Monthly Archives: July 2011

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – July 29, 2011

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: TROTips

Welcome to number two in our series of articles discussing Information Security.  In the last article, we provided a foundation to help you understand the different aspects of Information Security and how they relate to you.

You may have noticed that this article is not called anti-malware.  That’s a very deliberate choice, because malware protection is much more than just installing an anti-malware product.  But before we get into details, it’s worth taking the time to define what malware is – and what it isn’t.

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Posted In: Soundings

The travel industry was stunned this week when – for the first time in ten years – 48 hours passed without the launch of a single new online travel application.

Critics, travel writers and technology reviewers alike scanned the media in a panic, checking their iPhones, Androids and Blackberries, glancing nervously at their news feeds every few minutes.
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Posted In: Supplier Profile

Vacation Express, a boutique tour operator based in Atlanta, has emerged as a preferred tour operator for travel agents looking for a more personalized approach for their clients seeking a top-notch vacation experience to Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean. Vacation Express cuts through the overload of hotel and destination information and compresses it into a highly selective product line designed for all budgets and interest levels. Agents using Vacation Express quickly recognize the value of having a tour operator in their corner that boasts a responsive staff and takes great pride in their product expertise, including the hotels they represent and promote and ultimately sell to you and your clients.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

Starting At The Bottom

What better place to begin another series of earth-shaking messages than at the bottom? Trust me this will become more clear in a few minutes.

To give you an idea of just how my mind comes up with my messages, I am inviting you to picture me entering the men’s room in my local library. The hilarious story I am about to tell is completely true.

Try to picture this. It may remind you of an old Seinfeld rerun. You enter the library’s facility only to spot a grown man (me) down on his knees twisting and turning trying to get a new roll of toilet paper to cooperate.  One hundred turns one way followed by two hundred turns the opposite way all accompanied with less than attractive vocabulary. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

South Africa by APTA

People say it all the time, but we know it’s true – one of the best parts about traveling is finding something new.  Whether it be an environment, a culture, a certain flavor of food or that perfect keepsake that, upon looking at it, reminds you of that wonderful trip, the sensation of finding something previous unknown to us is thrilling.

South Africa is, without a doubt, an example of all of the above.  Home to stunning examples of nature, exotic wildlife, highly regarded vineyards – producing some of the finest wine worldwide – historic (and unique) towns and cities, phenomenal cuisine and, of course, culture unlike any other.  Read the rest of this entry »

The dog days of summer are upon us and here in south Florida, the syrupy humidity and always expectant afternoon thunderstorms prevail on a daily basis with no end in sight.  Finding the strength to work outside, or complete necessary household projects reaches the pinnacle of difficulty this time of year when the need to remain inside trumps all others.

A cold beverage and my windowless office provide me shelter and relief from the overbearing heat and moisture and offers me a quiet place to conduct my travel business.  While the air conditioner constantly runs and the electrical meter spins wildly off its axis, I chuckle as I see ads for sun drenched Caribbean resorts and destinations; people on pristine beaches without a cloud in the sky or cruise ships plying through waveless oceans, and recognize the irony of the opposite experiences many of my clients endure this time of year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

6 Reasons Why Travel Agents Love The Industry

Everyone has up days and down days. There are days when you want to throw in the towel and others that make it all worthwhile. If you need proof of that just read some of the entries in our Travel Agent Diary series.  Earlier this week, someone asked me what excited me about this industry, and it was a terrific refresher course for me and it was a piece of cake to come up with these six reasons why I am still so jazzed about the travel industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – July 22, 2011

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

It’s Not About You

Think of a time when you’ve been out shopping.  You’re looking for a specific item.  A sales clerk asks if they can help.  You tell them what you’re looking for, and they steer you to a different brand, or a product with more bells and whistles than you want.  Most likely, they make more money on that product than what you want to purchase.  You get frustrated and leave.  Why?  The clerk is not thinking about you. And, that’s what this particular sale is all about – YOU.

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Posted In: Deck Plans

Celebrity Silhouette Ship Review

Sister to Celebrity Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse, Celebrity Silhouette joins the Celebrity Cruises fleet in July 2011. Like her sisters, Celebrity Silhouette will feature Qsine, Martini Bar & Crush, the iLounge Internet center, the Lawn Club and veranda views in 85 percent of staterooms.

Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships are some of the most beautiful and distinctive megaships ever built, offering super-modern styling, sophisticated spas and relaxation areas, a wealth of fantastic dining options, beautifully designed staterooms and suites, and a vibe that feels much more upscale than you’d expect, given Celebrity’s competitive pricing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Follow-Up or Fall-Out

As some of you know, I am beginning to plan my retirement by moving to up-state New York. I know. I know. “Mike you’re too young to cash in your chips.” My answer to this is that it is never too early to start “planning.”

