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What do YOU want?

The question “What do you want” can sometimes be one of the most difficult to answer. It’s an odd psychological quirk we often find it far easier to say what we don’t want. Perhaps you have had one of these conversations:

“Where do you want to eat tonight?”
“I don’t know, it doesn’t matter to me.”
“How about Mexican?”
“No, anything but Mexican.”
“Greek?”
“No, we had Greek last week.”
“OK, where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t know, it really doesn’t matter to me.”

Hmmm.

What do you want for your travel practice?
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“Give It Three More Weeks”, Says Frank Del Rio

Just hang in there for two or three more weeks, travel advisors, and things will be better.

That’s the biggest take-away from a press conference yesterday featuring Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO Frank del Rio and the head of its Health and Safety Committee, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who sits on the board of Pfizer.

Here’s my transcript of what they said, slightly edited for brevity. I took notes in shorthand, which I am pretty good at but a word or two may be off, and I apologize for that. Read the rest of this entry »

Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, visited New York last week in preparation of Uganda’s rolling out of a rebranding campaign.

The slogan for the country will change from “Uganda, the Pearl of Africa” to “Exploring Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.”

It’s only one word changed, but as Mark Twain said, the difference of one word can be like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

More important than the change of slogan, the tourism department is changing its idea of how to market itself and to whom.

“We’ve been able to define who our audience is,” Lilly Ajarova told me. “We are looking for travelers, not just tourists, people who are more responsible, more mindful, and travel in a responsible way, as opposed to Read the rest of this entry »

Scope Creep

Everybody is talking about fees, fees, fees.

Yes, we all know that when you charge a fee, you:

  1. Make more money
  2. Garner the type of clients who value your expertise
  3. Weed out the tire kickers
  4. Demonstrate your worth
  5. Create an accurate perception of your value
  6. And so much more…

But, nobody is talking about scope creep! What is it? How does it affect your profitability? And, how can you get rid of it altogether?

Scope creep is not a term that’s often used in the travel industry. Other service providers have been using it for years, and it’s high time that we start thinking about how it applies to us, as travel pros, and how it affects our bottom line!

I define scope creep as what happens when a client changes the game. Plain and Read the rest of this entry »

Our Readers Are Ready To River Cruise

In last week’s post, Our New Year’s Eve Wish For You, we told you about Dolf Dunn’s Christmas Markets cruise. Dolf and his wife Lannie shared photos of Christmas trees at various ports of call (as well as Christmas trees on AmaSiena). The Dunns praised AmaWaterways for not missing a single Christmas Market. “If a city closed a market, AmaWaterways found an alternative one to take us to,” Dolf wrote.

AmaWaterways’ Kristin Karst saw our story and reached out to us. If you don’t know who she is, let me tell you about Kristin. Originally from the region of Dresden, Germany, Kristin is the high-spirited, always smiling Read the rest of this entry »

The Day I Flew Around the Water Tower

If there is any truth to the belief that a good story is both entertaining and memorable, you are about to enjoy the information in my columns for the next few months. I am about to share with you my personal experiences that come equipped with some valuable lessons.

The first of these lessons come to you from 2500 feet above sea level. It was during my check ride, which requires a passing grade while flying alongside an FAA flight inspector. I was in the left seat of a Cessna 152 and I felt I was prepared for the “exam.” I read the books, practiced my landings, and Read the rest of this entry »

Making Sales from your Website

I often hear travel professionals complain they are making no sales from their websites. To my ear, the complaint, however, sounds a bit strange. If you are making “sales” from your website, I suspect you are using a booking engine or a search engine geared to supplier specials, much like Travelocity or Expedia. I also suspect the resulting sales are sporadic. However, for personal travel consultants, a website is far more of a marketing tool than a sales tool.  The difference in an important one to consider.

Firstly, every website should be designed with the business model of the company behind it in mind. There is no “one site fits all” website. If your business model resembles that of Expedia, then you are gearing for great volumes with little personal client interaction. In this scenario, a booking engine or supplier search engine makes sense and your website is indeed a sales tool.

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2020 and 2021 Stunk for Travel. What About 2022?

This time last year, I was optimistic about 2021.  We had some ups (vaccines, financial assistance, and a return to travel); but we had a whole lot more downs than I anticipated. Regardless, here we are in 2022 and I hope you all had a fantastic whatever-you-celebrate holiday and a happy New Year.  I am all rested and refreshed and now it’s time to take a deep breath and look ahead to 2022. 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 »

This week, I was able to go into a local pharmacy in West Los Angeles and walk out with a half-dozen Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Tests for $98.00. The staff in the pharmacy had stacked the tests near the register in plain sight, and the pharmacists asked people to buy no more than six tests at a time. There were no lines to purchase the kits, and the staff had not taken special precautions to prevent them from being stolen.

Yesterday, as another indicator of a better future, a healthcare executive we know walked into a pharmacy and got a fourth vaccine shot. He’s well informed about COVID-19 and is following the Israeli regimen that was implemented this week of providing a second booster four months after the first one. The Israelis make the second booster available for anyone who is over 60 or immune-compromised 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 »

Although your anglophile clients have been unable to fly to the UK since the end of March 2020 (!), aspects of Britain have been appearing frequently on their/your TV screens with reruns of Endeavour, Morse, Lewis, Poldark, Doc Martin, Father Brown, Keeping up Appearances, Grantchester, Downton Abbey, The Vicar of Dibley, All Creatures Great and Small—along with a whole host of irresistible movies, dramas, and sitcoms.

They’ve done a huge job of waving the GB flag, and I think you’re missing a trick if you’re not talking to some of your frequent UK travellers about how you can customise a tour that blends together leisurely On Location visits for their favourite TV shows with other must-see visits to castles, stately homes, cathedrals, literary shrines all washed down with some memorable meet the locals, pub lunches and suppers.

Here’s a handful of travel-less, see-more suggestions for you to consider. Read the rest of this entry »

Renewing the Heart of Hungary

Budapest, with its wonderfully varied architecture, is getting a revamped look of an important part of its history and culture. Buda Castle has been a staple of the landscape of Budapest for 750 years. But, starting in 2019 and continuing into well into this year, Buda Castle and the surrounding district of Budapest is getting a well-deserved upgrade. Dubbed The National Hauszmann Program, this restoration and improvement project has had a substantial impact on what the traveler will witness in an already vibrant destination. 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond Exotic in Morocco

Known as the gateway to Africa, the country of Morocco is situated in the north of the continent and shares close ties to Europe… culturally and location-wise. With just 8 miles of sea to cross before reaching Spain, the mixture of sometimes vastly different places has created an exotic and exciting location. The busy streets of major cities like Marrakech and Tangier are perfect for people watching from cafes. The mix of cultures that has come together has a way of diversity seldom known around the around. 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 »

Prague may be the most prominent destination in Czechia, also known as the Czech Republic, but the country offers much more in the way of landscapes to capture the traveler’s imagination. This is where the South Moravian Region enters the conversation. A land of rolling plains, old-world villages and towns, and white wines to satiate the vinophiles. South Moravia in the eastern part of Czechia will lure the travel in with trails to follow these wonderful views and tastes. Read the rest of this entry »







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