Well, it is that time of year. The geese fly south and the bears go into hibernation. And believe it or not, so does TRO—but just for a little bit. As the year winds down, we ease up on our daily publishing, spend some time with our families, and focus on the loose ends that invariably exist in our own travel businesses. About a month ago, we all celebrated Thanksgiving. Now we are in the midst of the December Holidays—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a few others I probably left off; but I want to take this time to offer my personal thanks to some individuals who have made working on TRO a true pleasure. Besides, my thanks can stay up for two weeks!
Richard Earls. He is the brain behind it and I have never met a person so committed to the travel industry in general and travel agents in particular. I value his opinions (don’t always agree, but I value them) and truly cannot think of a bigger advocate for all of us! When you toss in his weekly Publisher’s Corner and the daily 365 Guide, he is one of the hardest working guys in the travel business!
The Agent Perspective crowd. These are the working travel agents who have taken time from their businesses all year to bring new, original and appropriate content to you every week. Every Friday, you can be sure to see a new column not written by some marketing wonk—but by your peers. I am not going to thanks them individually here. I already did on my own. And I suggest you click on the links and re-read some of their columns and offer your thanks in a comment or an email. This group has terrific ideas and editing their columns was a joy. Shana Cherry, Steve Cousino, Chuck Flagg, Laura Frasier, Nia Frieson, Scott Grody, Helga Leonard, Steve Mencik, Troy-Lynn Metzger, Adrienne Mitra, Barb Oliver, David Ourisman, Annie Petronio, Lisa Rapavi, Tim Richmond, Pat Saizan, Susan Schaefer, and Mary Stephan. Thanks you all!
The Diary writers. These guys agreed to expose themselves to literally thousands of agents each week. They agreed to share the good with the bad as they muddled through what is arguably one of the worst years in recent memory. As I was editing these columns, I noticed a strange trend. While all of the agencies were different, they all shared very similar problems. Without going back and checking, I also believe that at one point, all of them considered throwing in the towel this year. The fact that they are still here and are looking to a great 2010 is testament to their business acumen and most likely in part due to the support offered by TRO. This group was also fun to edit, and a bit of a challenge as the deadlines were tight (right Mary and Nia?) but in the end, there was thoughtful and useful information shared and it benefited all agents. I thank you guys for being so brave and honest. It was not easy, but I admire you. If you have not read any of the Agent Diaries, please take some time and follow them. Pat Saizan, Mary Stephan, Chuck Flagg, Nia Frieson, Laura Frazier.
The Point To Pointers. The Point To Point columns were the most difficult ones to nail down. We try to corner busy executives and industry icons to offer their opinion, but sometimes, we are not at the top of their list. But this year, we have had some great perspectives and we appreciate them for taking the time to share them with us. This year, we saw Mike Marchev (because he likes his name before Nolan’s and gave me a beer to do so), Nolan Burris ( better luck next year), Chelle Honiker-Yarbrough, John Peters, Vicki Freed, Greg Kott, Candy Harrington, Isaac Cymrot, Roger Dow, Bob Sweeney, Chris Russo, Doran Jacobs, Scott Koepf, Steve Tracas, Mike Caplin, Gary Kelly, and Shelley Seale. A big hat tip to you all.
The unseen. There are a bunch of people behind the scenes that also keep the TRO ball rolling. Working with Richard in Tallahassee are Brenda and Ashley who are making sure that the Travel Gram is sent daily and that the sites are up and running. No one sees them (do they really exist?) but without them, everyone’s job would be that much more difficult–so thank you!
And second to last. A huge thanks to Les-Lee Roland and her Thumbs Up Thumbs Down columns, Ralph Grizzle for his Deck Plans columns and our latest addition Lyn Edwin Cathey for his humorous take on cruising and our industry!
And finally. A huge thank you to you! Each week as I see the traffic and the interest in TRO continue to grow, I am truly thankful for our readers. Without you offering advice and wisdom in our community and leaving comments on the articles which have been written, this whole endeavor would be for naught! You really are the engine that drives TRO and it has been a pleasure to work with everyone to help build it into what it has become today.
Now, as I said, we are going into hibernation for a few weeks and regular content will re-emerge on January 2, 1010. Until then, I wish each and every one of you a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday!
All the best-
PS: Whew, that was a lot of links–but worth it!