Monthly Archives: February 2011

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Networking 101

As a home based agent one of the biggest hurdles I face is visibility. I have found networking a great way to get the word out on what I do and to meet potential new clients.  To network effectively  requires time & effort and getting out of the house. Trust me, I know it’s hard to get out of the house when the wind chill is hovering somewhere near zero. It’s easy to just stay in your warm sweats and not go anywhere.  But, sitting home doesn’t give you the face to face time you need to successfully build your business.

If you have never attempted to network before-it can be intimidating.  Where do you  find  networking groups?  Meetup.com is a great resource on finding   networking groups in your community. It’s free but you need to create a log in. Once you have your log in, search for “networking groups” in whatever city you live. Peruse the groups and find a couple that spark your interest. Email the President or membership chairperson and ask for more information.  Be sure to ask them if you can attend their meeting.  Some groups may be closed or not taking new members. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TROTips

Conducting Virtual Meetings

In so many ways technology has shrunk the world over the past couple of decades.  Twenty to thirty years ago a travel agency owner in Poughkeepsie, New York would never had imagined having clients that didn’t actually live in Poughkeepsie.  Nor would they have ever thought they’d have agents working outside of the store front agency, possibly in a different state.  But those were the days before email, Facebook, cell phones, text messaging, and e-faxes.

Today it isn’t surprising to hear about agencies with clients and independent contractors spread out geographically.  This is great for travel professionals; not being tied to the well-being of the local economy in order to survive.  But at the same time, it provides some new challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Two Perfect Days in Hong Kong

With so much to do and to see, Hong Kong is a great destination for a short stop or an extended stay. The cuisine is the best in Asia, the scenery on the peninsula and the surrounding islands is stunning, the people are consistently pleasant and willing to provide assistance, and while the shopping may not be such a cut-rate bargain any longer, it is still unsurpassed for quality and choice.

Exotic but easy to navigate and understand, stimulating but non-threatening, Hong Kong stands alone as a city that offers such an abundance of appealing possibilities with few potential aggravations. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort

Spectacularly set on a 1,000-foot stretch of one of Nassau’s most impressive white-sand beaches, the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort (www.SheratonNassau.com) is, in location alone, breathtaking.  With seven acres of stunning waterscape, the resort boasts three freshwater pools featuring flowing waterfalls and oversized whirlpools, as well as a variety of other amenities ideal for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Are you ready for another lesson from my world?

My brother is a builder in upstate New York, and a pretty good one at that I must admit.

His latest “project” involved a demolition of an old lake-side cabin with a three-story rebuild in its place. The property owner is in North Carolina. Out of sight.

He invited me up to check out the site and I noticed that it appeared the work had abruptly stopped the day before (Friday) and that the site could use a little tidying up. It was Saturday morning and work would not resume until Monday. At first, I sensed a little hesitation in his voice. After all, it was the weekend and the owner was down south. He caved. We picked up, bundled, and moved a few piles. The work site now looked clean. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Tuscany by Avanti Destinations

Once home to Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Michelangelo, the breathtaking region of Tuscany extends from the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea to the snow-capped Apennine Mountains. Nestled between these natural boundaries lie many Italian jewels waiting to be enjoyed.  Ranking high on “to do” lists among art and nature lovers alike, the province is an earthy paradise boasting beautiful vineyards and rolling hills, as well as prime examples of historic architecture dating back to the Italian Renaissance period.
Read the rest of this entry »

While chatting with my 14 year old son on the way home from football practice recently, we were discussing how he has lived his entire life in one bedroom and one house; and I mentioned that I could not relate to his comments about how small his room had become as he has grown older.  I explained to him that I had come from a completely different experience during my youth that included shared bedrooms in mobile homes, housing on military bases, from temporary apartments, to condo living in foreign countries.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Did you send anyone to Cancun or Mexico’s Riviera May last year?  How many visitors do you think the area welcomed in 2010? Millions! Have you thought about sending those same clients a little bit south to the other destinations in Central America?

Certainly Cancun, Cozumel and the Yucatan are wonderful destinations; but for the client who has been there and done that, take a look at something a bit different. Maybe something more cultural. Perhaps something more natural and less man-made? Perhaps something more historic? Perhaps something still undiscovered by the masses for bragging rights? Just maybe, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, or Guatemala might fit the bill.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

PictureTravelSafe Insurance, a division of the Chester Perfetto Agency, Inc., has been in business since 1971, and has provided travel agents with a long line of product innovations. Scott’s father, Chester Perfetto, served as a naval officer during the Korean War and earned his Masters Degree before moving into the insurance industry and founding the company. Scott came onboard in 1974 and is a familiar face to travel agents attending trade shows and industry events.

