Monthly Archives: August 2016

“What do you do when someone says no I’m not interested or I haven’t made up my mind yet?”

Selling Your Services by Robert W. Bly, page 123

At the risk of repeating myself and sounding like a broken record, today’s quote demands that I remind you of the following percentages:

50% of sales people quit after the first contact.

25% of sales people quit after the second contact.

The majority of sales occur after a salesman contacts a prospect a number of times. If you’re looking for a concrete number, I will say after six times. This may approach 10 or 12 in certain instances. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

American Cruise Lines is the largest U.S. river cruise company and operator of the newest fleet of river cruise ships in the United States. It offers more than 35 itineraries ranging from 5 to 22 days in length, with destinations around the country including the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast, and the entire Mississippi River system. The line has been continuously recognized for providing superb service to guests and travel agents before, during, and after a cruise to create a seamless and personalized experience.

American Cruise Lines’ small ship design creates an intimate atmosphere for guests looking to receive the attentive and personalized service that is hallmark to the brand. The line boasts spaciously large and comfortable staterooms, most between 300 and 600 square feet, and feature roomy bathrooms, large opening picture windows, and private balconies. World-renowned chefs prepare traditional American and regionally inspired cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

With economic data showing that the British economy is faring better than many experts predicted from Brexit uncertainty, the exchange rate has gone from $1.47 on 23rd June to $1.31 today; setting up a perfect scenario for a short fuse UK trip.  That said, the news gets even better for enterprising travel agents because everything I’ve listed here will take place all over again in 2017, which gives you a full year to convert at least one of these events into an even more valuable piece of new business. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Discover Ravishing Cienfuegos with Group IST

Cienfuegos is not easily cowed by the popularity of her sisters, Havana and Trinidad; she has a unique identity and flavor all her own. Thanks to a hint of French thrown into the usual Cuban cultural suspects of Spanish colonial and South American influences, Cienfuegos stands apart from the rest on this warm island. From truly breathtaking architecture to a stroll through Cuban culture, Cienfuegos has as much to offer visitors as Cuba’s larger metropolises, if not more.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Many established service providers spend between 10 and 25% of their time on self-promotion. Beginners must devote even more effort to establishing a reputation and making a name in the local community.”

Selling Your Services by Robert W. Bly, page 25

Today’s quote is a good add-on to yesterday’s message. If not you, who? If not now, when?

I’ve always defined your biggest problem as a small business entrepreneur as being the fact that not enough people know you are alive. If I don’t know you exist, how can I decide whether to do business with you or not? Answer: I can’t. Read the rest of this entry »

Now that summer in Europe is almost done, we shift focus from our incoming Europe business to outgoing Southeast Asia. Not that we totally leave out our Europe business. There’s demand, albeit in lower numbers than in summer; but destinations like Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bali, Singapore, and Hong Kong all offer a nice change of products to sell for the travel agents and their clients we serve from different parts of the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Sharon-Flax-Brutus_0996-Crop-Web[1]Veteran tourism professional Sharon Flax-Brutus is the Director of Tourism for the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, a statutory body serving as the guiding unit for the development, marketing and promotion of the destination’s image, tourism product, and training.

Sharon Flax-Brutus’ confirmation to one of the Government’s top economic pillars is characteristic of her 30 plus years of experience garnered from working in diversified posts within the tourism industry in the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean region and the United States. 

Sharon has achieved notable accomplishments as the Director of Tourism that have been pivotal in strengthening and developing partnerships within the tourism sector regionally and internationally. Her portfolio includes sustainable and economic development initiatives along with the teaching and implementation of green practices for the accommodations sector; industry training and varied interactive tourism education programmes for youth interested in hospitality, culinary and tourism careers; the BVI became a member country of the International Institute for Peace. Read the rest of this entry »

“I’ve always felt that if I’m going to write something, I may as well publish it as an article in that it reaches a wider audience.”

Selling Your Services by Robert W. Bly, page 64

Whoever said writing is a lost art knew exactly what they were talking about. With the introduction of the Internet coupled with the computer, it seems that pen and pencil have gone the way of the Ooga Horn. (Look it up!)

I’m going to branch off of today’s quote to deliver a slightly different interpretation. The quote above this is referring to people like me who share much of their information through the written word. You, however, provide a service which more often than not is not documented, other than the reservation itself. Here is where my message kicks in. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Everyone has their up and down days; both personally and professionally. There are days when you want to throw in the towel,  and others that make it all worthwhile. If you need proof of that, just read some of the entries in our Travel Agent Diaries series.  Last week an acquaintance (not a client) in town asked me why I continued to operate in a dying industry.  After I schooled him on the fact that we are indeed not dying, I gave it some thought and came up with six reasons why I keep doing what I do! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Niche Marketing: Grabbing Travel’s Long Tail

Way back in October of 2004, Chris Anderson published an article in Wired Magazine called “The Long Tail.”  Anderson later elaborated the concept of the Long Tail in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. The theory is that while every industry has its blockbuster products, there is a “long tail” of product sold in much smaller quantities that, collectively, is often larger than the most popular items.  Anderson went on to explain how technology, like online access to thousands of suppliers by millions of consumers, was making it possible for niche businesses to thrive in the new economy.

