One way top travel agents stand out from the crowd is to develop a niche area of practice. Though we hear the advice to specialize, the concept of niche marketing is often misunderstood. 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, but rather about segmenting your marketing efforts to focus on particular groups of people. Many travel consultants avoid it as a concept out of fear of having to turn away business outside the chosen niche or being too closely identified with the niche. Properly executed, however, niche marketing is a terrific way of locating and marketing to a group of potential clients in a highly effective and cost-efficient manner. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 2 of a two-part series on staffing issues at travel agencies. Read part 1.
It’s a tight job market all around—and travel agencies are no exception. So what’s an agency owner to do when they need to bump up staff ASAP?
“Many travel advisors are going independent, so that hurts the industry for those trying to hire, and many went and found other things to do and haven’t come back,” says Scott Caddow, owner and luxury travel advisor at Legendary World and vice chair of the board of Signature Travel Network.
In addition to about 10 ICs, Caddow employs 10 full-time W-2 employees. Before Covid, he tended to hire new-to-the-industry “smart sales-oriented people who wanted to build a career” and train them himself. But in the current rush, there’s just no time for that. Instead, he considered the many experienced independent contractors (ICs) out there—and ended up hiring a woman with 30 years of experience.
“I put it out to my friends in the industry who were ICs, or knew ICs—and when I mentioned it to one person because I hoped she’d put it out to her network of friends, she said, ‘I’ll do it myself!’” Read the rest of this entry »
Some good news for travel to Cuba came last Wednesday, June 8. About three weeks after the Biden announced that it was pulling back some of the Trump-era restrictions on travel to Cuba, the government has clarified what those policy changes will consist of. The good news is that People to People travel is back.
The details of the regulatory structure were released by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the part of the United States Treasury Department that regulates what money can be spent by Americans in Cuba under the terms of the United States embargo.
The May 16 press release from the Biden administration established that the United States would again allow some fights to airports other than Havana, and would reinstate educational travel, but did not yet reinstate the “People to People” program. Tour operators would have to watch for OFAC to release the memo to Read the rest of this entry »
Your prospect said YES! They are ready to work with you. You’ve successfully turned a lead into a prospect, and that prospect is now a new client. Woo-hoo!
So, what’s next? Now that the customer is excited to work with you and is ready to sign on the dotted line, how do you get them on board and well-positioned to become a loyal, long-term client?
Do you have in place a process to welcome him to your business? After you’ve booked his trip, do you have a way to manage how you communicate with him, to make the most of your time, and to get the most from this new relationship? If you don’t, or if you think your existing process could be improved, coming across this article is, indeed, a lucky find! Read the rest of this entry »
On the heels of AmaWaterways’ beautiful AmaDahlia celebrating the close of her first season on Egypt’s legendary Nile River last week, the company announced it will launch a second ship in Egypt. The second ship, named AmaLilia, after the sacred blue water lily flower of ancient Egypt, will set sail in 2024 to meet the growing demand for this exotic offering.
Like AmaDahlia, AmaLilia will sail the immersive Secrets of Egypt & Nile itinerary, offering an unparalleled 11-night cruise and land experience including a seven-night roundtrip river cruise from Luxor, paired with three nights pre- and one-night post-cruise stays in historic Cairo. Similar to her sister ship, AmaLilia will be thoughtfully designed with regionally inspired décor, spacious staterooms and suites, and a specialty restaurant included in the river cruise fare.
