Monthly Archives: September 2012

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Now that you’re going pro on your Pinterest account, you also need to know how you can interact with other people on the site – it’s a social network after all.

If you really want to capitalize on the power of Pinterest, you’ll want to make sure you pin things regularly (this is how your brand starts appearing in front of people) and start connecting with potential customers. Beyond searching for and following boards that interest you, here are a few more tactics that will help you do that.

Liking, Commenting and Repinning

If you’re comfortable with liking, commenting and sharing on Facebook posts, you’re one step ahead on Pinterest.

Although the site uses slightly different terminology – liking and commenting are still there, but instead of sharing, you repin – these are the key interaction features offered for each pin. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Virtuoso Week

I’ve been an agent for a little over five years now and have been to my fair share of travel conferences. But in mid-August I attended Virtuoso Week in Las Vegas—a yearly conference for agents and suppliers who belong to the consortium Virtuoso.  I’m new to this agency and have never worked in an agency associated with Virtuoso, so have never attended this event in the past. It’s a luxury affair and I felt the difference from other conferences from the moment we stepped out of our taxi and walked into the beautiful Bellagio Resort Hotel and Casino. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Profit from Full-Ship Charters without Taking on the Risk?

Are the most successful, rapidly growing theme cruise charter companies ready to share the wealth? Yep, looks like.

The two biggest players – Sixthman Productions of Atlanta and Entertainment Cruise Productions of St. Louis – pay commissions to travel agents. ECP in particular is aggressively developing the agency distribution system.

These full ship charterers take over the entire ship – making the experience unique – and claim to have the happiest guests on the high seas. And my research shows that there is something to this satisfaction claim. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Now that you’ve got your Pinterest account created and personalized, it’s time to start using the site and building your boards. Just to make sure you truly understand the concept behind the site, let’s take a look at the 3 basic elements you will be working with.

Pins and Pinning

This is Pinterest’s version of an online bookmark. Every pin is composed of an image and a description. Some will also be linked to an external website or blog.

Creating a pin is appropriately known as pinning. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

USACA – Committed to Trust, Integrity and Reliability

Experienced travel agents have long used consolidators for obtaining the best possible pricing on international airline fares for their clients. However, many travel planners have little experience with consolidators and don’t know where to begin to establish the proper supplier relationships. The United States Air Consolidator Association, better known as USACA, is making it easier for travel consultants to work with its membership. USACA is an association of twelve distinguished consolidators who have joined together to provide travel agents with a better understanding of the consolidator market and the advantages to working with consolidator fares. USACA serves as the national trade association for airline ticket consolidators committed to integrity, trust and reliability. A travel agent may freely and confidently look to USACA members for consolidated airline tickets. The end result? Better international fares for clients and more profit for the travel agent. Sound like a good deal? Read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Until a few months ago, Pinterest was an invitation-based network. You could request to join or get a friend to invite you, but getting in meant that you had to wait for someone else to give you access. Not anymore.

Step 1 – Create an account

All you need to do to register on Pinterest is to visit www.pinterest.com and click on the big red button that says “Join Pinterest.”  There, you will have a few options: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Not too long ago I went to grab a bite at a neighborhood fast food joint. I gave very straightforward instructions… no mayonnaise or cheese on my hamburger. Very simple! My meal came and, wouldn’t you know, there was not just a bit of mayonnaise on my burger but loads of mayonnaise and a slab of cheese on top. The counter person took my order but was she actually listening? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

The Western Caribbean by ShoreTrips

When you think of the Caribbean you typically conjure up images of white-sand beaches and tropical drinks with little umbrellas and cabana boys (or girls)to wait on your every need. It’s a pleasant thought, but the islands of the Caribbean offer so much more.  The contradictions hit you the moment you arrive. With a history built on piracy, sugar, slavery, revolt and colonial identity, the islands support a vibrant mix of cultures. There are cricket players and Rastas, Cuban rebels and lobster fishermen.

Be sure to see the recommended tours by ShoreTrips after the article.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Yesterday, we talked about why Pinterest might be a good fit for your social media marketing strategy, today, let’s take a look at what Pinterest actually is.

What exactly is Pinterest?

In a nutshell, Pinterest is a visual bookmarking site. People can sign up for an account and create categories (known as boards) where they can bookmark (known as pinning) interesting images, videos or links to useful information (known as pins) to create a themed repository of useful information. As long as your content has a visual element, you can pin it.

