Monthly Archives: November 2015

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Mike’s “4x4x10” Sales Strategy

You have everyone in your company/organization to do this each and every day for the next 3 months.

  • Send 4 letters to somebody… anybody. Your letters can go to clients, prospects, or leads from your morning newspaper. Without excuse or exception, get into the habit of sending four letters each and every day.
  • These can be to clients to say thank-you. These can be to prospects to ask for an appointment, or these could be to suspects to simply inquire or ask for a current mailing address.
  • This assignment must be completed by 10 a.m. every morning, no excuses, no exceptions, by each person in your organization.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Thanksgiving has come and gone; but I would be remiss if I did not use the time to reflect on my lives (personal and professional) and consider what makes me thankful. 2015 has been an odd year for me—business has been steady, a few new opportunities have surfaced, I survived the “Bummer Summer” (dead car, house getting robbed, and knee surgery) and am now looking forward to a positive 2016 with  great anticipation.  I have a lot of friends who are teachers and as the kids return to school this week, many will be toting vacation “homework” which undoubtedly included a “What am I thankful for” list. In that vein, I offer mine!
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Posted In: Publishers Corner

Content Marketing

Every few years or so the phrase “Content is King” enjoys new popularity. What most surprises me is that content has ever lost its royal positioning in marketing. Why does it come as a surprise when we re-discover the importance of well-written, engaging content? That aside, what role does content play in your own efforts to market your travel practice? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Saturation in the travel industry

I started writing this article many months ago as my busy season started in May. We have now come to the end of November, finally having a chance to complete it, so perhaps this is a year in review with still a month to go. I have written many articles in the past for TRO about issues in the industry and how I feel they should be handled; and also about concerns of the challenges we all face in this volatile world in which we live. It has been a year like Grand Central Station – crazy busy where I thought I had reached a saturation point and not knowing what to do. I thought I had reached my limit and perhaps many of you have felt this way at times. Business has been excellent, as I have read from many this year, which is a good issue to have, especially when you are self-employed as I am. It can also be bad, as there has to be a balance. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

A cornucopia of English gardens

To mark the 300th anniversary of ‘Capability’ Brown and in celebration of England’s many fabulous gardens, landscapes, and events, VisitEngland is promoting ‘Year of the English Garden’ as a major theme for 2016. As most of the places your customers will want to visit lie outside of London, you now have the opportunity to develop new itineraries which spend 5-6 nights in the countryside packed with value-added visits to privately owned castles, stately homes, and gardens. Pubs and tea rooms get added into the mix and with jetlag parked, your clients are then ready for 2-3 nights in London, plus extensions on an independent basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

7 Steps to Socialize your Marketing Campaigns

Is your next marketing campaign percolating in your mind? If you want to do something different to set this marketing promotion apart, how about putting your campaign on caffeine?

While your BDM’s have given you awesome marketing tips, you really want this campaign to pop! You want to capture attention. Whether this campaign revolves around a supplier promotion, your next exclusive group departure, or a new destination you’ll be promoting, you want to make a splash.

How can you integrate your social and traditional marketing to give it a jolt? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Technology makes it easy to speed through (and around) sincerity.

Be warned, I can tell when I am just number 345 on your database even though you begin your email with my first name: “Hi Mike!”

Please do not get me wrong. I have all the toys, and I love playing with them. I am the first one to check my emails while exiting an airplane and sending the latest gizmo whammy by FTP up to my website. But, after reading this article again, I also think that I am going to sit right down and write somebody a letter, with a pen… on paper, and stick it in an envelope… and write from my heart… and lick the stamp myself. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s that time of year again. Old Man Winter has started to show signs of his arrival, and Wave Season is just around the corner.

Undoubtedly, as soon as the first big snowfall hits, there will be people calling our office in a panic, desperate to turn their minds to something other than shoveling, snow-blowing, and trying in vain to keep the salt on the roads from eating through the paint on their car. They’ll be looking for something warm… something that doesn’t require three layers of clothing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

A Journey Of 100 Miles Begins With A Single Step

Since I read the book titled Kaizen, I find myself eyeballing a zillion items that yesterday would have gone unnoticed and, worse, untouched. I figured if I was not in position to complete the task in one sitting, I would wait until I could find the time to do so. This has proven over time to be a wasteful decision. (Kaizen goes against the popular teaching to finish what you start. With Kaizen, you eventually do complete the task, but not instantaneously.)

