Monthly Archives: November 2013

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Lead Generation Through Social Media: Twitter Chats

Social media excels at relationship building at a very personal level.  To effectively use any of the social media platforms as a vehicle for pulling leads through the sales funnel, it is important to develop a very subtle and deft approach to your conversational skills.  A constant stream of travel offers or direct sales pitches is far too awkward an approach.  Instead, tenor your conversations to being helpful to others and providing information and assistance they need.  In so doing, your expertise will be apparent and you are likely to be in the running for consideration the next time your readers consider travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Maps are an essential part of every travel or tour guide. Yet, it’s either very costly or complicated or time consuming to create them. Mostly it’s a combination of all three. So either no Maps are used (imagine that – travel without a Map!) or costly and complicated software is used that only few and highly specialized designers can work with. StepMap offers a simple yet powerful Map Editor. It’s fully web-based and can be used by anyone to create customized Maps within minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Be a people magnet

At a recent trade show, I found myself questioning what it was I was “bringing to this party.”  I was speaking to a room full of hard working exhibitors (mostly travel vendors) who had dumped a bundle into the opportunity to try and find new clients–you.

Trade shows are the ultimate “crap-shoot.” People pay for the privilege of having nine out of ten people walk past their booth. With any luck, an interested prospect pops in and leaves a forwarding address.

So what could I tell them that would be worth their time? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Lead Generation Through Blogging

For those of you willing to take the time to develop your writing skills, blogging can have a tremendous impact on your lead generation efforts. HubSpot recently indicated companies can double their lead volume with effective blogging. Here are a few tips to help ensure you are maximizing your opportunities when you blog: Read the rest of this entry »

I can’t believe the year is ending, where did it go?

I had always heard that entrepreneurship is a roller coaster; and boy it has been the mother of all roller coasters this year for me! I started the year by paying it forward and opening myself to helping other travel agents and answering questions from those interested in joining the travel industry. One of those conversations led me to hiring an independent contractor. She’s a spunky, smart girl with a background in advertising and a passion for travel. I think she’ll be great for the industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Julie and Barry of ShoreTrips’ GIVE Volunteer Tourism

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 5.24.08 PMBarry and Julie of ShoreTrips created a volunteer tourism program called GIVE. Through this program, travel agents can now easily arrange a morning of charitable work for their cruising and resort-based clients who feel that giving back to the people of the islands is an integral part of a fulfilling vacation. Taking just 4 hours out of their vacation, travelers contribute to the people of the Caribbean by getting involved in the local culture and feeling great about what they do. Eight islands will be the first to benefit from this endeavor.


TRO: How did the idea for GIVE transpire?

J&B: Julie has always wanted to add this type of a program to our traditional excursions for many years. We both have volunteer experience in our lives and we know the importance of giving back all over the world. The GIVE program really launched in January of 2013 when ShoreTrips organized a large group of 350 people to participate in a voluntourism project in Aruba. With the success of this group, the desire to build this program grew at the same time as Hope Floats reached out to ShoreTrips and a partnership grew. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Examine Your Lead Generation

Marketing has two functions – the retention of existing clients and the generation of new clients. Our mission is to discover where in the sales process we can fine-tune our one-on-one skills with consumers to turn them into repeat clients. But almost before we get to sales we have to step back and ask a very important question: Is your marketing attracting qualified leads?

Good marketing will not simply generate leads. Good marketing will generate qualified leads by setting the expectations of the consumers who contact you for travel services. Marketing conditions the sales process. If a majority of the leads coming to you are not qualified, your marketing is not working well for you. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

I am a huge believer in proactive subtle marketing. Of course, you need to touch your clients when you have that fantastic promotion that is just what their doctor ordered; but you also need to reach out to them when you don’t have that fantastic promotion as well. Face it, much to our dismay, people do not travel all the time. There are down times in their lives where travel is the last thing on their minds—and for many, that time of year is now! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Call to Action

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”W.J. Cameron

In many ways, Thanksgiving is the greatest of holidays, a reminder of the debt of gratitude we owe to everyone and everything around us.  It is always tempting to magnify our losses and minimize the ordinary, daily miracle.  We long for big, outrageous fortunes and forget the small, mundane but truly astonishing gifts.  One day of the year, however,  is a reminder to contemplate the undeniably interdependent nature of our existence.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

