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Niche Marketing

Developing and marketing a niche area of expertise is one of the best possible ways to differentiate your travel practice from the competition. As an expert in a particular theme or destination, you can quickly establish your travel agency as the only reasonable resource to which consumers should turn when considering travel in your niche venue.

​But the concept of adopting a niche is often misconstrued. Niche marketing is a way of helping you focus on locating new clients, not a set of restrictions on your business offerings. Niche marketing is not necessarily about gearing your entire business to a particular type of travel. Read the rest of this entry »

The Industry Gives Thanks

There’s nothing like an industry get-together to pump you up, ease your worried mind, and remind you how much we have to be thankful for. So this Thanksgiving, I will be counting my blessings for the bounty of good news and good people I have come across in the past two weeks.

At CruiseWorld in Miami and then aboard the gorgeous new Celebrity Apex, where 800 Dream Vacations and CruiseOne franchisees gathered for their annual conference, the travel advisors and suppliers I met were uniformly hopeful and optimistic, excited about the future and, above all, happy to be together again.

If there’s just one story to tell, make it that a cruise ship is the safest place on earth, says Celebrity VP Read the rest of this entry »

Visiting South Africa via Cinema

While Covid laid waste restaurants, entertainment and tourism businesses, it didn’t hurt Netflix any. Netflix gained 8 million subscribers in 2020. And you don’t need market research to know that people spent a lot more time watching screens in 2020 than in 2019.

Long before the passenger jet industry made global travel easy and accessible, movies were already established as one of the best ways to travel if you couldn’t leave your hometown. Travel scenes have always been a large part of the appeal of movies. And movies are great vehicles for promotion of places where they are set.

Even if the movie does not feature iconic scenes in Paris, New York, Rio or the African bush, it takes you somewhere besides where your physical body is presently seated. We traveled virtually in movies long before anyone used the word “virtual” the way we do now. During 2020 and the Covid pandemic, most people all over the world were restrained from Read the rest of this entry »

Scope Creep

Everybody is talking about fees, fees, fees.

Yes, we all know that when you charge a fee, you:

  1. Make more money
  2. Garner the type of clients who value your expertise
  3. Weed out the tire kickers
  4. Demonstrate your worth
  5. Create an accurate perception of your value
  6. And so much more…

But, nobody is talking about scope creep! What is it? How does it affect your profitability? And, how can you get rid of it altogether?

Scope creep is not a term that’s often used in the travel industry. Other service providers have been using it for years, and it’s high time that we start thinking about how it applies to us, as travel pros, and how it affects our bottom line!

I define scope creep as what happens when a client changes the game. Plain and Read the rest of this entry »

With December 2022 departures of Riviera River Cruises’ popular holiday season cruises now available, plan ahead to celebrate Europe’s Rhine and Danube Rivers in all their wintry splendor. Riviera’s holiday season cruises include Yuletide Markets itineraries that depart in the weeks before Christmas, departures over Christmas itself with the ship decked in lush garlands and a grandiose tree, and celebratory sailings to ring in the New Year. In all, six itineraries with 20 departures are available to book.

I’ll be hosting one of those cruises, departing Cologne on December 21, 2022 and cruising along the Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering The Rule of 7

I recently got home after speaking at a conference in Orlando, after months of inactivity. It felt good to get up in front of a group of eager professionals and share my personal experiences with a bit of panache. (Flamboyant confidence of style or manner.)

Regardless of how hard I try, I still find myself resorting back on the tried-and-true strategies and tactics that work year-in and year-out. As most people are drawn to the latest flavor of the week, or lured toward the latest magic formula, I know after over 35 years in the business that it is the basics and fundamentals that will make your business work.

One of the formulas I have been touting over the years still hold water today Read the rest of this entry »

We sometimes exhibit auto-magical thinking about websites much like Field of Dreams. We believe if we build a travel agency site, then people will just come to it and “Sales” will happen.  I hate to break it to you but that is not the way it works. Your website has to be marketed. Ironic that one of your key marketing tools has to be marketed, but it does and that is what this section of our course is all about.

Was Your Last Email Broadcast Genuine?

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving—well, except the Brits amongst us, I know you are all still a little sore on that subject. But on a more serious note, I do hope that you took the initiative to touch base with your prospects and clients. The holidays (and many others) are perfect times to touch base and (as Mike Marchev says) remind them that you are alive.

I have mentioned before to take advantage of the obvious holiday to touch base as well as some offbeat ones.  And I also suggest to never sell. These are designed for building the goodwill of your business—period. Hard stop. Read the rest of this entry »

A Week at Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a destination perfect for a getaway, provided you appreciate skiing or hiking or nature, golf, shopping, gambling, fishing, boating, or dozens of other outdoor activities.  Straddling the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe often exceeds the expectations of first-time visitors. Its natural beauty, crystal clear waters, towering Jeffrey pine trees, and mountains are stunning during any season.

