Today I pedaled to the end of Sweden — and back. Technically, I may not have reached the end of this elongated country, because with countries and continents, it is difficult to say where one begins and ends. The place where I stood today, however, felt like the end. Read the rest of this entry »
A key objective of marketing your travel planning practice is assuring a flow of new clients through the door. Retention of your existing clients is absolutely necessary and challenging in and of itself, but the acquisition of new clients provides for growth. If you are not taking measures to acquire new clients, attrition of your existing base will mean your business will decline over time.
Remember our discussion of the sales funnel? Typically, only a small percentage of your leads pan out into actual travel planning opportunities. In order to maintain the volume you need for a healthy business, your marketing activities must be robust and continual. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
Be an activity role model this week with three words.
Think – Do – Achieve
- Write one letter to a person in your community who has made a difference.Look to your local paper for inspiration. (Acknowledge their contribution and invite them for a cup of coffee.)
- Write a “Thank-you” note to one of your treasured clients–a sincere one.
- Write the opening paragraph for the article you have always thought about writing. Think about a catchy title For example: “10 Sales Lessons I Learned From Watching Shrek.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Travel Agent Diaries
If you ask any of my Facebook friends they will tell you that I lead such a glamorous life as a travel agent! Why, just this month alone I jetted off to Cancun and Jamaica – posting beautiful pictures of the scenery I was taking in – what’s not to love? They picture me in these distant locales sitting on the beach with a frosty drink in hand…relaxing with the waves lapping at my feet. Of course in their minds, I got there for free as well. I even had an old classmate contact me today to ask how his daughter that “loves to travel” could get into the business! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
Last week I was asked to preview a consumer focused travel guide that is being published by National Geographic next year. One of the chapters was centered on travel agents and travel advisors. The “agent” definition is all inclusive—real people and online; the term “advisor” is reserved for real people with specialties and expertise—make sense to me!
Part of the chapter suggested that consumers that are working with an online agency should compare the pricing on several sites because it is suspected that companies can (and do) influence pricing based on past Internet behavior. For example, if you are browsing online at the Dollar Store and your neighbor is browsing at Neiman Marcus; and you both go to the same travel site, your neighbor’s price for the same trip as yours might be more expensive based on the assumption made from a Neiman Marcus cookie left on your computer. In the retail world, this is just pricing a product to what the market will bear. Read the rest of this entry »
What type of formal sales and marketing training have you undertaken? If you look at most professions, the sales people are continually taking sales courses on a regular basis. In travel, however, sales and marketing often take a back seat to destination courses and product knowledge. Seldom do you see real sales and marketing training in our industry. Even at industry trade shows, “sales seminars” usually end up being more product knowledge in disguise. How important do you think formal training in sales and marketing is and how have you invested in it in the past? Read the rest of this entry »
After I posted Seven Reasons Why Europa 2 Can Command The Luxury Cruise Segment’s Highest Prices — For Now, a few people wrote to me to ask if I liked the new ship. In my first post, I tried to be as objective as possible, withholding my opinions. But because you asked, yes, I do like Europa 2 — quite a lot. If I were to put them in order, my favorite aspects of Europa 2 would be: Read the rest of this entry »
While we have lived with market uncertainty for several years at this juncture, there has been noticeable improvement for most regions of North America. As you consider your business strategies, appropriate decisions have to be implemented. Here are a few tactical principles that will keep business coming through the door through the balance of this year and into the next: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
It’s everywhere… They are everywhere… Travel Agent resources are popping up everywhere and it’s awesome! Many people have said to me that they do not recall a time in the industries history where there has been more education, FREE online and off line resources, tools, conferences, coaches, consultants, facilitators, and professional development experts ready, willing, and able to help the industry thrive stronger… together!
Posted In: Supplier Profile
WCBS4Printing, (“WCBS”) is a seasoned, full-service premium printing resource for travel companies, mid-sized businesses, corporations and marketing & design professionals nationwide. From printing and graphic design to editing, proofreading and bulk mailing, the company’s mission is to make life easier for our customers by providing a high-quality, low-cost, one-stop resource for all your printing and physical marketing needs. WCBS began as West Coast Business Systems in 1981. The first year it had a total of five travel agency clients, all on Sabre and all in Los Angeles. From there, with its dedicated focus on the travel agency community, it has grown to serve over 7000 active accounts domestically throughout the United States and internationally in the Pacific Rim, Canada and the Caribbean. To serve these accounts cost effectively and efficiently WCBS has production facilities in the Western, Central and Eastern U.S. and Canada.
