of trust and how they are projected through your marketing.

Clients want to do business with people they trust. In the case of a travel agency, you are not selling a product, you are selling your ability to assist the client in making smart buying decisions about travel. Therefore, trust is absolutely essential. Your client must trust in your competence and your authentic desire to assist them to travel better. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Prague — by Tumlare

Prague is located on the Vltava River in central Bohemia and has has been the political, cultural and economic center of the Czech state for more than 1,100 years. During the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was the permanent seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and was also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

Currently, Prague has a population of about 1.3 million people.

Since 1992, the center of Prague has been listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, making the city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. In 2009, it is estimated that Prague was host to more than 4.1 million visitors.

Remember that travel agents can use 60-Second Geography articles on their websites and in their newsletters! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Bavaria is Germany’s biggest state with an area of 27,000 square miles accounting for about a fifth of Germany’s total area.It’s in Germany’s south-eastern quarter and has a population of about 12.5 million people.

Munich is the capital city of Bavaria and is the third largest city in Germany.  Munich was the host city of the 1972 Summer Olympics and is a candidate city for the 2018 Winter Olympics. There’s much more to Bavaria, Germany than just the capital city.

The region begs to be explored and there are ten other cities most definitely worth a visit–each complete with an ornate castle, palace, or city hall, or sometimes all three! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Late to the party? I think not!

Back when Howard Stern was a relative unknown, there was a statistic floating around that the average Howard Stern fan tuned into the shock jock for 80 minutes a day. The most common reason cited was to hear what he would say next. The average Stern hater tuned in for 150 minutes per day. The most common reason cited was to hear what he would say next.  I am not sure how many listeners he had back in the 80s when he was starting out, but it was significant, and look where it got him. If we scale it back a bit, how would you like to have several hundred thousand fans waiting to hear what you had to say next?  Not likely for most (if not all) agencies, but a piece of cake for the cruise lines.

Someone left a comment on a Travel Weekly article on social networking that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines was “late to the party.” Another commenter said that the cruise lines had no desire to listen to the agencies and to help them market socially. The comments were intriguing. And after a bit of digging, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Getting Started with Group Cruises

One of my niche specialties is cruise groups, and fellow travel professionals have contacted me seeking my input on them.  This article is the first in a series designed to give you an overview on cruise group basics, including where to find group prospects, how to approach a potential Pied Piper, and how to manage the group financially and administratively to ensure the best possible success.

The first question I hear is, “where can I find people who want to travel as a group?”  There have been many resources made available to answer that question in very rich detail, but one that has given me the most food for thought is a book called “The Idea Machine 2” by Dave Stockert, Director of Sales with Holland America Line.  It’s available at Amazon.com for a reasonable cost, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw June 24, 2010

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: 1:1

 

John T. Peters joined Tripology as President and CEO in June of 2008.  Most recently, John navigated the company into a purchase by Rand McNally and is now the  VP/GM Digital Strategy & Travel. Prior to Tripology, John was Vice President of Business Development & Travel Trade where he led the successful launch of Endless Vacation Rentals by Wyndham Worldwide. Earlier in his career, John founded Zeus Tours & Yacht Cruises, an international yacht cruise/tour and hotel business that grew to over $50 million in sales with over 100 employees in offices in New York, Athens, Rome and Buenos Aires.

TRO: John, tell us about the transition of Tripology from independent company to a subsidiary of Rand McNally. 

JP: Having sold three companies in my career, I can tell you that being acquired isn’t easy. The most perfect plans on paper are actually quite difficult to implement.  In our move to Rand McNally, we were dealing with re-hiring employees, opening new merchant accounts, transferring phone lines, re-writing our customer contracts…the list is a long one and we’re still not done, though we’re getting close.  However, I can tell you the Rand McNally team is on top of its game and everyone is very excited about us being here.  Life is different for sure because now we’re part of something bigger, much bigger and this is very exciting. However, the goal of Tripology is still the same; quality leads for quality travel specialists. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Whatever happened to relaxing days at sea? Seems they have gone the way of the Dodo Bird. At least this seems to be the case on mainstream, mass market ships. Consequently, it might be prudent to offer a little advice for clients booked on short 3, 4 or 5 day cruises – where simply glancing at the daily activity sheet on a “fun day at sea” can induce a sense of overwhelm. Feel free to cut, paste, edit and customize any of the following to empower your ‘first timers’ to seize the day like cruise veterans when confronted with a multi- page list of confusing, unfamiliar activities. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

A Tripologist Says “Be Persistent!”

It amazes me that in these difficult times, some business people don’t work harder to get new clients.  Over the years, I’ve taught the travel specialists in my agency to fight for new business, work hard to get repeat bookings and referrals.  When I say ‘fight’, I don’t mean ‘discount’, I mean really go above and beyond to ensure our clients get an exemplary experience that showcases us as travel specialists with tons of expertise.

This is where Tripology comes into play.  The program is ideal for me.  I’ve tailored my profile to only send me customer leads that fit my specialties: destination weddings and honeymoons.  I have been using Tripology for about a year now and my lead business is thriving Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

As a speaker, I end up on a lot of agency mailing lists.  From email blasts and Twitter bursts to fax frenzies and snail mail flyers, I get it all.  It’s a great opportunity to stay on top of agency marketing efforts.  It’s also a reminder of what so many are doing so wrong!

