Monthly Archives: May 2011

Posted In: Outposts

Bucharest, Romania by GTT Global

Wide, tree-lined roads, stunning buildings and a reputation for the high life – “Little Paris,” or Bucharest, Romania is the largest city in the country and a bustling metropolis that combines the old and new of eastern Europe.  Its over 2.6 million citizens can trace their history back to 500 BC, being first documented in 1459 and, since then, becoming a fantastic getaway for travelers who enjoy a little bit of everything.

Be sure to continue reading to find out what great specials GTT Global is offering to visit the Romanian capital for the summer and beginning fall months.

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“No Borders  – Just Horizons…”

The above quote is one of my favorites, by Amelia Earhart-Putnam.  It not only validates my love of travel and the industry I call “home.” It also summarizes my last few months of my changing role here at The Cruise Shop and Viking Travel – and how stepping outside the borders of my niche specialty (cruises) has resulted in a plethora of fresh and exciting new horizons! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 


Mayflower Tours
, located in Downers Grove, Illinois, is a professional tour operator handling individual and group escorted tour arrangements throughout the world. John and Mary Stachnik started the company in 1979. John, president and co-owner of Mayflower Tours, entered the travel industry in 1966 when he began working for a Washington D.C.hotel company. From 1970-1978 John was founder, part owner and president of an Illinois-based tour company which grew to more than 36,000 passengers a year. John’s wife Mary serves as co-owner and senior vice president for the Mayflower Group.

TRO: Since the founding of Mayflower Tours, how has your mission statement changed in the past 30+ years?

JS: I would actually like to talk about how it hasn’t changed.  One of the basic tenets of our mission statement is that we want to be intensely liked by our travelers. Everything we do focuses on the tours being thoroughly enjoyed by our clients.  When we put together programs, cancellation provisions, etc. we try to take our responsibility to the traveler into account.  It doesn’t mean we’re soft or we take the easy way out we just want our clients to be as comfortable as possible.  One of our sales tenets has always been, “You don’t have to work with us but we want you to want to work with us.”

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Posted In: Editorial Musings

Teamwork

When I lived in Pennsylvania, the opening day of deer hunting season was a de facto State holiday. It did not matter if you were a hunter or not-nothing got done. My home town of Annapolis is no different when it comes to the US Naval Academy. Each May, 1000 or so young men and women graduate and receive their commissions in the US Navy or the US Marine Corps. And each May there are plenty of reasons to play hookie and accomplish little. And this past week was no exception; except I observed something at the Herndon Climb that might be able to help us all in our respective travel businesses. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

These two questions are most often on the mind of many travel agents “Do you know if there is a supplier for this destination, shore excursion, bus ride, experience, etc. that pays commission?” OR “Who pays the most commission?” . I see it asked in every online travel agent forums, and I have heard it in many conversations between travel agents.  When did you last hear it asked, or ask it yourself?

Have you ever heard of the ARK principle? ARK stands for the acts of random kindness we do in our daily lives. I firmly believe it is possible that one ARK a day could help your business grow. An ARK is done with absolutely no thought of personal benefit or financial gain. I won’t go off on a lofty goal of living a more spiritual life or serving like Mother Theresa, however, let me share a more secular example of thinking about others first. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw: May 27, 2011

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Nice

Nice was part of the kingdom of Savoy until 1860, when it joined France. Still, the city retains its own Nicoise dialect as well as cuisine (think Nicoise salad) and traditions.

The old town (Vieux Nice) is worthy of full day visit, although it’s also a pleasant destination for evening. When choosing hotels for a pre- or post-cruise stayover, I recommend choosing a hotel in Nice to enjoy the evening atmosphere of the Old Town. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Let’s begin looking more closely at the process of working with a client to determine how the travel agent can increase the number of successful encounters. We are going to more finely analyze the sales process into its component parts. Why? Because very small problems can cause a sale to go off course to an amazing degree.  The problem can be so small that it will hide behind the poor result and be difficult to identify.

Sales is an organic process, but there are typically some very clear steps that lead from the first encounter with a client to travel planning and repeat business. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

No regrets

Let’s keep it short and sweet this time.  If you don’t want to regret your past, don’t screw up your future. And the future is entirely up to you.

When asked about regrets, Woody Allen once said, “I feel I had grandiose plans for myself when I started. And I have not lived up to them. I’ve done some things that are perfectly nice. But I had bigger plans. What has made it double poignant for me is that I never was denied the opportunity. The only thing standing between me and greatness is me.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Johannesburg by Sky Bird Travel & Tours

Still riding the high from the World Cup, Johannesburg is thriving more than ever.  The city is the heart of South Africa, with everything that happens within the country both beginning and ending in the capital.  While it has had its fair share of ups and downs politically, economically and emotionally, the country has rallied this decade to become one of the hottest destinations in Africa.  Representing a multitude of people, Joburg proudly boasts itself as the second largest city on the continent, and with that comes a great deal of activities for visitors.

