Monthly Archives: April 2010

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Another lesson learned

Last month, I wrote about learning the ins and outs of the tools you have at your service. I vowed to delve deeper into my email broadcasting program and learn some more effective ways to use the tool. After all, I was paying for the full service and not some “email-lite”. Well, I dug a little deeper and realized that I had probably passed up hundreds (if not thousands) of opportunities over the past two years. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Do I Really Need to be on Twitter?

It’s the monkey on my back. That nagging feeling that creeps its way into my thoughts whenever I’m online. It’s the pressure in my stomach I feel whenever I’m out with friends.

Why don’t we have a Facebook page yet?” says a colleague.

Ten Reasons Why Your Company Needs to Have a Blog!” shouts the email.

Uncle Frank just found a new client on Twitter. Why aren’t you Tweeting?” asks my mom. Read the rest of this entry »

Hey Spirit Airlines! Thumbs Down To You!

It’s called “Spirit Air”. Of course, they don’t tell you it’s the Spirit of Thumbs Down! It’s a cautionary tale for agents who may want to consider triple checking every detail because if the airline makes a mistake, it’s your problem, not theirs. If you want to report something well done by a supplier, a res agent, or rep, we are happy to give them some coverage in TRO’s Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down. If you have a problem with airlines, tour companies, etc. or getting commissions, maybe we can assist. Contact Les-Lee at Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Recently I went to grab a quick meal at a local fast food establishment and I gave very simple instructions… no mayonnaise or cheese on my hamburger. Simple. My meal came and sure enough, there was not just a little mayonnaise but loads of mayonnaise and a slab of cheese on top. The counter person took my order but was she really listening?

In just about any business you are going to encounter people who just don’t listen. We as customers are talking to ourselves because they hear but are not listening.

There are two kinds of salespeople. The order taker and the learned salesperson. The order taker just inputs the information Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

The West Coast of Ireland by Sceptre Tours!

In the west of Ireland there’s a special world of stone walls, spectacular shorelines and cliffs. There are mysterious ruins from prehistoric religions and magnificent cathedrals from those of a more recent origin. And let’s not forget that Ireland is populated by the friendliest people in the world! This week’s 60-Second Geography is sponsored by Sceptre Tours because, well, who knows Ireland better? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Voyages of Discovery has just launched an On-Line Cruise Marketing Kit in conjunction with Travel Research Online .

This kit offers agents on-line tools with the intent to assist travel agents in the marketing of Voyages of Discovery and Swan Hellenic. Both companies are owned by All Leisure Group which is the holding company of All Leisure Holidays an established cruise holiday company in the UK.

To access the On-line Marketing Kit, visit and enter the Travel Agent Centre. Once you have logged-in or registered, there is a link for the kit on the Travel Agent Centre home page. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – Apr 6, 2010


Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

I was trying to think about what to write this time around and looked back on last month’s Travel Agent Diary entry. Last month, I was considering a balance between being a generalist and having a niche market or specialty areas in which I have a passion.  I was feeling more optimistic about how my business was picking up, but it was just starting.  Thankfully, it has continued to do so. I was also concerned by the “demise” of Tripology which turned out to be premature as they are back like the Phoenix rising, and part of Rand McNally. I am excited to have this resource back, having found the other resources, not nearly as good. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

An Interview with Mike Marchev


PictureMike Marchev, MBA, CTC has been sharing his upbeat, down-to-earth, entertaining and motivational business-building programs with travel professionals since 1984. Customer Service is his “pet” topic. Mike is a frequent contributor to a number of recognized travel publications as
well as the author of Become The Exception, The 52-Week Sales Planner and “More-On” Marketing.

TRO: What are travel agents doing right today?

MM: This is a hard question to answer in that I am not privy to what they are all up to. I’ll answer from a different angle.

If a travel agent has targeted a specific market and identified their “niche” based on their strengths, experiences and positive track record, and they are (1) practicing emotional intelligence to the degree that they are adhering to the Rule of Seven without excuse or exception, and (2) actively seeking new and creative ways to blow their customers away with unexpected service, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

The Butterfly Effect

What if 100,000 butterflies flapped their wings?

Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. once said that all politics are local. The aphorism is particularly true in the travel industry since our localities are worldwide. A fluctuation in a European currency or a bomb in Mumbai can affect travelers and business prospects for months on end. There is little that happens in the world that does not directly impact the travel industry like some strange corollary to “the butterfly effect” – a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan and three hurricanes hit the Caribbean in a row.

Making one’s living in such a vitally active industry is not always easy. Forces well beyond the control of any individual travel agent seem to be in charge of our destiny. All of which is a very good reason not to always act just as an individual. Now more than ever, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Big pond or little one?

Have you ever had a client contact you asking for pricing on Alaska, Jamaica, London, Hawaii, and Australia—in February? What about the client who can’t decide if they want to cruise on Carnival or Crystal and then waffles between a land based experience and a sea based one. Admit it. You have had these clients and they drive you bonkers! They do me! While it is our job to qualify the client and offer the best vacation experience that meets their needs and budgets; don’t you just wonder why their initial thoughts are all over the literal and figurative map? It may not be them. It just might be you! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Oceania’s Marina

When she debuts in January 2011, Oceania Cruises’ new Marina will offer elegantly appointed and custom-crafted accommodations that are reminiscent of a luxurious private estate.

The ship’s 629 staterooms and suites will be among the most spacious in the upper premium category. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

For Whom Do You Work?

Have you ever seen or heard this question come up from other travel agents: “Do you know of a vendor that pays commission for x service (hotel/transfers/dog boarding)?” I have time and time again and I happen to think this is the wrong question a travel agent should be asking. Wouldn’t it be better to ask “Do you know of a supplier that can best serve the NEEDS of my particular client?”

Nolan Burris touched on this point recently. We need to get in a mindset that we are not sellers of travel. We are selling ourselves, our advice and our experience. When a client engages your services, who are you working for? If a client fits of a certain profile, does it make any sense at all to recommend something because it pays a commission or maybe even a bonus commission if that client won’t enjoy the experience? Read the rest of this entry »