Monthly Archives: August 2014

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – August 29, 2014

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Reason # 5: This week, we have reviewed some of the reasons your travel practice might not be growing at the rate you want. Today’s fifth and final reason is one of the most difficult to understand at a deep, emotive level. Intellectually, most travel agents understand the need to develop relationships with clients. Emotionally, reactively, however, too often it’s the transaction, not the client, that receives central billing in our marketing campaigns.

A transactional mentality moves from one travel planning exercise to the next, from one sale to the next sale. In contrast, truly successful business people form relationships with their clients, emphasizing the rapport and bond of trust formed between travel consultant and client. As a result, the association with positive travel experiences and the travel consultant is so strong Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

8 tips for the perfect FAM

Familiarization, or FAM, trips are an important and necessary component of our jobs. We know they are not vacations, and in fact they can take many forms from self-guided to fully orchestrated. Sometimes a FAM trip will pop up in the midst of your vacation–a travel agent’s work is never done.  But, are you getting the most out of your FAM? Let’s talk about how you can get the most out of your FAM trip experience, including tips on managing information, and how to make a good impression on the supplier. Here are 8 tips! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

Travel Made Easy with Trans Am Travel

Founded in 1980, Trans Am Travel is the preferred supplier for travel professionals. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, we  offer competitive pricing combined with excellent service. The consolidator is one of the best, as well as one of the largest airline ticket wholesalers in the United States. Our highly trained representatives average 15 years of experience in the industry and are committed to providing our customers with high quality service. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

As we explored Russia’s Far East for the past two weeks on Silver Discoverer, acclaimed photographer and film-maker David Wright hosted photography workshops for guests. One of two teens on our voyage, my 17-year-old son took advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as possible from the award-winning National Geographic and BBC film-maker. To learn more about David’s work, visit Expedition Workshops. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Reason # 4: To be really effective, marketing needs to have two important qualities, consistency and constancy. In short, you must always deliver the same message to your clients in every encounter they have with you and you must deliver that message with enough frequency to remain top-of-mind. Without the quality of consistency, your clients will be confused with regard to your identity and ethic. Without constancy, they won’t hear your message often enough to develop an association with your brand each time they think of traveling.

Clients want to know what you and your travel practice stands for as a matter of company ethic and values. We tell ourselves we are consistent, that we always deliver the same message to the market. But do we really? For example, if your website indicates that your travel practice is all about the quality of each individual travel experience and the premium you place on value, but each of your tweets on Twitter is about travel specials, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Costa Rica Dream Adventures (CRDA) is a US Tour Operator that has been in business for over 16 years selling exclusively Costa Rica. We are based in Atlanta, Georgia and we also have an office in San Jose, Costa Rica for 24/7 on site support.

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Posted In: The 365 Guide

Reason # 3: Travel consulting is a people business. The more people you meet and know, the more opportunity you have to grow your business. It really is that simple. Yet, many travel agents shy away from the fundamentals of good solid marketing basics – networking, word of mouth and public relations. The tactics that make up these three marketing strategies are absolutely key to growing most travel consulting businesses. Your task is to create an association in the minds of the people you meet – when they think of travel, they think of you. Networking, word of mouth and public relations are the way you create, amplify and increase the strength of that association.

This is not to say that there are not other marketing strategies that will pay real dividends. But almost all other marketing strategies are extensions of these three basic tactical arrays. Social marketing, for example, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

What should we be telling our clients about their upcoming hotel stay? In this litigious age, it is perhaps wise to have a boilerplate brochure or perhaps just a one-page PDF, a sort of subtle disclosure statement, that covers basic safety tips while traveling – always double lock your hotel room door, never open it without confirming the identity of the person on the other side, and so forth.

And, of course, there should be some sort of “paper trail,” even if it is electronic, to document the fact that the client has received it.

But is that enough? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Explore St. Thomas USVI with ShoreTrips

Among the pristine, crystal blue waters of the Caribbean lie some of the most beautiful pieces of real estate in this part of the Western Hemisphere, including the island of St. Thomas. Whether you’re basking in the sun at Magen’s Bay or exploring the lush Botanical Gardens at St. Peter Great House, St. Thomas is sure not to disappoint.
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Posted In: Outposts

Positioned at the most south-eastern point of the Korean peninsula sits Busan, Korea’s second largest city and number 1 trading port. With its wide array of spectacular beaches, countless historical ruins and sites, and generous amount of dining options, to name a few, Busan serves as the perfect host for all of your vacation desires.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Reason # 2: A company’s USP is its Unique Selling Point – something that makes it different from all other companies of its type. Is there something about your business that is so unique that customers would do business with you based on that one quality alone? A reason to do business with you rather than the agency down the street or online with Travelocity? If so, you have located your USP and are on the way to better understanding how to build a smart marketing campaign based on that uniqueness. If you have not emphasized your USP in your marketing, then consumers are likely to pass you over for any number of similarly positioned travel agencies – you are just one of the crowd.

Fortunately, most travel agencies do indeed have a very valuable asset that distinguishes them from all other retail travel companies or online travel agencies – people. Your travel agency’s human resources are not duplicated anywhere else. Somewhere in your personnel – whether you are a 500 person agency or a one person home based business is very likely your Unique Selling Point. It’s important for you to be able to coax Read the rest of this entry »

Remember when the worst thing that could happen was summer’s end, and then it was time to go back to school?   No more long days at the swimming pool, weekends at the lake, or summer camp?  Oh, those were the days, weren’t they!

