TravelResearchOnline | The voice of the travel agency community

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Easy Does It

How easy is it to do business with you? We sometimes miss how baffled a client may feel when first launching out on their vacation planning. First, they have to know you exist, a result of how well you have executed your marketing plan.  But let’s start somewhat further down the road. Let’s say the client knows you exist –  they must now be motivated to use you as opposed to using another agency or booking themselves online.

Most of us gravitate to the path of least resistance; this includes your clients. After all, their computer is right there on the desk.  They don’t have to speak with anyone when they use their computer or pay a research fee. They don’t have to feel any pressure “to buy” and they don’t have to feel embarrassed if their budget doesn’t meet what they feel is your threshold for “interesting.” Read the rest of this entry »

It’s all in the hands of the gods, the Vikings say. So perhaps the goddess Freya, using her powers to alter fortunes, determined that there be three cases of COVID among the passengers on Viking’s first four sailings in Iceland this month—and that I be onboard Viking Sky to tell the tale of our star-crossed voyage.

It’s hardly a story of doom and gloom, though. On the eight-day Iceland’s Natural Beauty cruise we saw a unique piece of the world that’s been on our bucket list for some time.

We sailed the Norwegian Sea and crossed the Arctic Circle; watched the sun set at midnight; saw waterfalls and fjords, the crack in the earth where America meets Europe, geothermal fields and lava fields, and an erupting volcano. We felt like Vikings as we jumped from the sauna to the snow room in the Thermal Suite; I got a blueberry hair rinse and a honey facial that left me smelling like a fruit salad. We ate steak and lobster, and sushi fresh from the untouched waters at the top of the world.

Per Viking protocols, we all wore masks in public places even though we were fully vaccinated Read the rest of this entry »

Antarctica and Africa in One Trip

After a year of being locked down, it’s understandable that people may want to double up on their bucket list trips to make up for lost time. But Africa and Antarctica in the same trip? That seems a stretch.

When I first learned that two tour operators, Wilderness Safaris and White Desert, joined forces to offer two trips that combine an African safari with an Antarctic expedition, my reaction was that the combination was incongruous at best. In my mind, they seemed to be two separate worlds, almost like two opposite poles of experience. But, when I looked closer, I found that it makes perfect sense. 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 »

Leaving home for the holidays can be a hard. For some it feels like you are leaving behind tradition, family and friends, all of which seems unthinkable. I was one of those people – until I did my first Christmas Markets cruise.

The year was 2010, and I was a mere 14 years old. I had done only one other river cruise, and that was on the Mekong. So not only was this my first Christmas Markets cruise, but also my first river cruise in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

What Ever Happened To “Telling The Truth”

I am writing this article at ten minutes to three in the morning. Maybe you too have trouble sleeping as the world continues to spin, while the days, weeks, months and years show no interest in slowing down. At this time of night, I find myself thinking about things I have trouble understanding… like whatever happened to telling the truth.

Somebody recently mentioned in conversation that “lying” today appears to have become an acceptable behavior. I find this belief to be incredible and downright insulting.

“To tell you the truth, I’m …” Don’t you just LOVE this phrase? Or, “As long as we are being honest….” Where along the line did we ever get the notion that it is okay to be dishonest… that it is okay to tell a lie?

Here is an idea: Let’s be honest with each other for a change. Let’s see how it feels to simply tell the naked truth. You go first. (Incredible!) Read the rest of this entry »

3 Social Marketing A’s to Address in Recovery

Do you find that as the recovery of travel ramps up, that some social marketing tactics seem old and out of touch with the times?

Over the last year, so much has changed in the ways that people consume marketing that savvy travel pros are turning to new ways to stand out in the noisy social marketing space.

Let’s explore 3 creative ways to get noticed, so that fans and clients are excited in this new era. We’ll dive into the 3-A’s to amplify your brand: Ads, Audiences, and Audio.

“Facebook, which has said it wants to make audio a “first-class medium” on its platforms, joins Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and messaging platform Discord which have already launched their own live audio offerings. Spotify debuted its own version, “Greenroom,” last Wednesday. Slack, Microsoft Corp-owned (MSFT.O) LinkedIn and Reddit are also working on similar products.” Source

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7 Tips To Maximize Your Social Media Engagement

As travel begins to resume, I thought it might make sense to look at some basic strategies to help us all recover. Remember when Facebook was the place you went to tell your friends what you ate for lunch? Social media has become much more than just a place to connect with friends. It is now a full-blown powerhouse for businesses of every stripe.  But you already knew that right?

Every user is a potential customer, and to make sure you place your best foot forward, every engagement matters. So, how do you maximize that engagement? Here are seven tips. 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 »

A decade ago, many expedition ships were retired ice breakers lacking in creature comforts such as nice staterooms and good food. That situation started to change when some traditional luxury small ship cruise lines and charter operators ordered “luxury expedition ships.” These ships combined their usual cruising features with polar-rated PC6 hulls that could handle ice packs in Antarctica and, hopefully, transit the Northwest Passage unassisted.

Many of the ship designers let their imaginations run wild. They added a helicopter and a mini-submarine; and “garages” that permitted the vessels to launch and retrieve Zodiacs and water toys from inside the ship. Most also supplemented the crew with naturalists, professional photographers, and armed polar bear guards—bringing some guest-crew ratios to almost 1:1. 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 »

If the UK is on your radar for 2022, cast your imagination towards the warm summer months of June and July for some bright ideas in the sleepy, honey-coloured limestone villages and sheep-clad hillsides of the Cotswolds, followed by a few days in London. Oxford is the gateway city to this lovely corner of England, and it takes just over one hour to get there from London Heathrow. These ideas also work well before, or after, cruising in or out of Southampton, Dover or Harwich.

Read the rest of this entry »

Khartoum: Where the Nile Meets Itself

Located where the Blue and White Nile Rivers converge into one great river, Khartoum-proper is a city moving quickly into modern times. This metropolis is the capital of Sudan, which did not gain its independence until 1956. It is now a center for trade and economics in North Africa, but still holds onto its traditional roots just outside of the glass and steel of its center. Markets, mosques, and Sudanese culture await the traveler. Read the rest of this entry »

Anita has been in the travel industry for over 28 years. She founded the host agency Ticket to Travel in 1993, which was merged into KHM Travel Group in 2020. Her voice has been one of inspiring the at-home advisor with books such as “How I Made a Small Fortune as a Home-Based Travel Agent”, and “From Home-Based to POWERHOUSE! – Marketing Strategies to take your Travel Passion to Profit”. Anita is currently the Vice President of CCTO (California Coalition of Travel Organizations), and the Vice President of Industry Relations at KHM Travel Group. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Lake Balaton’s North Shore in Hungary

Western Hungary has its share of travel-worthy sites, like monuments, castles, countrysides and, of course, Lake Balaton. But, also in the western parts of the country is a hilly region with volcanic formations and small villages. A place where the rolling of the hills and paths leading to a monastery are a journey into yet another wine region in Hungary. Just north of Lake Balaton, the Balaton Uplands await the traveler. Read the rest of this entry »

Road Trip: Visiting The City

There are many nicknames for the city of San Francisco, including “The City.” There is “415” – the area code, “San Fran” – (don’t use this one), “Fog City” – self-explanatory, “Golden Gate City” – for the bridge, and even “Baghdad by the Bay” – with reference to the cosmopolitan nature of the population, much like that of pre-war Baghdad.  The City remains high on my list of great places to visit, and one of my favorite activities in the Bay Area is exploring some of the surrounding nature and vicinities.

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