Monthly Archives: August 2013

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – August 30, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Though not one of the 7 deadly sins, procrastination has to have made it pretty high on the list. Travel professionals who procrastinate know the mounting sense of foreboding that it creates – the feeling of impending crisis. Most of us who procrastinate are expert at coming up with reasons for our actions, and almost all of us are certain that we “work best under pressure.” It is a self-fulfilling prophecy – wait long enough to accomplish a task and there will be plenty of pressure to go around. The key to overcoming procrastination is to recognize it when it is occurring, to affirmatively work through the reasons not to procrastinate and then to move into action on the task. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

3 Steps To Choosing Your Cruise

So you want to go cruising but you’re confused by itineraries, stateroom categories, the differences in ships and in cruise lines? I know it can be daunting. When I first started in this industry more than two decades ago, I scratched my head for a few years before I began to understand what distinguishes one cruise line from the other and one destination from the other. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

What does effective time management have to do with marketing? It is a well known syndrome that travel professionals, like other business people, often spend so much time involved in the day to day operations of their business that they spend far too little time actually thinking about their business. When schedules fill up, when there is no time left for planning and evaluation, business starts to flat line. Without effective time management skill, the travel agent has no time to think about their marketing plan or to evaluate the success of marketing efforts. Promotion of the business begins to take a back seat to running the business, marketing happens sporadically and in bursts rather than as part of a well-executed plan. Effective time management ensures that the time is available for marketing to get its appropriate allocation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

The best single time management tool is a to-do list. It is a simple but powerful tool, easy to understand and maintain. In one place all of the jobs you have to do, lined up and waiting action, prioritized in order of importance. Well, in theory that is how a to-do list should operate. In reality, we all tend to use our to-do lists in a hit or miss fashion. Yet, we also know how effective a well maintained to-do list can be – so perhaps a short review of how to keep one is in order.

A good to-do list assists you to remember all of the tasks you have at hand. When under pressure, we tend to focus on a few items at the expense of others and may actually forget important jobs. A to-do lists allows us to tackle important tasks first, without losing track of the need to complete other items. The to-do lists also functions as an activity journal – an important tool helping to determine how wisely you are spending your time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Get your act together

Are you easy to work with?  Do you make it easy for customers to buy their travel from your agency?  They may seem like strange questions, but there are a lot of businesses out there today that really do not care.  They make it hard to do business with them.  Here are two separate, fictional businesses, each is handling a simple task–one is the right way. Which story defines your agency? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

As a travel agent, your day is busy.  You know time management is important. You try to be reasonably efficient and make an effort not to waste time. Each minute of every day seems filled, yet there is always more to do. You want your efforts at time management to make you more productive, not just a reshuffling of the order in which you accomplish your tasks. How to begin?

If you have ever gone on a diet, you know the first step is often to make a record of your eating habits. So too, we want to keep a journal of how we spend our time. A good activity journal will assist you in mapping out exactly how you use your time. You might be surprised to discover as much as an entire hour each day devoted to activities that don’t really contribute to productivity. Read the rest of this entry »

So we are in the month of August and summer seems to have flown past.  I am already looking at trips for 2014 and even 2015. This month is also the time where some of us get ready to head down to Las Vegas for Virtuoso Travel Week.

Being a part of the best of the best, we are invited every year to attend this amazing event held in late August in Vegas—this is the 25th year!

What is Virtuoso Travel Week? It is a time of learning and networking and bringing the best agents together with the best suppliers to further solidify their Virtuoso and individual relationships. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Lyndsey_North_Headshot

Lyndsey North has been with The Mark Travel Corporation for nearly 10 years. She has held marketing and supplier relationship management roles with Funjet Vacations, ATA Vacations, Midwest Airlines Vacations, and MGM Mirage Vacations.

In her current role as Senior Manager of Marketing for Blue Sky Tours, she leads the overall engagement efforts and supplier relationship strategy for the brand. 

Travel Research Online: What was your earliest travel memory you can recall?
Lyndsey North: The earliest vacation I can recall was a summer road trip to South Dakota as a child. My family stopped at all of the big sites – Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, and Wall Drug. While I remember that it felt like we were in the car for days, it was incredible to see how dramatically the landscape changes over just a few hundred miles and, really, who doesn’t love spending days driving in a hot car with their siblings? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

As unfair as things can sometimes seem, we all get the same number of hours in a day. Some travel agents, however, are better than others at using the time allotted. Balancing the workday with leisure time,  personal life and family time is a prime objective for most travel professionals. People who learn to effectively manage their time are almost inevitably good at most aspects of their business life, functioning effectively even when the pressure is on. Fortunately, time management is a skill that can be learned. This week, we will review a few key principles that can set you on the path to effective time management skills. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

One of the guiding principles of Travel Research Online is to provide free tools to travel professionals to help them do their business better. That has not changed over the years.

