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Getting Ready for 2019

Is it hard to believe we are only slightly more than three short months from 2019? It certainly is for me. During the next three months, you can do yourself no greater favor than to begin working through a marketing plan, a budget and a calendar for 2019. Getting into the travel planning business is very easy.  Staying in the travel planning business is a bit more of a challenge. True we can sometimes simply luck our way through, but in so doing we inevitably waste resources and miss opportunities. Working with a plan is absolutely essential to achieving the best possible results. Sporadic marketing, chasing one opportunity and then another, seldom resolves in a productive manner. Read the rest of this entry »

Frank del Rio: Mind The Curve

Recently, I spent an hour gleaning cruise industry insights from Frank del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the parent of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

From the perspective of del Rio’s prism, the cruise industry is experiencing some of its best years ever, and for cruise companies like his, bookings are robust, with consumer demand high. 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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How to Upcycle your Social Content

Recycle. Upcycle. Repurpose. Whether you hang out in the world of DIY or social marketing you’ll recognize these terms as trendy time savers.

In the world of DIY, we think of upcycling as taking an old table and turning it into a trendy kitchen island.

In the world of sewing, recycling and repurposing just became part of my world. Recently I received my grandmothers wedding dress as a gift. This family heirloom has now become a couple of new pieces in my closet. I’ve been able to transform parts of the dress into 4 different garments; the front panel on a blouse, a skirt, appliques on a blouse for my mom and trim on a bathrobe. Yep, a lot of time in my sewing room, and 4 trendy pieces that remind me of my grandma. Read the rest of this entry »

Face it. Owning a travel agency is not a walk in the park. We have had more re-do’s than a Rocky sequel…and by the way the 8th sequel (Creed II) is due to hit theaters on November 21st. But long gone are the days of heading home with red fingers and being a clearinghouse for all things travel. The role of a travel agent has evolved from a true “agent of the supplier” to a trusted travel advisor—hence the rebranding of ASTA recently.   But what do you need to do to survive in 2018 and beyond? I have some thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

Cash (Flow) is King!

I tend to be a little old school. I don’t believe every new app dreamed up by some kid in his basement, who has never sold anything in his life, is going to revolutionize how we sell in this or any other business. Because travel is such a huge industry world-wide, it attracts all sorts of people trying to capitalize on the “get rich quick with little or no effort” movement so prevalent online. As a professional travel business advisor, I will just say to you, “buyer beware”.

So, you can imagine how annoyed I get when people ask me about my latest “hack” or how to “disrupt” the market. Don’t even get me started on “unicorns.” Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for MICE

I am not referring to the fuzzy little critters, or the mouse that runs an amusement conglomerate. MICE is an acronym for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions; and, it can be a very lucrative piece of your business. If you do not already pursue meeting or incentive travel, you should seriously consider it. Cruise ships are a great venue for meetings as well as for incentive travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Mullis Mulls the Future of Guyana Tourism

You probably haven’t heard a lot about Guyana as a tourist destination. But that’s about to change.

Bolstered by a relatively modest budget and an infusion of new talent, which not only includes a new Director, but a new Board, new support staff, and new market reps honcho — the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) is hoping to compete with the heavyweights of South American tourism.

Leading the charge is Brian Mullis, who was appointed director of the tourism authority last April with a mandate to restructure the agency, pull its tourism marketing and products into the 21st century, and ultimately put Guyana in the sights of eco and adventure tourists around the globe. Read the rest of this entry »

KATARINA line, the largest DMC based in Kvarner region and one of the leading Croatian tour operators is also the premier small ship cruise company with weekly guaranteed departures from the end of April to mid-October from the major tourist centers of Opatija in Kvarner area, and Split and Dubrovnik in Dalmatia. With a fleet of more than 60 ships, the cruise line caters to all ages and budgets with itineraries that give travelers the opportunity to explore the stunning natural environment and historical, quaint Mediterranean towns while hopping from one island to another. Read the rest of this entry »