You have at your disposal a variety of ways in which to reach out and touch your clients and potential clients. Let’s drill down on this topic by looking at the concept of distribution channels. Consumers of your service will see your ads in print and on the web. They might hear of you through a referral or see you give a talk at the local chamber of commerce. They might read an article about you or even by you in the community newspaper. Each of these avenues where a client might encounter your services are rivulets off of a distribution channel, a conduit to consumers that you use for marketing your services as a travel consultant. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
“Don’t you worry about a thing… ’cause every little thing is gonna be all right.” These wise words from Bob Marley encompass the kind of laid-back calm you can achieve as you lie on a beach, explore a jungle or take a guided tour around the beautiful island of Jamaica. No matter where you’re from or what your background is, you’ll be welcome on this tropical paradise. While it’s tempting to never leave the grounds of your luxurious all-inclusive resort during a trip to this gorgeous isle, you should resist the urge long enough to get a taste of Jamaica’s singular unique culture and natural beauty.
Public speaking is an optional, but also a highly recommended, tactic in a strong public relations program for a travel agency. Every association in town, every club, church group, every business class or travel class at your local community college, enjoys having guest speakers. No doubt, speaking in front of a group is daunting to some travel agents. If so, start with groups with which you are very familiar such as your Sunday School class, social club or other organization to which you belong. As you become more comfortable, branch out. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 1:1
Arthur Salus is founder and CEO of Costa Rica Dream Adventures. The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia with another office in San Jose, Costa Rica.
After visiting Costa Rica many years ago, Mr. Salus remembered the wonderful experience he had there and decided to open a Tour Operator providing travel exclusively to Costa Rica.
For over 15 years, Costa Rica Dream Adventures has expanded and now promotes individual travel, group travel, weddings & honeymoons, incentive travel and corporate meetings. The company prides itself on providing hands-on support for the client from the moment the reservation is made until the guest returns, including in-country support provided by partner Costa Rica Dream Travel, located in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Travel Research Online: What has been your most memorable travel experience?
Arthur Salus: Since I’m in the travel business, I get the opportunity to travel all around the world. However, Central and South America are my favorite destinations. The reason I’ve had the best experiences down in Central and South America is mainly because the people are so friendly. I think it is a much more laid-back culture and the people welcome you because tourism is promoted heavily in those countries. The people look forward to seeing Americans. Americans and their dollars are most welcome in these countries. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
Back in February, I wrote a column addressing some ways to recover from a screw up. No one is perfect and we all have made mistakes from time to time. And since we are human, we will continue to make them. A world full of bots would be no fun—besides, they make horrible travel partners!
But, this week, I am following my own advice and owning a recent mistake and doing what I can to correct the situation.
Read the rest of this entry »
This week’s columns have resulted in some requests for resources where travel professionals can research for information on some of the social issues we have discussed. While the list below is by no mean exhaustive, it will provide you with a starting point for most of the topics we discussed this week. If you have others, please share them with us. On a personal note, I am extremely gratified by the attention the travel community is paying to this issue. Please pass these resources along in your own communities and let’s get the word out! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Agent Perspectives
This came up recently on Facebook, posted by a networking & marketing guru that I’m
connected with. When she posted this, it reminded me of so many colleagues that complain
about clients (or other travel agents even) that repeatedly “pick their brains,” take up a
considerable amount of time & expertise, all without any compensation. And then naturally,
I thought of brain-sucking-zombies. 😉 Read the rest of this entry »
With average per diems of 600 euros per person, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ new Europa 2 is attempting to command some of the industry’s highest cruise fares. Its cruises will cost an American couple — the U.S. is one of Europa 2′s target audiences — around US$12,000 for the privilege of spending six nights/seven days in a 301-square-foot Veranda Suite on the industry’s newest luxury cruise ship.
The pricing is largely unprecedented, although some luxury expedition ships as well as barge vacations in Europe can cost even more than Europa 2. Read about two of my best luxury cruise experiences on French Country Waterways and Silversea Cruises Silver Explorer.