Monthly Archives: June 2011

Posted In: The 365 Guide

One of the first innovations that TRO implemented four years ago was to create a library of travel articles that travel agents could use as marketing tools.  TRO’s selection of travel articles fall into two categories.  Our Activity Guides are articles that revolve around various travel themes.  There you will find articles on activities such as Astronomy Holidays, Safaris, Bird Watching, Archeology or Beer and Pub Tours.  In all, there are 50 Activity Guide articles that travel agents can print or email to their clients. The second set of articles, the  Voyager Travel articles, primarily are centered around various destinations and many are written by well known and award winning writers. Again, using TRO’s private label system, a travel agent can print or email these articles Read the rest of this entry »

Details are huge and one can not invest enough time in them.  In this business, not enough attention to this trait will result in unfortunate events for your clients and yourself as well as to your respective pocketbooks.  What could start as a simple oversight may set a domino effect in motion leading to one dilemma after another ending who knows where. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

How is your forest doing?

I would like to ask your indulgence for a bit as I tell a story—the point of which will become apparent at the end.

The other night, I was having a discussion with a neighbor about the crazy Arizona wildfires. Reportedly, they are currently consuming more land than Manhattan and Chicago combined. During the conversation we began talking about the great loss of the land and were reminded of a lesson we learned a long time ago. For a forest to truly flourish, it needs to burn down. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – June 10, 2011

Picture
Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe it’s the hot weather we’ve been experiencing in Nashville that’s fried my brain.  Maybe it’s the law of numbers.  But, somehow, we seem to have gotten our fair share of local yokels lately.  Bill Engvall is a good ole’ Southern boy, who is part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.  He does a set called “Here’s Your Sign”.  His philosophy is that there are some people in this world who are just too stupid to go outside.  These people need a sign that warns others:  “I’m Stupid!”           

A few years ago, Charlie, my husband and business partner,  was demonstrating a new software package, and one of the people looking at it saw some of the comments Charlie had put in for the client.  It read:  “Your cruise has been cancelled because you are just too darned stupid to go out of the country.”  The guy looking at the software got a real chuckle out of it.  The problem is, it’s true.

Here’s just a few examples of our clients who need a sign.  I’m sure you have your quota of them also. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TROTips

More Useful Websites

In an earlier article,  we highlighted a few websites that we thought “might be useful for business, educationally valuable or just plain fun but otherwise useless.”  This installment is our second round of recommended websites that you may find useful for business or educationally valuable (alas, nothing fun and useless this time around).

Secure Password Checker

Whenever you create a password for anything (bank account access, supplier website log-in, email, etc.) you should ensure that it is a strong password, making it harder to crack (no password will ever be 100% foolproof).  Microsoft offers a free secure password checker. Simply type in the password you want to check and the analysis will tell you if it is weak, medium, strong, or best.  All passwords that you use should be “strong” at the very least. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

National Transaction Corporation

National Transaction Corporation is a full service merchant account provider specializing in non-cash electronic transactions. Their services include: processing credit card transactions, gift card transactions, electronic benefit transactions and e-commerce transactions, among others. They offer a full line of products regarding transaction processing including credit card terminals, receipt printers, cellular devices and supplies and accessories for each model sold.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Two types of people

There is a thin line between “customer service” and being a door mat. Remember–you can’t be all things to all people. I have been talking to travel agents for more years than I care to remember. And in all those years, not one has gone by when I haven’t heard the same complaint—year after year after year. Read the rest of this entry »

Business this year has been great. I have many repeat clients and referrals through my host agency, which keeps me very busy. Group business is fantastic. I’ve set monthly sales goals that I’ve met and exceeded, which I’m very pleased with. All this has enabled me to continue as a full-time, one-job travel consultant. I’ve built a solid foundation for my business. I could very easily continue on this same path, and do very well. It’s like slipping on a pair of comfortable shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

When clients lie

I had an interesting situation arise this week with a customer who outright lied to secure a better deal on a vacation. We are all accustomed to white lies and bent truths, but this one was a whopper. I am not going to name names; but suffice to say that this supplier went above and beyond my wildest expectations to cement their relationship with my agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Serious Education Doesn’t Come In Tidbits

These days, you can’t throw a rock into the travel industry without hitting an Internet forum of some kind.  Travel Research Online has the Community, for instance.  These Internet forums are quite valuable, especially to the home-based professional.  They provide a connection to colleagues all across the country, with different specializations and levels of experience.  Story after story can be told of an agent asking a question on a message board and receiving immeasurable help, from advice for handling difficult situations to destination recommendations.

However, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend at several of the online forums in which I participate: namely, the asking of very basic industry questions.  Some examples include “What is a TC?” (when discussing group cruises), “How do I block group space?”, “Does my client need a visa?”, and many, many more.  These types of questions concern me.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – June 3, 2011

Picture
Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Dover, England

Cruise passengers typically don’t think of Dover as a destination as much as they consider it to be a port of embarkation/debarkation. Those on cruises that begin from Dover often arrive the same day of departure, or they choose to spend a night or two in London, situated about two hours from Dover, before they sail away.

Once aboard ship in Dover, getting off and into the city center requires either a 30-minute walk, a taxi ride or complimentary shuttle bus service into the town center. If you’re only interested in shopping, visit the outlet shop at De Bradelei Wharf. To orientate yourself, find the Tourist Information Center on Old Town Gaol Street. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

APTA National Forum to be held in Chicago

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Mom blinked

Just a few days ago my mother’s home was completely destroyed by a tornado in Chickasha, Oklahoma.  Thank goodness she was away with her sister on a trip when it happened.

Following the destruction, there was not a scrap of wood to be found where her home once stood.  Nothing more than a few scattered bricks from the crumbled foundation remained. Read the rest of this entry »