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Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Very few places are better in the summertime than Florida for a relaxing, activity-filled vacation and Tampa/St. Petersburg can be found high among the list of destinations in the Sunshine State.  Don’t be fooled by the name, either, for Tampa has a lot more going for it than just the white beaches and plentiful bay – there is an enormous art following, professional sports are a plenty and, of course, top-notch dining ass seafood and diving are embraced deeply in the area.

If exploring one of the most culturally diverse states in America are your plans for the early summer months, then continue on and check out some of the specials below brought to you by VacationRentals4Agents.

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I have been reading a multitude of articles within the travel community, as well as outside of the travel community regarding fees.  Of course, we all cringe at the fees being instituted by the airlines for everything under the sun; yet there are advocates within the travel community that feel strongly that service fees are the way to positively affect  the bottom line.

In recent months, I have had the opportunity to listen to several webinars regarding instituting fees; including one by Nolan Burris, and others (both in and outside of the industry) who strongly tout the benefits of charging fees.  I can see both sides of the argument, and I have heard both sides of the argument. The most common reasons I’ve heard against instituting fees include: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

Dave Herbert, CTC, has had a love affair with Africa since he first visited South Africa as a student in the 1960s and began work as a safari guide. In 1968, he started an overland camping and tour company, which he sold in 1970. He then moved to Johannesburg to start African Travel to serve Europeans traveling to the continent. Dave’s involvement with the US travel market began in 1976 when he started African Travel, Inc.  In 2010, he founded Great Safaris, a company focused on upscale, sophisticated travel experiences to the continent of Africa.

How is Great Safaris different from other safari outfitters?

DH: The distinction with Great Safaris is that we established the company in Africa before we actually established our office in the United States.  We have really focused on the product and having our own trained people to be able to handle the luxury experienced American traveler.  Another difference is: all we focus on is the luxury market. “Luxury” is not just a high-priced product; it’s a state of mind.  It is anticipating what experienced travelers require or expect.
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Posted In: Editorial Musings

Protecting your asset

Last week, the Internet was all abuzz about the impending “rapture” where the non-sinners were going to be called to heaven on Saturday and the sinners were to be left here on Earth until it explodes in fire and brimstone in October. If you are reading this, I guess we know where you stand. While I don’t exactly know what differentiated the sinners and the “good ones”, I have to assume that somewhere along the line, those destined for heaven probably had a better reputation than the rest. How is your reputation? How is the reputation of your travel business? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

CAN YOU READ THE SIGNS? Part III

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign.
Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind

Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

– The Five Man Electrical Band, 1970

Downtown Nashville is difficult to get around.  There are a number of one-way streets.  If you are a newcomer to our city, you might find yourself going in circles because of your unfamiliarity with the direction of the streets.  The same holds true for travel agencies.  Sometimes we find ourselves going in circles and not accomplishing anything.  That’s where our signs are leading us in today’s column. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – May 20, 2011

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Cruise to Bilbao

Let’s start our tour of Spain’s tenth largest city with the Guggenheim Museum. It is an extraordinary building that one simply has to admire. But the story about the world-renowned museum goes deeper than the exterior: The Guggenheim Museum has been very important both to Bilbao and to the Basque region: It marked a break with a history sometimes dominated by financial difficulties.

Nowadays a true landmark both for Bilbao and for this part of Spain, the Guggenheim Museum has come to represent Basque culture and knowledge. There are those who argue that the museum with its titanium facade managed to turn a somewhat scrubby city into a star. Since the opening in 1997, more than one million visitors per year have paid the entry fee. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Hey, did you hear about CLIA?

CLIA is one of those acronyms that the industry like to toss around. CLIA is said to be one of the “must join” organizations for travel professionals in the industry. CLIA is also an affordable alternative for industry recognition if you do not want to be beholden to the airlines with ARC or IATAN (more acronyms). But beyond the big box full of certificates, stickers, bonus commission coupons and other goodies, CLIA iffers so much more. Have you taken a look lately?

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

Why travel insurance?

Most travelers, except perhaps a lucky few who remain independently wealthy despite the struggling economy, take some time to plan their next vacation destination before deciding to make a booking deposit. They do some web searching, some consulting with friends and relatives, some reading of travel advertising, and maybe even some travel guidebook study before frequently seeking advice from a travel professional. Like car buyers kicking the tires to compare deals, travelers like to comparison shop for their trips. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Germany by Hariworld

Modern Germany’s liberalism and progressive status stands in stark contrast to its profoundly volatile history. Visit Germany with Hariworld and see the an ideal starting point for any visit to Europe – Germany borders nine other countries. Remember, you can use 60-Second Geography articles in your newsletters and on your websites. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

What’s approximately 600 miles off the coast of Guayaquil, one of the most popular sites in Ecuador, and is home to giant turtles, prehistoric iguanas and a variety of other unique species found nowhere else on this planet?  If you guessed The Galapagos Islands and the Galapagos National Park, you’re right.  This unique island is home to some of the most diverse and almost out-of-this-world creatures to ever walk the planet, and was a heavy influence for Charles Darwin’s controversial book, The Origin of Species.

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