Monthly Archives: April 2012

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Last week, I discussed niches and specialties and how it was important to live the lifestyle and to truly be integrated in the specific niche. Of course, one of the other criteria for a success (or failure) in niches is to think out of the box. Do something that has never been done and you may hit a home run. And speaking of home runs, let me introduce you to Brandon Wade the founder and CEO of a new travel related website/niche—MissTravel.com.  Warning: you may or may not agree with this concept, but it will get you thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – April 27, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Soundings

What if blind sampling of hotels were possible, with brand names hidden? What if we could dis-associate brand expectations from actual experience…and reassess accordingly?  Back-to-back stays at two very upscale hotels in the Miami / Ft Lauderdale area provided the perfect opportunity for this type of strenuous, high wire evaluation gymnastics. So, working without a net, without a safety device of any kind…here goes.

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Posted In: Supplier Profile

With over 31 years of dedicated travel planning and a variety of destinations and vacations to choose from, Avanti Destinations aims high to please: they want your clients to enjoy every moment of their vacation.

A leader for independent travel to Europe, Latin America and Mexico, Avanti specializes in a wide range of modular FIT packages including air, rail, cars, hotels, sightseeing, transfers and other experiential travel options that appeal to all types of travelers. Whether clients are looking for an epic odyssey through Italy or just want to experience the excitement of zip-lining over the tree tops in the jungles of Costa Rica, Avanti Destinations has an itinerary just for them.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

Change your world

Some people walk around looking as if they have just lost their best friend. These people are telling the world that life is, and will continue to be, an unfair experience. Their daily existence is a total drag and life offers them nothing for simply showing up. What a downer!

If you know one or more of these types (face it, we all do) leave them alone.  Trying to help these types improve their future is often an exercise in futility. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s the end of April and I’m engrossed watching the NHL playoffs.  And I’m in a funk-of-a-slump.  On the work front I am still promoting my existing group space for the Civil War Cruise and the fund-raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.  But I have reached a plateau in recruiting more group business right now.  Hence, the slump, and the obsession with hockey playoffs. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

The 2012 Trade Show Season

Cruise3Sixty in Ft Lauderdale this week kicks off 2012’s Trade Show Season.  The decision to attend a particular trade show or conference is a quandary for all involved.  Suppliers try to calculate the cost/benefit in terms of the number of agents who will attend, the costs of supporting the show and the intangible costs of not  attending – being invisible to the agency community.

For travel agents, the calculus is equally daunting. Beyond the cost of air and hotel, there is the time out of office and the lost business opportunities in a busy time of the year. The quality of the show’s presentations and offerings can vary widely.  In the best of circumstances the show promoter delivers a wide array of sales and marketing training designed to grow the travel practices of attendees.  At great trade shows, agent involvement and peer-to-peer sharing has replaced the hour long supplier panel infomercials that in years past posed as training.  In the worst of circumstances, the promoter simply goes through the motions, offering up the same anemic panels and breakout sessions show after show.

So choose wisely.

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Posted In: 1:1

 

Ralph Grizzle founded the Avid Cruiser in 2004, first a print magazine before going fully digital in 2007. He began his journalistic career at the age of 32, following the conclusion of a ‘sabbatical decade.’ From 1980 through 1990, Ralph bicycled across America, pedaled through Europe and island-hopped the South Pacific. At the end of his travels he landed in Switzerland before returning home, where he settled, quite naturally, into a career of travel writing.

Now, over 20 years later, Ralph’s work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and numerous consumer magazines. The North American Travel Journalism Association awarded his article, “Ship Shape”, which appeared in the September 2005 issue of Hemispheres, in the category of ‘Best Cruise Writing.’ He has also published four books, including Remembering Charles Kuralt.

TRO: What inspired your love of travel?

RG: It’s really the same thing that inspires me today, which is a love for seeing how other people live, tasting the food they eat, experiencing the lifestyles they live, hearing the languages they speak. Plus I love connecting with others. What I’ve noticed about Americans is we love to connect to other people. I haven’t found that to be so true in other countries but here, for some reason, we really care and we want to connect.

