Author Archives: Richard Earls

There are 642 articles by Richard Earls published on this site.


OK. I confess. It’s not cool, and entirely too hipster,  but I’m a fan of Whole Foods.  Yes, I know the organic grocer is sometimes the object of all manner of ridicule.  However, Earth Fare, Whole Foods and Fresh Market along with some local organic grocery stores provide plenty of variety and a nice break from the standard grocer fare.  I can easily walk to a Whole Foods from my house, so it is my favorite, but perhaps you have your own.

I am of the opinion there are some  important lessons for travel professionals wrapped up, organically of course, in each of these grocery chains. Because my upcoming Easter dinner will be the result of a very recent hunting expedition at Whole Foods, this Easter Monday marketing lesson resulted, but a week early.  Read the rest of this entry »

Costa Rica Dream Adventures (CRDA) is a US Tour Operator that has been in business for over 18 years selling exclusively Costa Rica. We are based in Atlanta, Georgia and we also have an office in San Jose, Costa Rica for 24/7 in country travel assistance.  CRDA provides customized packages for individuals, couples, family vacations, weddings, anniversaries, groups, corporate and incentive travel.

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The largest amphibious invasion in history took place on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Allied forces from the United States, Canada, Britain and France waded ashore that day to establish a beachhead in the north of France. Sailing from bases on the southern coast of England, the forces landed on five French beaches with the codenames Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. The successful invasion paved the way for the eventual victory of Allied forces in Europe and the end of World War II. Read the rest of this entry »

Deserts are areas of intensely dry terrain where very little precipitation falls during the course of the year and the environment can be extremely hostile to plant and animal life not specifically adapted to the living conditions. Chile’s Atacama Desert exemplifies the concept in a most extraordinary manner. Situated between the two mountain chains of the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range, the area is one of the driest regions on earth, as the mountains form a near perfect rain shadow.

Thanks to Marnella Tours, the supplier sponsor of this column, you can use this 60-Second Geography article in your own travel agency’s newsletters and websites.

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“The Mississippi Valley is as reposeful as a dreamland, nothing worldly about it . . . nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon.”Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

No body of water in the United States is as storied as the Mississippi River. Traveling along this legendary river and its tributaries is an experience set in a time past and a testament to the ingenuity of the pioneers who first traveled these waters.  The Mississippi’s shores are home to sprawling nature preserves, unique wildlife, and vivid American towns that bring you back to an earlier time.

Thanks to American Cruise Lines, the supplier sponsor of this column, you can use this 60-Second Geography article in your own travel agency’s newsletters and websites. You may want to pay attention to the many opportunities American Cruise Lines gives your agency to provide amazing travel to clients. Click here to order a cruise guide for your agency.

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Getting and Giving

“When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups.” ~ John Coltrane

There are many reasons to be grateful for having a career in travel planning, but I think the most important is the impact a travel professional has on the life of the client. Travel professionals assist clients to turn vacations, family travel and even business trips into the best possible experiences. By visiting the streets of new cities, meeting people from around the world and exposure to different cultures, we are all made better people, citizens of a larger reality. As a travel professional, you have the opportunity to play an important part in people’s lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Lighting

How photogenic are you?  I am not.  It takes either the most amazingly lucky lighting or the most skilled of photographers to make me look good in a photograph.  I tell myself it has nothing to do with my personal appearance.  Instead, I am the victim of bad lighting. Worldwide.

At ASTA’s Global Conference in Reno last year, I participated in a panel titled “The Value of Using a Travel Agent.”  Driven by ASTA’s Research Department, the information provided was actually quite remarkable. Perhaps the most interesting and hopeful number in the report is the number of people currently using a travel agent which hovers around 25% in all age categories.  Wow. Read the rest of this entry »

Inspire Yourself

I’m about to give you permission to have more fun in your job. Creative thinking requires raw material. If you find yourself in need of fresh ideas or a new perspective in your digital marketing, one of the best ways to generate intuitive insight is to browse through magazines, the internet or even stock photography at random. As ideas, images and unrelated concepts enter your mind from these sources, you will be surprised at your capability to relate them to your own situation. It’s one of the reasons I find social media so engaging and not the time suck it might at first appear. Read the rest of this entry »

Progressive Marketing

I’m not sure the Mad Men marketing and advertising professionals of 50 years ago would truly recognize today’s marketing environment. Many of the fundamental principles are the same, but the way businesses communicate with the buying public has changed. Fifty years seems like a long time but, apparently, not everyone has cracked the code.

In the last century, advertising and marketing was a one-way channel from company to public. Today’s marketing is all about conversation, a two way dialogue between company and consumer. So dynamic is the technology and media, these conversations can take on amazing scope when even a one-to-one correspondence goes viral and becomes national news.  Here is a little roundup of some of last year’s more notable social media blunders.  Read the rest of this entry »

Visiting Victoria Falls with SAA

The breathtaking and enrapturing Victoria Falls are a must for anyone visiting Northern Zimbabwe. These majestic falls were discovered by David Livingstone, a British explorer, in the mid 19th century and named in honor of his queen, Victoria of Britain. Victoria Falls is considered to be the largest in the world, at over 5600 feet (1708 meters) wide and 350 feet (108 meters) tall, creating the world’s tallest falling sheet of water. The water cascades into six different gorges, and many visitors opt to defy fate by swimming in the naturally created “Devil’s Pool” during the season, when rocks create a natural barrier that helps keep swimmers from falling over the edge of the falls. Read the rest of this entry »

Enhancing Supplier Relationships

January and February of 2017 are literally history. Yikes! The new car smell is gone but we can all  look forward to good things for the balance of this year. It’s time to focus on enhancing every aspect of your travel practice, making every point of contact with clients as sharp as possible. As we have said to the point of extreme repetition, travel consulting is all about relationships.