Fast-forward 40 years; summer is over and I am wondering where the heck it went.  I don’t feel like I’ve had any time off, mostly because I’ve used up my vacation for the year taking care of my 80 year-old father.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Postak Shrestha, President of Highland Asia Travel

postakPostak Shrestha was born and brought up in the tourist town of Chitwan National Park, Nepal where he also started his career in tourism as a Nature Guide in early 90s. After spending about two years as a Nature Guide, he moved to the capital city Kathmandu and started working for a European Tour Operator as a Tour Leader, and later held key positions in operation and finance in the same company. After few years the company started downsizing its Nepal office, and Postak founded his own company together with some of his colleagues in 1998; since then Postak has been actively promoting adventure and culture tours to the Himalaya and Asia. Postak immigrated to USA in March 2005 with his family and Highland Asia Travel (now doing business as Far & High Adventure Travel) was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota a year after. While the company here in USA is an independent entity, Postak is also a major share holder in Nepal and Bhutan offices. In other destinations, Postak works with local suppliers, some of whom are headed by his former colleagues. Postak and his company specializes in small groups and custom tours to Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and India. Postak also offers tours to Myanmar, China, Mongolia and Indochina.

Postak is a Mathematics and Physics graduate and lives with his wife and two daughters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For many, travel is a business but Postak takes it as his passion and believes in earning his bread and butter by doing what he likes. He finds satisfaction not in the profit but in the positive notes of happily returning customers. Postak’s clients says that he is very patient, flexible and takes care of every tiny details. Whether you are a part of a big group or a solo traveler taking a private trip, you will get equal attention from him.

 

Travel Research Online: What is your earliest or most memorable experience in travel?

Postak Shrestha: I was guiding a group on a jungle hike in Chitwan National Park and we saw a rhinoceros in some 400 yards away. It was grazing and also walking in the direction towards us. I asked everyone to find some trees and climb up but everyone got so busy in taking pictures of the animal, they didn’t listen to me. Within a moment, the animal was very close to us and people started panicking. Luckily there was a big Kapok Tree with broad trunk where we could hide. The animal passed by the tree but didn’t see us. We were holding our breath! May be the wind was blowing in the same direction it was walking, otherwise it could smell us. This has been an unforgettable experience for me. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

 

Running a travel practice and achieving year over year growth is no small task. In fact, the very nature of travel consulting makes our business one of the most challenging. Nearly daily, I speak with travel agents on two extremes of the growth curve. On one side is the agent whose business is flourishing and providing the agent with a full time, robust income. At the other extreme is the travel agent who is falling behind and not seeing the growth they want to achieve in their business. The difference between the two extremes is a matter of a few business practices that can be developed by anyone serious about taking their travel practice to the next level. This week we will look at the five most common reasons your travel practice is not growing at the rate you want to achieve and what you can do to correct the situation.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Let me be polite and say “stuff happens.” Over the last 10 to 15 years, the travel industry has made an incredible shift in terms of business models. While retail and physical locations do remain (and are quite profitable for the most part), the economy saw to it that the industry shifted to a home-based model. It is hard to quantify the number of home-based businesses because many have decided to ditch their airline “partners;” but I think we can all agree that there are likely more one man (or woman) operations than ever before. But with that comes some challenges when “stuff happens.” Your success or failure will likely depend on how well you handle it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Be Prepared

In almost every aspect of both your professional and personal life, you instinctively know the value of practice and being prepared. Actually, it’s not instinct at all. The desire to be ready to handle difficult questions arises from early failures to prepare. Practicing answers has saved many a school boy and many a relationship. At a certain age you learn the value of preparation, but often only after failing multiple times at a question you absolutely know is coming. There are some questions  it makes sense to develop answers for well ahead of being asked. You know they are coming, you know the penalty for failure, and yet you let other matters take precedence until it is too late and you instead decide to improvise.

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Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – August 22, 2014

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week, The 365 Guide has looked at basic considerations for incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s marketing plan. Let’s wrap up with a few basic concepts and tips that can put you on the road to having a blogging program that can be one of your most important client acquisition and retention tactics. A bit of planning early on will generate big returns as your blog begins to grow and your approach becomes more demanding of your blogging system and setup.

Blogging requires much less knowledge of programming and HTML than building and maintaining a website. Nevertheless, the initial setup is greatly facilitated by a hosting company or technical assistant with experience in setting up a blog. Most blog programs offer a variety of templates Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

All travel agencies are REQUIRED to be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant, yet most believe that because they do not charge credit cards themselves they are exempt.  They are not.  You cannot simply wipe your hands of responsibility merely because someone else is processing a transaction.  Let’s talk about what exactly it means to be compliant and, more importantly, how to become PCI compliant! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

We couldn’t have asked for a more diverse or event-filled day on Silver Discoverer. Our morning started off with a hike through a glacial valley, past bubbling streams, and across Arctic tundra, to a lake on a day warm enough to merit a splash. The landscape – and the day were absolutely stunning. Read the rest of this entry »