We offer tools—destination guides, marketing kits, postcards, videos, training videos and more all at no charge.  We also reach out to your peers to see what challenges they face in their day-to-day business and bring them to you in the Travel Agent Diaries and Agent Perspective columns.

In essence, here at TRO, our goal is to provide you the tools to get your job done. As Editor, I follow many different blogs, forums, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts and I have identified some of the leaders in social networking.  I have curated a list of very useful tools to help you navigate your way through social media as well as traditional media as you continue to grow your agency. Some of these links may be dated (they are all valid links) but, as it is with all good, solid advice, the message is timeless.  It’s Monday morning—make your coffee and take an hour and read through these—I can promise you will learn something new. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – August 23, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Lyon, France — Yesterday, we stepped off A-ROSA Stella after a weeklong cruise on the Rhône and Saône rivers. During our voyage we saw lots of other river cruise companies offering programs in the region. If I were to cruise on this beautiful itinerary again, would I choose to do it on A-ROSA Stella for the second time or would I choose to cruise with another river cruise company? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Don’t get swiped. Get sexy!

There is probably a touch-controlled net-connected device within reach of you right now.  There’s even a 50% chance that you are reading this on one–and you’re not alone. 

I’m writing this on my iPad Mini, with a groovy Zagg keyboard attached while cruising on BC Ferries to Victoria.  Looking around me, at least 75% of the other passengers are tapping out emails and texts, snapping pictures, making video calls, or flicking their way to a high score on Candy Crush. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Venice by Swan Hellenic!

Venice, Italy is one of the most remarkable destinations in the world. It is known for it’s rich culture and vast architectural beauty. It has been said that you cannot be all things to all people. Perhaps that is not true about Italy. To some Italy means sunshine, music, food and romance. To others it is history, art, culture or religion.  At one time, Italy was the focal point of the “Grand Tour” – the rite of passage for young, wealthy Europeans and Americans to experience the culture of Europe. Today, Italy is one of the top 5 destinations for North Americans.

Read the rest of this entry »

Let me tell you a story.

Once there was a little girl named Pam who was a very picky eater.  She refused to eat anything but grilled cheese sandwiches, iceberg lettuce and pizza. The other kids begged to go to McDonalds, but those burgers had chopped onions and Pam wouldnt even touch them.  There was nothing her mother could do but stock up on American cheese and wonder bread.  When Pam left home for college, she was about to embark on an adventure that would change her life forever.  A curious urge for adventure caused her to sign up for a study abroad experience and after four months in England, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

The Opportunity in the Lost Art of Mentoring

Only a few years ago, a new travel agent would typically work in an office filled with more experienced agents. If a newbie agent had a question,  the answer was only a few feet away. New agents spent long hours on tasks that seemed like busy work – filing brochures, assembling tickets and shuffling paper, but those tasks also carried with them an inherent instruction in the mechanics and the structure of the industry. Many new agents had attended a community college course or even a travel agent school in their community and on the job training filled in the gaps with experiential learning surrounded by a web of support.

Today’s new entrants into the industry are not so fortunate.  Since 9/11 there are far fewer travel schools and local courses. Store-front agents are doing more with less and individual agents find it difficult to complete their own work, let alone generously give to the new face in the office.  Home based agents are basically on their own, trying to learn to swim in an increasingly competitive and complex environment. There is no agent at the next desk to which to turn and formal training opportunities are scattered between media, suppliers and the Travel Institute, hardly providing a logical and coherent curriculum. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

How do you handle the impossible to please client?  I am not talking about the difficult client—we all have them and can work our way through the hand holding and consoling and explaining.  I am talking about the client that has a very minor problem, and uses it to leverage everything else into a major problem? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – August 16, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

The extensive beverage menu on A-ROSA Stella featured something I had not expected: prices.

The costs for drinks on the river cruiser were reasonable, to be sure. A cappuccino was listed at €2.70; €8.90 for a glass of Pommery Brut Royal. The problem was I had thought A-ROSA Stella was an all-inclusive product, as we have often reported on River Cruise Advisor.

Only a few minutes before browsing the beverage menu, we had stepped aboard the attractive 174-passenger vessel, docked on the Rhône river in Lyon, France. For the next seven days, we would explore the cities and towns along the Rhône and Saône rivers, all from the comfort of A-ROSA Stella. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Here’s the good news – the theory behind good PR copy is easy to understand. Here’s the bad news – the theory behind good PR copy is easy to forget. The theory is simple: find a unique angle and then relate it to your readers. Many travel agencies, however, make the classic mistake of writing their PR copy by listing the features of their agency. Good writing in a marketing context always talks to the benefits. Even if you do list a feature, you want to couch it in the context of the benefit to the client.
Read the rest of this entry »