Kaizen comes into play in virtually every aspect of our life. It also works when it comes to eating healthy. Let’s use French Fry Potatoes as an example of how Kaizen works. You do not have to give up French fries cold turkey once you endorse the Kaizen philosophy. Not all at once. Your brain will fight you, and you will lose every time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Let’s face it, running a travel business can be tough. It can be even tougher when you are running it solo. Without employees or contractors, it all falls squarely on your lap and it becomes very easy to spend your day putting out fires rather than handling productive tasks that will make you money. But it does not have to be that way. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

People talk. Sometimes, they talk about you and your travel practice. Sometimes they say really nice things about your skill, the last trip they booked with you, and the wonderful experiences they had. Every now and then, someone might say something not so nice. When that happens, your brand is damaged. You probably know your brand is not what you say it is: your brand is what others say it is.  However, it is possible for you to influence the public perception of your brand and to raise the positive profile that others have of your travel practice. In the event of a problem, it is possible to effect damage control and to take possession of the course of conversation.  But none of this is possible if you are not closely monitoring your brand image. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – November 20, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Soundings

Trying To Manage The Panic

Susan SchafferI was happily cruising along in the Caribbean last Friday night when my husband turned on the stateroom television as we got ready for dinner. That’s how we learned about the attacks in Paris. It definitely put a damper on the evening for those passengers that heard the news (it was obvious a good number of passengers hadn’t heard anything yet). The discussions I overheard were full of grief for those in Paris, but you could also hear the panic start to set it.

It’s the panic we hear from clients after any major catastrophe, whether it’s natural (such as hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) or man-made (such as terrorism), and it all boils down to this: is it safe to travel? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

The Baltic Sea is the most popular summertime cruise destination in Europe. All the major cruise lines offer varied itineraries that enable guests to explore the shores of this northern sea, with some itineraries starting or ending in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, or London. Itineraries can be as short as one week or as long as two weeks depending upon the ports of embarkation and termination. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Today’s whack in the head comes via Annapolis, Maryland — the home of the United States Naval Academy. Annapolis is one pretty town, especially on a bright, clear Saturday morning. Weather-wise, my wife and I hit a homerun as we sauntered in and out of the cute little shops.

We eventually wandered into a Christmas Shop down near the docks and began browsing. We both overheard a woman with an accent (Russian) ask the young lady behind the counter if they could take a picture of this lovely shop as they had never seen anything quite so beautiful? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Why are you scared of me?

Recently, I went out for cocktails with another agent after an agent networking meeting. As we were sitting at the bar chatting with the bartender, we started talking travel. The bartender said, “Oh, so-and-so down at the end of the bar is a travel agent.” I approached her, introduced myself, and mentioned the group along with an invitation to join. The next words out of her mouth took me aback. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

What Do “Looks” Have To Do With Anything?

When it comes to first impressions, I suppose the way you look does have an impact on what comes next. Image does play a part, I agree.

My message today involves a reminder thanks to an experience I had in Oneonta, NY.  This little town is “upstate,” and perfectly positioned between cow pastures.

My wife and I were visiting a plumbing supply store in search of a few important water-related items when we entered a company that was advertised to fit the bill. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

#8: Why Should I Do Business With You?

That is a very good question. If not verbally asked, your prospect will undoubtedly be thinking it.

Most agents reply by telling the prospect what they think of themselves. They provide a data dump of superfluid information, which is of no interest to their prospects. They flatter themselves hoping that others share the same interest in them and their history. Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t the way it works. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

#7: Better Ask Questions

Somewhere along the way, some not-so-smart guy or gal suggested that in order to excel in sales, one must exhibit the “gift of gab.” Nothing (spelled NOTHING) could be further from the truth.

The warden in the movie Cool Hand Luke also had it wrong when he reminded Paul Newman that “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” Nope! Wrong again. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

A region of intoxicating cuisine, lavish architecture, and charming villages, Northern Spain is the quintessential image many think of when they imagine the heart of Spain. Insight Vacations is your guide to this fantastic region full of history, art, and Spanish culture!

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Priceless Cruising – signing off

I can’t believe this year is already coming to an end … and what a year it has been for Priceless Cruising! Since I quit my other part-time job in June of 2014, I’ve been able to concentrate my efforts on my cruise business and it has really paid off!

By the end of this year, I will have doubled both my sales for the year as well as my commissions. And the best part is that I have now earned enough in commissions to qualify for a higher commission split for 2016! Read the rest of this entry »