Author Archives: Richard Earls

There are 646 articles by Richard Earls published on this site.


What do YOU want?

The question “What do you want” can sometimes be one of the most difficult to answer. It’s an odd psychological quirk we often find it far easier to say what we don’t want. Perhaps you have had one of these conversations:

“Where do you want to eat tonight?”
“I don’t know, it doesn’t matter to me.”
“How about Mexican?”
“No, anything but Mexican.”
“Greek?”
“No, we had Greek last week.”
“OK, where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t know, it really doesn’t matter to me.”

Hmmm.

What do you want for your travel practice?
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In a personal service business like travel consulting, it is easy to forget the importance of fundamental marketing techniques and concepts.  One such neglected topic is the art of visual merchandising – developing the visual creative to accompany your advertisements, proposals, presentations and other client communications to enhance their appeal. Properly done, visual merchandising makes it easier to engage both the client’s emotional responses to your presentations and their intellectual understanding of your offer.

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The Marketing Mindset

If you are a travel planner, marketing is by necessity your  constant companion. Too often, however, travel professionals treat marketing like a hand tool that is pulled out of the box only when sales are “needed,”  when business seems a little slow. But effective marketing  is a mindset, a constant preoccupation for the successful travel agent intent on growing their business.

As I have often said in this column, marketing drives sales. The marketing you do today may not have an effect for weeks or even months. Business a bit quiet right now? Want this time next year to look better? It’s a good idea to begin marketing more thoughtfully and consistently. Now. Read the rest of this entry »

Who to blame?

Things go wrong.  In any given week, there are problems aplenty with clients, suppliers and associates.  There seems to be no lack of blame on social media. But I ask you, who is to blame?

If you are lucky, you are.

I come from a school that requires accepting total responsibility for everything that goes awry. In fact, I think the best years of my life began when I decided most of the problems in my life I was responsible for creating and my destiny was of my own doing.

When you blame others, you give up a powerful force for change: yourself. But we are often taught otherwise.  Read the rest of this entry »

Core Values

“For any man of good will, there is work to be done here, effective, virtuous, satisfying work which can give rich meaning to one’s own life and to others” ~ Abraham Maslow

What do you want? It is amazing how difficult the answer to this simple question can often be.  Perhaps it really isn’t such a simple question, and  it’s even a little bit dangerous.  Most of the decisions we make daily revolve around our desires, yet it can be hard to decide what we really want to have, what we want to do and what we want to be.

The question of desire is not insignificant to building your travel practice.  We engage in what we do, regardless of our profession, because of our desires.  We want to be a travel professional, we want to travel and help others to travel, we want to provide material and psychological stability  for ourselves and our families.

Getting a bit of clarity on our desires can help us achieve. Read the rest of this entry »

You Can Get There From Here

True story: I once asked directions from a man I met in Dublin.  I asked him how to get to a particular address in the city.  He told me, and I quote, “You can’t get there from here.”  For a moment, however brief, I thought all was lost.

Many of your clients feel the same way. They can’t travel because it costs too much.  They can’t travel because they don’t have passports. They can’t travel because they are afraid of terrorism, norovirus, foreigners, all things German, and strange food. They need some new appliances. Really!

No, not really. In reality, they can’t travel because of you.  They don’t think they can get there from here.  Read the rest of this entry »

Give your Facebook marketing a boost!

Wondering how you might encourage more engagement with your Facebook social media postings? With good content and a few marketing dollars, you can do it. As an experiment, TRO spent $20 to boost the posting below on its Travelhoppers page to a Facebook audience of people who:

  • like travel; and
  • who read Conde Nast; and
  • who read Travel + Leisure.

​The results, as you can see, were quite outstanding! Read the rest of this entry »

Before social media, the Internet, and cell phones, there was Sky Bird Travel & Tours. With over four decades on the front lines of the travel industry, they’ve forged solid relationships with over 90 major airlines from all over the world. These airline partners trust Sky Bird to pass along their best deals to their community of trusted travel agents. Competitive net fares from Sky Bird Travel & Tours provides financial advantages to travel agents, giving them the ability to offer incredible airfare deals while simultaneously securing higher commissions.

The Sky Bird Advantage

Sky Bird’s 24/7 customer support means they have your back all day, every day. From booking the ticket until the flight home, Sky Bird Travel & Tours is always with you. Beyond just airfare options and support, — they also have a tour operations division to assist in booking a complete vacation package. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »