Earlier this week, I was helping my daughter with a project she is working on for PRSSA and we were discussing the recent resignation of, and subsequent extrication of John Schnatter from his company, Papa John’s Pizza. For those living in a hole, he used a racial slur during an internal sales call that was leaked. Within hours, he had resigned from the company. Within days, the decision was made to remove his iconic image from all marketing, donated monies were returned and his name was removed from the University of Louisville’s 65,000 seat football stadium formerly known as Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Read the rest of this entry »
How many brides mention Sandals when they contact you? How many first-time cruisers mention Carnival? Do you have anyone coming in looking for an Apple Vacations package trip someplace? Why do you think clients and prospects do this? I’ll tell you—it’s authority! And it does not need to be relegated to multi-national companies with 7-figure marketing budgets. You can become the authority too and earn that level of trust with your clients and prospects. Here are some tips gleaned from 20 years in the industry. Read the rest of this entry »
You want to stay in business? Once you figure out your business, keeping in business is pretty easy. We all know that finding a new client is much more expensive than keeping an existing one. So, to keep the doors of your agency open, just follow these 9 simple tips. Really…they are simple. Really! Read the rest of this entry »
Errors and Omissions Insurance. We have all heard the term. Hopefully we all have paid the premium. When I entered the industry in 1997, it was drilled into my head that right next to rent (I had a brick and mortar office) the E&O insurance was the most important bill I had. And for 21 years, I have been paying it—sometimes begrudgingly because I never had to use it. But I was recently talking to a former colleague and catching up and he shared a horribly sobering tale. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this year we talked about Virgin shaking up the cruise lines with an adults-only upscale cruising experience. I questioned then, if the age of mass-market cruising was coming to a close (or at least a consolidation of sorts) and now I question it again with the introduction of Ritz on a ship. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I was commenting on a Facebook post that an agent had made about group travel. Several agents were chiming in with some tips on how to best get group business and I realized that group travel, by its nature, is very exclusionary. Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that with more than 300 people living in the US, that The United over 27 million are entrepreneurs? And for the record, I really hate that word; but for this column, it is probably the most fitting. An entrepreneur runs most travel agencies. It might be a multi branch retail agency, or a very small home-based boutique one. While some of the challenges and nuances of both are different, the core concepts are held in common. There are three of them. And no matter if you are home-based selling $200,000 a year or own a corporate multi-branch agency with several hundred million in sales per year, you need to get these three right in order to succeed. And remember, 50% of businesses fail within the first 5 years!
As I have said, I am a huge fan of technology and embrace each new evolution as much as I can. Facebook—check. Podcasting—check. Blogging—check. Twitter—check. Snapchat—un-checked…sorry, just can’t wrap my head around it. And since the local newspaper is all but dead as far as advertising goes, I look online. Read the rest of this entry »
OK, I am not ready to admit defeat and abandon Facebook; but there is plenty of reason to be cautious. I know I have been an ardent advocate for Facebook (and other social media platforms) for years and still feel they are an integral and perhaps critical part of any marketing plan for any agency. However, we also need to remember that the sandbox we have been invited to play in DOES belong to Mark Zuckerberg and at any time, he is able to take his ball and go home. Or, in this case, change up the rules a bit. If you are relying solely on Facebook—you need to be concerned. If you rely on it heavily—then keep a watchful eye! Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I was in Florida for a funeral and ended up at a no-tell motel along Route 1 as it was a last minute booking and I was looking for convenience. I did not expect more than a clean bed, an alarm clock, and a functional lock on the door. I got that. And more. Read the rest of this entry »
And for $50 I can get you 2500. Have I piqued your interest? Are you at least interested in hearing more about this tried and true lead generation system? I promise it is not a multi-level marketing scheme or a “network marketing” program. In fact, it is so simple that with very little up-front cash, you can get your name and message in front of thousands of potential clients. There is no downside to this program; just an upside. Interested? Read on. Read the rest of this entry »
Owning your own business is not for the meek and mild mannered. Business is tough—that’s all there is to it. If it were easy, everyone would do it. So how do you insure that you are ahead of the competitive pack? Well, that answer is constantly changing, but I have collected a few suggestions from my 21 years in the industry. (Note: I never wrote that out before…wow, 21 years. I’m old!) But I digress, here’s ten of my best suggestions to make sure you make it! Read the rest of this entry »
With 2.13 billion users, Facebook is the largest social media platform and is a place that cannot be ignored for business promotion and growth..despite what the kids say today.
Are you using all the tools available on Facebook to grow your travel agency? Video streaming…or Facebook Live anyone? Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday, the world’s largest cruise ship (well, the most current largest cruise ship in any event) se out on a maiden voyage from Barcelona. The Symphony of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s latest Oasis class ship which is 2,000 tons bigger than the former world’s largest cruise ship—the Harmony of the Seas. Is there an end in sight to this game of un-upmanship? Read the rest of this entry »
As any regular reader of this column knows, I am a huge proponent for email marketing. I believe that when it is properly used it comes in second to face to face. You might be able to convince me to cede to third place behind a phone conversation. Why? Read the rest of this entry »
Inspiration. Usually it hits me in the middle of the night when my glasses are nowhere to be found and my 2am “note to myself” look more like a chicken got into a bottle of ink than anything else. If not then, the shower is always a solid second. Both are rife for me forgetting about the latest great idea. But not this weekend. This weekend I was awake, dry, and armed with a pen and a place to use it. Read the rest of this entry »
Imagine for a minute if you will. You and your spouse/significant other/pet hamster decide to throw a dinner party. You plan the meal, you make a great Spotify playlist, maybe bought some new programmable lamps to finally use that whole “smart home” thing you bought a few years back. Your friends begin to RSVP. Everyone is stoked for the party and can’t wait. They ask what to bring and as a good host you tell them, “nothing, just yourselves.” The big night arrives and the first guest arrives and before you wave them in and take their coat, you tell them that there is a $20 cover charge. Who the hell does that? Read the rest of this entry »
Mexico can’t catch a break! It seems I have written that leading line many times. But it is true. Once again the US State Department has issued a travel warning that has people freaking out about traveling to Mexico. What’s a travel professional to do? And this time, the warning is a little more bizarre than those in the past.
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On February 26th, Jesse Upchurch the co-founder of Virtuoso passed away at 93.
As we look at the travel industry today, Upchurch’s fingerprints can be seen on nearly every aspect. He was a pioneer in luxury travel. He was the co-founder of USTOA. He was the chairman of the African Travel Association. Travel Weekly recognized him in 2008 with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past few years, I have noticed a decided lack of commitment in the business community. No, this is not going to be a millennial rant—you can go to YouTube and find all you want; but recently I have noticed a solid lack of commitment on any number of fronts. And quite frankly, it is disturbing. Especially when there are some (certainly not all) online businesses that are doing it right! Read the rest of this entry »