Does travel have a long tail? It does indeed.  If you look at the cruise industry, for example, the mass market Caribbean cruises dominate the scene – these are the “blockbuster” inventory items of the travel marketplace. But behind that massive body of sales is the long tail of niche cruises – Antarctica, river cruising, eco-cruises, the Amazon, the Galapagos. Vast crowds travel every  year to Las Vegas, Disney and Cancun. But a much larger combined crowd travels to Iceland, national parks, Tanzania and lesser known destinations seeking out new and different experiences. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

When I think of Stockholm, I think of a place with a strong Viking heritage, those fierce warriors who ruled the seas. Stockholm is a royal city with the Changing of the Guard and a Royal Palace. Stockholm is an orderly city, and some Swedes say that makes them boring. I find them to be anything but. Come along and let’s explore Sweden’s capital.

One event that people of all ages can appreciate in Stockholm is the Changing of the Guard. The Royal Guards have been charged with protecting Sweden’s Royal Palace since 1523, and you can watch the pageantry every day of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

“There are several elements that must be fully utilized in order to maintain meaningful long-term connections.”

The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer, page 186

One of my many “Ah-Ha Moments” in life came when I first heard that everybody who enters your life is not destined to remain in your life forever. What does this mean? It means that people come and go. And this is as it should be.

Some people you meet enter your world for an hour and leave an impression. Some stay for a week, or a month, or a year and contribute to your growth accordingly before doing the Irish Fade. (Slowly and quietly slipping out of your life without fanfare, indignation, or applause.) Others may hang around for years, and a very few for a lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Jacob Marek, Introvertravels

Focusing on a niche is something we hear about quite often. We have discussed some of what might be considered the typical niches: small ship cruising, luxury travel, all things Disney, vegan travel, etc. Jacob Marek has possibly touched on an underserved niche; introverts. We recently sat down with Jacob to discuss his business and his new-found niche.

Travel Research Online (TRO): Let’s start with what you did prior to starting your own travel agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Susan Schaefer
I recently read an article, originally posted back in May, about the growing problem of cruise ship pollution. The article was focused on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas, but the issue is not unique to that ship or cruise line. It’s not even unique to cruising, as cargo ships also contribute to the problem.

Many travel agents have become more Mother Nature friendly over the years, declining to book hunting safaris, and some go so far as refusing to book dolphin swims or trips to Sea World for their clients. For each travel agent it is a personal decision on what they will or won’t book. They weigh the decision between profit and good stewardship of Mother Earth. However, just about all of those travel agents book cruises, more than likely oblivious to the pollution created by all of these ships. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

What’s so special about 21 days?

Experts say that’s how long it takes for us to form a habit. At the beginning of summer it sure seemed simple to fall into ‘easy livin’. Now that fall is nearly here, what social marketing habits can you start or reform? Which ones can you leave behind permanently? The start of a new season is a great reason to rethink some old habits to see if they’re still working for you. Read the rest of this entry »

“Do you consider yourself a friendly person?”

The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer, page 138

If you do not answer this question in the affirmative, then I will become instantly flabbergasted. We all think/believe we are affable teddy bears.

The hard truth is… many of you are not. In golf the phrase is, “Feel vs Real.” What you feel is happening may not be what is really happening. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

The Chicken or the Egg?

I had an interesting conversation with a student of my online program a few weeks ago.  She lives not far from me, so instead of the usual phone consultation I asked if she would meet me for coffee.  It was a beautiful Seattle morning and as we talked, part of her story had a familiar ring to it.  In fact, I hear it so often, I have come to expect it.

She has been in business for about a year and has done everything her host/franchisor instructed.  She wrote a marketing and branding plan, built a website, became active in social media, and participated in numerous product webinars, but something was missing.  That something is “Sales”.  They trickled in here and there, but not enough to sustain the business, much less make a living. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Why choose Yampu Tours when there are so many other competent travel companies that are eager to plan your itinerary?

We know the culture; we know the people.

You’ll find the Yampu Difference throughout your journey. Yampu Tours is dedicated to international travel, which departs from mainstream tourism and seeks to create personalized experiences for our clients.   We don’t like unwelcome surprises… and we’re betting that you don’t, either.

Yampu Tours includes everything you need for your journey– and we often incorporate components that you didn’t know you needed. We’re specialists with extensive experience and are alert to what you’ll need for a flawless, immersive experience. And we put your mind at ease by making sure your luggage is safe and sound at your destination, so you can blissfully hike or head to one location, while your luggage needs to be somewhere else. We’ll make sure your belongings are waiting for you.

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“Good things come to those who have patience and take consistent, persistent actions toward what they want.”

The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer, page 89

Taken from a Google search: Patience: The ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset is a valuable quality in a person.

Note: patience (noun) = the ability to wait calmly; the capacity to accept delay without getting angry | virtue (noun) = a quality or trait that most people consider to be morally good or desirable in a person. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

If you know where you are headed, you will know when you get there. In business, that means setting a goal and having a plan to get you there. I hope you are convinced that mastering group sales is the smartest destination for your business.

In my final week of sharing top group tips, I will remind you of the tremendous benefits you may be missing:

In group boot camp I share all one hundred tips for scoring a great sponsorship. But for now, these ten will get you started on the right path:

Read the rest of this entry »