Monthly Archives: April 2014

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Online Reputation Management (ORM)” is the terminology now given to those PR efforts geared to managing and monitoring a company’s brand image in the online market place. As we discussed yesterday, one of the most important strategies in ORM involves prevention – providing communication channels with your clients that allows complaints to be addressed and remedied in a controlled fashion.

Pro-actively manage your reputation by ensuring that your business ethic and practice are client-centric.  In a very clear fashion, let your clients know that their satisfaction is important to you and your travel practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Change your world

Some people walk around looking as if they have just lost their best friend. These people are saying that life is, and will continue to be, an unfair experience. Daily existence is a total drag while life offers nothing in return for their “showing up.”

If you know one or more of these types (and I’m betting that you do), trying to change anyone engaged in this exercise of self-pity is often an exercise in futility. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1



Loreto DeRubeis joins Central Holidays as the Manager of Group Operations, bringing with him 35 years of expertise in the travel industry.  This expertise comes from positions in international sales, luxury hotels, airlines, but mostly from travel companies where his accomplishments have been in product development, marketing, and as group and FIT specialist in destinations throughout the world.

DeRubeis is passionate about travel, and has firsthand knowledge of destinations in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, and Africa.  Throughout his career,  DeRubeis has been dedicated to making the clients’ dream a reality, and looks forward to providing unrivaled service to clients who travel with Central Holidays.

TRO: Tell us about your role at Central Holidays.

Loreto DeRubeis: My primary role at Central Holidays is to manage the group department; in addition I oversee the “World on Skis” and assist in developing new products such as a new high end FIT division “Journeys” and “Outdoor Journeys” focusing on outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

You are engaged in pro-active monitoring of your company’s reputation, and you have in place every possible customer service channel to preemptively handle complaints. Yet, you wake up one day to a negative review online. Perhaps it is a customer who had a legitimate complaint and whom you could not satisfy. Perhaps you don’t know the poster. In either event, there are immediate steps to be taken, some “do’s and don’ts” that can lessen and even eliminate the impact of a negative online review.

Firstly, note the tenor of the posting. Is the tone well-spoken and reasonable or it is irrational and filled with inflammatory language? Can you can identify the person who made the posting? Many times, contacting the poster and trying to pull the discussion off-line is one of the best possible tactics. If the poster is willing to engage in a civil manner, it may even be possible once resolved to request a removal, a retraction or a follow-on explanation of the resolution from the original poster. However, too seldom is a rational, off-line solution available. Read the rest of this entry »

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been on a mission to find effective tools to use in my business, namely, CRM, social media and proposal-building solutions. Believe me, there are tons of them out there and this process ended up being much more involved than I originally anticipated. In fact, I don’t feel any closer to finding the perfect fit now, than I was when I started!

I spent almost 5 of the 10 years I worked for Dell on finding and integrating tools into the sales team’s processes which would result in increased productivity, better sales effectiveness and higher customer satisfaction. It only stands to reason I’d be able to do the same for my own company, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”
~ Thomas Paine

You know what your company stands for, what ethic you live by and the manner in which you deal with your clients. You have spent time building a business persona, crafting the image you want your company to project. You have invested vast, precious resources developing your logo, your sales collateral and training your business associates on client relationships. You are all dressed up with somewhere to go.

Then, someone posts a negative review of your business online. Suddenly, online searches of your company name generate the negative review as a top result. What are your options and how can you counter the adverse publicity? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

If you could make a great first impression on a client for a few pennies would you be willing to fork over the cash? What about leaving that same impression on 2500 potential clients for less than $100? Will you part with the c-note?  My hope is that you would. I know I would; and I do!

As an industry, we demand to be respected; but, I never have to go too far to find a reason that the respect may be undeserved.  If we want to be treated as professionals, we need to act like them–all the time.  And the first time you meet someone is the most critical. It doesn’t matter if it is a client, vendor, or the kid who delivers your newspaper. A good first impression is crucial.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Accentuating the positive

Several years back, Psychology Today ran an article on what it termed the human “negativity bias.” It seems that our brains have a heightened sensitivity to unpleasant news. We focus on the negative. Very likely that capacity kept our knuckle-dragging ancestors out of harm’s way. Today, however, it serves to allow politicians to manipulate us with negative political advertising and gives the news media a portal through which they can drive advertising. The impact can be seriously harmful to our sense of well-being.

Unfortunately, this bad-news bias is active not only when we sit in front of the television, but in every aspect of our lives. We remember insults far longer than we remember compliments. Fear can paralyze us into acting unwisely or not at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – April 25, 2014

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

There is probably no aspect of the entire spectrum of marketing that is as problematic as advertising. Done properly, travel agency advertising will influence a target audience. Done poorly, it will, well, make you poor. It’s no wonder that so many travel agencies advertise so minimally, and thereby lose out on a significant opportunity to make people aware of their services.

The secret to an advertising campaign that works is to have the proper expectations going into the campaign. Understand what advertising can, and cannot, do for your travel agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

We have all received that call or email from a client about discounting a trip. This week it was my turn to hear from a client who is well traveled and only enjoys luxury travel. The conversation began with “let me bend your ear a little.” Nothing about her conversations is ever brief.

