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Sizing Up Your Competition

Here’s the bad news: you have more competition than you think.  Here’s the good news – you  can effectively compete. In fact, competition keeps us sharp and aware of the environment in which we operate.  Keep in mind that carrying the proper attitude about your competition is important.  Properly trained, your clients will adopt many aspects of your own attitude about travel and other distribution channels.  If your attitude is positive and healthy, chance are your clients’ will be as well.

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You wouldn’t think that writing about luxury travel has much in common with selling luxury travel, but in fact it really does.

At least that’s my takeaway from an interesting and different kind of panel at the Global Travel Collection’s Elevate virtual conference last week—where, in addition to the usual roster of company executives and top suppliers, a panel of travel journalists talked about emerging trends in luxury travel. Like travel advisors, many of the journalists noted that the best way to cover travel—and to promote it—is to travel yourself, and to explain the details that go into a trip in the time of covid step by step.

Town & Country editor in chief Stellene Volandes noted that in her recent travels, the last day or two of every trip was consumed by conversations about passing the required tests to return home. Feeling carefree is such a big part of luxury, she said, but even when you revel in the experience of travel these days there’s a cloud of concern that “disrupts the cocoon that envelops luxury travelers. The moment a bit of chaos enters, you feel unsafe and it rattles people.”

For travel advisors, then, the key is to make the luxury travel experience “even smoother than ever. I want to feel like if I am stranded in an igloo someplace, like I can call an expert who can help me Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Don’t Ride Elephants

When I was in India I took an elephant ride. It’s an attraction that is offered tourists in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The elephants were decoratively adorned with colorful weavings. I sat over the shoulders and rocked with the movement as the elephant walked up a hillside toward a temple. It was a thrill to be on the back of such a big, wonderful animal that was generously allowing me to ride on his back. I felt gratitude and friendship for the gentle giant.

I admit, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. It was just a few moments of one day on a 10-day tour. I took the ride, enjoyed it, and then moved on to the next thing on my itinerary. Then one day I met Stephanie Shaw, the corporate liaison for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and I realized what should have been obvious to me in the first place. Of course. Why did I ever think that an elephant would work a day job carrying humans around on his back constantly of his own free will, hour after hour, day after day?

When I learned the story behind the elephant rides, I felt ashamed of myself for being so insensitive to the animal. I was sorry for having participated in it, for helping to perpetuate the practice of selling elephant rides, which requires a kind of captivity and treatment I can hardly bear to imagine.

I assume others who take the rides are like I was. They saw the elephant ride attraction and went on it, not thinking that much about how it came to be that the world’s largest land animal would be submitting itself to serving as a taxi at a tourist attraction Read the rest of this entry »

Over the past few weeks, we have seen some exciting announcements from Europe about travel regulations for international travelers. Greece was the first European nation to announce that it would allow international travelers to visit, if they can show proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus. Then, Italy announced that it would be opening immediately to international travelers, who also can show evidence of immunization. The announcement by Italy and Greece marks a huge milestone for international travelers who want to frequent Europe.

On the domestic side, New York has announced that it hit its COVID-19 vaccination milestone, which allows it to end all restrictions put in place during the pandemic. You can now travel to New York City and enjoy all of the activities the great city has to offer, without any restriction. Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve just returned from a series of cruises: AmaWaterways on the Rhine, Viking Ocean Cruises in Bermuda, Crystal River Cruises on the Rhine & Moselle, and Avalon Waterways on the Rhone. This webinar replay from October 20, 2021 covers a wide range of topics from testing before leaving home to life on board and more. Read the rest of this entry »

As sales and marketing advice goes, this may very well be up there with the best of it. I was reminded of this natural phenomenon this week, and I could not find my way to my computer keyboard fast enough to share it with whoever is out there listening. This is a BIGGIE. Tune in.

I ended a recent Zoom Meeting with what I consider to be some sage advice. To me, what I am about to suggest is both logical and extraordinarily simple. It is effective and incredibly apropos. It does not cost a red cent and the results are extremely powerful.