After spending lavish amounts of time and energy generating high quality leads we sometime squander the results with inadequate follow up. Effectively following up on leads as they come through the funnel would seen to be a very obvious next step, yet many marketers will readily admit a surprising number of leads go to waste. Implementing a strong program of lead generation will not have the greatest possible impact on your bottom line unless you learn to properly manage the leads you generate. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Often overlooked in the creation of a lead generation program is the need to test tactics to determine the most effective formats, copy and offers. Marketers refer to such testing as A/B Testing or “split testing” and it is a proven way to increase the results of your lead generation efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

In late October, I spoke with Larry Pimentel about the growing awareness of Azamara Club Cruises. Pimentel is the company’s president and CEO, but more than that, he is one of the cruise industry’s visionaries. He helped chart a successful course for both Cunard and Seabourn, and along with his team, he created SeaDream Yacht Club, which differentiated itself from all other cruise companies that had come before it with a simple defining slogan, “It’s Yachting, Not Cruising.”

My October interview was a follow up to a series of interviews with Pimentel on Azamara Quest back in October of 2010, not quite a year after he was recruited to take the helm of (then) Azamara Cruises (without the “Club,” which Pimentel added).
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Setting up a lead generation program in 5 Days: Day 3

Once you have settled on the distribution channels you will use in your lead generation efforts, begin to craft offers directed to the demographic of each channel. Too often I see generic marketing directed at populations where a bit of customization would have real impact. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Gate 1 Travel offers escorted tours, European river cruises, independent vacations and customized international vacation packages for less. Our discount travel packages and tour packages to destinations worldwide provide exceptional value, saving our customers time and money. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

We’ve all heard it at least 100 times – “Video is king.” So when you finally decide to bite the bullet and attempt to use video in marketing your business, where do you begin? And how do you do it effectively? Here are my five best tips on how to use video to market your travel business.

Tip #1: Use Simple Equipment. You don’t need a $10,000 video camera to shoot great video. In fact, your phone is often good enough, or a simple $99 video camera. Just make sure you have decent lighting.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Setting up a lead generation program in 5 Days: Day 2

We generate leads through various channels of distribution. If you hand out your business cards on a regular basis at business functions, that is a channel of distribution. If you get leads through your website, then it is also a channel of distribution. If you have a well developed referral program, there is a channel of distribution. Today’s effort in setting up a lead generation program, then, is examining your channels of distribution.

Typically, some channels of distribution are better developed than others. For example the company’s website may be very polished, easy to navigate and collects many leads for the company, while the company’s referral program from existing clients may be sporadic and producing leads on an irregular basis. It is important to periodically examine each of your channels of distribution and ensure each is a sharp as possible and represents your company well. The idea is to not be dependent on any one channel but to have only so many channels as you can reasonably manage and maintain well.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Ireland is one of the most naturally breathtaking countries this planet has to offer. From cascading green hills to beaches hugged by incredible cliffs, to quaint villages scattered throughout, there is no doubt Ireland is a place in a category of its own. In the west of Ireland there’s a special world of stone walls, spectacular shorelines and cliffs. There are mysterious ruins from prehistoric religions and magnificent cathedrals from those of a more recent origin. And let’s not forget that Ireland is populated by the friendliest people in the world! This week’s 60-Second Geography is sponsored by Sceptre Tours because, well, who knows Ireland better?
Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing for this last “Agent Diary” column was very interesting. I went back and pulled up all of the articles from throughout the year and reread them to review the journey that all of you took with me over the course of time. I have to admit – a part of me really wishes that I had accomplished some greatness to write about over the last year that I could point to as validation that I am good at what I do. Ta-Da! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Setting up a lead generation program in 5 Days: Day 1

Lead generation is one of the key objectives of every marketing effort.  However, generating high quality leads in a quantity sufficient to maintain steady growth for a travel business is a challenge.  Not only is the perceived competition fierce, but many leads come to the door having only the slightest of notions about what a travel professional’s role in travel planning actually is. Thus, in addition to the marketing necessary to snare a lead, a large educational process is also a part of client retention.  Yet, it’s important to keep the leads inbound: while your existing clients provide stability, it’s the new ones that provide growth.

This week we will explore five important ways for you to generate and manage new leads. We will focus on the strategic rather than the tactical issues and then next week visit some tactics to put your strategy into action. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1


1598Akshay Shah is the vice president of marketing for Sky Bird Travel & Tours, Inc. He is currently the president of United States Airline Consolidation Association and is on several boards of advisors for different organizations.


TRO: What was your most fond travel memory you can recall?

AS: To be very honest it was a trip to Rome I took with just my wife and I. It wasn’t so much the hotel as the ability to walk around Rome for five days, or whatever it was, visiting cafes and eating gelato and just experiencing it with her. Read the rest of this entry »