Monthly Archives: October 2013

Posted In: Deck Plans

This is the moment for the unveiling of a project that we’ve been secretly working on for the past few months: the launch of a new sister website under the banner, Live Voyage Reports.

Aaron Saunders, who runs From The Deck Chair, and I have collaborated for quite some time on Avid Cruiser’s sister site River Cruise Advisor, and now we’re excited to bring to our collective readership live reports from our voyages on the oceans and rivers of the world.

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Posted In: The 365 Guide

Not all networking takes place at events or in a formal setting. Networking consists of telling everyone you know, and everyone you come into contact with, something about your business in a professional, one-on-one context. Everyone in your “circle of influence” should know that you are a travel agent. Discipline yourself each and every day to speak to a potential client about travel. In this way, your business grows as your circle of influence grows.

By intentionally networking in this way, you can create increasingly large circles of influence. For example, perhaps one of your clients, an accountant, wants to travel, but he doesn’t have anyone to watch his pets. There is a young woman in your neighborhood that has a pet watching service, but she has never traveled with you (and she is not sure if she needs to pay sales taxes). Is there an opportunity here? Very likely so! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Niche Luxury Cruising with Un-Cruise Adventures

The concept of Un-Cruise Adventures began in 1996 when American Safari Cruises was established and pioneered yacht cruising in Alaska, offering upscale, active cruises aboard small yachts. In 2008, American Safari Cruises gained a new parent company when its former CEO Dan Blanchard – who headed American Safari Cruises from 2001 through 2008 – formed InnerSea Discoveries, LLC with partner Tim Jacox and purchased American Safari Cruises. In January 2013, the company changed its name to Un-Cruise Adventures. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

The reason it’s called “networking” is that there is work involved! Networking, to be successful, is more than joining organizations, attending events and meeting people. For networking to be a strong tactic in building your travel planning business, concerted planning and on-going effort are key ingredients to add to the mix. Networking without a good set of planned objectives can work, but more often will not yield the results that a stronger effort would produce.

Have a well-defined set of goals and tactics that, combined, form a networking strategy. Decide early on in your networking planning how much time you will devote to networking and even how many new clients you hope to achieve. Determine the demographic of the core clients Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

One of the most common questions asked of me is, “How do I find clients with true luxury travel budgets and get in front of them?”  There is a very long, complicated answer to this question and it might differ from person to person.  But there is also a very simple one.  It’s the same answer I give when people ask me how I attracted millionaires and billionaires to my travel business.

The answer is: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Tahiti & the Society Islands by Paul Gauguin Cruises

You know that screen saver on your computer that keeps you dreaming of vacation and turquoise green water? Chances are, it’s somewhere near Tahiti and the Society Islands. This area of French Polynesia is renown for being some of the most spectacular, breath-taking destinations on the planet. It doesn’t stop at majestic waters, the mountainous backdrop creates a landscape unique to this quiet pocket of the world.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Almost without exception, your community will provide many more opportunities for networking than you could actually attend or utilize. Most travel agents that are expert at networking activities confine themselves to a choice few venues where they feel confident of obtaining the greatest benefit both for themselves and for others. Further, not every event is an appropriate networking venue. It is important to emphasize again that networking relationships flow two directions – you get out of the process what you put into it. If you are perceived as being a “taker” and not a “giver” Read the rest of this entry »

By the time this column hits the press, I’ll be in attendance at my fourth professional conference in three months. What is it about fall and travel shows? I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on some of the provocative thoughts I have rolling around in my head as a result of the classes I’ve attended and speakers I’ve heard this year. Attending a travel conference is exhilarating, motivating and exhausting; a lot like a good vacation. So, here’s the 5 things I’ve learned on my Autumn “vacations”: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Networking for Travel Agents – An Introduction

Networking, the art of generating new clients through social and business contacts, is easier for some travel agents than others. Extroverts have it made – meeting and talking with others at social functions, volunteer opportunities and community gatherings is a cinch to some outgoing souls. Others find socializing a bit more difficult, however. Regardless of our personality type, taking the time to meet new people, outside of the confines of your home or office, is a key tactic for any marketing strategy. Indeed, widening your “sphere of influence” is an absolutely crucial component to growing a business. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

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Tammy’s experience with building businesses began before she could legally vote. At the age of 16, she drove to New York, found a room to rent off of a Laundromat’s wall and worked as a secretary at a wholesale appliance store. After one year of learning the business, she called the owner of the shipping company they used to ship their appliances and laid out reasons for why they should combine their two businesses into one full-service company. That is how, at the age of 17, she became a founding partner of 7 Islands Shipping, the top company in the United States for export shipping to the Mediterranean throughout the 1980’s and ‘90s. It was her first Strategic Partnership and formed her lifelong philosophy of successful entrepreneurship.