The unique nature of your position as a travel consultant, however, is dual facing.  Your relationships with clients are of primary importance.  But of nearly equal importance is the relationships you develop with your suppliers.  Knowing a supplier intimately is a very large part of mastering the art of being a travel professional. Read the rest of this entry »

With over 13 years of experience, Via Tours welcomed over one hundred thousand travelers and gained crucial destination knowledge to assure best local experience for people with desires to travel to Croatia and beyond including Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and Albania. Read the rest of this entry »

Sirenis Hotels & Resorts

Sirenis Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Ibiza, Spain and boasts three breathtaking all-inclusive properties in the Caribbean and Mexico. Grand Sirenis Matlali Hills Resort & Spa is a boutique luxury hotel with 117 adult only suites located in the hills of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, just 10 minutes from Banderas Bay.  Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa is known for its award winning Spa Grand Sirenis, onsite Dolphin Discovery, EcoSirenis nature trails, and exceptional coral reef snorkeling right by the beach. At Sirenis Punta Cana Resort Casino & Aquagames, guests enjoy a variety of fine dining options, a long stretching beach with crystal clear Caribbean Sea water, and free access to the onsite water park, Sirenis Aquagames. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding SWOT

Annually a company needs to be reminded of the need for a SWOT analysis.  The SWOT acronym indicates Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The traditional SWOT looks at Strengths and Weaknesses of a business (internal factors) and tries to thereby ascertain the relationship with Opportunities and Threats (factors external to the agency). Doing an annual SWOT analysis is a good pre-requisite to a marketing plan and assists with developing the appropriate goals for your travel practice.

Generally speaking, your travel practice has certain strengths that justify its existence. These strengths give rise to opportunities that your competition may not be able to challenge. On the other hand, your agency probably has weaknesses that provide an opening to your competition where they are better capable than you of taking advantage of the market. A SWOT Analysis makes each of these factors clear  and provides a guideline for approaching each in your planning. Our SWOT Analysis Worksheet will assist you in performing your own analysis. Read the rest of this entry »

South African Airways

South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, offers flights to more places in Southern Africa than any other airline. Together, SAA and our regional partners, South African Express, Mango, and Airlink, offer service to over 75 destinations throughout Africa. SAA’s route network means greater convenience, with through check-in and baggage handling, affordable fares and a wider choice of flights for your clients travelling to, from and within the African continent. Read the rest of this entry »

Make No Mistake?

Mistakes get a bad rap.  Experience may be a rough teacher, but like the curriculum taught by Ms. Lambert (3d Grade, Knob Elementary, Princeton, West Virginia), you tend not to forget the lessons. Still she haunts my dreams.

My father consoled me with one of his aphorisms: “If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough.”

When we make a mistake, we are taught to apologize.  Good advice.  If we are not smart enough to admit our mistakes and apologize for them, we implicitly  explain their origin all too clearly.  But simply apologizing for mistakes under-values their worth. Read the rest of this entry »

Inspiring Clients to Travel

People have always shared their travel dreams and adventures with others. Early on, travel magazines, brochures, home movie projectors and Polaroids were the media of choice. Now, the game has gone digital, but the themes are largely the same: “I love to travel and I know you do too. Where should I go next? What should I do? What should I see?”

In fact, travel appears to be one of the six most discussed topics on social media. This tells us if we do our marketing well we can generate thousands, even hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic followers, evangelists all.  Of course, if we do it poorly we can spend a lot of money and time only to decide marketing doesn’t work. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a Mark Twain kind of thing: cruising the Mississippi and inland waterways of the United States by steamboat. For those travel clients who want to experience both the nostalgia and the amazing sensation of steamboat travel, American Queen Steamboat Company provides the opportunity. In July, 2017, AQSC introduces the new 166 passenger all-suite American Duchess to its fleet with the very special addition of two-story Loft Suites. Guests on these cruises journey at a leisurely and romantic pace as the intimate surroundings of the vessels imparts a very special ambiance to the river voyage. Read the rest of this entry »

Full of Life in Croatia with Via Tours

For many travelers from the United States, Croatia has somehow managed to remain hidden. For those looking for a fresh destination, magnificent beaches, impressive vistas and prime boating, yachting and hiking opportunities, however, Croatia offers one of the most picturesque with excellent traveler infrastructure and facilities. The variety of Croatia’s topography and cultural attractions has few rivals. Beaches and crystal blue waters, mountains and castles, the walled city of Dubrovnik as well as magnificent churches and monasteries. Vacationers from every corner of the world visit the relaxed ambiance of this hidden gem and many predict Croatia is on the verge of being the next destination on everybody’s list.

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The Image You Project

Who are you? Why are you here?

Can you tell clients the answer to those questions without hesitation? Do you have a mission statement? Can you recite it in a meaningful, authentic way? Do you have an answer to the question: “Can you beat this internet deal I found”?

Who are you? Why are you here? Read the rest of this entry »

Sales and Confident Enthusiasm

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

First, a bit of good news: Everything I’m about to say applies to introverts as well as extroverts. I myself am a high-functioning introvert and find the old-school approach to sales and “closing” painful beyond belief. So don’t be concerned that I’m about to recommend you enroll in a course on winning friends and influencing people. In fact, I’m going to recommend instead you begin by doing what you do best, what only you can do: be yourself. Read the rest of this entry »