Monthly Archives: October 2015

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – October 30, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

7. It is not enough to take care of customers. You have to care about them. Great service isn’t just a transaction. It’s a bond.

8. Don’t just solve problems – create opportunities. You can turn a slip-up into a lasting relationship. All companies make mistakes. Make good on your mistakes. Don’t forget: every mistake is a chance to prove how good you can be. Act wisely and you create a customer for life. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Out here on the Ionian Sea, the chill of an October evening causes me to head back to my stateroom to grab a sweater. I am sailing on Seabourn Sojourn as the ultra-luxury vessel makes its way towards the Greek island of Crete. This is her last Mediterranean voyage for the season. When our voyage ends on Sunday, Sojourn begins a long trek to Asia. Her sisters, Odyssey and Quest, have made their way back across the Atlantic to operate cruises in warmer climates. The European cruise season has come to an end for Seabourn, and here on Sojourn in the Med, we are sucking up the last of the warm weather and Europe’s gorgeous scenery. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Susan SchafferNot all travel consultants will delve into the world of land-based destination weddings. It is truly a niche that needs a lot of care, hand holding, attention to detail, and a thick skin. However, when it comes to a destination wedding mixed with a cruise, many consultants appear more willing to take them on even if they normally avoid destination weddings in general. Cruise-based destination weddings have a deceptive appearance of ease to them, and can catch even the most experienced of travel consultants off-guard.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Common Sense Reminders: Part 1

1. Customers don’t talk to “the company”. They talk to you! I just want to say thank you. I’m a new customer of yours and the way Susan handled my questions and solved my problems was nothing short of excellent. I wish I could receive this type of service from every company I have to deal with.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight

Find a NACTA Chapter Near You

The National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) is the foremost Travel Industry Association dedicated to providing the finest education, training, networking, and representation in support of Career Travel Consultants.

Established in 1986, NACTA was and still is the original travel association with the mission to represent the interests of individual travel consultants, gradually expanding to all professional sellers of travel. NACTA’s host travel agencies and suppliers support this growing distribution channel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

Although Northern Thailand is well known on the tourist trail, there are communities that have, until now, had little or no access to tourists and the tourism dollar. That is set to change when G Adventures and its community partners in rural Thailand welcome travelers on a new trekking route, beginning November 2. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Why People Can Be Difficult

1. Tired & Frustrated. Think of how you felt after a long drive, or having been lost in a new neighborhood, after dark. You simply were not at your best, and when your patience was tested in this situation, chances are you came across a bit terse.

2. Confused. In addition to being embarrassed, confusion can lend itself to a shortened temper. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

MONEYBACK is Mexico’s leading tax refund service provider for international travelers with over 50 service locations throughout the country, covering 98% of all the points of departure. MONEYBACK opened its doors in August 2008, offering tax refund services in Mexico City and Los Cabos. Since then, the company has expanded to Cancun, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, among many other destinations in Mexico. Operated by travel industry professionals who understand the needs of international travelers visiting Mexico, MONEYBACK prides itself in offering fast and efficient tax refund services to leisure and business travelers. Mexico’s leading tax return company refunds 8.9% of shopping expenses to international travelers. MONEYBACK’s goal is to promote the best leisure and business shopping destinations in Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Facts & Rules: Part 2

68% – I want you to remember that customers will come and customers will go. They will enter your life and depart at different times. You can think of this as the “customer cycle of contribution”. The fact is when customers choose to part company with you, they do so, more often than not, for a reason. And the reason, more often than not, is not the reason you think it is. 68% of the customers you lose will not be leaving because of something you did. They will be leaving because of something you did not do. 68% of lost customers choose to buzz-off simply because they feel you don’t care about them. Think about this and then do something about this. This percentage should be closer to 5% in my mind. 68%? This is pitiful. Do something about this now. Read the rest of this entry »

So, this is it. My year (closer to 11 months, but who’s counting) is up. Looking back, all I can say is what a year it’s been—both personally and professionally.

But first I would like to thank Travel Research Online for asking me to do this series. I can’t say it’s been easy – but it has definitely been worth it. You would think writing to a deadline would be a piece of cake, given the way we have to hit deadlines every day in our business. It’s not. The fact is, sometimes you just don’t feel it. On the other hand, sometimes you do. It’s amazing how many times, among all the other random thoughts going through my head, I have said to myself: “I need to remember this for the next Travel Agent Diary.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Facts & Rules: Part 1

80/20 Rule – This rule is uncanny in its effectiveness. It implies that 80% of your profit originates from 20% of your client base. What does this mean to you as far as Customer Service goes? Plenty.

