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Be Client ecCentric

Readers of TRO know I value highly the concept of authenticity – the idea clients will seek out and choose a travel agent with whom they can identify and trust. A credo of authenticity seeks to fulfill every explicit and every implicit promise made by the travel agent. Making good on your promises is important – authenticity without stellar performance means little. The consumer wants your performance to be well above the norm – to be exceptional to such a degree, in fact, as to be unique. That is why the small services provided to a client throughout the relationship are so important – they can potentially set the authentic travel agent apart from all others. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, in the first of a series, we presented a live Q&A about river cruising. If you missed the webinar, you’ll find a recording of it below. We found the webinar format to be an excellent way to connect with our readers (and river cruise company representatives – Mary Murrin from Tauck, for example, joined us live to answer a few questions). 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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“Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.”
― Peter Drucker

But how do you market to people you don’t know? How do you know what innovations to provide if you don’t know your audience?

Understanding your unique audience (or even an avatar of your perfect audience) is key to growing your business. Did you know you can use the secrets of social media to uncover all kinds of details about your fans and followers? Let’s look at the amazing level of info you can tease out of your social analytics to help you know your audience so you can create what they’ll LOVE. Read the rest of this entry »

When people hear you work from home, the reactions can range from complete adoration and jealousy to “oh, when are you going to get a real job?” I am sure we’ve all heard similar. But as an independent businessperson, it really makes a lot of sense. But there is a downside. Unless you have a dedicated space in your home with an external exit, the perception of your agency being a hobby is very real. There is a solution. Read the rest of this entry »

When everyone is an expert who do you trust?

During a recent review with my students of “Secrets of Selling to the Affluent Traveler”, we were discussing the impact that a good business coach or adviser can have on their success.

According to a study on LinkedIn, the return (ROI) for this service averages 7x the investment. In other words, for every $1000 you invest in quality coaching, you can expect an incremental increase of at least $7000! This seems to validate a quote attributed to old Ben Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

One student asked, “With so many coaches, both independent or employed by host and consortia, all claiming to be the expert – from sales, marketing, groups, social media, newsletters, storytelling (it’s the latest trend), and more. How do you choose?” My answer, “It depends”. Read the rest of this entry »

When you step off an airplane or cruise ship in Hawaii and look around, it’s hard to imagine this place even exists within the United States. With a world-class metropolitan city, adventure hiking, exotic marine life, and exquisite scenery, Hawaii vacations make the list for a must-see multi-generational destination. It’s also a pretty spectacular place for singles, couples, and just about any other traveler that loves tropical landscapes and adventure. But if you’ve already been to Hawaii, or are just an off the beaten track adventurer at heart, you must try an intimate, local experience to satisfy your wanderlust. Here’s where to go and what to see for a unique tour in Hawaii you won’t forget. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal set?

My BHAG for GSSS1 (Group Sales Success Summit 1) was to execute a gigantic event that would be a life-changing catalyst for growth, prosperity and happiness. I envisioned 1,000 participants. Almost 2,500 showed up. (It’s a good thing an online conference offers space for an infinite audience!)

A couple hundred entrepreneurs bought the GSSS1 FOR KEEPS package. I not only covered my costs, I cleared a respectable margin.

These agents have added it to their permanent learning library. I get correspondence weekly about how it has totally changed their game. It is an ‘on demand shot in the arm’.

Friends, if you can think big, I will help you do big. I talk it, I walk it! Read the rest of this entry »

Serving the travel industry for 75 years, Travel Leaders has understood what it takes for Independent Contractors to succeed in today’s world. When working with Travel Leaders, your clients will have confidence knowing that you’re aligned with an established, respected, brick-and-mortar operation that provides solid national support and clout.

Their network is an extensive collection of successful, independently owned travel agencies across the USA and Canada. Each agency has its own personality and unique hosting program, but they also get the valuable core benefits that Travel Leaders is known for. Read the rest of this entry »

A travel counsellor recently asked me for a UK garden tour that her clients hadn’t seen before. My suggestion combined the Journées des Plantes in Paris and the Chelsea Flower Show in London. She’s now promoting this programme and shooting for a small group of 12-15 for late May 2020 and it’s my top story.

