Monthly Archives: September 2011

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

In light of the recent press coverage on illness and disease associated with traveling abroad, here are a few helpful tips you may wish to pass along to your clients:

The simple advice in the title of this article says it all.  Food-and water-related illnesses are some of the most common ailments experienced by travelers.  In many instances, the foods or preparation thereof is different that what we’re used to at home, even if the dish is something familiar (eggs, for example).  In addition, encourage travelers to stay in good-quality accommodations where the drinking water is safe.  When they venture out to explore, the availability of bottled or purified water is essential.
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Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Var Provence’s Toulon & La Seyne-sur-Mer, France

We had a wonderful day in Var Provence, exploring ship shore excursions in Toulon and La Seyne-sur-Mer, France, while filming for the new Avid Cruiser travel show, launching in 2012.

In Toulon, we walked through the local market, where we met many colorful characters, including the “Salad Lady.” We found the people here to be exceptionally warm and welcoming, friendly even, despite what you may have heard about French snobbery (nonexistent here, it would appear).

We sampled some local specialities, such as La Cade, a pie of sorts made from chick-pea flour, and later by the marina, we sipped glasses of the delicious and popular Rosé wine, accompanied, of course, by sumptuous servings of local seafood. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Solar Tours – More than a Consolidator

Solar Tours began in 1984 as a wholesaler for Foreign Independent Tours (FITs) to Latin America. Due to their success and the relationships they built, expanding into airline consolidation made a lot of sense and Solar became known for their consolidation business. My how times have changed.

Today’s Solar Tours is still that great consolidator for Latin America, but they are so much more. They have taken their extensive FIT background and developed a program for agents not only in Latin America, but in Europe and the Asian-Pacific markets as well. Over the past five years, Solar Tours has invested on growing their business to include other products—one that every agent will love. How helpful would it be to be able to book a multi-destination FIT on one secure website that includes airline consolidator pricing? To Europe? To Asia? To Latin America? Look no further.
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Posted In: Point-to-Point

The secret lesson

You never know when a valuable business lesson will appear and slap you in the head. The other day, I had it happen to me.  Let me lay out the steps (no more than 15) and then I will expound a bit. I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.

I had a problem with my Blackberry. I’ll call the company Verizon, because…well that’s the name on the sign. And, I decided to take it back to the store to get my issue resolved! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

John T. Peters joined Tripology as President and CEO in 2008. Since then, John guided the team at Tripology in hitting critical growth milestones. In early 2010, Tripology processed its 175,000 trip request and has assembled a network of nearly 15,000 Travel Specialists. In March 2010, John sold Tripology.com to Rand McNally. 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.

John is a frequent speaker at trade shows and international meetings including World Travel Market, EyeforTravel, Vacation Home Expo, The New York Times Travel Show, International Cruise-a-thon and others.
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Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Alaska by Celebrity Cruises

The Last Frontier. Also known as the 49th State and home to some of the most ecologically diverse and remarkable ecosystems in the world, Alaska is in its prime. Making the transition between the cold winter months and the warming, albeit still cool summer months, this very moment is the ideal time to explore our most northern state.

The fusion of nature and mankind presents visitors with a delicate blend, offering the best both can offer in picturesque settings – old towns from the gold rush days standing in the shadows of snow-covered mountains, their reflection bouncing off the lake in front of them. What could possibly be better than that?

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It is hard to believe that we are about to enter the final quarter of 2011! My business partner and I are embarking on adding two new divisions to our business next year, so we have been knee deep in 2012 goal setting. While I’ve been investigating and researching various concepts and ideas, I got to thinking that the travel industry is very similar to the investment world. In essence, you may start out with one investment vehicle, and eventually you want to spread your risk, so you begin investing in other types of investments. Instead of simply having a mutual fund, you may also invest in CDs, individual stock purchases, hedge funds and gold.

I see the travel business in the same way. It’s imperative for long-term longevity to do your core business right, but in order to spread your risk and also make money during the times when one area of your business may not be at its peak, having diversification can be the difference between a successful and profitable business, versus a business that is floundering and stagnant. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Falling Awake

I took some of my own advice this week and engaged a life coach. In years past I have used a coach when facing really big projects and those projects have most often been better for the effort.   The best coaches don’t give advice, and they don’t tell you how to live. Instead they assist with the uncovering of your own talents and skills and coach you into using your own resources to handle life as it comes at you. Life coaches provide valuable feedback that you might not, in fact probably would not, generate by yourself. A coach will hold you accountable for developing and sticking to realistic action plans for achieving goals both large and small.

The concept is not necessarily a new one. Professional athletes have coaches to assist them with the technical and mental aspects of their sport. Mentoring is a well-known and highly respected practice given a very prominent and formal place at many companies. A coach will generally Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

We are all in this travel business because of our passion for travel. Well, at least we should be! When you compare our industry to others, it is certainly not the money that attracts throngs—so it must be the passion, right?

