Author Archives: Mary Jo Babiarz

There are 10 articles by Mary Jo Babiarz published on this site.


As I wind down my year of Travel Agent Diaries, I would like to say that sharing my successes and failures with the travel agency community at large has been an educating experience. Sharing my story and reading stories from others has presented a unique and valuable opportunity.

Our agency is a member of MAST; and recently, an associate left the business to move back home. And, we just lost a 19-year veteran at Cary Travel Express as she pursues her passion for everything Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »

The holidays are quickly approaching, and our schedules are on overload. We have been receiving many requests for last minute holiday getaways, and as we know in this business, holidays and last minute don’t really go hand-in-hand.

Additionally, we have still been attending many training events to help us learn about any changes to products and tour operators. It seems like they always come in big spurts at one time! We have also been participating in bridal shows, which usually get honeymoons and destination wedding bookings as a result. It appears that brides this year are looking for unique destinations such as Napa rather than the typical all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. Read the rest of this entry »

Since my last article, not a whole lot has happened. That’s probably good news, I suppose.

We will be heading into our busiest season with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break approaching. We have already seen some requests trickling in.

There has been a “last minute” trend this year, and I hope that clients are not waiting until the last minute to try to book holiday travel. Their options will be very limited and the prices will be astronomical. Read the rest of this entry »

For the past month, we have been very busy with client requests, trade shows, and after-hours networking events. While I continue to attend these events, because I think they are critical to the business, there hasn’t been anything new, different, and exciting to report.

Fortunately, I have been assisting a lot of repeat clients and others who are referrals. Word of mouth helped our business blossom, and it continues to spread like wildfire.

Our marketing team recently updated our website by switching to Read the rest of this entry »

Lately, we have been having a push back on Mexico. Part of me can understand it due to the seemingly incessant bad news being put forth by the media. But based on personal experience, I have a difficult time. So we decided to tackle the issue head on and see what was what south of the border. And I am thrilled to report that the water in Mexico is fine…come on in! My recent vacation in Puerto Vallarta reassured me that the city is very safe and friendly. The tourist activities are endless and varied! We stayed at two different hotels, and visited many others. Read the rest of this entry »

Why has Mexico become the target of our client’s fears once again? People are requesting the Caribbean or U.S. destinations – anything except Mexico!

Our agency in located in a Northwest suburb of Chicago. I wonder if our clients have turned on their radios or opened up their newspapers? The crime in Chicagoland is out of control. My friend has been on the Chicago Police force for 20+ years. He has been warning friends and family of the current dangers in Chicago. He said that they just can’t get it under control. Just last week there was a shooting at the Lincoln Park Zoo, on Michigan Avenue, and a throat slashing in Wrigleyville. These are all tourist areas of the city. Read the rest of this entry »

Where is consumer loyalty? We are living in a “me” generation. It’s basically the same story about the small guy vs. the big corporations, and how do we compete? How do we keep our clients faithful?

In this day and age, it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with our service, our marketing skills, our ability to price match, the personal touch that we provide, or how much knowledge we have about a particular destination.

I recently attended the Royal Caribbean Road Show, and they mentioned that when consumers were polled, the results indicated Read the rest of this entry »

Cary Travel Express won the top sales award for MAST (Midwest Agents Selling Travel), which is our consortium. That’s quite an accomplishment! We are very thankful for this honor, and appreciate that our hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. Read the rest of this entry »

At Cary Travel Express, the busiest time of the year is almost behind us. Spring break season is extremely exhausting yet exhilarating! I often feel like I’m on a treadmill that won’t stop–only why am I not losing weight?

In an effort to weed out some of the clients who are strictly looking for the best price no matter where they’ve found it, and to avoid endless hours of research, we have decided to start charging a service fee. This is one way to know if our clients are serious or not. We don’t want to charge our long-term, repeat clients, but we will charge anyone who is new and requires a lot of research. Read the rest of this entry »

My passion for traveling has led me to help others explore their dream destinations and create memories that will last a lifetime. Cary Travel Express recently hosted its 14th annual travel show and we saw many familiar faces; and even more exciting, plenty of new ones! Unlike many agencies, we do not measure the success of a show by the trips booked or the leads captured. We take it a bit further and measure the end result—the quality of vacation experiences that we provide to our clients. Read the rest of this entry »