Monthly Archives: March 2012

Posted In: Editorial Musings

An arrest warrant was issued for MS Carnival Triumph late Friday after a judge ordered she be held because of a $10 million lawsuit which has been filed by the family of a German tourist who died aboard the Costa Concordia in January. Responding to media inquiries, US Magistrate Judge John Froeschner said, “The court finds that the conditions for an attachment of defendants’ joint and collective property within this district, mainly the MS Carnival Triumph, appear to exist upon an admiralty and maritime claim.”  The seizure of the Carnival Triumph is yet another blow for Carnival Corporation and the cruise industry which seems to be having a year full of bad luck. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week we have been discussing the visual system used by companies to identify their brand. We have spoken about matters as big as your logo and as small and seemingly unimportant as font and white space.  The very valid question remains: so what?

After all, it really is your skill set clients seek out, right?  Your 20 years in the business means your clip art logo and Hotmail or AOL email account don’t really matter so much to clients.  They know you for the travel genius you are and the rest is really just padding.

Well, not so much. Let’s look at Starbucks for a couple of lessons. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – March 30, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans


The brand-new Viking Longships are Viking River Cruises most ambitious vessels to-date. Offering an abundance of “must-have” features, these game-changing vessels have captured the imagination of river cruise travellers; so much so that in the summer of 2011, Viking River Cruises announced the original four-ship order would be increased to six vessels due to unprecedented demand. Viking Aegir and Viking Embla will join sister-ships Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Njord and Viking Odin as some of the most innovative ships plying the waterways in Europe when they are launched in this spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Tools of the trade

Imagine this:  you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair preparing for an expensive, lengthy root canal.  Then, the dentist says, “you know, I’m not really good at these drill thingies, now open wide!”  How confident and comfortable would that make you feel?  Would you just laugh and say, “That’s OK, I can’t use one either, drill away.”?  No. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Flanders, the northern region of Belgium consisting of Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges is a delightful addition to any European vacation. Just a short train ride from London, Paris or Amsterdam, these breathtaking cities provide a myriad of chocolate, diamonds, beer, extraordinary architecture and art.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two years ago when I officially started doing business, I remember having the worst case of butterflies you could imagine. Some of it was due to uncertainty– would I be overwhelmed with more clients than I could handle (I wish), would I make a mistake that would expose me as the rookie that I was. However, the majority of my concerns and reservations were based primarily on the dreaded “first consultation”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

How To Choose a Logo

Are you recognizable?  Take a look at the items within your line of sight.  Recognize any brands?  Who made the phone, the computer you are working on, the printer sitting on its stand?  The chances are pretty good on each is a logo which acts as a symbol for the company’s brand.  When you see the apple with a bite taken out of its right side, you know it’s not an apple – it’s an Apple.

As I indicated in my Publisher’s Corner article today, a company’s visual system is a very important aspect of marketing. Most visible is the company’s logo, but the type face, the colors you use and the layout are all key components of making the whole work.  We tend to pay the most attention to the logo, but over time the elements may begin to drift away from the standard you originally set. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

The think I like most about an unstructured conversation is that you never know where it will lead. After a late brunch the day after St. Paddy’s Day, I was shooting the breeze with the General Manager of a small chain of independent hotels about business in general. Of course, I am always interested in how other parts of the industry are doing and asked a simple question–“So what are your biggest challenges today?” It was somewhat of a mundane question and I expected to hear the tales of lower than ideal occupancy, lower yield due to the economy or something equally as mundane as the question. The answer I got surprised me. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – March 23, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Support@

 This week TRO launches a new column highlighting the men and women who are the first line of support for travel professionals: res agents, help desks and business development managers.

Casey T. Law has been with Vacation Express since July, 1997. Having started out as a Reservations Coordinator and working his way up to Group Department Manager, his duties and responsibilities have varied from intercepting heavy call volume and offering high-level customer service to managing and leading a team that organizes itineraries for various types of groups including leisure and corporate incentive clientele and weddings.

