Monthly Archives: December 2012

Posted In: Editorial Musings

2013, A Year Of Travel Opportunity

Let me be the first to say “Happy New Year!” 2013 cannot come soon enough as the globe tries to pull itself out of a global recession. Travel has been off, but there are many signs indicating that a strong 2013 is on the horizon for the travel industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Cary Travel Express – Moving on slightly thinner

As I wind down my year of Travel Agent Diaries, I would like to say that sharing my successes and failures with the travel agency community at large has been an educating experience. Sharing my story and reading stories from others has presented a unique and valuable opportunity.

Our agency is a member of MAST; and recently, an associate left the business to move back home. And, we just lost a 19-year veteran at Cary Travel Express as she pursues her passion for everything Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – December 14, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: TROTips

Email Autoresponders

Whether you use an email client like Microsoft Outlook or a web-based program like Gmail, most likely you will have a feature called an autoresponder.  This is a terrific feature that helps other people to know that you did receive their email, but you aren’t able to reply personally right away.  Yet, too many times, this feature is way overused, or used improperly, and it can cause a negative perception of you and your business. (note: this is different from the autoresponder feature found in email sending programs like AWeber, Constant Contact, MailChimp, and others.)

Let’s be frank, here: I personally hate it when I receive an autoresponse to an email I’ve sent, and I am willing to bet you do, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Arrival Gate

Sales Quotas: A Good Thing

Dear Stephanie,

Are there hosts out there without sales quotas?  What if something comes up and I take a break?

-Matt C.

Hey Matt,

The simple answer is yes, there are hosts out there without quotas.  However, as usual, I’m going to make the answer more complicated 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Discover Beijing with ShoreTrips!

From the substantial culture to the magnificent architecture and entertainment, this Chinese wonderland offers a memorable visit for everyone. The second most populated city in China, Beijing is a noteworthy blend between the delicate balance of nature and mankind. Proud of their past, the Chinese maintain the city with utmost care, making sure to incorporate it into the social and economic boom that has come to define their wondrous society. This 60 Second Destination brought to the travel professional community by ShoreTrips.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

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: Point-to-Point

Visibility is ‘Job #1’

A few years back, Macy’s closed a number of stores for reasons related to profits. This came as no surprise, (it is tough out there) but the fact that a major department store was destined for mothballs and was situated close to my home was a major surprise.

Why? Because I didn’t even know it existed. Read the rest of this entry »

Simply Europe Travel – The dragon has been slayed

Well, this is my last article for 2012 and I’d like to say goodbye and thank each of you who took the time to read one or more of my pieces.  I hope that you found something that I wrote which either helped you or made you laugh out loud!

For me, this year was about confronting fears and getting out of my comfort zone in order to do some good things for my business.  Chief among them was writing for TRO’s Travel Agent Diaries.   I’ve enjoyed writing, not only for your benefit, but for mine too.  You can ask anyone with whom I’ve ever worked, and they will tell you that I really like helping my friends and co-workers.  I love the travel industry and was looking for a way that I could give back to the industry that I’ve enjoyed for the last 20 years.  I really wanted to encourage others and make a difference if I could. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Cleaning up your travel house

The end of the year is fast approaching and we have just a few weeks left until we launch out of the starting gate to an incredible 2013.  The New Year mantra is typically “out with the old and in with the new” which applies to your travel business in any number of ways. Of course we are tossing out old brochures (well from the suppliers that still provide them), perhaps old client records and notes, and even that mystery container that has been lurking in the refrigerator since July. But what about tossing out some of your clients? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – December 7, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

One of my primary niches is group cruise travel.  As such, I often find myself speaking to larger groups of people: potential group leaders at a luncheon, booked group passengers at an informational meeting, or even a networking group audience.  When asked about their fears, most people would count public speaking within their top five fears – including me!  It took me a while to get over my fear of public speaking in order to use it to my advantage in my business – I could not do what I do without public speaking.

If you realize the need for public speaking in your own travel practice, here are some tips I learned that can help you make the best of it: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

The Avid Cruiser Takes On Le Thoronet Abbey

Traveling in the Le Var region of southern France this past September (branded as Var Provence), I did a shore excursion with one peculiarity: No cruise line yet offers it.

I suspect some soon will, however. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Stop trying to sell

“No Worries” is an Australian phrase that defines a philosophy worth investigating. Unlike Americans, Aussies don’t appear to be “selling” all the time. They are more laid back. They seem to allow relationships to develop based on simple communication. This approach is refreshing indeed.

Few people enjoy the idea of “being sold.” A key step toward becoming more successful in sales is to adopt a contrarian approach to this “selling” thought process. Once you manage to pull this off, you will find yourself in a more natural and comfortable position– and you will become more pleasant to be around. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Discover Costa Rica with Solar Tours

A 3-hour plane ride from Miami will place you within one of the most beautiful countries in all of Central America. Costa Rica offers attractions for all ages; nature in its prime can be reveled in thanks to the government’s strong efforts to preserve eco-tourism. The rainforests that populate this gem are some of the most unique in the world, and in combination with the perfect year-round climate and atmosphere, not to mention the extremely friendly locals, you are sure to desire a visit over and over again.

Read the rest of this entry »

When I was asked to contribute to the Travel Agent Diaries, I initially felt I had nothing to contribute that a veteran or new agent would find remotely interesting.  After a bit of back and forth, I was convinced that I had plenty to contribute.  And I am very thankful for that vote of confidence and that push.  The Travel Agent Diaries series, in so many ways, has contributed to my professional and personal development.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

How NOT to Handle a Complaint on Social Media

Some life lessons, no matter how painful, are too valuable not to recount.

A rather amazing exchange between a disgruntled customer and a restaurant owner in Boston last week erupted in a volcanic swap of ignominious Facebook posts. The tenor of the social media thread was not only angry, but the choice of diction was too explicit for me to re-post. I will instead point you to one of many articles on the incident with a warning: if you are easily offended by inappropriate language, do not click on this link.

Yikes. Double Yikes.

Whenever I really messed up as a kid, my well-practiced father would first chastise me. Then, after the matter had cooled for a while, he would ask me “So what have you learned?” Dad was an advocate of learning from mistakes and therefore, as a result of my own proclivity for error, I am a relatively well educated individual. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

It’s been said that Thanksgiving is the “official” start of the holiday season. But if you have been shopping anytime in the past thirty days, you would see that the “official, official” start seems to be just before Halloween.  Traditionally in the travel industry, this is a slow time–an ebb tide.  It seems that most people are only concerned with their regular routines, two major, upcoming meals, holiday spending and just making it through to see in 2013.  For me, travel inquiries (and deposits) have come to a screeching halt! Read the rest of this entry »