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Act

Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

I am a believer in action. So many times in my professional career, I have been faced with tough decisions, typically arising out of a crisis of varied sorts. The Gulf war in 1990, 9/11, SARS in the early 2000’s, having to start a career over in 2004, the real estate crisis of 2008, Covid-19 in 2020.

It isn’t like I had a real choice. In 2004, I actually, for a short time, contemplated giving up on the travel industry and going back into law. I was 47 and, fortunately, nobody in the small town I was living in at the time wanted to hire a middle-aged attorney. Read the rest of this entry »

 

The COVID pandemic has put the kibosh on in-person conferences, and forced trade associations to devise some sort of virtual event as a replacement. So where does that leave the U.S. Tour Operators Association, whose Annual Conference & Marketplace has been its number one attraction since soon after the association was founded in 1972?

In surveys of USTOA’s membership, its annual conference always comes in on top, hands down, as the most valued service the association provides its membership.

The annual meeting creates an opportunity for the association’s active member tour operators to have invaluable face-to-face meetings with associate members Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Agent Success Stories in the Time of Covid

 

2020 may be the worst of times for the travel industry, but some advisors still are having a pretty good year—thanks to new niches, new marketing and even new offices.

In Pennsylvania, for example, president Jennifer Doncsecz and the team at VIP Vacations are celebrating a record year in destination weddings that had the phone ringing through the pandemic.

They moved all but five of the 100 groups that were on the books for 2020 to 2021—and then booked even more every single month during the Covid crisis. By July and August, they were booking 25% more groups than in the same two months of 2019. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fear Factor

 

Halloween is just days away, and perhaps never in the history of travel have I felt our industry bearing a higher level of fear. Coronavirus new cases are on the rise. The federal government has failed to agree on a new stimulus package at the time of this writing. And the earliest we are likely to see widespread distribution of vaccines is the latter part of 2021.

Some of the fear about our businesses is legitimate. Take the stimulus package. The economy needs a boost, especially the travel industry. The slow growth we are experiencing is not enough to sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs that are barely hanging on, let along bring back the tens of millions of jobs lost due to the precipitous drop off in travel. Read the rest of this entry »

COVID-19 Has Made Travel Insurance a Necessity

 

Before COVID-19, many travelers felt that purchasing travel insurance was an added fee that was not needed. They were not worried about their non-refundable deposits for airfare, tours, or accommodations being affected by something out of their control. With the ongoing pandemic, travelers now seek protection more than ever for the non-refundable portions of their trip. What caused this behavior change?

In a word, uncertainty. The world we live in today is filled with questions that didn’t exist a few months ago. Will my travel provider be in business? What happens if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs at my destination? What if I get COVID-19 on my trip? Read the rest of this entry »

Crystal Updates Crystal Confidence 2.0 Program

As travelers look forward to exploring the world again, Crystal is updating its Crystal Confidence 2.0 program to extend the no-money-down deposit window until January 5, 2021, for new and existing bookings. Crystal Confidence 2.0 is combinable with the company’s Easy Book program, which offers reduced deposits of just 15 percent (normally 25 percent) and waived admin fees. For departures through the end of April 2021, final payment has been relaxed to 60-days prior to first date of service. Read the rest of this entry »

Persist Until You Succeed

 

… it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.” – Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World

I miss being alone on center stage. I miss the sharpness of the spotlight and the vastness of the venue. Most of all, I miss the people in their seats curious with anticipation. They think, ‘who is this guy, does he have a clue about the challenges in my world and will I feel any different when he’s done?Read the rest of this entry »

When travel comes roaring back. You had better be prepared. While no one is beating down my doors right now; if experience is any teacher, travel will take off once this pandemic is in our rear-view mirror. You can be sure your competitors will be ready. But will you?  Here’s what you can do to make sure you have a piece of that pie when it is served again! Read the rest of this entry »

Leading travel market research consultancy Longwoods International recently released a study showing that some 58% of Americans planning fall travel would choose to travel on a road trip. Continuing to ride the road trip trend through this fall, AmericanTours International (ATI) has partnered with Travel South USA to develop and market road trip packages featuring the Carolina and Georgia coasts – perfect destinations with exhilarating outdoor experiences for travelers this autumn.