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Posted In: Editorial Musings

For the past decade, the advice given to travel agents for success has been to specialize—to find a niche. Certainly, very few of us can be all things to all people, or even many things to many people. So, finding a specialty does make sense. But, are you really ready to specialize or niche-ify your travel business? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Lessons Learned From a Hole-in-One

In most parts of the country the weather has warmed up enough for golfers to be hitting the links. The amateurs, with visions of Bubba Watson, are out in full force. The truth is most of them have made that very same “miracle” shot when they weren’t trying. Throughout the spring, summer and fall your local golf course will host many tournaments. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce your brand to a group of people with disposable income by offering up a prize for hitting a hole-in-one during the tournament. Over the years, I have sponsored more holes and tees than I can count and wanted to share some of what I learned.

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Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – April 20, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

The Galapagos for Cruisers

450 pound, 100 year old Tortoises; world-famous Blue-footed Boobies doing their comical mating dance; giant Albatrosses, ungainly on land soaring gracefully off a cliff; Frigate birds strutting giant red throat pouches; and, sea lions, oh the sea lions, virtually everywhere.

The Galapagos, a loosely connected chain of islands 600 miles off the west coast of Ecuador, are the combined size of Puerto Rico, with a diversity of look and feel that is truly astonishing: from lava flow and desert-like vistas to a wide range of shrubs and greenery. It’s an eye-opening look at what nature and biology have created.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

3 questions your customers are asking about you

Today, I want to discuss the Law of Attraction; and explain how to use just three questions to position strangers for a future sale or other interaction. Let’s look at one at a time.

It seems like yesterday when I discovered my first attraction to a member of the opposite sex. Well, maybe it was more “flattered” than attracted; but I bought it hook, line and sinker and fell right in step. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Cancun by Vacation Express

Cancun has become a second home for North American travelers looking for great beaches, lots of sun and exciting nightlife. Mayan ruins sit next door to world-class accommodations and tourism facilities, with water sports and natural attractions close at hand. Only a couple of hours from many United States cities, Cancun is one of the most accessible international destinations available. Use the article below in your own newsletters and on your websites, compliments of Vacation Express!

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Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Germany by Avanti Destinations

Modern Germany’s liberalism and progressive status stands in stark contrast to its profoundly volatile history. Visit Germany with Avanti Destinations and see the an ideal starting point for any visit to Europe – Germany borders nine other countries. Remember, you can use 60-Second Geography articles in your newsletters and on your websites. Read the rest of this entry »

Cary Travel Express won the top sales award for MAST (Midwest Agents Selling Travel), which is our consortium. That’s quite an accomplishment! We are very thankful for this honor, and appreciate that our hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Here we stand, more than 15 years since the airlines began to cut commissions and other travel suppliers (in various ways) began to follow suit. Here we stand, more than 15 years later a smaller, yet stronger industry. Here we stand, more than 15 years later, still very viable and vibrant. Here we stand, more than 15 years later and many of us still don’t “get” the value of our services while most of our clients do.  If I could tell you a way to realize a solid 10% or more income on your entire business, would you listen? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Booking Your Family’s Travel

When I first entered the travel industry one of the first “warnings” I received was that my family members would come looking for discounts, deals, extra benefits and what-have-you. I was told I should be prepared to tell them I can’t work with them and I should also for the possibility that doing so could make our relationship frosty.

I decided this was not something I wanted to get involved in so I set a few ground rules right off the bat and let my family know about it when I announced my new career. I haven’t yet had any issues booking travel for family members, so hopefully my tips will work for you!

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Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – April 13, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Support@

Heidi is the Reservations Manager of Blue Sky Tours. She has one of the most difficult jobs in the company as the reservation department is the life blood of the operation. She keeps everything running smoothly by coordinating schedules, answering client questions and working on customer service with the travel agents. Without Heidi Blue Sky Tours would not run as efficiently as it does.

I joined the Blue Sky Tours Team in June of 1998 in reservations. I instantly fell in love with the job and the people within this company. Loving your job makes it very easy to come to work each day! My first trip to Hawaii was in September of 1998 on a Fam trip. I was hooked! Having been to Hawaii more than 20 different times now, it’s exciting for me to be able to share the experience with others. There is always something new to discover no matter how many times you have been to the islands.

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Posted In: Deck Plans

Cruising The South Pacific

Cruises in the South Pacific combine cosmopolitan cities with lush jungles, exotic wildlife, snow-capped mountains and fjords, plus white-sand beaches and coral reefs.

It’s no surprise that explorers, artists, writers and visitors have been coming here to cruise the south pacific since at least the 18th century, when Captain Cook and his colleagues first arrived.

Cruises in the South Pacific feature a multitude of destinations that are a study in contrasts. Each region has its own distinct cultural appeal.

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