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10 Suggestions for Travel Professionals

Next week I have the opportunity to travel for pleasure and, as always, small apprehensions about all of the work I have to do at the office shadow my travel plans. I thought it might an opportunity to re-focus on a few critical issues- like why I do what I do, how to do it better, and what to do more often.  As I wrote down my thoughts, it occurred to me we far too often lose sight of the reasons we are in the travel business. So I developed the following suggestions for myself. At first I called them commandments, but they really are suggestions more than commandments. The real commandments, the ones from the burning bush, were mostly about what not to do.  The ones below are more about steps you can take to enhance your travel practice and drive it forward. Read the rest of this entry »

River Cruise 101: Where To River Cruise

Europe has more navigable rivers than any other region in the world, and arguably more diverse cultures along its river banks than almost any other region. Cruising the entire length of the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers alone—made possible thanks to the Main–Danube Canal—exposes travelers to 10 countries. Along the way are charming villages, fabled cities, fairy-tale castles, vineyards and more—all accessible from your floating hotel. However, this is far from the only inland artery. Germany also boasts the Moselle, Neckar and Elbe rivers, while France showcases the Loire, Seine, Saône and Rhône, and these are but two countries. Then there are rivers that even intrepid travelers may have never heard of Read the rest of this entry »

When you believe that customer loyalty is achievable, and you have a plan that is actionable, then losing your best customer is avoidable. That’s the win-win practice. When you believe otherwise, your business bears the burden of constant turnover. That’s the lose-lose practice.

The turnover strategy is terribly exhausting and requires the biggest investment of money. The loyalty strategy is wonderfully rewarding and requires the biggest investment of effort. You can champion turnover by championing loyalty. Read the rest of this entry »

Go Big or Go Home!

A while back, my family decided we should all go to the casino for an afternoon of fun, and maybe even a little profit. Now, I am not a big gambler; but, I figured, it costs at least a hundred bucks to see a movie these days. So, I was fine with a few hours.

One of the players at our blackjack table kept repeating these words, “Go big or go home.” As a businessperson, I am used to taking calculated risks; but I have to admit we gambled big with the future of our travel agency. Read the rest of this entry »

This is the seventh of seven articles in a series titled Discover Your Group Niche. You will be able find the others in our Point-to-Point section.



Oscar: I just wanted you to know that you can’t just say the word bankruptcy and expect anything to happen.

Michael: I didn’t say it. I declared it.


Fans of The Office will instantly recall this hilarious segment from Season 4, Episode 4. Michael believes he will solve his financial woes in three words. His staff accountant is quick to correct him. The solution requires more than words, it requires him to take action! Read the rest of this entry »

Since 1986, Elegant Adventures has offered up the best of Central America. That’s more than 30 years of an area that has only recently exploded in popularity. As an authority in this area, Elegant Adventures pays attention to the details with an expert ear and service. Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama… they’ve got the traveler covered from all angles.

One of the first things you notice about Elegant Adventures is the CEO, Dan Conaway. Talking with him myself in an earlier interview, he obviously has a passion regarding Central America Read the rest of this entry »

On Location tours, Viking Festivals, Wallabies in one of England’s finest woodland gardens, and an audio tour of a fine collection keyboard instruments. Welcome to the world I live in and the experiences I include in customised itineraries for couples, families and groups cruising or flying in and out of the UK. Read on and discover more about the bubble, fizz and pleasant surprises I can add to your tours.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m doing something a little unusual for this TRO installment! In order to maintain privacy, I’m answering a question without providing the specific exchange. Over the past two weeks, several travel advisors reached out to me to let me know that their host are not paying their commissions (sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars). Read the rest of this entry »

Kelly Bigel, VP of Business Development, ASTA

A hospitality and tourism professional, Kelly Bigel joined ASTA in 2015, and has served in multiple positions during her tenure. Currently, Kelly is the Vice President of Business Development, where she recruits travel supplier company members, collaborates with them to create creative, customized outreach campaigns, and leads the Business Development team in executing successful trade shows and events.

In addition to her Business Development duties, Kelly was lead contributor on reorganizing the chapter structure, created and managed multiple Education Sessions and represents ASTA at various industry events. Before joining ASTA, Kelly held a series of Sales and Management roles at multiple Ritz-Carlton Hotels. In addition, Kelly worked as Strategic Account Manager of Escapes at LivingSocial, after coming from her position of Regional Sales Manager at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas.

Kelly received a BS in Hospitality from the Rosen School of Hospitality Management at University of Central Florida.

Kelly lives with her husband in Washington, DC, where she spends her free time volunteering, sailboat racing on the Potomac, practicing yoga, and of course, traveling! Read the rest of this entry »

Michael was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. He attended Northern Illinois University where he received a BS in Biological Sciences. It didn’t take him long to realize the routine of scientific testing work didn’t match with his personality.

Following a 29-year career working for the airlines in increasing sales roles, Michael joined Sky Bird Travel & Tours in 2015 as Sky Bird’s first Business Development Manager. As the sales team grew, Michael took on the role of Director as well as overseeing the Customer Service division. He is often the face of Sky Bird at industry events and the voice of Sky Bird on webinars featuring our WINGS booking engine.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Holy and Profound Experience of Israel

Israel, a place of holiness to many around the world. It is steeped in the ancient history of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths. Calls from mosques ring out in contrast to the prayers along the Western Wall. Markets buzz with life, while holy sites like the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount stand as monoliths in time. Modern Israel is full of amazing opportunities for the traveler to experience, from relaxation to the deepest of historical sites. Read the rest of this entry »

Friendly Ghana with South African Airways

Along the coast of West Africa is the welcoming country of Ghana, its name meaning “Warrior King.” As one of the most stable countries in Africa, it is quickly becoming the perfect gateway to Africa for first time visitors. Tourism is steadily increasing, and there seems to be no slowing soon. Ghana is harmony between the diverse cultures that exist within its boundaries, a land of nature and humans coexisting. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mississippi River with American Cruise Lines

The Mississippi River is an American treasure. It has been a central figure of trade, exploration, literature, and music in the United States. In fact, Mark Twain once wrote, “The Mississippi River towns are comely, clean, well built, and pleasing to the eye, and cheering to the spirit. The Mississippi Valley is as reposeful as a dreamland, nothing worldly about it…nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon.” Thanks to American Cruise Lines, you’re going to learn all about why cruising the Mighty Mississippi should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Read the rest of this entry »

I am proud to say I have been a part of the National Transaction Corp (NTC) family for over 10 years, and am now the VP of Operations. However, when I left the Army as a Satellite/Microwave Communication Specialist, I never would have imagined it would lead me to where I am today. When you think about it though, credit card terminals need to communicate, and most of the time, the problems merchants experience with the terminals, are communication issues.

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