ATI’s partnership with Travel South is in collaboration with Visit North Carolina, Discover South Carolina, and Explore Georgia, who together are aiming to inspire travel professionals to plan their clients’ next road trip journey to their stunning coastal destinations. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Imagine this scene on your next cruise:

Every few days, you’ll be met by a staff member who will spray your hands with disinfectant and give you a small device to blow into. Within a minute, it will tell you if you have become infected with COVID-19.

The results will be sent to your smartphone and the ship’s computer. If you’ve tested Positive, an appointment will be made for the Infirmary to see you immediately. They will retest you using a more sensitive but invasive test. If you test Negative this time, the warning notifications will be removed from your phone and the ship’s computer. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Let’s overcome barriers to entry. It’s time for you to start enjoying good audio content. This is the first network of podcasts built for the travel professional. I’m extremely proud of our content and the feedback has been outstanding. I want you to enjoy it too. Let’s bust some podcast myths and get you tuned into podcasts too! Read the rest of this entry »

 

As the travel and tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit during this crazy lockdown, the 5 Day Travel Agent Social Media Challenge has restored a hope many thought they had lost. I was honored to host this epic event online for agents across the globe. We had agents tuning in from Malta, Spain, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, United Kingdom, USA, and Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Protecting Your Assets?

 

My latest audible book “listen” is a book by Greg McKeown title Essentialism. It is about understanding what is essential while discounting the rest. I listen to a chapter every night while lying in bed ready to call it a day. When I heard the phrase, “Are you protecting your assets?” I sat up and made a note to myself immediately.

It has been said by many people, in many ways, that YOU are the product in a service organization. YOU are the true differentiating factor. YOU are the reason in a me-too industry people select you as their service advisor. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Things to Know Before Visiting Costa Rica During the Pandemic

 

Costa Rica announced the reopening of its border to visitors from all the U.S. states starting on November 1st.

The country began the first phase of its reopening on August 1st after almost 5 months of closure due to the pandemic. Since that day, Costa Rica opened its airports, the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), and Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), to citizens from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

Arriving visitors must follow the entry requirements established by the government that are negative COVID-19 test and travel insurance. Read the rest of this entry »

 

As Senior Vice President of Global Business, Christian is responsible for strategic global partnerships and new business development. In this role, he delivers exceptional service to Collette’s travel partners. He is also responsible for leading the business and growth efforts in our international offices located in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. Christian joined Collette in 2007. He holds an MBA from Babson College and a Bachelor’s degree in business from the University of New Hampshire. 

Active in the local community, Christian serves on the board of City Year Rhode Island. He is an avid sports fan and is passionate about team sports, especially youth activities. In his free time, Christian can be found spending time with his wife and three children. Read the rest of this entry »

La Fortuna and Arenal in Costa Rica

There’s a reason that La Fortuna remains one of the most visited areas in Costa Rica. Simply put, it is paradise. This small town, located in an area named the same, is a fortune of relaxation and allowing the richness of life to wash over the traveler. With a magnificent volcano as a backdrop, La Fortuna’s lush natural surroundings and laid-back atmosphere lets the traveler settle into a worthwhile vacation.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Return of the Riviera Maya

 

It’s a classic sight of a resort area lined by white sand beaches and bathed in consistent sunshine. The waters along the coast are as blue as the luxury pools of resorts that take care of almost every need—and want. The Riviera Maya in Mexico has always been a close (and safe) destination for those seeking a getaway from the daily grind.

While many countries around the world remain closed off to travelers due to COVID concerns, there a few that have been accepting the traveler for a while now. Mexico is a destination that has remained open to air travel for Americans Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures at the End of the World

As the closest departure point to Antarctica, and the world’s southernmost city, this destination is known as The End of the World. Ushuaia sits at the edge of Argentina, its backdrop part of the monolithic Andes mountain range. A lesser known destination in Argentina, Ushuaia is removed from the life most people know – but keeps nature at its doorstep for the traveler to witness.

Ushuaia, meaning ‘deep bay’ in the indigenous Yaghan language, lies between the Beagle Bay and the Martial mountain range. It looks out from the tip of Tierra del Fuego Island, or Land of Fire, named so by the arriving Spanish settlers when they saw the fires of the indigenous people along the coasts. Read the rest of this entry »







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