Monthly Archives: January 2016

Posted In: cartoons

King Cartoons – January 29, 2016

Posted In: Soundings

The Zika Virus and Cruising

Susan SchaeferThe concerned posts from travel professionals in closed forums are multiplying. “Are your clients cancelling because of the Zika virus?” Some agents are not seeing any effect on bookings (so far) while others are seeing a swell in cancellations. If you don’t sell much in Mexico, South & Central America, or the Caribbean you may not be effected, or you may not be up on the news and how it’s effecting travel.

What is the Zika Virus?

This virus is not new. It was identified back in 1947 and has been around since then. During that time there have been a few outbreaks in Africa and Southeast Asia, but nothing that has caused a global freak-out. The virus arrived in Brazil last May, and for unknown reasons it quickly became an epidemic there, infecting over 1.5 million people. But it still didn’t raise concerns. Read the rest of this entry »

“Simple. When it comes to responding to leads, the mantra is ‘Now Or Never’. Leads won’t wait. They are looking for a solution NOW.”

DO IT! MARKETING– David Newman, page 148

Why Inbound Leads Are a 911 Call

Leads very well may be your key focal point in growing your business. Without leads, you have no direction. Enter the topic of speed: Once you uncover a lead, it is imperative that you respond to it in the expeditious fashion it deserves. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Baltic Sea cruises are among my favorite. From the opulent palaces of the Tsars in St. Petersburg to Stockholm’s breathtaking harbor and Copenhagen’s spectacular Tivoli Gardens, few cruising regions offer such diverse treasures as the Baltic. Best of all, most ships dock in the center of the cities and towns, allowing you to hop off and explore on your own.

You’ll find short descriptions below of the major ports of call on Baltic cruises. You’ll find much more, however, as you drill down. If you are cruising from Copenhagen or Stockholm, be sure to see Two Perfect Days for advice on how to get the most of  your stay for a couple of days before or after your cruise.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Hema Khan, Kirkwood Travel

Hema Khan is both the owner of Kirkwood Travel in Voorhees, New Jersey, and the CCRA/OSSN Northeast Regional Director & Southern NJ Chapter Director. Susan Schaefer recently caught up with Hema to talk about her experience in the travel industry and with CCRA – Travel Commerce Network, previously known as OSSN. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Ex Fida Bona

Daniel Zim - Head ShotTRO is proud to introduce a new column this week: “Ex Bona Fida”. This monthly column will feature lawyers and accounting professionals providing valuable insight into the legal and tax world of the travel industry. Our first column is by Daniel Zim, an attorney specializing in travel law who has worked with such agencies as American Society of Travel Agents, Inc. (ASTA), Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), the U.S. Department of Transportation and state seller of travel programs.

Most law-abiding travel agencies do their best to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Some do not, risking prosecution and hefty fines. Still, others find the right buttons to push and the right people to speak with. One very familiar company with a unique business model may have done just that, receiving what appears to be a waiver of literal compliance with two DOT rules – the code-share and baggage fee disclosure rules.

For years, Priceline has dominated the opaque online travel space, selling airline tickets while withholding from the consumer the name of the carrier, including the schedule and applicable baggage fees until after the consumer makes a nonrefundable purchase. Yet, it is confounding that Priceline is even able to offer these services legally and intuition tells me that Priceline must have obtained informal permission from DOT for its opaque booking practices. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

For 69 years, New Hampshire-based Alexander+Roberts has been helping Americans to travel comfortably around the world, offering 112 original journeys to Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and the Antarctic. Since its pioneering days as the first American travel company to the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War, the company has continued to innovate with its Small Group and Small Ship Journeys for 6 to 16 guests as well as its Private Tours and Custom Travel:

+ Innovative: Our original itineraries encompass a wide range of destinations from the popular capitals of Europe and Asia to emerging destinations including Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Cuba, Albania and Montenegro.
+ Personable: We’re well-informed and flexible in meeting your diverse needs and desires.
+ Refined: The personal experiences we craft for our small group tours with never more than 16 guests and private journeys are honed by nearly 70 years of expertise.
+ Authentic: We enrich your travels with genuine cultural engagement and real opportunities for learning. Read the rest of this entry »

“Target what you want, and you can always take what comes!”

DO IT! MARKETING– David Newman, page 231

Your 21-Day Marketing Launch Plan

The nature of the travel industry lends itself to practitioners (travel agents) believing that they are in position to handle ALL incoming opportunities. On face value alone, this appears to be a logical positioning statement. But… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

This morning we are going to leave the Valletta waterfront where our ship is docked and get in a powerboat for a slow and relaxing ride out of the picturesque harbor. Once out of the harbor, however, the captain will put the pedal to the metal for a fast ride to the island of Gozo. We’re on a high-speed chase to a morning of adventure.

I looked forward to exploring Gozo. The island is one of 21 islands that make up the Maltese archipelago. The open-air 4x4s made for a great way to explore the island under the bright Maltese sun. At an exhilarating pace and with the wind blowing in our hair, we explored the towns and visited some of the more significant historical sites. Read the rest of this entry »

“Become known as someone who delivers great value BEFORE, DURING and AFTER your clients stop paying you.”