Working at Vacation Express is like being part of a family.  Everyone works together as a team in order to provide the best possible product and customer service in the industry, and each of us is appreciated for our strengths and contributions to the company’s success. Knowing that all of my colleagues strive to be personable, professional and productive makes it easy to come to work every day to share in the experience of the fast-paced travel business and ultimately exceed our clients’ expectations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

The experience is still too fresh to totally grasp the long-term implications, but I believe I’ve glimpsed the future of cruising…at least the future of Big Ship cruising.

My week on the Norwegian Epic was an eye opener to say the least. Some of NCLs innovations are new and original. Others – like a completely separate, private and upscale class of accommodations & dining within the same ship – hark back to the grand trans-Atlantic ocean liners of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

ShoreTrips Shore Excursions

Barry and Julie Karp founded ShoreTrips over 10 years ago. They found a niche that had been ignored: an independent company that could provide tours and excursions in ports and major cities. This created increased revenue for agents who now have many activity options in addition to what cruises lines or suppliers offer.  Barry and Julie have grown during the past decade to offer excursions from Alaska and Hawaii to the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Here is the long and the short of it.

Professionals ask for the business. Amateurs don’t.

The choice is yours. Are you a pro or are you a wanna-be?

Here are the facts: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Italy by Europe Express

This week’s 60-Second Geography article is all about the home of la dolce vita. So when the moon hits your eye like a big…well, you know. Remember, you can use 60-Second Geography articles in your own agency newsletters and on your websites. Read the rest of this entry »

Ships N Trips Travel-The Hunt

After last month’s article,  I had several emails and private messages specifically asking about finding the ever elusive pied pipers.  I got the impression that many travel professionals feel like they are on a snipe hunt when it comes to finding pied pipers for group travel.

There is no secret formula or handshake involved, but you do need a healthy dose of patience and perseverance, sprinkled with a gift of gab. You need to be able to make “the ask” and ask often.  When it comes to prospecting for pied pipers I break it up into two simple categories:  cold calling, and warm calling.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1


Geri Jacobs, the Director of the Tourist Office for Flanders-Brussels, has a background in Marketing and Communications having previously worked as a Brand Strategist for international projects with AB Inbev, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Virgin Express and Brussels Airlines. Tourism from the US to Flanders has experienced a double-digit growth over the last 2 years, something Geri Jacobs attributes to a core strategy of killing your darlings and an increasingly theme-based or special interest approach, combined with forging strong partnerships within the travel sector.

TRO: Please explain the Tourist Office for Flanders-Brussels’ operations in the U.S.

GJ: The Tourist Office for Flanders-Brussels ( represents the Flemish-speaking region in the North of Belgium. Our aim is, first and foremost, to educate people about the destination. After all, Flanders and Brussels are not very well-known compared to other western European countries. Secondly, we want to inspire people by sharing real and authentic ideas for trips. Storytelling is a big part of what we do, as we usually get blank stares when we mention Flanders.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Last week, TRO’s 365 Guide offered 5 articles for building and maximizing your electronic newsletter. If you have not read the series, please do—there is a lot of very valuable information to make your e-newsletter as successful as it can be.  Once your newsletter is established and you are mailing it out, you still need to take one more step—making sure as many people read it as possible. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to make that happen, it will take some trial and error, but here are some tips to get you on your way. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – March 16, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: TROTips

We all use email in our work – it’s an indispensable part of our operations and, truthfully, we couldn’t do what we do as efficiently without it. But, there are times when email becomes a huge monster that prevents us from getting any work done and can be the cause of many frustrations. One travel agent I know gets so much supplier email that her client email would easily get lost in the inbox maelstrom if she didn’t practice good email management. Here are four strong tips for fighting and taming the email monster!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Isle of Man For Cruise Passengers

Despite its small size, the Isle of Man harbors amazing contrasts. The island in the middle of the Irish Sea offers visitors a mixture of steep hills, lush valleys, green pastures, views of the omnipresent sea – and roaring motorcycles.

Motorcycles, of course, are chiefly associated with the first two weeks in June, when the traditional Isle of Man TT race is held. With bikers racing at speeds approaching 200 mph (320 kilometers/hour) on public roads, the competition is a main attraction on the island. Several other races are also held here, however, both bike- and car races. The season starts in April/May and continues through October. Read the rest of this entry »