But following your passion can be fraught with perils and pitfalls. We are all susceptible, but if you keep your eyes open, your passion path can be a little less bumpy. There are seven pitfalls that I can identify. Surely there are more; please leave yours in a comment below. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – September 23, 2011

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: TROTips

Welcome to the final installment in our series of articles discussing information security. You can catch up on past articles here: #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5. This time around we’re going to discuss something that you might not normally thing about: PIN codes and passwords.

How many of you use a password on the main computer on which you keep client information so that if it’s lost or stolen the criminal doesn’t have instant access to your hard drive? How many of you use a PIN code to lock your smartphone or tablet for the same reason?
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Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Just a Matter of Time

I have a docking station on my desk and every day, according to my mood, I change my playlists. Today, as I was listening to Brook Benton sing “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, I thought, you know, it really is just a matter of time until some of us older, experienced travel agents will literally be moving on to retirement.

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Posted In: Soundings

How to Profit from the Boomer Wave by Creating Loyalty

My fellow TA’s – allow me to speak to you in confidence – as a representative of my generation. We Boomers have some unique, even eccentric needs. By going the extra mile to address those needs you can win our undying loyalty.

In the US there are 77 million of us who were born between 1946 and 1964. We account for 40% of US adult population, control 67% of the nation’s wealth and are responsible for 80% of all luxury travel spending. Plus, we boomers want it our way. We want customization, not ‘off-the-rack’…especially when it comes to travel.

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Posted In: Supplier Profile

AccessFares – A Better Class of Service

For more than 20 years, AccessFares has provided travel industry professionals with heavily discounted, unpublished first and business class international airfares to most major international destinations, offering agents the opportunity to sell premium travel at a discount of up to 60% off published rates. Continue reading to see why Travel + Leisure named AccessFares one of the best resources for amazing first and business class fares.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

In flipping through O Magazine (Oprah’s rag), an article titled “The Power of Intention” caught my eye. On the first page, was a photo of a row of toppled dominoes.  The article continued, explaining how a yoga instructor was using dominoes as a teaching tool.

A woman was attending her first yoga class when the instructor asked the class “what happened?”, referencing the photo. The yoga aficionados in the class came up with all sorts of responses, all coupled to some exotic, Sanskrit phrase of explanation. The novice looked at the instructor, not knowing any better, and simply replied, “It looks like they fell to me.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

Michael Fisher is President of Travelenergy, a travel industry company providing global business development services. The company is operating the Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP) for Expedia in the United States and Canada. Michael has spent his entire working career in travel, and worked his youthful summers in the family business, Allied Tours. After 9/11, Michael was invited to join NYC and Company as Senior Advisor, providing consulting on a variety of projects. Michael went on to Gullivers Travel Associates, one of the largest global travel organizations, to join their North American operation prior to its acquistion by the Cendant Corporation. Michael started a tourism consulting company, called Travelenergy, working with travel industry partners in developing and implementing global tourism sales and marketing strategies.

TRO: Michael, it’s no secret that many travel consultants view Expedia as competition. Certainly other large OTA’s have turned to travel agents as a distribution outlet, Orbitz comes to mind, but there are still many unanswered questions. Can you explain the TAAP program for us? What does it offer the travel consultant? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Jamaica by Vacation Express

The island of Jamaica is the third largest in the Caribbean. It is ideally located, capturing trade winds that assist in maintaining a near constant temperature between 77 and 82 degrees and which bless the mountainous island’s northeast coast with abundant rain. Jamaica supports a wide diversity of plant and animal life. More than half the island is higher than 800 feet above sea level. The economy depends heavily on the tourism business, and some of the Caribbean’s finest resorts and elegant boutique hotels are found on the beaches of Jamaica.

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A couple years ago, I read a book by Brian Tracy called Eat that Frog, which helped me so much that our company grew 161% over last year. Time management is very important to us now as we struggle with how to fit it all in. There is an old saying, “If you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing worse can happen all day”. The premise is if you look at your list of things to do that day and complete the biggest frog (or thing) first. This will give you momentum and energy to get through the rest of your day. If you let it sit there and weigh heavy on you, it will drain you as you worry about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you using QR Codes?

What are these square barcode boxes you are starting to see everywhere? They are appearing on billboards, in local stores and starting to show up on products everywhere. They are Quick Response Codes also known as QR Codes. The simplest description is it is a barcode for smart phones and PDA’s. If you download the free QR Code app for your smart phone, you can take a picture of the QR Code with your phone and the phone will do what the QR Code tells it to do.

Most of the time it will be used to take you to a website, show you a video, dial a phone number, give you a V-Card or send you a text or email. Gone are the days when you need to carry a pen with you to write down information on a business. Just click on the code using your smart phone and get the information you desire.

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Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – September 16, 2011

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain