Monthly Archives: May 2016

Posted In: 1:1

Linda GrunekleeLinda Gruneklee joined Emerald Waterways as the SE Regional Sales Manager in September 2015.  Her territory includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.  Linda is an industry veteran, having begun her career in 1980 with Eastern Airlines, where she worked as a ticket and gate agent.  Prior to joining Emerald Waterways, she held the position of Business Development Manager for MSC Cruises. Her cruise experience is extensive, having worked with Norwegian Cruise Line for 24 years, most notably as Business Development Manager in North and South Carolina for 16 years. Read the rest of this entry »

“Something to think about: when you value people your sincerity causes them to feel good about you and trust you.”

Hey, I’m The Customer — Ron Willingham, page 33

I’m reminded of the fact that in order to be considered as interesting, you first must become interested. Read the rest of this entry »

Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans. It has been a crazy May on many levels. My intention and written goal for May was to focus on a plan for generating referrals, but honestly I was pulled in many directions and backed away from that goal. At the moment, I am going to keep it simple with my policy regarding referrals – I only work on referrals from a current client. Thankfully, business is strong and I would like to consciously develop the caliber of clientele that I enjoy, and that will be profitable and hassle free. That may mean breaking away from a few current clients or sometimes referring business to a colleague; but I am ready to embark on the journey of cultivating the right profile of client to engage in a mutually beneficial professional relationship. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

No News isn’t Good News

I had a travel agent take me to task last week because we featured this article in the Cruise News: The world’s largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problemThe article purports to describe the amount of pollution generated by mega-cruise ships and comes from a reasonably credible source. I want to state up-front TRO has no idea of the  accuracy of the article.

But that is not the point.  Read the rest of this entry »

“In his own unique way he has differentiated himself from any other parking lot van driver I have ever ridden with.”

Hey, I’m The Customer — Ron Willingham, page 7

This is one of the recommendations that has been bandied about for the last thousand years by every sales and marketing guru, from Bangor Maine to San Diego California. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you planning on touching your clients today? Huh? What? No, it’s a holiday—we’re closed!

Well, give it some thought as we celebrate Memorial Day.  If your client base is like mine, you probably have clients whose parents have fought in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam. They may have lost a loved one.  Even if they didn’t, it’s a perfect opportunity to touch your clients (I am a fan of a minimum of ten non-soliciting touches each year) and express your thoughts about Memorial Day.  No pitch for a trip. No cheerleading about your great service. No links to your blog. Just a simple message. Today, we pause from our busy lives and reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while defending our right to be a free country.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

How to Supercharge Your Social Ad Targeting

Are your social ads bringing you exposure, engagement, and extraordinary results?

The science of ad creation has taken on a life of it’s own. Let’s sort through some of the details and the best ways you can make sure your social ads reach the right people, at the right time, with the right style of conversation.

Novice Level Advertising Tips

To Boost or not to Boost! That’s the question on top of the minds of many travel pros. While Boosting a post on Facebook is really easy, it may not afford you the best use of your advertising dollars… or it may! It becomes a trade-off of quick and simple versus time and talent.

Boosting a post can be an effective way to reach more of your fans when you select one of these boost options: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Susan SchaeferDo you actively market and promote your cruise suppliers, from mass market to luxury brands? Some agents/agencies have booking widgets and co-branded links on their websites promoting a variety of suppliers. And then we hear that chirping in our ears from marketing experts, telling us that we are supposed to be promoting ourselves, not our suppliers. I don’t think it’s that cut and dry.

I do strongly believe that we should always be selling ourselves first. And I also believe that booking widgets and co-branded links or websites take us down that dark road of trying to compete with the do-it-yourselfers and online travel agencies. We will never be able to compete with Expedia or any of the other mega agencies out there. That is why we sell ourselves first. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

World’s Largest Cruise Ship Isn’t Merely A Clone Of Her Sisters

It’s official: Royal Caribbean’s brand-new Harmony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship. The third Oasis Class cruise ship following 2009’s Oasis of the Seas and 2010’s Allure of the Seas bests her predecessors by some 2,000 gross tons. Christened last week in Southampton, England, she carries 5,479 guests at double-occupancy, and an amazing 6,780 if she’s fully booked to third and fourth-berth capacity.

But while she might look like her Oasis-class sisters, Harmony of the Seas is noteworthy in her own right. Royal Caribbean isn’t just covering old ground here. Like the Vision Class ships that came two decades before her, the line has made a number of changes and alterations to Harmony of the Seas, adding new features found aboard the revolutionary Quantum of the Seas and other little niceties – some of which are a first for the line. Read the rest of this entry »

“Perhaps the most important conclusion I’ve come to is about the importance of details.”