The truth is, however, that nobody can do what I am about to suggest without feeling uncomfortable to some degree. This last sentence, in and of itself, may explain why there are not more successful travel-related sales professionals in the United States today.

I challenged my audience on this particular day to pick up their telephones as soon as our meeting was over, and call a prospect, customer, or the first person who comes to mind to simply thank them for something. I reminded them not to get cute, fancy or eloquent. I urged them to Read the rest of this entry »

Shakedown!
Breakdown!
Takedown!

Remember that old song by Bob Seger from 1987?

When Facebook broke down recently, that’s the song that came into my head. It started playing louder when Frances Haugen testified before Congress!

Facebook has become a huge part of our work and personal lives. Yet, I wonder how many of us thought about the old adage about not putting all our eggs into one basket when this breakdown happened? Or the adage that one shouldn’t build their house on rented land?

Really? What are we as travel industry pros supposed to do… market by carrier pigeon? Pony Express? How about using a town crier?

These days, none of those are viable options; however, we may want pay attention to those old adages as breakdowns and takedowns may become more frequent in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Focus Areas for Future Success

I am going out on a limb here and say that your sales are down. Coming out of a pandemic, we are going to need every sale we can get to re-build our travel practices. Over the past 20 months, we (society in general) seem to have forgotten how to behave and interact with other humans. That will need to change. When it comes to sales and in particular selling travel, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels, and we need our “A-Game” to thrive once again. Complacency has a way of seeping into our world—I know it does mine; so here’s a refresher on three key focus areas for future success! 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 »

Editorial Note: This article has a completely inaccurate statement which we have indicated by a “strikeout”. We consider the “strikeout” as a more honest edit than just “removing” the inaccuracy by deleting it. We apologize for the inaccuracy.

 

I jumped on a call Monday morning, which involved travel advisors from all over the nation speaking to the execs in our agency. The #1 topic was: Why is the EU recommending against Americans vacationing in Europe?

The Council of the European Union has just removed the United States from the EU’s Safe Travel List. American regulations already don’t permit Europeans to vacation here.

The travel advisors on the call wondered if the EU recommendation would generate a new round of vacation and cruise cancellations. Asia and Oceania are already tightly closed to Americans, and Hawaii’s governor is pleading with tourists not to visit. The loss of Europe as a vacation destination will only leave Latin America and the Caribbean as the major international destinations in which Americans are still welcome.

With many Caribbean nations now imposing strict vaccination requirements 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 »

With transatlantic flight restrictions between North American and the UK being lifted on 8th November, let’s talk about developing some itineraries that will really appeal to clients who, by next spring, won’t have been to the UK for over two years!

Culturally minded travellers will relish what I can offer them when using the internationally famous festivals in Brighton and Bath as the hubs for 3-4 nighters before reaching London. Murder Mystery fans will enjoy rubbing shoulders with top crime novelists and some pre- and post-Father Brown/Inspector Morse ‘On Location’ visits. Similarly, green-fingered clients will immediately want to know the dates of travel for the Chelsea Flower Show, especially when you share with them the video I’ve included from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, patron of the National Garden Scheme. There are four more you can use, which you can show to customers to promote your ideas.

Email me and let’s start developing some UK-bound ideas for next May 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.

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The Future of Luxury in New York City

From movies to shows, novels to photos, New York City is an iconic setting known around the world. Being the most populous city in the US, and considered to be the cultural capital of the world, it can seem chaotic to those unfamiliar with the rhythm of such a diverse city. For the luxury traveler, though, NYC is a playground ready to be explored—one that offers up the best of the best in luxury enjoyment. And now, with this metropolis fully opening up (as of July 1), the opportunities are endless. 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 »

The Healing Waters of Poland

Stress seems to be an inevitable part of life. Our jobs, which can often be a source of fulfillment, demand our attention and keep us on our toes. Add in taking care of family issues that may arise and the plumbing getting backed up and the air conditioner going out… stress seems to always be knocking at the door of attention. Medical issues pop-up without warning, and may be daunting at times. Fortunately, Poland has plenty of ways for travelers to relax and truly enjoy life once again with spas and health resorts – as well as help people with issues that may be affecting their daily lives. Read the rest of this entry »







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