Other eye-catching updates include two new attractions in the Viking city of York, news of a major ceramics event in the World Capital of Ceramics aka Stoke on Trent, and the annual re-enactment of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. The improved dollar/sterling exchange rate offers possibilities for UK shopping trips and I’ve added a couple of bright ideas for November/December Christmas tours. Bon Voyage!

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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 »

You Are Not For Everybody

But you are most definitely for somebody.

I think I already reminded you how effective the simple postcard can be when initiating the process known as sales.

I agree that there is not much space and in no way, shape, or form do I want you to try to sell anything when using the postcard technique. Remember: sales is a process. Step one is designed to lead to step two. Step one is to grab interest and attention.

So, what can you write on a postcard to get you to step two? Maybe all you need is a clearly written web site address. That just might do the trick if step two is trying to get your audience to your web page Read the rest of this entry »

A Year-Round Paradise with Aerolineas Argentinas

In the foothills of the Anders lies a city surrounded by majestic peaks and natural forests. A city known for skiing and hiking, as well as its mild and windy summers. This small and charming city is known as San Carlos de Bariloche, otherwise known as simply Bariloche. Thanks to Aerolineas Argentinas, one of only three airlines that fly to Bariloche, for sponsoring today’s article. Read the rest of this entry »

Since 2017, Eben Peck has served as Executive Vice President, Advocacy at the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), where he is responsible for ASTA’s work to advocate for the travel agency community at all levels of government, within the travel industry and before the traveling public. This includes management of ASTA’s Government Affairs, Industry Affairs, Communications, Research and Legal functions, and ranges from day-to-day association management to federal/state government affairs to interaction with national and trade media to liaising with travel suppliers and industry groups to content for ASTA’s annual conference and other events.

From 2012 to 2017, he served as ASTA’s Vice President, Government Affairs and Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, with a heavy focus on the Society’s core advocacy functions – federal and state lobbying, regulatory compliance and ASTA’s political action committee. Accomplishments of note during this period include legislative and regulatory “wins” that saved the travel agency industry an estimated $563 million in new taxes, fees and other costs and more than quadrupling annual PAC receipts to over $230,000. Read the rest of this entry »

The Northern Territory of Australia with AAT Kings

The Northern Territory of Australia is a silent dream, one that stirs the imagination in its bare beauty. National Parks provide an immersive feeling of quiet, while islands of aboriginal peoples remain culturally intact for an authentic experience. From a coastal capital city to natural sights that can only be seen here, the expanses of the Northern Territory are reflections of serenity away from the traveler’s worries waiting at home. With AAT Kings offering up guided tours, short breaks, and day tours, the Northern Territory is within reach of the traveler – as well as the hands of a friendly and engaged tour operator.

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Brussels with Brussels Airlines

Brussels, the capital of Belgium is full of life and there are lots of things to do in this multicultural, dynamic and open city. From the history and art that fill its many museums, to the beer and bars that make its nightlife famous, the city has an energy and atmosphere that makes it the perfect getaway destination. Attractions include the Grand Place, an iconic square full of gold-gilt buildings and awe-inspiring architecture, the Delirium café, a basement bar pouring more than 2000 different kinds of beers, many parks offering beautiful views and peaceful surroundings, the Atomium with its impressive structure made up of nine huge, stainless steel spheres and finally the European Quarter with its famous landmarks such as the European Parliament and Commission buildings. Read the rest of this entry »

New Orleans with Blue-Roads Touring

New Orleans is a special place, the most unique city in the United States of America. Its history is a collage of French and Spanish, with a hint of the Caribbean. The pervading philosophy is a good time. Historic houses line oak-lined streets, while streetcar bells echo as they roll by. New Orleanians know the value of enjoying the only life we’ve been given. As they say in the Crescent City, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” – Let the good times roll. Which is why Blue-Roads Touring wants you to know all about this soulful city. Read the rest of this entry »