Spin Selling — Neil Rackham, page 159

Last March, I took a ride up to Port St. Lucie to watch The New York Mets kick-off their spring training rituals. Knowing a little bit about the game, I should not have been surprised at what I was watching. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

As our success depends upon the client-travel advisor relationship, I have been paying particular attention to the initial “pitch” when potential new clients call.  Sometimes they are eager to launch into the specifics of the trip or start their line of questions to get advice.  Of course the initial call must go extremely well to obtain their business and make a prospect an actual client.  So it’s of relevance to know how that actually happens, and while this is not a scientific or foolproof method – I think most would agree that success is found in the connection we make with the client or prospect.  The critical element in success to our business is our ability to connect with our clients! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

Follow your Passion? Depends…

Passion. It is what drives us. You have probably read in a number publications and blogs encouraging you to follow your passion. On the surface this may seem like sound advice, but before taking the leap of faith and jumping in the deep end of the pool, you might want to ask yourself these three key questions.

1. Do I have enough passion to turn it into a business or career?

It’s easy to answer yes right now; however, after a while when your labor of love becomes a “job” – something you have to do rather than something you love to do — the question becomes more complicated. Read the rest of this entry »

“Buyers quickly become bored or impatient if asked too many questions.”

Spin Selling — Neil Rackham, page 69

It may appear that I am contradicting myself today, but a little clarification may be needed on this one. Read the rest of this entry »

Spin Selling: Learn To Open In Order To Close

“Sales training over the years has clearly put much too great emphasis on closing.”

Spin Selling — Neil Rackham, page 39

The Big Three of sales training over the last hundred years has included: Closing, up-selling, and overcoming objections. At the risk of upsetting a thousand sales gurus, authors, and high-priced corporate speakers, I am fast to say that this has become “yesterday’s news.” People are too smart today to fall prey to a salesperson’s gift of gab. This is not a shell game. This is an honest attempt at helping people make good decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Welcome to AccessFares and HUB!

Land A Better Class Of Service with AccessFares!

AccessFares is North America’s market leader for authentically discounted first, business, and premium economy airfares. Named by USA Today and Travel + Leisure as a trusted resource for significant premium air discounts, AccessFares was not born yesterday.

For the last twenty-five years, AccessFares has provided travel industry professionals with a better class service with steep discounts and a wide range of revenue opportunities. There has never been greater opportunity for agencies to generate increased profits with AccessFares than now. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

How many times have you been asked what was your favorite cruise line or favorite cruise ship? Having hosted the 2-hour weekly “Vacation and Cruise Club” call-in radio show in Miami from 1995 to 2003, I was probably asked that question at least 400 times. My honest answer was always the same, “Every one I have been on!”

While I was certainly trying to stay neutral to the many cruise executives that were my guests over those 8 years, I was still telling the truth, as I really had enjoyed all 250+ cruises that I had experienced.

In reflecting back to all the “new ships” I have had the pleasure of sailing on, I would have to say that each year the newer ships did impress me and many of them found a place in my “Top Five Favorite Ships.” However, having just come off my 265th cruise, (okay, retirement has slowed me down), I am pleased to inform you I do have a new favorite ship: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Xiàmén City is one of China’s best kept secrets: less crowded than Hong Kong or Beijing, but still oozing with charisma and sophistication. Xiàmén is an intriguing blend of traditional Chinese culture with the remnants of European colonialism mingling within to create a one-of-a-kind Southeast Asian escape. Whether you’re looking for a taste of the ancient ways or a breath of the contemporary, Xiàmén has everything you’re looking for, and so much more. Read the rest of this entry »

“Top performers ask more than 10 times as many need-payoff questions per call as do average performers.”

Spin Selling — Neil Rackham, page 17

I am not necessarily buying into the number 10, but I do believe that top performers ask more questions. In fact, this is perhaps your fastest way to sales stardom. Start asking more questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Spin Selling: Objection Prevention

“Successful sellers concentrate on objection prevention and not objection handling.”

Spin Selling — Neil Rackham, page 5

For the first 500 years of professional selling, every book written on the subject had a chapter teaching the importance of overcoming a buyer’s objections. “If they say this, you say that. If they bring up this concern, you counter with the following to keep them off guard.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

A bison? Really people??

We need to do a better job of educating our clients.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Always. But every now and then, I get a stark reminder that many people (some may argue “most people”) can be clueless or helpless or a combination of both. In either case, when it comes to travel, I think we need to do a better job of educating them; or, at least making sure that our assumptions are somewhat correct. Read the rest of this entry »