When Barbara and I began investigating, we took an initial fancy to log homes. We did what any investigators might do–we purchased a log home magazine at the supermarket and sent away for all the free stuff that is not nailed down.  And boy did we get stuff. But here is where today’s lesson begins. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Branson, Missouri by VacationRentals4Agents

A city that, while not too well known outside the Midwest, is a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – Branson is the gem of Southwest Missouri. At the heart of the Ozarks, Branson boasts a rather untraditional five-season year, with visits from January to December offering a drastically different experience each month you’re there. From outdoor activities like championship-level golfing, fishing and boating to live shows and upscale shopping, Missouri’s finest will have you never wanting to leave.

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

As I sit in my local Borders bookstore sipping coffee, working and enjoying the scenery, I find myself pondering this month’s topic. I first would like to say, I’m so in love with being able to take my office with me wherever I go.  It helps fight the loneliness and isolation of working at home in a small town. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Don’t be a know-it-all travel professional

We all know that to be successful in travel, we need to specialize in something. That’s no big secret. Just compare a specialty agency (or agent) to a generalist and the benefits (and profits) will become obvious. But, one of the downfalls of specialization is that at one point, you might begin to think you know it all—after all, you are the “expert.”. And when you reach that point, it is time to shake things up a bit. Knowing it all is a very dangerous mindset to hold for very long.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We are often asked so many routine questions time and time again that the answers just rattle off the tip of our tongues because, let’s face it, some things never change. But as good travel professionals, we try to keep up on the stuff that does change—destinations, hotels, ships, etc. But what about your clients? Or the traveling psyche of today’s traveler? Are you up to speed here? Or have you become a know-it-all? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – July 15, 2011

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: TROTips

Although this series of articles may not sound intriguing, the information they hold is critical to the well-being of your business.  Just as you help your clients understand why they need travel insurance, our purpose here is to make you aware of the benefits of understanding and adequately addressing information security in your business.  It can be the difference between surviving and going out of business.  Read these articles to gain an overall understanding of what and how your business should be protecting.  Don’t panic! If you do not consider yourself “tech savvy” just pass this information along to your “computer guy” (be it your teenage son or the Best Buy Geek Squad) and have them take the necessary steps to protect your clients, your business and yourself.

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Posted In: Deck Plans

A Baltic Cruises FAQ

Take your desktop globe for a spin or pull out your atlas and cast your eyes on Europe. Look north, not south, to find the cruising region known as the Baltic. Even experienced travelers sometimes confuse the Baltic with the Balkans. The two regions could not be more different.

The Balkans are comprised of countries (such as Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey) on the Balkan Peninsula. The Baltic cruising region refers to the Baltic Sea, which stretches from southern Denmark to near the Arctic Circle and covers about 149,000 square miles. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Luxury African safaris by Great Safaris

Great Safaris is a luxury African safari and tour operator specializing in customized, high-end experiences in South Africa, Egypt, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Great Safaris is committed to designing amazing itineraries and providing unparalleled customer service to its upscale clientele. Great Safaris’ founding partners have a combined 80 years of experience in the safari business, and every itinerary is a product of the passion and knowledge that come from decades of exploring and living on the magical continent of Africa.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

The policy of fun

I love Disneyland! Every single time I have bought my ticket, I’ve been greeted with an enthusiastic smile and well wishes for having a fun day. Somehow, it always felt sincere.

Disney is in the business of selling fun. A cranky, disinterested or distracted ticket agent could sour the entire experience. Such a thing would be very rare in the Magic Kingdom. They “get it.”  Fun is not just a good idea; it’s official policy. They know that the fun begins long before you walk through the gates. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Brazil by Solar Tours

Brazil is on a roll, and its star city of Rio de Janeiro is the hub of all the action. Already the ninth largest economy in the world, Brazil may well reach the rank of 5th by the time the Olympics make their debut in 2016. Now is a good time to get to know Brazil because the 14.4 billion dollars scheduled to be spent preparing the country to host the Olympics is likely to forever change its face.

Did we mention that Brazil is also hosting the 2014 World Cup? The two sporting events have the nation bursting with pride, the tour operators and hoteliers working overtime and the city struggling to upgrade the nation’s tourism infrastructure. The International Olympic Committee chose Rio over Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo, and the Brazilians seem determined not to let the opportunity pass without giving it their best.
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