Allow me to vent for a moment about some of my pet peeves in the realm of mass marketing. I should first point out that most of these things are NOT coming from giant mega-monolithic-impersonal-transaction-factories.  Instead, I seem to get the most impersonal irritation makers from small agencies that should know better. Read the rest of this entry »

Loyalty. It’s a strong word. Being loyal to one tour operator can make for a strong business relationship; but is it always the right way to do business? I’ve worked with the same tour operator for 95% of my reservations for nearly ten years. I do it because I believe in their product, their service and just generally like working with them. So when a client asks about a hotel that is not represented by that company, which direction do I go? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Orlando — By Travel Rental Network

When someone mentions Orlando, does your mind immediately go to Walt Disney World–or possibly Universal Studios? While these two attractions are certainly not to be missed, if you limit yourself to these two, you will be missing out on all that the Orlando area has to offer. Perhaps this is not your first visit to the area and you want to see a little more than Disney or Universal has to offer.  Why not consider renting a car and staying in home, condominium or villa at a fraction of the cost of a hotel or resort? If you do a little local shopping, you can save even more and prepare some of your meals yourself—breakfast anyone?

Once you look past the major theme parks, you will see the area offers plenty for everyone. Here are ten alternatives. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

The Cycladic Islands, properly termed The Cyclades are a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece. The Cyclades is where the native Greek breed of cat (the Aegean cat) first originated.

The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, including the major ones of Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited.

The islands are simply the peaks of a giant underwater mountain range with the exception of Milos and Santorini which are volcanic. The climate is generally dry and mild and does not support too much in terms of agriculture. Wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco are about all these islands produce.

Remember that travel agents can use 60-Second Geography articles on their websites and in their newsletters! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Listening to a master

I  had one of “those” weeks. I am not going to sit here and whine or complain about it—that never does anyone any good. But I will freely admit that writing this column is the last thing I want to do on a Friday night when it is 75 degrees out with a nice breeze and a cool beer waiting for me on the dock at Pusser’s Landing.  But, a commitment is a commitment. Besides, topics tend to come easily when you really love what you do!

This afternoon, I was not in the mood to do anything, but I needed to make several final payments for a small group I have headed to Disneyworld in early August. Of course while I was on hold, I was poking around the DisneyAgents site, got distracted, ended up on Wikipedia and all sorts of other Disney related sites—hey, while the Internet is a wonderful tool, it is also a great distracter. I am not a Disney expert, but I have a very decent knowledge of the product, but this afternoon, in my distraction, I learned a lot about the man behind the mouse. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Interruptions!

NN## To That!

Excuse me, dahrlings, but…
NN## To That!

Kids think they cleverly invented ‘how r u’ and ‘lmao’. Puh-lease. Baby talk. A mere step above pig latin, umpkinpehs. Try entering the code for two open-jaws with extra luggage allowance in GDS. Now that’s coding. It separates the agents from the clients. It’s power.

Unfortunately, Sabre is doing away with code altogether. They’re going all ‘windows’ on us. Now any lay bimbo with a business card can use Sabre.

The Sabre’s unsheathed. Lost its edge. Pointless. Which, as far as I’m concerned, makes it a limp system. I feel very deflated. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

What exactly does the term “business ethics” mean? Why are ethics important in today’s wiifmw (what’s in it for me world?)

Wikepedia’s defines “ Business ethics is a form of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and business organizations as a whole.”

My definition is doing the right thing, all the time. No matter how difficult it may be. Being  responsible for your own actions.

According to the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) companies that make a commitment to ethics and have a clear policy on ethics outperform companies Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Twiggy took her time descending the upper deck stairs to reach the podium on Seabourn Sojourn this past Friday in London, where the iconic 1960’s British model christened Seabourn’s newest vessel on the River Thames. Indeed elegant, Twiggy exploded onto the international modelling scene as a London teenager in 1966. She went on to define the term ‘supermodel’ and to become the icon of 1960s style worldwide.

In the early 1970s she became an actress and singer, winning two coveted Golden Globe Awards for her first film “The Boyfriend.” In the 1980s she took Broadway by storm in the Tony Award-winning Gershwin musical “My One & Only.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Selling? Think globally!

Over the past few months, there have been articles on TRO suggesting perhaps that the travel industry might not be for you. TRO’s Editor, John Frenaye mentioned it and columnist Larry Norman did as well. We broker travel businesses and one of the most common fears I hear is that no one is buying travel agencies anymore. This can’t be further from the truth. There is a different buyer out there in the market, but despite the recession, the market for acquisitions is very robust.

Gone are the days of the spouse’s of doctors, CPA’s and lawyers being the buyers of retail travel shops. Back in the 70’s and 80’s airlines were paying 10% on all tickets and there was 30,000 locations across the U.S. Today there are approximately 10,000 full service headquarters locations. Over the past few months we have received serious purchase inquiries from two Read the rest of this entry »

Wandering Puffin LLC — Sharing the love

The past few weeks have certainly been hectic ones; and I am not here to complain. In fact, business has continued to grow despite my pessimism when I first started to write these diary entries. This is a business where every day, the different twists and turns provide an amazing challenge. I am not one for roller coasters in real life, but this business is, in a sense, a roller coaster ride and those that are willing to challenge themselves will succeed. Read the rest of this entry »