DO IT MARKETING– David Newman, page 174

Chapter 57: Nobody Leaves Hungry

One of the complaints I hear more than occasionally from travel clients involves the lack of communication between initial deposit and final payment. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

G Adventures is an adventure-travel pioneer, offering the widest selection of affordable small-group tours, safaris, and expeditions to nearly 100 countries on all seven continents. Powered by an international team of passionate travelers, the award-winning trips embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine, and local transport to put you on a first-name basis with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. 

Founded in 1990 by Canadian entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures believes that travel and tourism, both done sustainably, have the potential to be among the most powerful forces for good in the world. Bruce still owns and leads the business today from its corporate headquarters in Toronto, Canada.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

For as many years as I want to remember, I have been suggesting to travel professionals that their biggest problem, issue, and concern is simply that “not enough people know they are alive.” Visibility was their top snag.

When asked if they are still seeking their first paying customer, the vast majority (99%) of those in the audience giggle as if to say, “of course I have customers!” That tells me that they must already provide a valuable service to somebody; and in giving them the benefit of the doubt, they know what they are doing. This is the good news. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Discover Colorful Auckland with Down Under Answers

New Zealand has earned a reputation in the past few decades as a truly mesmerizing visual backdrop for some of the most epic films ever put to screen; but many neglect to explore the cities, the urban areas of New Zealand, full of the same natural beauty and more. One of these incredibly cities is Auckland, a city full of history, culture, and just as much heart-stopping flora and fauna as you could dream of in the countryside. Down Under Answers is your ticket to exploring this amazing city filled with color and surprises around every corner. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

The End of the World: Despite its grim tone, this is the common nickname for the Patagonian region of Chile and Argentina near Antarctica. Within this unique region is the glistening and tranquil area known as Tierra del Fuego, or “Land of Fire”. Spread across two countries, Tierra del Fuego offers not only one-of-a-kind wildlife encounters, gorgeous scenery, and fantastic excursions into local culture, but it also gives you a glimpse into not only the end of the world, but perhaps how the world looked at the beginning.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Marketing and selling have become even more challenging because now more than ever your buyers are lazy, busy, and befuddled.”

DO IT MARKETING– David Newman, page 60

Your buyers are no different than you are. Chances are they’re overworked, underpaid, and scurrying from morning to night trying to get things done. Read the rest of this entry »

I know this will date me, but I’ve been a travel agent since the days of calling the airline. The only classes were Y or B. Your hands cramped from writing those four coupon conjunction tickets—and we used a typewriter to prepare documents. I was fortunate that the agency where I did my travel school practicum hired me. Two Scotsmen who let me do a wee bit of everything owned it, so I learned a lot. After that I taught a travel course. I enjoyed inspiring my students to be successful in a profession I was passionate about. Read the rest of this entry »

Do It! Marketing: Follow-Up

“The fortune is in the follow up. It takes five to seven touches before winning the sale. Most sales occur after the eighth contact. RUBBISH!”

DO IT MARKETING – David Newman, page 164.

I am quick to endorse just about everything I read in this man’s book. But certainly not everything.

The Chapter on “follow-up” (Chapter 56) caught me off guard and I did not like what I was reading. I disagreed whole-heartedly. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

rosanna

Offering tours to over 40 destinations worldwide, Tours for the World is very proud to work exclusively with travel agents. Partner Rosana Chermisqui has over 23 years of experience in the travel industry, and it is her pleasure to assist agents in selling travel to their clients. Rosana takes great pride in her ability to help agents succeed by teaching the tools needed to sell a specific tour or destination. She can offer insight and suggest sales incentives such as creating special packages, or saving the best of a custom tour for the end, to leave a lasting impression on the traveler. Rosana is extremely approachable, and sincerely enjoys working together with an agent to come up with the best solution possible for their clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Early last week, BRIDES.com published an article entitled Why You Shouldn’t Try to Book Your Guests’ Destination Wedding Travel. The title seemed innocuous enough. When I first read it, I thought it was suggesting that a bride and groom should not book travel for their guests—solid advice for the most part. But as I delved into it, it was anything but. The gist of the article was to leave your guests stranded and allow them to make the arrangements on their own. It was horrible, misguided advice, and boy did travel professionals let them know. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

How Low Will You Go?

We are a “deal” obsessed culture, and the “lowest price” mentality seems to be predominant everywhere. As business people, however, it behooves us to think cautiously about any business strategy focusing on price as a way of attracting attention to our services.  Not only are we training our clients to hone in on exactly the wrong issues, we also deeply damage the integrity of our own brands in the process. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Squeezing Into Sete

I don’t think I’ve ever docked more downtown than in Sete. Situated in France’s Languedoc region, the city is unique in that small ships tie up in the heart of the city, just steps away from all that Sete has to offer. Read the rest of this entry »