Monthly Archives: January 2012

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Self-Confidence Before Marketing

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: Deck Plans

What’s Cooking At Silversea?

In collaboration with Slow Food Italy, Silversea Cruises has designed an exclusive three-night program that will highlight the culinary and cultural traditions of Tuscany and introduce participants to local wine producers and products that adhere to the Slow Food philosophy of preserving biodiversity and gastronomic traditions. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

AccessFares – A Better Class of Service For Less!

For more than 20 years, AccessFares has provided travel industry professionals with heavily discounted, unpublished first and business class international airfares to most major international destinations, offering agents the opportunity to sell premium travel at a discount of up to 60% off published rates. Continue reading to see why Travel + Leisure named AccessFares one of the best resources for amazing first and business class fares.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

Now is the time–get selling!

Travel dreams are perishable

Most Americans start the year with a plan. No, not the New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, read more, exercise etc…We start with a calendar in hand and begin to think about the year’s travel options. The holidays are when we get the ‘can’t-change commitments’, such as weddings, graduations and anniversaries. These are the first dates we fill in—with ink. They can’t change. Then with any funds left over from taxes, and time left from the must-do’s, we look at filling some of our travel dreams. That’s why the key travel selling time is so short and perishable. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Dubai by Hariworld

In Dubai, just about everything is meant to be the biggest and the best. And it’s no joke: Here you’ll find the world’s tallest building, the largest man-made islands, the richest horse race, the biggest shopping festival, and soon the most extensive entertainment complex, the most massive mall, and the biggest hotel.

People who live here will tell you that Dubai is always changing — that’s an understatement. Dubai is growing so fast that it hardly seems recognizable from one year to the next. The city’s only competition these days seems to be with itself. Who can keep up? Construction cranes everywhere work relentlessly to continue raising a modern metropolis out of the desert sand.

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Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Costa Rica by Solar Tours

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 »

It was 2004 when I stumbled into my travel career.  I started by taking travel courses through a California community college, and a lot of material was covered.  I learned how to build FIT itineraries (and what FIT means), about various destinations, cruises, all-inclusive resorts, etc.  But what about groups?  Nada. Zilch. Zip. Nothing.  My group training has come over the years from CLIA, trade shows, suppliers, and trial and error .  Since 2004 I think I’ve become fairly adept at groups, especially cruise groups.  As a result I launched a new website (a new niche) in 2011:  Kick Butt Events & Groups . Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1


PictureTRO: Vacation Express announced last month that it had been wholly acquired by Sunwing Travel Group. Please tell agents who may not know about Sunwing a little about the company.

RJ: The Sunwing Travel Group comprises Sunwing Airlines and tour operators Sunwing Vacations and Signature Vacations. The company is headquartered in Toronto and is the second-largest leisure travel company in Canada. The Sunwing Travel Group is headed up by father and son team Colin and Stephen Hunter and jointly owned with worldwide travel giant TUI Travel plc. The company employs over 1,600 people and will carry over one million Canadians this year to the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Europe and the U.S.. Known as the company that “brings the plane to your door”, Sunwing operates 23 state-of-the-art B737-800s out of 30 Canadian gateways to over 40 international destinations. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Coralling the competition

As I muddle through the industry we all know and love, I have the opportunity to speak with colleagues, clients, and people just curious about my survival in an industry that seems to be (if you believe the pundits) dying. Many ask me if I am worried about the ability of the masses being able to do what was relegated to me (solely) a few years ago.  They have undoubtedly noticed (as I have) the increasing availability and choice of travel choices today. They will say things to me such as “have you noticed a drop in business now that so many people can be their own travel agent?” Or “do you find it hard to make money? I feel like everyone buys their travel online today.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – January 6, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

I love to shop online and have purchased gifts and bobbles, having them delivered to my front door. It saves me time, gas and dealing with crowds. Don’t get me wrong, I love an afternoon of retail therapy every now and then but, for the most part, the click of the mouse and order buttons are my friends.

I had occasion to recently make a birthday gift purchase for my husband through L.L. Bean. I purchased a nice, monogrammed chamois bathrobe for him as his was missing. I placed my order with a click, and on its way it went. I wanted to have it sent to his workplace, as he was having fun receiving all the Christmas gifts being sent to his coworkers to avoid detection. I wanted one of those gifts to be for him.  But, it was not to be.
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Posted In: Deck Plans

Planning Your 2012 Cruise To Stockholm

You’re smart, and so you’ve decided not only to cruise from Stockholm in 2012 but also to stay two nights before your cruise so that you can see the best of what this beautiful city has to offer. That’s why we’re happy to provide this quick and easy guide to help you decide what you want to see — and how to get there. For inspiration, see our video Two Perfect Days Stockholm. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Thoughts for a New Year

A lot is going to be said in the next few weeks about the New Year.  A lot is going to be said in the next few weeks about the year just completed. Allow me to save you all sorts of time for two facts that you  can take to the bank.

FACT #1: You can think about the past–but only if you make a concerted effort to learn from it–and do something with what you have learned. I suggest that you give this portion of your year-end activities no more than 10% of your time. Think. Reflect. Learn. Make course corrections.

FACT #2: You can do everything about the future.

Here is my New Years gift to you. It is short and simple and it will work. But it will only work if you give it an honest shot. My advice consists of only 12 words. If you read my columns regularly, you probably already know what I am going to say. Most of you still have not done anything with these words. But that is all about to change … right? Read the rest of this entry »

Your 2012 Travel Agent Diary

Three years ago, Travel Research Online and five travel professionals took a risk. We came up with the idea of the Travel Agent Diaries as a place for travel professionals to share their month to month trials and tribulations. Would there be agents willing to expose their successes and their failures? Would it be of benefit to the rest of the agency community? Well, as we prepare for our fourth year, the answer is obvious. As the Editor for TRO, this is my favorite column. The great ideas that these folks put forth and the troubles they see truly motivate me to make my business better. While the issues the diarists face are certainly not identical to everyone else’s; but at the same time, they are not too far removed.

Today, I am thrilled to introduce the 2012 group of travel professionals who will be your Travel Agent Diarists. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

So, this is what extinction looks like

So this is what extinction looks like. When I came into this industry back in 1996, a financial advisor said that the industry’s days were numbered.  When the commissions were cut—same deal. 911—yup. SARS—yup. Throw in a few wars, and an unending recession and surely we should have been extinct.  Right?
Well, here we are in 2012 and while the industry is a bit bruised and battered, we are here and ready to tackle 2012. Of course the recession will be ongoing; but will 2012 bring us natural disasters, man-made ones, disease, or even another war? Perhaps, but if nothing else, we should be well prepared.

In addition to all the end of year planning I do, I have also done a great deal of crystal balling for 2012. If nothing else, the travel industry is rife with change and attempting to look into the future, I feel, helps you prepare you for the unexpected. So what pitfalls might come out of 2012? Here are my thoughts. Please let me know yours! Read the rest of this entry »