After series of unfortunate life events, Tammy returned to her roots and passion for travel, where she has continually succeeded in growing her empire. Tammy’s journey is truly remarkable, read on for more inspiring stories!
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you following through? Think about it. When you golf, do you suddenly stop when you hit the ball?  When you play baseball or softball, do you immediately put the bat down when you connect? Of course not! You follow through—because without a follow through, your whole at-bat would be worthless.

But what about your travel business?  Are you setting goals and following through on them?

With any set of goals, there are three components that will make sure you are kept on track for the follow though you need to succeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Castles in the Air

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. ~ Henry David Thoreau

No doubt you have dreams for your travel practice. You want the passion you have for travel to communicate to others and to grow your business so that it will, some day, look as you have envisioned it.  You know you have the the will to succeed. Yet, there are times when the pace of the project and the obstacles seem overwhelming, when progress seems to slow to a halt and you seem unable to lift one more stone. It’s hard to go it alone.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – October 25, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

All this week, The 365 Guide has been examining some of the issues involved in advertising your agency’s services through various media. We want to bring together a few final considerations and tips that will place your advertising program on solid footing.

Advertising is only one tactic in a well-rounded marketing strategy. Public relations, word of mouth marketing, your blog and website, newsletters and all of the other topics we discuss here daily work in tandem with your advertising to condition the market to be receptive to your efforts. Seek to coordinate all of your marketing tactics to work in unison.

Advertising is highly visible when it works well – so make sure it represents your travel agency in total alignment with your company’s brand message. Your ads carry your company’s mission into the living rooms of people who may not know you in any other way Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Thank you again for the all of the comments and replies to my last article, “What are you” and the continued responses to “Protecting the Travel Professional”.

As I read through the comments and emails, I began to think about preferred suppliers. Yes I do use them. This is not a controversial topic, but the question is, do you use them exclusively and if so, why or why not?

When I was an employee of an agency, I was told I needed to use preferred suppliers as much as possible and other colleagues told me they were required to use preferred suppliers exclusively; which begs the question, what if your client wants something different and a preferred supplier can’t offer an option? Do you turn away business because you can’t offer a non-preferred option, or try to change the client’s mind to fit the preferred option? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

New Seabourn Video Series: Check Out Our Trailer

For more than two decades, I’ve cruised the Seven Seas on some of the world’s most luxurious ships. I write about my experiences here on avidcruiser.com. My goal is to help people like you make informed decisions about your cruise vacations. Join me over the coming weeks as I explore some of the world’s finest cruise ships in a new video series featuring Seabourn.

We kick off the series with an inspiring trailer that embodies the spirit and ambience of what Seabourn is all about. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

An advertising maxim says what cannot be measured cannot be managed. Indeed, without some controls and testing, it can be very difficult to gauge the effect a given advertisement has had on sales. Strategic based “image advertising” is especially difficult to measure and even measuring the impact of more tactically oriented “sales” ads can be a challenge. It is important, however, to attempt to gauge the success of a given ad so that over the course of the campaign you can make adjustments that will improve the success of the series of ad efforts even when a single ad is not as effective as hoped. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Get out of travel, sell you!

In 1979 I changed careers.  I went from a starving musician to a starving travel agent for nearly 20 years.  I’ve been speaking professionally since 1999 and I often mention my career change in my presentations.  When I speak to travel agents, it’s always met with laughter, giggles, and a subtle sense of acknowledgement that I am closer to right, than wrong. It was a joke that rang true 35 years ago and still sounds familiar to many of today’s travel professionals.  But, there is something different.

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Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Grand Turk by ShoreTrips

Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Grand Turk has made headlines time and time again as one of the most magnificent beaches in the world. Need to defrost a little after a long winter season? Start planning your getaway to this remarkably beautiful island! Use the article below in your own newsletters and on your websites, compliments of ShoreTrips! Read the rest of this entry »

I’m very active in social media whether promoting my business or networking with other agents. I share my business marketing strategies, destination expertise, local contacts and business ventures ideas freely. I recently had a speaker use my screen captures from website as a reference in his presentation to a group of travel agents. I found out that an agency in another state took some of my website marketing pieces intended for my clients, and repurposed it with their name! I have also had other agents contact me to ask if it would be OK for them to remove my name and share my content on their websites. I could only shake my head.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Advertising is a high-stakes business. As we indicated yesterday, it is often the most visible part of a travel agency’s marketing plan and takes up a large percentage of the marketing budget. Choosing the appropriate media to present your advertising is therefore a very important decision. Here are a few basic concepts that will assist you in selecting the media you should use. We will discuss print advertising primarily, but the lessons apply to all media.

In selecting your media for an advertisement, there are three important factors: Read the rest of this entry »