TRO: For 40 years, TravelSafe has provided travelers with insurance coverage.  How has the business changed in that time?
SP: In 1971, travel insurance primarily covered people who traveled by bus and train. As airline travel became prevalent and popular to the traveling public in the mid 70’s, bus and train policies were redesigned and called Air Fare Protectors. Those original travel policies developed in the 70’s only covered Accidental Death, Medical and Baggage protection. Without computers, travel agents assigned policy numbers, wrote receipts for proof of payment and then mailed monthly reports after deducting their commissions.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

It seems that no matter what you do, in some form, you are advertising your business. If you attend a cocktail party, invariably someone will bring up something to do with travel—you’re advertising. You interact on Facebook or Twitter—advertising. Design an ad for the local paper—advertising. The ultimate goal is to have someone open their wallet and actually buy something. But there is an inherent problem with that. For the most part, it is not going to work. The odds are just not with you! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw February 4, 2011

Picture
Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

In the 5+ years that I have been in the travel industry I often come across travel agents that lack self-confidence.  They range from fairly new in the industry to agents that have been in business for decades.  Some of them question charging fees for their services and expertise; others feel they can only get new clients by competing on price; some are not comfortable asking for business; while others worry about competing with their suppliers. 

But they have one thing in common; they do not have confidence in the value that they provide to their clients.  If they were confident in the value that they provided, they wouldn’t worry about suppliers that sell direct.  They wouldn’t compete on price, because they would sell their service instead.  And, they likely would charge a fee upfront.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

The Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa

Africa is a vast continent and for travel agents who find it overwhelming, who want to learn more about selling it, or to stay in touch and in the know, there is APTA-the Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa.  APTA promotes tourism to Africa and her islands through the education of its members. www.apta.biz

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

In 2006, I cruised around the horn of South America. Weeks before my South America cruise, I tried to form mental pictures of the places our ship would visit: Buenos Aires, Montevideo, the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia and Valparaiso.

My resources were sorely lacking. I could not recall having studied South America in high school, and my only exposure to Latin America had been jaunts to Mexico, Guatemala and a handful of other Central American countries. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

10 Things to Do to Jumpstart 2011

January is already at an end. People are tired from a long, painful 2010. They’re unsure about the economy. Blah, blah. Yes, this is all true.  But you know what else? People have now skipped a couple of vacations for fear of the economy. Americans don’t like to skip vacations.  Our lead count in the first ten days of January has proven to be quite impressive at Tripology, matching 2009 numbers.  People are requesting trips and you should get in on your share of the action. Do you want to start 2011 off right? Here are some key things you need to do: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Brazil on a Roll

Brazil is on a roll, and its star city of Rio de Janeiro is the hub of all the action. Already the ninth largest economy in the world, Brazil may well reach the rank of 5th by the time the Olympics make their debut in 2016. Now is a good time to get to know Brazil because the 14.4 billion dollars scheduled to be spent preparing the country to host the Olympics is likely to forever change its face.

Did we mention that Brazil is also hosting the 2014 World Cup? The two sporting events have the nation bursting with pride, the tour operators and hoteliers working overtime and the city struggling to upgrade the nation’s tourism infrastructure. The International Olympic Committee chose Rio over Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo, and the Brazilians seem determined not to let the opportunity pass without giving it their best. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

PictureCity Escape Holidays was founded in 1991 by Bo Adams and has since created and marketed City Packages and Special Event Packages to major cities and events around the United States and Canada.  Mr. Adams has worked in the travel industry since 1969 and has been the Vice President of Supercities along with many other prestigious positions.

TRO: Please describe some of your more popular packages.

BA: New York City is by far our most popular destination. We package up all the exciting activities, such as sightseeing, top Broadway Shows, great restaurants, world-class museums and even tickets to a Yankees baseball game. Guests can stay for a minimum of 2 nights and stay as long as they want. Our most popular stays are for three-night long weekends, such as:

New York City Plan 3A includes three nights’ hotel stay, one top Broadway show two-day Gray Line Hop-on/off sightseeing tour, dinner at a top restaurant.

Branson is always in our top five best-sellers. It is not just another Nashville, like many people think. The town has nearly 100 wonderful theaters and offers about any kind of entertainment you would ever want, such as country, variety, tribute shows, top name stars, magic and even the Shanghai Circus. Attractions, such as the Titanic Exhibit, Silver Dollar City and Ripley’s are also available.

In addition to our 24 City Packages, we also have 22 Special Events packages. Our most popular by far is our Rose Parade package. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Costa Rica is Central America’s special jewel and it is only a three hour hop from Miami in a plane. Costa Rica will appeal to all ages and the country’s natural attractions, wildlife and reputation for enlightened conservation draw tourists from all over the world. The Government has made a real effort to preserve the country’s image as an eco-tourism heaven, making Costa Rica one of the best places to experience the tropics naturally and with minimal impact, at least for now. The country’s bio-diversity attracts nature lovers from all over the world. Add to this the incredible warmth and sincere hospitality of the local people and the exceptional variety of hotels along Guanacaste’s Pacific coast and you have a recipe for a unique and memorable destination for couples, singles and families. Read the rest of this entry »

I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was younger.  I had a career as a medical transcriptionist for 27 years because I was told I was good with words, could spell, and could type like a banshee–so I gave it a shot.  It worked well for me, as I was able to raise my family, earn a good wage, and work from home.  And considering this was the early 80s, it was practically unheard of! Read the rest of this entry »