Monthly Archives: February 2012

Posted In: Supplier Profile

City Escape Holidays and Special Event Packages

City Escape Holidays is the Marina del Rey, CA based tour operator, offering land-only City Packages and Special Event Packages to many destinations in the USA and Canada. The company was founded in 1991 and the combined staff experience totals over 70 years in the travel business. Company president, Bo Adams, remains very proud of the fact that in his 43 years in the travel business, they travel agency distribution network has been the exclusive outlet for his products; that includes 23 years running SuperCities, before creating City Escapes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

I love a good pun and double-entendres always make me smile.  I’m especially fond of the ones that prove a point or make you think.  “Believe-able or Doubt-fail” is one of my favorites.

In a recent episode of The Mike and Nolan Show we discussed the importance of believing in your own value.  This is absolutely critical when it comes to success with fees!  Read the rest of this entry »

A choppy ‘Wave Season’

WAVE season was looking extremely lucrative for me this year. I was making 3-5 bookings a day and then….Costa Concordia. It has had a huge impact on my personal income. I only sell cruises so I can’t fall back on selling resorts or other travel to make up the loss of cruise business. I’m thankful for my repeat clientele and those who recognize the fantastic promotions being offered by the cruise lines, and my agency for keeping me in the black this month. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

How good is your memory?

Do you remember when Pennies From Heaven was a top song by Bing Crosby?  Probably not—that was way back in 1936. What about the August 4, 2002 fire on the Statendam? No? Well how about the sinking of the Concordia?  Chances are that you don’t recall the first two items—they were so long ago. The Concordia is still very recent and raw for us in the industry, but for most, it has fallen off the radar. As technology continues to improve and deliver news in a near real-time format, our memory and attention span is getting shorter and shorter. I venture to say in a month, the Concordia disaster will be but a fleeting blip for all except those who are directly involved. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Lots of Frogs, But Only One Prince

A fellow travel agent and I were brainstorming group cruise ideas recently. We hit upon wine-themed cruises, and she mentioned her area had many wineries. This prompted me to look at MY area and, yep, there are a lot of wineries near me, too! Between the two of us you would think that we’d have a good chance of getting at least two wine-themed cruise groups going. Statistically, that may be true, but statistics never promised anything.

My colleague hit upon one basic truth I had forgotten about: “You just need to find the right Pied Piper.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Zeebrugge, Belgium

While mind reading is admittedly a tricky skill, it’s probably safe to assume that most visitors do not disembark from their cruise ship in Zeebrugge with the intention to explore this Belgian destination. For most travellers, nearby Bruges is the main reason to put this region of the world on their list of places to visit. The capital of the province of West Flanders, Bruges is world famous for its historic city center. As important as Zeebrugge is from an economic perspective – primarily due to the port – it is probably not a wild guess to assume that Zeebrugge (literally: Bruges-on-sea) will continue to live in the shadows when it comes to tourism. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile


Tailor-made Group Travel Made Easy with Europe Express

At Europe Express they are dedicated to amazing group travel experiences. From bringing families closer together to educating students about art, history or architecture, it is easy to see why Europe Express has been a leader in arranging group travel since 1990. The amazing experience starts well before your clients even think of packing a suitcase.

Their team works with you to create a tailor-made trip to fit the interests of your group, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more. They provide expert guides and high quality travel products and specialize in multi-city and multi-country itineraries. In addition to helping you organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Are you a professional?

I was recently reminded how a professional can make a difference.

Last week, I found myself flirting with disaster. Since I barely know where to put the gas in my car, I wasn’t sure what was happening when my steering wheel started to shimmy. My car suddenly veered to the left as the steering wheel shook wildly. I assumed the worse–my steering gizmo was broken and my life (and that of anyone around me) was in imminent danger. Even worse, it was 6:00am and I was shimmying to the airport repeating to myself, “just get me to the airport, just get me to the airport.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Traveling Kidd — Networking 101

As a brand new company in 2012, I have set monthly goals for myself.  January was my month to find a vehicle to network and get my name out there in the community.  As one of my peers said to me “No one can hire you, if they don’t know you are out there”.  So I figured if other businesses knew about “Traveling Kidd” that would be half the battle.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

City Escape Holidays was founded in 1991 by Bo Adams and his wife Claudia.  He has since created and marketed City Packages to 24 cities throughout the United States and Canada and 22 Special Event Packages to major cities and events throughout North America.  Bo has worked in the travel industry since 1969 and has been the Vice President of Supercities.

 

TRO: Please give some background on City Escape Holidays.

