Monthly Archives: January 2012

Posted In: Outposts

Spain by Europe Express

Considered one of the hottest destinations in all of Europe and the world, the Iberian Peninsula country of Spain is high up on the favorites list of tourists around the globe. Its expansive coast, both bordering the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, provide a great location for beach lovers to relax, bask in the sun and, of course, partake in a variety of outdoor activities.

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As I sit here in front of my computer, I’m experiencing equal amounts of excitement, hope and terror.  2011 was a year that made me realize that I needed to shake things up in 2012.  I’ve decided to take the plunge and go after several prizes I’ve had my eye on over the years, things that I had always thought about with a, “one day I’ll ______ (fill in the blank)” which usually end with a sigh.  But not now. I’m finding that in order to succeed I’m going to have to stretch and really put myself out there; to leave my warm cozy comfort zone behind and expose myself.

Are you intrigued?  Can you relate? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

I love a good fight

The old axiom stands—opinions are like ….oh never mind, this is a family rated editorial. This week in the TRO Community there was a good fight. Well, maybe not a fight, but a professional disagreement about professionalism in the travel industry. The topic—e-mail addresses.

Stuart Cohen, one of TRO’s Business Coaches (you do know about the free business coaching at TRO, don’t you?) suggested it was time to ditch the aol, gmail, hotmail, yahoo, netzero, and comcast e-mail addresses for something more “professional” and go with a branded email address. And then it got heated. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Illegitimi non carborundum

One of the great joys of my responsibilities at TRO and Travelhoppers is to work with the travel writers I have come to know.  Many are well-published writers and some of the younger ones are amazing talents I fully expect to see at the top of their profession in a few years.

One of them inspired me greatly over the past couple of days. I’m going to be circumspect here and not recount the entire controversy in which this particular writer, Kat Richter, found herself embroiled.  She has given me permission to do so and if you want to run down the details, you can. Suffice it to say that she was featured in a fashion magazine and then on a national morning news show, not about her writing, but about her plans for the future.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

I Have Too Much to Do!

You’ve had that feeling – you enter the office, sit down at your desk, and (if your desk is anything like mine) eyeball the small, organized piles of work to be done. Clients to respond to with quotes; clients to follow up with; travel documents to verify and deliver; research to be done on the next requests in the pipeline. Each pile is a good size and you tackle it, all the while the phone is ringing and emails are coming in from new and current clients, interrupting your work through the day.

When the clock finally runs out, you smile satisfyingly at the ‘completed’ files that need to be put away, but then your eyes find the piles of work yet to be done and it doesn’t seem like you have even made a dent in your workload. At times, it seems like you have even MORE to complete than you did when the work day started!
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Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

When the Silver Shadow docked in Melbourne, Australia. I opted for a full-day tour called “Puffing Billy, Wildlife & Dandendnongs.”

One of the highlights of the tour was the visit to Healesville Sanctuary, where I, along with other Silversea guests, saw cute and cuddly koala bears, kangaroos and other wildlife found only in Australia. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

We are in this thing together

As many of you know, I consider myself a book junkie. Ever since I turned 35, I have been a bookstore’s favorite visitor.

My bookshelf is jammed with volume after volume of sales and marketing texts–all underlined and dog-eared.

From time to time, I will grab a book off of my shelf and open to a page just to read what I underlined on that particular day at that particular moment.

On Saturday, I picked up Dr. De Angelis’ book titled  “How Did I Get Here” and flipped randomly to page 21. There was a quote from Pema Chodron: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Nassau by Vacation Express

The Bahamas are among some of the most beautiful islands on earth. The water ranges from pale aqua green to deep sapphire blue—all influenced by the bright sun that shines almost 365 days a year. Nassau, the country’s capital, is a bustling town on New Providence Island with shops, nightclubs, ritzy casinos, and a wealth of hotels and resorts. Even amidst the bustle, there are quiet byways and shady lanes where you can step away from civilization and the hustle and bustle of this tourist mecca. Activities for visitors are numerous. Chief among them is shopping. And if they can break away from the bargains, they are free to wander colonial streets lined with colonial buildings replete with a rich history. Nights can be as frenetic or laid back as needed. Simply watch a beautiful sun set over the ocean, dine in a casual or fancy) restaurant. Aside from the local cuisine, the French food is sublime. After dinner, take in a show, go dancing, or take a chance with a games of chance is one of the casinos.

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Greetings from Idaho

Hello from Boise, Idaho! As this new year begins I am overwhelmed with thoughts of what this year is going to hold for me both personally and professionally.  Like many people, I choose a few resolutions each January 1st. Since I’m a realist, I select goals I know I can hit as to not be disappointed in myself.  That may be considered cowardly, but it works for me at the moment. Maybe I’ll shoot for the moon one of these days, but for now I need to set small, obtainable goals to build self confidence and belief in myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

TravelSafe Insurance, a division of the Chester Perfetto Agency, Inc. has become the gold standard in travel insurance products through innovation, experience and excellent customer service.

