Monthly Archives: September 2015

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Stop the Tire Kickers

Nothing is more disheartening having worked for days, delving out advice, building itineraries and providing every aspect of our services to prospective clients, only to have them not book, or even worse, book their trip elsewhere.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, shoppers (often called “tire kickers”) are not a phenomenon exclusive to the travel industry. How many times have you spent the day with a salesperson at a car lot, only to end up buying elsewhere? That where the term “tire kickers” came from. When looking for a special outfit or pair of shoes, how many of us buy at the first store? Most of us want to make sure that we are getting the best value for our money. The key word here is “Value”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Here is the fastest way to go out of business: Wait for the phone to ring and then answer it. Here is the surest way to maintain a growing business: Make it your mission to make your phone ring, then answer it like you are happy I called. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Blue Sky Tours has been selling custom designed Hawai‘i vacations since 1981. We sell only Hawai‘i and only through travel agents. Our Customer Care agents provide friendly, knowledgeable service, and will help travel agents choose the best island and accommodations for their clients.

All of our Customer Care agents are certified Hawai‘i experts by the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau and are devoted to helping travel agents create custom vacations for their clients. With an extensive range of products, Blue Sky Tours is able to offer the best schedules, hotels, car rentals, and tropical activities in Hawai’i. An aggressive pricing strategy ensures agents who book through Blue Sky Tours have a competitive price to secure every sale. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

The city of Prague is one of the most mesmerizing cities in the Czech Republic. In recent years, the city underwent major updates to both modernize the city and showcase the classically historical side of Prague as well. Prague is one of Europe’s most prominent travel destinations, welcoming in some 6 million visitors a year! Also known as the City of a Hundred Spires, Prague will entrance you with its fairytale-like splendor as you meander along the cobblestone paths and admire the intricate architecture, much of it centuries old. This Czech Republic city provides something for every kind of traveler, allowing you to soak in the vibrant culture of the locals during the daylight hours, and spend the dusk at one of the multitude of trendy clubs and art galleries. Prague’s decadence will not only prove intriguing, but also entice you to indulge yourself as you explore this majestic city. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This mistake has to do with “clock watchers”. Who ever said that the world had to dance to the beat of your drum? Who said the magic hours are between 9 & 5? Not me. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s football season again, and nothing gets us more animated than cheering for our favorite team. Its 15 seconds to go in the fourth quarter and the opposing team is up by 4. A field goal does no good. Facing 4th and 12, you have to go for the touchdown, no question. The quarterback steps back out of the pocket, his favorite target is open for the touchdown… we are all on our feet! To…to — touchdown? Nope, an interception. Sigh! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Upgrade is in quotes because I don’t necessarily endorse the concept of “up-selling.” I do, however, endorse the practice of “selling right”. And if “right’ is “up”, I say go for it. I also endorse “selling down” if it is the right thing to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

A long time ago, I made the business decision to be completely transparent in my pricing for my clients. As a traveler, I hated the hidden fees and charges that only added to the cost of my trip. For all of our trips, the price we quote is (to borrow a term from the car sales industry) “on the road and out the door.” All fees, taxes, and any additional items we are capable of adding are included. So when a supplier markets to my same client with a less than transparent offer, I want to strangle them. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Birthing New Ideas

I spend many of my columns speaking to the importance of positioning and differentiation – setting your travel practice apart from the crowd. From the emails and comments I received, however, it’s clear that it’s not always easy to really BE different.  Where do the ideas arise that will energize your travel practice in such a way that travelers will choose you over another agency or booking on their own?

The most important thing is to lead with your personality. You are the one thing that is truly unique about your travel practice.  You are the one thing not duplicated online, in your office, or at another agency. You are the human element with which people want to engage. Learn to infuse your creative thinking with your own personality. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – September 25, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Shame on you!

The human response to losing an account is to stay away because you think that the people you were once doing business with don’t like you anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Susan SchafferNorwegian Cruise Line still hasn’t perfected a way to roll out new policies without getting skewered in the process, especially by their passengers. But this latest issue isn’t really unique to NCL; it applies to all mass-market cruise lines. NCL is just in the forefront (again) because of how they’re handling the issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Nearly every single cruise itinerary sailing to Alaska will call on the “Big Three” ports of call: Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. Collectively, they represent some of the most well known locales in Southeast Alaska, routinely receiving hundreds of thousands of cruise ship passengers each and every summer. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Your 3 Word Mantra For Social Ads

What’s short, fun, emotional and simple? A workout? Dinner party? A social ad?

If you guessed a social ad, you’re right!

If you guessed one of the other choices you’ll see why the gym and a dinner party are related to social ads.

In this new era of ‘pay to play’, inspiring ads garner much more than simply clicks. In our industry social ads are essential in:

  • Brand & awareness building
  • Story telling
  • Driving traffic
  • Growing engagement
  • Amplification

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Look ye hear! We are back to the Rule of 7: Repetition is the key to learning.

Contacting your prospects seven times over an 18-month period. That is the key. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Mistake #8: You are boring people

You can answer this one yourself: Who do you want to spend time with?

Choice A: A boring, whining, negative slug?

Choice B: A proactive, fun, creative, idea-generating bundle of energy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

The mighty rivers of the United States of America once served as the great highways of early exploration and inspired dreams of discovery. Today, the American Queen Steamboat Company re-creates the same sense of wonder, excitement, and inspiration, all with the convenience and comfort of modern luxury aboard two of the largest and most elegant riverboats in the world: the American Queen and the American Empress. Traveling in the wake of legends, guests are transported to an era of romantic and leisurely travel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Just as the Chelsea Flower Show defines excellence for garden lovers, so do the three little words, “The Flying Scotsman”, resonate with the tens of thousands of people who flock to see the Steam Preservation and Rail Museums in North America.  Take a look at the Association of Tourist Railroads and Railway Museums, and then check out the UK product possibilities at the Heritage Railway Association. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Mistake #7: You don’t ask for the business

“If they wanted to do business with me, they would call me.”

BALONEY!

Think of it this way: you are a professional. If you don’t ask me to do business with you, you are an AMATEUR. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Considered by many to be some of the most magnificent landscapes in all of the Polynesian Islands, Samoa is a small but visually stunning cluster of islands in the Pacific. Craggy cliffs and rocky formations make way for rich and fertile plantations, and visitors crawl through lava tubes or dive into the Pacific to get up close and personal with vibrant coral. Between spotless beaches and hidden lagoons, there is no shortage of marine fun to be had on these exquisite islands. Local Samoans take life at an easier pace than the rest of the world, and are never shy with a hospitable grin for visitors. Read the rest of this entry »

We are all faced with distractions in our everyday lives. Some are good, and some not so good. How do you handle distractions in your work life? At times I find it difficult to stay focused with so much going on and seemingly being pulled in a million different directions. I am sure many of you can relate to this as well. To be honest, since returning from three weeks of traveling in Europe and with so much work to do, I have found it extremely difficult to get into “the zone”. Distractions seem to be everywhere lately, and jetlag and changing time zones didn’t make it any easier to jump back in. With much to catch upon, work and personal, it has almost been overwhelming with the “where do I start?” question coming up daily. Of course the answer is “at the beginning”, but where is the beginning? Where do you start when you have so much to do? Read the rest of this entry »