BA: We are in our 21st year, we founded in January of 1991. My wife Claudia and I founded City Escape Holidays. We’re located in Marina Del Rey, California and we deal with land-only city packages. We have 24 City packages and 22 special event packages. The hallmarks of our packages are: we only work with travel agents and our packages are very flexible. We are happy to customize anything to suit the customer’s needs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

All you have to do is ask

We are all in sales. No one eats unless something is sold—it is that simple. However, many travel agents do not see themselves as salespeople. They are purveyors of information, keepers of knowledge, and trusted confidantes. But let’s not forget we can gather all the information in the world, store it all in our heads and offer the best advice to kings and queens; but, if we don’t ask for the sale, we are never going to get it. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy simply because we fail to do the most basic step in the sales process—asking for it! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Stop Looking For The Commission!

It’s a common sight: message board posts from agents asking for a referral to a company that provides a service their clients need, plus the tagline, “that pays commission.”

If one were to examine carefully the history of the travel industry in America, the commission-based model didn’t exist eighty years ago.  Sellers of travel were paid fees by the customer for making the arrangements.  Eventually, suppliers started offering a commission on the sale to travel agents as an incentive to sell their products.  Fees paid by the client fell by the wayside, and travel agents became agents of the supplier more than a consultant for the client.
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Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Oostende For Cruise Passengers

The proximity to the sea has always been a double-edged sword for Oostende (or Ostend). On the one hand, being situated on the North Sea coast has meant advantages for the city in the form of trade and fishing. On the other hand, enemy men-o’-war and armies have sometimes found the city on the shores of the North Sea to be an easy target. Examples include the Siege of Oostende, which lasted for three years (between 1601 and 1604).

Oostende, which received its city status rights in 1265, counts almost 70,000 inhabitants. Nowadays an industrial center and a rail transportation hub, the sea also continues to be highly important to the city’s residents. With 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) of sandy beaches, Oostende is a major holiday destination for many Belgians (and foreigners, too). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Vacation Express, one of the largest tour operators in the southeast United States, announced at the beginning of 2012 it had been wholly acquired by Sunwing Travel Group Inc., a family-owned and operated, Toronto-based company and Canada’s leading vertically integrated leisure travel company.

Within a month of the company’s new ownership announcement, Vacation Express got their Sunwing Airlines program up and running and open for sale, and it’s been a booking frenzy ever since.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

So, just how much is my travel agency worth? This is a question our staff hears all the time. The answer is: “Your travel business is worth whatever the most motivated buyer is willing to pay at the time you wish to sell.” Granted, there are certainly some benchmark rules of thumb. Sellers must keep in mind that buyers are looking at the acquisition opportunity with eyes towards paying off the investment as quickly as possible. So, in general terms, here is how we value an agency in today’s market. Keep in mind, tomorrow’s market might be vastly different. Read the rest of this entry »

Ships N Trips Travel–Beating the bushes

Wow. Has it already been a month? Then I guess we’re due for an update. As I mentioned last month I’m focusing my 2012 marketing on groups. My goal is to get four new groups organized in 2012 for travel in 2012 or 2013. I have made some good headway in this area, but there is still work to be done. Plus, I still need to monitor and work on the existing groups already confirmed and on the books. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

Rob Betz joined The Mark Travel Corporation in 1994 and has held several duties involving sales, marketing, operations and product contracting.  He is inspired and energized to continue working with such a knowledgeable and dedicated team at Blue Sky Tours.  His mission is to grow the business and further the reputation of Blue Sky Tours as an industry leader in the Hawaii market.

TRO: Blue Sky Tours sells only Hawaii, why not offer other destinations?

RB: Hawaii has been very successful for Blue Sky Tours for over 30 years.  It is one destination that everyone wants to visit at least once in their lifetime.  Once we get the client to Hawaii they realize what a special destination it is and they become return customers.  All of our attention at Blue Sky Tours is focused on the one destination which truly makes us specialists.  Hawaii gets in your blood.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Rob Betz joined The Mark Travel Corporation in 1994 and has held several duties involving sales, marketing, operations and product contracting.  He is inspired and energized to continue working with such a knowledgeable and dedicated team at Blue Sky Tours.  His mission is to grow the business and further the reputation of Blue Sky Tours as an industry leader in the Hawaii market.

TRO: Blue Sky Tours sells only Hawai’i, why not offer other destinations?

RB: Hawaii has been very successful for Blue Sky Tours for over 30 years.  It is one destination that everyone wants to visit at least once in their lifetime.  Once we get the client to Hawaii they realize what a special destination it is and they become return customers.  All of our attention at Blue Sky Tours is focused on the one destination which truly makes us specialists.  Hawaii gets in your blood.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Every morning I walk my dog about 6:30am and bury my face in my smart phone to catch up on all the news that has happened in my various worlds—travel news, world news, local news, and humor.  Friday started out like any other day, until a flurry of email alerts filled my inbox.  Email is not unusual. Email at 6:45am was. Initially I feared that there was something major happening–flashbacks to the Concordia incident anyone? And upon reading the first one, I saw that Friday was going to be an awful lot like a bad Monday.  Now certainly this was not a Concordia-like crisis; but, the TRO Community was offline. Read the rest of this entry »