She spoke for 20-25 minutes about tours she researched for Russia, which ones she preferred, and asked which tour operator would be best based on her travel style.  I gave her my picks and told her the quotes will be in her email shortly.  That’s when the ball dropped. She already received quotes from a travel agency well known for discounting, and wanted me to match the price. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Seabourn’s suites are absolutely gorgeous. All are ocean view with more than 90 percent featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open onto expansive verandas. I want to show you some of the suite amenities so you’ll get an idea of what it’s like when you cruise on Seabourn, but first I thought you’d like to take a tour of some of these outstanding suites. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

The difference between ho-hum advertising and a visual ad that really grabs the reader is the designer’s ability to see into the mind of the ideal demographic the ad is trying to reach. An intuitive sense of where the “hot buttons” are for the reader is a necessary part of good creative. Think for a moment about all of the advertising where the age of the models has shifted to individuals with slightly graying hair. What’s going on there? I sometimes think those ads overplay their attempt to reach out to the “boomers”, but the lesson is just as obvious – your creative needs to establish a relationship with the demographic you seek. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

What makes some advertising successful and other ads not so? All other things being equal, it is often what is generally referred to as “the creative” – the layout, the design and the ad copy all of which ideally work together to convey the important message the ad so wants to communicate. The creative is the visual (in print, web and television) and the auditory (in radio and television, sometimes web) expression of the brand idea or the call to action that is the heart of the advertising message. Because advertising is not only communication but persuasion, the message carried by the creative must work well – and not only well, but quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

As a business coach, I expect to lead by example, demonstrate superior customer service, follow up and follow through with patience and diligence and pretty much display excellence in just about everything I do.  Yes, I do place high expectations upon myself by choice, but also understand that I am human and make mistakes and am grateful for them as I learn and grow.

I think that a slight edge I have in life and business has always been my positive attitude.  I have always seen (and again, choose to see) positive versus negative, opportunity versus dismay and growth versus stagnation.  I know it’s not always easy to maintain a positive attitude, so I try to incorporate as simple equation into my life when dealing with negative situations… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

When you think history, you think Greece.  The nation is full of it, with a long lineage of exuberant people and events that will continue to make history books for generations to come.  From the mind-blowing architecture to white beaches kissed by azure blue waters, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

The 1,400 islands all hold something remarkable to be discovered and a trip to the magical European country of Greece will leave a lasting impression years.

Read the rest of this entry »

The other day I was asked, “what do you do all day?”  Usually it’s someone outside the travel industry that asks me this.  I usually give the same vague answer, “I book people their vacations, honeymoon or destination wedding.”  I then got the stinging reply of “well can’t they just do that online?”  So the next day I came into the office all fired up and decided to write down everything it was, that I did in a day! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Yesterday, we described how the graphical design and layout of a visual advertisement should grab the busy viewer’s attention. The chore of attracting attention also falls to the most prominent line of the ad’s copy: the headline. Begin your ad development by writing down several possible headlines. The headline sets the theme and the tone for your ad and works with the graphical elements to bring the viewer’s attention to bear on the ad for a few seconds. The headline should be positioned to boldly state the ad’s proposition – typically this is at the top of the ad but a good designer may position it at either the middle or the bottom effectively. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Jim Cloonan of Travel Show Marketing Group


Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 2.51.52 PMTRO: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in the travel industry.

JC: I have nearly 17 years of experience in the trade show industry and 11 years of experience in the travel show industry. At Travel Show Marketing Group, my business partner, Eric Cooper and I work exclusively in the travel agent arena, strictly with the Home Based Travel Agent Forum; one in the Spring in Las Vegas at the Venetian and one in the Fall at the Chicago Hilton from November 10-12 later this year. We’ve been exclusively producing these shows as Travel Show Marketing Group for 5 years. We recently started a new brand, Specialty Travel Forums focusing mainly on niche markets. Our first event under this brand is the Romance Travel Forum which educates travel agents on the how to increase their sales and network within the destination wedding, honeymoon and romantic vacation markets. That event is taking place this May 12-15 at the Paradisus Cancun in Mexico, allowing travel agents to experience one destination they’re selling to romance clients. This will be part of the Specialty Travel Forums model moving forward. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Competing for the attention of a busy reader is no small feat. The layout of your advertisement, the graphics, font and whitespace are central to the effort. The graphic design of your advertising is all about pulling the viewer in and keeping them there long enough to recognize a benefit to remembering your brand. This week we will spend some time considering graphic design as it relates to your own advertising efforts for your travel practice.

Most of us know a graphically pleasing ad when we see it, but we seldom analyze how the graphic artist achieved the result. This is an area where, if available to you, professional assistance is invaluable. Often, the media from which you are purchasing your ad space can be a prime resource. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Is your finger on the pulse of the travel trends?

What destinations are you selling right now? Caribbean? Hawaii? Mexico? If so, you might be missing out—big time!  There used to be a time when the business development managers for the suppliers, consortia, and franchises would keep you “in the loop” on emerging destinations and trends. But, as budgets are being cut, you cannot always rely on that. Many of us (sadly) no longer have a business development manager. So, what’s an agent to do? Do it yourself! Read the rest of this entry »