I have enjoyed the articles that I have been reading on your website, very informative. I’ve been doing a lot of research on being a travel agent and if it is the right career change for me. There is a lot to learn! One of the questions I have would be: Would it be more beneficial to try and get a job at AAA as a Travel Agent first and learn the ropes or to sign up with a Host Agency? There is a AAA position open in my area and the more I was reading it, it sounded like a lot of sales (possibly more geared towards selling memberships). I’ve had 1 experience doing sales back in the 90s selling Tupperware and I wasn’t good at all. So sales in general aren’t my thing. So would that hinder me as a Travel Agent? I’m not a high pressure, cold calling, sales kinda person. Read the rest of this entry »

Starting at Square One

Most of us generally start out by marketing to a so-called “warm market.” Your warm market is basically everyone you know: friends, family, colleagues, advisers, teachers, doctor, lawyer, neighbors and other acquaintances.

Reactions will vary once you let those know that you are in the travel business. You close friends and family’s reaction will probably run from excitement to humoring you. Others who don’t know you well may be dismissive or even downright hostile to your approaches. Some agents have reported people crossing the street to avoid them when they see them coming! So you may need to develop a thick skin in this business.

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Why People Object

There are a number of reasons why people elect not to move forward with any single purchase. The sooner you understand these reasons, the sooner you will be in position to address these concerns. There are nine of them.

They See No Need

This may or may not be true; but if they don’t see a need for what it is you are representing, you have your work cut out for you. You can give it a shot, but my money is against you on this one. Read the rest of this entry »

Kausha Ghia, Manager, Cook Travel

Kausha Ghia has a BA in Economics from Mumbai University, and took her IATA travel and tourism course in 1984. She worked at a travel agency in India from 1985 until 1997; she then moved to New York City and spent a year working for an agency selling airfare to diamond buyers. She started at Cook Travel in 1998 and became manager in 2002. In addition to her degree in Economics, she has LMSW from Fordham University, and practices psychotherapy, which she thinks is a useful skill in dealing with travel agents! She is currently involved in a mentorship that benefits students in India. She is married and lives in Totowa, NJ. Read the rest of this entry »

Cuba with Victory Cruise Lines

Cuba is crystal blue water, salsa, coffee, cigars, and it’s own music underlying the beat of the nation. The country is a wonderful enigma the US travel industry is still waking up to exploring. Fortunately, we have great cruise lines like Victory Cruise Lines to lead the way! Thanks to Victory Cruise Lines, the supplier sponsor of this column, you can use this 60-Second Geography article in your own travel agency’s newsletters and websites.

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Offering More with DSA Vacations

Dream vacations, and their destinations, vary greatly in the spectrum of travelers. Finding a supplier of vacations that span a large portion of the world and have cater to different styles of travel can be difficult. This is one of the many things that DSA Vacations does well. With vacation plans for southern and eastern Africa, the Americas, and Asia; and types of travel ranging through safaris, family, culinary, and adventure travel; DSA Vacations is there for the traveler and the agents they trust for their dream vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

Celestyal Cruise’s 7-Day All-Inclusive 3 Continents Cruise is a unique itinerary visiting Europe, Asia and Africa. If you’re interested in archaeology, religion and culture, this is a once in a lifetime experience you shouldn’t miss. The Continents Cruise includes a visit to Israel, encompassing the port city of Ashdod, Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

For the western world, no land is as heavy with history as is Israel. In a country with over 200 museums, every step echoes with the past. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all found homes in Jerusalem and the convergence of these three world religions in Israel reverberates today. Sites of immense spiritual importance draw pilgrims from around the world to the streets, cities, towns and national parks. Read the rest of this entry »

A Minor Inconvenience

It’s that email every travel agent dreads, “Subject: Flight Cancellations: Airline.”  The email arrived as I was returning from a mid-year conference and two-night inaugural cruise. I was sitting in traffic at a stop light when the email popped up on my phone. A planned ATC (Air Traffic Control) strike would close the airport in MRS (Marseille Province Airport), causing my clients’ flight from VCE (Venice Marco Polo Airport) to be cancelled in two days. The notice arrived late in the evening Italian time, but with two days’ notice to my clients as well as the transfer company. The time difference would also allow me to search for options on flights.

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