You find things to include on your boards by either surfing the web or by looking through Pinterest’s home page and content categories.  Read the rest of this entry »

This vent has been a long time coming. First, let me start off by saying I love my job. I really love my job. My frustration lies with the Global Distribution System; also known as the GDS. I know it’s a powerful tool used by travel professionals all over the world. In fact, the recent white paper I read on the subject says 500,000 travel agencies across the world use the GDS.  So what’s my problem with it?

Let’s start with the cryptic command line method. Studies show it takes an agent 5 years of repetitive and repeated use to become a master of the GDS system. I don’t know about you, but I am dis-heartened that it will take me 5 years to become highly proficient using the main tool provided to me in order to do my job quickly and efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest yet, you may have been hiding in a hole.  It’s one of the newest social networks out there and has been taking the Internet by storm.

In fact, it has quickly risen to become one of the top traffic generators and the #3 most popular social network – ranking only after Facebook and Twitter. People who use it for business have seen up to 20% of their website traffic coming from Pinterest. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Back in 1996 and 1997 all of the airlines were slashing commissions. For those new to the industry, yes, the airlines actually used to pay commissions on air tickets—first unlimited and then capped.  Today, for the most part, front-end commissions are a thing of the past. Since then many have been wondering when the other shoe will drop and other travel types will follow suit.

During the commission slashing Frontier Airlines thought there was an opportunity to work with the travel agents who saw their income slashed along with commissions. They held to a 10% commission for agents in hopes that agents would reward them with market share to their destinations.  Southwest had already cut commissions on many of their competitive routes and America West (their largest rival at the time) had also eliminated commissions. The plan made sense. But alas, the agents did not pull through for Frontier. Frontier held out as long as they could (2 quarters) and finally eliminated the commissions and the rest, is as they say—history. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Trip Proposals – Part Deux

My recent article, Preparing a Trip Proposal That Wows Your Client, generated a healthy number of comments and private messages asking for more information and a sample itinerary.  I love it when this kind of discussion and sharing occurs!

First off – I’ve been asked by a number of people for a sample itinerary that incorporates all of what I discussed in my last article. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Kudos & Karma

Supportive Suppliers

In Kudos and Karma, we want to recognize suppliers that support their travel agent partners, not only when an issue arises but also when they take proactive measures to be supportive. Today we are recognizing two suppliers for their proactive support. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

DISCOVER FLANDERS… It’s the northern region of Belgium, and includes the cities of Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen. While most people think of mussels, fries, beer and canals when you mention Flanders, there is so much more! With an incredibly rich history, impressive arts & architecture, a cutting edge fashion industry, a cyclists paradise and of course, a culinary Valhalla, Flanders will not disappoint. All this can be found just 1h 20 min from Paris and 1h 51 min from London, by train. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

I love San Francisco.  I’ve been there many times, but just recently got to play tour guide for a first-timer. I hadn’t ridden the cable cars in years, and had forgotten the “secret” nobody tells you.  “Do I need a ticket? Where do I get it? Which line do I stand in?”  Everyone was asking same questions. 

After an hour of standing in line to buy tickets, followed by another hour to board the car I finally remembered the secret.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Galway by Sceptre Tours

Galway is a city in the western region of the Republic of Ireland, and is a prime destination both for its own local charms and because it serves as a fantastic “jumping-off” point for west Ireland! This week’s 60-Second Geography is sponsored by Sceptre Tours because, well, who knows Ireland better? Read the rest of this entry »

A few articles back I talked about hiring a business coach.  The summer of 2012 was one of reflection for me, I needed to evaluate where I was and if I was any closer to where I wanted to be.  Was I positioning myself for success? What am I going to do with all of these ideas that are swirling around in my head?  I admit that I needed focus.

I was spinning my wheels and literally getting nowhere.  So I hired a business coach. It was important to me that the person I hired gave me solid advice.  I wanted to walk away from each session with real building blocks that once implemented, would help my business to grow. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Why would you publish that?

Last week, my column focused on several traits I felt a professional travel agent brings to the table.  It was intended to point out the differences between a hobbyist and a professional and what is perhaps required to cross that bridge. As many know, I am not a fan of the hobbyist agents.  But one of our Point To Point contributors, Kelly Monaghan took me to task and essentially told me and my opinion to go to hell!

As soon as Kelly’s column published, I received several emails asking how I could publish that response when it was a clear shot across “my bow.”  Easy—we all have opinions and positions and without listening to them and giving them some consideration, we do ourselves a major injustice.

Do I agree with Kelly’s rebuttal 100%? Absolutely not! But Read the rest of this entry »