Author Archives: Linda Furlan

There are 8 articles by Linda Furlan published on this site.


It’s so hard to believe that my stint here as a “diarist” for TRO has come to an end!  It boggles my mind to think it’s been a year since I was first presented with the opportunity to be a contributor. It has truly been an honor to share my insight and experiences with you as a career, front-line Cruise Specialist in a traditional “brick and mortar” travel agency.  I’ve learned that – regardless of where our respective office may be located – it’s clear that we all still face many of the same issues, challenges, and – the biggest common-denominator of all – our passion for our vocation.    Read the rest of this entry »

As you may recall, my last diary entry here – “The Human Touch” was my “rebuttal” to President Obama’s remarks that travel agents are essentially obsolete, implying that most people buy their travel on-line – similar to how one favors an ATM over using a bank teller. Thank you for your many positive comments and e-mails, by the way!  Your solidarity was very touching – and refreshing!

Imagine my delight when a recent article caught my eye, all about the gradual phasing-out by some supermarkets of self-checkout lanes!

Apparently, according to extensive market studies, there’s been a 6% drop in usage of self-service lanes in only 3 years; apparently, people reported being much more satisfied with their supermarket experience when they used traditional cashier-staffed lanes.

The irony–retailers anticipated a labor savings by encouraging shoppers to check themselves out.  The reality–problems like long lines, computer glitches, and keying-in incorrect codes have resulted in many customers avoiding self-serve lanes.  This has led to the decision by some stores to reduce or even eliminate the self-checkout option all together. Read the rest of this entry »

As you may recall, I’m what one would call, in maritime terms, an “old salt:”  I’ve been a career Travel Consultant for 32 years, now – working for “brick and mortar” agencies the entire time – and happy to report, still going strong!

Imagine my surprise when I heard President Obama’s bleak outlook during his speech last week – implying travel agents are obsolete, likening us to bank tellers being eliminated in favor of ATM’s. At the risk of ruffling any political feathers, I beg to differ! Read the rest of this entry »

As I continue my diary – the story of a Cruise Specialist who is now also wearing the hat of a general leisure travel agent, as well – a funny thing happened since my last post–I defeated the Internet–in a BIG way!

If you’ve read any of my previous entries, you may recall that I am an industry rarity–a brick-and-mortar, front-line agent. Most of our clients are either repeat business or referrals. However, because we are always trying to grow our business, we still have occasional first-timers, some of which locate us via Google, or who simply spot our shingle as they walk or drive by. Read the rest of this entry »

“No Borders  – Just Horizons…”

The above quote is one of my favorites, by Amelia Earhart-Putnam.  It not only validates my love of travel and the industry I call “home.” It also summarizes my last few months of my changing role here at The Cruise Shop and Viking Travel – and how stepping outside the borders of my niche specialty (cruises) has resulted in a plethora of fresh and exciting new horizons! Read the rest of this entry »

Much has happened since my last post–some of it good, some of it bad; but all of it’s been anything but boring!

First off, the bad. We just lost a beloved employee to retirement.  While we are all “stars” in our own right, she was invaluable, and her expertise and vast first-hand experience of various destinations around the globe was without peer.  Let it be known she could never be replaced; however, a “replacement” was necessary. Read the rest of this entry »

When I last left you, I extolled the virtues of travel agents as a whole, and how we are very much alive and well and relevant! And I am proud that I am a frontline agent for one of the most successful and reputable travel agencies in my area. But the very definition of my role has morphed over the years: long-gone are the days of people finding you in the yellow pages, or walking-in from off the street. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes – you read the headline correctly.  While some may think that using “Brick & Mortar” and “Success” in the same breath is an oxymoron, I assure you, that is not the case!  My name is Linda Furlan, and I am a Cruise Consultant for The Cruise Shop – a specialized division of Viking Travel Service in Naperville, IL. I’m sure I speak for many other storefront based agencies everywhere that we are still, indeed, a very vital part of our communities.  As a matter-of-fact, 2011 marks our 40th anniversary.  In spite of suffering the “slings and arrows” of numerous commission cuts, 9/11, a sluggish economy, and (dare I say?) the Internet, we remain alive, well, and thriving. Read the rest of this entry »