1.6% Rule – This is a rule I founded myself resulting from a little math following the Winter Olympics a few years back (Nagano, Japan). The difference between a gold medal winner in the men’s downhill and the seventeenth place finisher was less than 2% in time differential. In a race that takes 1 min and 30 seconds (90 seconds) that isn’t much difference between first and seventeenth place. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Jen_Duckworth2As a 20-year plus travel Industry career veteran Jen Duckworth has worked on both the supplier and agent sides of the business in the roles of Agent, Manager, Sales Representative, Ticketing Specialist, Corporate Agent, and now Special Services Manager.

Her path in the travel industry started in the early 1980’s with an OAG and a Res Card. From those early beginnings at a local agency she moved to a bigger player, American Express, and was one of the first 50 persons asked to service a new product by the name of the Platinum card. That brand had only a vision, and her team developed the rules as the product evolved. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

The news was bad—a major hurricane, Patricia, was headed toward Puerto Vallarta. Then it got worse. It was the largest, most powerful hurricane ever recorded (according to some reports) in the Western hemisphere. The tourist areas along Mexico’s Pacific Coast prepared for the worst. Airports were closed. Guests were evacuated from resorts. Electricity was pre-emptively turned off in preparation of the devastation to come. And when it finally made landfall… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

What’s Your Story?

From earliest childhood, we are taught to listen to stories. We develop a real, active interest in the lead character of a tale. No doubt some people tell stories better than others. But the one story you should spend time writing and polishing is your own. Why are you in travel? What do you do? How do you do it? Have you ever had a really special moment traveling? What was it? Is that why you are a travel agent? Did you travel with your parents? Why do you think people should travel? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – October 23, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

What Do (Most) People Want

1. To Feel Welcome: Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling that their presence is appreciated? I know I do. There is nothing as cold and unnerving as the feeling that you are not welcome in a particular environment. This is easy to address. Make others feel welcome, and they will reward you for doing so… in time.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Susan SchafferFor those travel professionals that were not in the industry at the time, in pre-1998 most cruise lines pooh-poohed the idea of families being a large segment of the cruise industry. And then this little start-up cruise line came along. They tested their theory first by putting their characters on The Big Red Boat. Once they were convinced that they had a viable business model, they struck out on their own. In 1998 the Disney Magic was launched, followed up the next year with the Disney Wonder. After that, you could say the rest was history. Disney Cruise Line continually fills their ships (now up to four ships total) on a variety of itineraries. Of course, not everyone on a Disney ship is traveling with minor children; some grown up “kids” that love all that is Disney cruise with DCL on a regular basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

I knew that Seabourn had partnered with acclaimed, multi-Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller. In fact, I wrote about Seabourn’s partnership with Keller back in June. What I did not expect was to experience Keller’s creativity onboard the Seabourn Odyssey during our sailing from Rome to Barcelona last week.

I dined on Keller creations each of the five nights that I was onboard Seabourn Odyssey. On three nights, dishes were served in the main dining room, where the menu included an insert featuring a Thomas Keller dinner. The two other nights were in the Colonnade, where we were treated to “Ad Hoc” evenings. Ad Hoc is Keller’s Napa Valley casual dining venue showcasing the American comfort food of the chef’s childhood, and dinner in the Colonnade reflects Ad Hoc’s philosophy — comfort food, but with the Keller touch. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Someone wrote a crappy review about us. Here’s what we did about it.

We’ve all had that client: one minute things are going along smoothly, and then suddenly things start to go south. Maybe you didn’t respond to an email quickly enough. Maybe a well-intentioned friend gave them advice that completely contradicts the advice that you gave them. But there’s nothing worse than that nagging feeling that your client has suddenly lost confidence in you. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Choice of Style

Like everything else today, you have choices to consider. The style of organization you want to represent is one of them. What kind of reputation do you want to bring to the playing field? There are four to choose from.

Each of the four types consists of two primary elements, the procedure side of business and the personal side. One deals with the way you connect with your prospects and customers while the other involves the actual mechanics of delivering your product or service in a professionally accepted fashion. Both are of equal importance and the combination of the two define the type of organization you are running. Read the rest of this entry »