Check out the AmaDahlia photo gallery below. Photos courtesy of AmaWaterways. Read the rest of this entry »
Once upon a time, a college friend of mine spent a few days with me. He was driving his son to his first job in Washington, DC from Massachusetts, and my house was directly in line. In a very few hours, it became apparent how people grow in different directions. My friend took the athletic route after graduating and is a very fine physical education teacher at his local high school in Massachusetts. He has spent the last 30 years of his life in the gymnasium—working with other people’s children. The morning after he arrived at my house, we no sooner poured our first cup of coffee when he asked if he could see the comics section of my morning newspaper. This section is always free, as I immediately grab the business section in order to get my daily “marketing fix.” My wife starts at the beginning and my son disappears with the sports section. Read the rest of this entry »
In my mind, there is nothing worse than running out of milk in the refrigerator. It is a staple for so many dishes and let’s be honest, nothing quenches that 3:00 am thirst quite like a swig from the carton of milk. Am I right? But in the business world, there is an equivalency. In my mind, there is nothing worse than running out of this business staple. No, not toner. Not staples. Not cell phone battery life. Much more important. Read the rest of this entry »
At All Points Travel in Salt Lake City, Corina Johnson made an easy sale yesterday. A member of her Theater Lovers whom she books trips three or four times a year, saw a post about an interesting offering from Norwegian Cruise Line: “The Broadway Cruise” to Bermuda, launching in March 2023. Read the rest of this entry »
Travel advisors are still faced with many challenges and opportunities in the aftermath of the pandemic. The challenges are readily solvable and will hopefully strengthen our industry, but some of the solutions may raise the hackles of those invested in the status quo. One of the most significant challenges is—despite months of complaints—communicating with travel providers on the phone or via the web.
Difficulties in communicating is not only the fault of the airlines, cruise lines, and hotel properties. Nearly all have done an excellent job posting the information online that their telephone reps provide over the phone. Still, most travel advisors are more comfortable speaking with the reps and buying travel over the phone.
Other industries have faced the same problems, and they usually solve them by:
- Hiring more telephone reps, especially those with years of experience.
- Providing digital callbacks.
- Ensuring that online systems are easy to navigate.
Photo credit: UnCruise Adventures
According to Liz Galloway, Director of Marketing and Communications for UnCruise Adventures, the Alaska season is off to a strong start. With 6 ships deployed there, offering 9 full itineraries, UnCruise has a longer season in the Great Land than any other cruise line, and their ships are “quite full all the way through the season which ends in September.” Read the rest of this entry »
The start of my conversation with Doug Colon summed up the theme of the interview in its entirety. When asked about how things are going for him, he answered, “Trying to get this backyard done. My contractor didn’t show up, so I started on my own.” This being our first long-form conversation, I was going off what I’d researched online. He was there when break dancing took off in the early 70s, grooving with prolific DJs known for legendary innovation in hip hop—check. He’s currently the owner of Dancin Doug Travel—check. But now, right at the start, I knew that I was talking to a man who knew how to get up and get it done.
Mentioning the multiple positions Doug has held in different fields, “I kind of stumble and fall places. I’m a stumbler.” This was clearly evident in his path through life so far. Travel started as a break from his profession at the time, Special Agent in Charge Read the rest of this entry »
Wholesale FIT travel specialist Avanti Destinations has launched an e-brochure for advisors describing the many reasons Great Britain appeals to independent travel clients, whatever their interests or demographics, and whether they are first-time or repeat travelers to the UK. Read the rest of this entry »
Rochelle Zemke and Stephanie Cavelli are two travel professionals who saw a need common to many, if not all, travel advisors and set out to meet it. The challenges they faced will sound familiar to anyone who has decided to build a web application on their own.
TRO: Rochelle and Stephanie, thanks for the opportunity to speak to you about My Fam Trip. I certainly want to get into the capabilities and functionality of your brainchild, but give me a little bit of background on the two of you. Read the rest of this entry »
While London attracts most visitors with its iconic sights of Big Ben, The London Eye, Harrods, and more, there is a place in South-East London that will offer you the time of your life – literally. It is Greenwich home of the prime meridian line and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Together with other sights, Greenwich is worth taking the train or boat rise to see. Read the rest of this entry »
Just a few days after the United States dropped its testing requirement for inbound travelers, Mandee Migliaccio at Stepping Out Travel Services in New Jersey already has booked a client who called to say, “finally I feel like I can travel freely”—and is off to Italy. Read the rest of this entry »
A&K Travel Group Ltd. has acquired the luxury cruise vessels Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. A&K Travel Group , is owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage (the industrial holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio). Read the rest of this entry »
Flying business class on American Airlines has some new perks. But there’s an extra fee, of course. Read the rest of this entry »
Those who have never participated in the production of an “event” would almost certainly be shocked at the enormous energy and coordination happening “behind the scenes.” The promoters of any given gathering share a goal with the attendees in wanting more than an “event” – they want an experience. Read the rest of this entry »