But there is more. Lake Tahoe surprises with its casinos and city life. It is by no means a bustling metropolis, but part of it is in Nevada. The state is well-known for its casinos and gambling opportunities, so there is a subtle hint of this lifestyle infused into the otherwise tranquil destination. Places like Harrah’s and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino have a home here. These establishments have slot machines, table games, nightclubs, entertainment, and fine dining to accommodate guests. Read the rest of this entry »

On Friday, one of my doctors asked me, during a regular video appointment, “Have you gotten your third shot?” I replied, “No, I didn’t think I was eligible yet.” He told me that the latest CDC recommendation to doctors states:

People with weakened immune systems are more likely to get COVID-19 than people with normal immune systems. And if they get infected, they are more likely to get seriously ill and spread the virus to other people in their homes.

The CDC is pushing the notion that only “immunocompromised” people are eligible for a third shot right now Read the rest of this entry »

Times Square and Beyond

As the vaccine rollouts increase, destinations are beginning to plan the grand opening of travel once again. The excitement is palpable, an electrical current moving along that has started the idea of planning getaways and seeing the world. It is guaranteed New York City, one of the most popular cities in the world, will be on the traveler’s list. And this is where Beyond Times Square comes to the rescue. Read the rest of this entry »

On Monday 8th November, the champagne corks were popping as we celebrated the lifting of the onerous transatlantic flight restrictions. What a long and difficult nineteen months it’s been, but at last the airlines are beginning to increase their London-bound lift. You can now start making some serious UK/Ireland plans for a couple of clients, four-six friends travelling together and, in due course, small groups of ten-twelve or more.

For the next few months, many customers will continue to be cautious about criss-crossing the pond. I believe that you and other enterprising travel advisors will play an influential, confidence-building role by reminding and inspiring them with ideas for UK-bound tours in May and with others in the months of June and July.

This week, the spotlight sharpens on some of the irresistible festivals and events you can use to start a conversation about travelling to Britain next August and September. Read the rest of this entry »

Bryce Canyon National Park

The national parks of the western United States are wondrous sights that have been part of America’s charm since before President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service in 1916. Many of these parks, particularly those in the southwest, seem like a surreal and alien landscape to be held in awe. Eroded by time, they stand as monolithic reminders of the Earth’s vast history. The ways in which the traveler can enjoy these parks Read the rest of this entry »

Sheila Folk, Founder and CEO, Travel Industry Solutions

Sheila Folk is an experienced travel business owner with an impressive history of working in the leisure, travel, and tourism industry. She grew her travel agency to $8M in two years by creating and implementing a broad range of solutions she needed (but that were not available in the marketplace) to make her business a success. Sheila’s new company, Travel Industry Solutions, has now brought her contracts, tools, guides, and scripts to the entire industry.

Throughout her career, Sheila has demonstrated strong professional skills and expertise in management, strategic planning, and business development; new program and product development, branding, budgeting, and positioning; and negotiation, sales, and corporate communications. She has extensive, hands-on experience in all phases of B2B management, from marketing to establishing protocols for start-up firms. Her big-picture vision to establish and achieve corporate goals has led to triple digit growth, year after year. Before starting her own companies, she held such positions as director of business operations at a global branding company and assistant vice president of marketing at an international professional association.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond Exotic in Morocco

Known as the gateway to Africa, the country of Morocco is situated in the north of the continent and shares close ties to Europe… culturally and location-wise. With just 8 miles of sea to cross before reaching Spain, the mixture of sometimes vastly different places has created an exotic and exciting location. The busy streets of major cities like Marrakech and Tangier are perfect for people watching from cafes. The mix of cultures that has come together has a way of diversity seldom known around the around. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine and Culture in the Pécs Region

The fifth largest city in Hungary sits at the slope of the Mecsek Mountains. A city settled before the spread of the Roman empire, its cultural history runs almost 2000 years. Though, the city is not alone in this distinguished position. The region around it, spanning 240 sq mi, is appropriately named the Pécs Region. Here, the traveler will find what Hungary is known for and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Prague may be the most prominent destination in Czechia, also known as the Czech Republic, but the country offers much more in the way of landscapes to capture the traveler’s imagination. This is where the South Moravian Region enters the conversation. A land of rolling plains, old-world villages and towns, and white wines to satiate the vinophiles. South Moravia in the eastern part of Czechia will lure the travel in with trails to follow these wonderful views and tastes. Read the rest of this entry »







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