Since 1971, they have marketed and administered the most comprehensive policies available in the industry and are leading the way in developing new solutions for the insurance needs of individuals and families throughout the United States and Canada. Whether traveling close to home or around the world, TravelSafe will provide the security and peace of mind travel agents and their clients deserve.

Scott came onboard in 1974 and is a familiar face to travel agents attending trade shows and industry events.

TRO: For 40 years, TravelSafe has provided travelers with insurance coverage. How has the business changed in that time?

SP:
In 1971, travel insurance primarily covered people who traveled by bus and train. As airline travel became prevalent and popular to the traveling public in the mid 70’s, bus and train policies were redesigned and called Air Fare Protectors. Those original travel policies developed in the 70’s only covered Accidental Death, Medical and Baggage protection. Without computers, travel agents assigned policy numbers, wrote receipts for proof of payment and then mailed monthly reports after deducting their commissions.
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Posted In: Publishers Corner

Local Expert

The travel professionals writing for TRO have given some excellent advice over the past week on how to work with clients when a disaster like the Costa Concordia is splashed across the newspaper.  Steve Cousino’s  article recommends you address client fears directly and promptly. That is good advice.

Anyone who has been in the travel industry knows how timid the US traveler can be.  The slightest hint of danger can send consumers to their basements vowing never to get on an airplane again. Whether it’s a tragedy like the Concordia or a volcano somewhere in Iceland, people fear what they don’t understand.

And there’s your opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Costa Cruises has a mess on their hands. In addition to losing a ship, they are facing an environmental crisis; a public relations crisis; and the world is looking to see how well they handle it.  And so far it has not been anything to write home about.  While Costa Cruises, and their parent company Carnival Corporation, have seen their share of public relations nightmares before, don’t think that your agency is exempt from something similar.

With social media taking a lead in the Concordia disaster, the lines between verified fact, speculation, and outright fabrications have become very blurred. As of this writing, the only thing we do know is that the Captain did indeed abandon ship and there have been 12 confirmed deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – January 20, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Addressing Client Concerns

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard about the Costa Concordia’s tragic accident in Italy last week. It got me thinking about the many unpleasant things we need to be prepared to discuss with clients.  Some examples are natural disasters like the Iceland volcano mess from last year, prominent travel companies closing their doors suddenly (hello, Cruise West?), and travel “professionals” taking client funds for a trip that never was, and absconding with the money. Your handling of the incident can go a long way in enhancing your relationship with your clients, or it can be a signal to the client to find somewhere else to take their business.
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Posted In: Soundings

Does Your ‘About Us’ Page Tell a Compelling Story?

It is a fact: Well written biographies and personal stories resonate with consumers.

And those of us in the travel trade have a special advantage. We get to travel a lot. The more we travel, the better our stories. Does your About Us page reflect that?  After all, this is where you get to tell your story…and how well you do so can have a measureable impact on your business.

Think I’m exaggerating? Listen to what top marketers and successful entrepreneurs are saying about the art and craft of storytelling and its impact on your business.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Blue Sky Tours

Can you name a supplier who has been selling Hawai’i since 1981. Only Hawai’i? Blue Sky Tours, a leading wholesaler to Hawai’i, is the one! With a broad product line, flexible and easy-to-use selling tools, great prices, a pro agent attitude and superior service, it’s no wonder Blue Sky Tours has set the standard for Hawai’i vacation packages for over 30 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Watch your language

When I wrote my book Visionistics – The Process of Success, I wrote it in English.  While I speak a couple of other languages, I could not have expressed myself clearly by using any of them.  With my limited skills I may have successfully translated the words, but the important message behind them would certainly have been lost.

My book is soon to be translated into Chinese due to increasing sales in China.  This is a language where nothing but the tone of voice can change the sound “cha” from meaning “tea” to meaning “nasty.”  Subtlety matters.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Travling Kidd–A new year, a new me

Celebrating the beginning of 2012 meant more to me then bringing in the New Year.  For me, it was the beginning of a new focus for my home based business and re-evaluating my career goals after a slight detour that took me into another direction.

I started my career in the travel industry full of excitement but with no experience outside of a background in Executive Support and a Travel Management course at my Community College.   I had a vague idea of what I wanted my niche to be but no clear idea on how to articulate it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

By now, we have heard of the tragedy that befell the Costa Concordia over the weekend off the coast of Italy. At the time of this writing, The Sun was reporting that at least six of the 4,000 on board were dead.  In recent memory, there has not been a commercial cruise line accident of this magnitude since the RMS Titanic sank in 1912. Obviously, passengers are going to be concerned about cruise ship safety.  Likely you may see some cancellations; and as a travel professional, it is your job to answer their questions. To help ease you through what looks to be a significant black mark on the cruising industry, in what is typically the busiest time of the year, for cruise bookings, I offer these three tips. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – January 13, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain