Monthly Archives: February 2012

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Facebook Posts to Avoid!

This week we have reviewed a variety of Facebook posts you can use to engage your readers more fully. Today we want to take a quick look at areas where you might want to tread more carefully. These topics of conversation veer away from your core mission and venture into areas not conducive to engaging your audience. To the contrary, you may offend a good segment of your readership! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Port of Call: Oslo

Oslo is one of those rare European cities where nature and metropolis mesh and connect in ways that cruise passengers can enjoy without a great deal of effort. The Norwegian capital’s compact city center puts many attractions within walking distance and others only a short transit away on ferries, trams, bikes or city busses. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Engaging Facebook Posts: Photographs and Videos

Who can resist Liking a photograph of the Northern Lights? How about a video of a lion attacking a water buffalo? Think back on the Facebook posts that you have clicked on or Liked. How many of them were an irresistible photo or a video you would have otherwise not encountered? Each time you responded to a photograph or a video you were indicating a response similar to the one you want to evoke in your own Fan base. Photographs and videos are two of the best ways to engage your audience. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

When do I start?

Do you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk? I know I do. And talking is the way I make my living. Today’s train of thought may be a bit convoluted, but stick with me, follow along, and it will become clear at the end. I promise!

Assume for the moment you are looking for a job. I can guarantee that your resume looks like every other resume that has been submitted. The secret to winning that job is to package yourself as something different–something special–something unique. Take a risk. Stand out from everyone else in the rank and file. Don’t be just another applicant.

As a hungry travel agent, I presume you are looking for new business. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Engaging Facebook Posts: Open Questions

Engagement is the art of pulling your Facebook friends and fans into the conversation. When a Fan Likes, Shares or Comments on your Status Updates, your brand receives a higher profile and is exposed to new people. Engagement is the real measure of the success your Facebook Page is at any moment enjoying.

Open questions are one of the best ways to invite engagement. Ask a question not answered by a “yes” or a “no”. Center your questions on travel, but make your question non-threatening and certainly not overtly commercial. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Johannesburg by Hariworld

Still riding the high from the World Cup, Johannesburg is thriving more than ever. The city is the heart of South Africa, with everything that happens within the country both beginning and ending in the capital. While it has had its fair share of ups and downs politically, economically and emotionally, the country has rallied this decade to become one of the hottest destinations in Africa. Representing a multitude of people, Joburg proudly boasts itself as the second largest city on the continent, and with that comes a great deal of activities for visitors.

Read the rest of this entry »

My passion for traveling has led me to help others explore their dream destinations and create memories that will last a lifetime. Cary Travel Express recently hosted its 14th annual travel show and we saw many familiar faces; and even more exciting, plenty of new ones! Unlike many agencies, we do not measure the success of a show by the trips booked or the leads captured. We take it a bit further and measure the end result—the quality of vacation experiences that we provide to our clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

5 Engaging Types of Posts for Facebook

Want to build an enthusiastic group of followers on Facebook?  This week we are going to look at five different categories of posts almost certain to  gain followers.  We are also going to give you examples you can use immediately. Your goal is to create “engagement” – likes, comments and shares to increase the number of people exposed to your brand.  With a bit of strategic thinking, you will be adding to your fan base quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Are you a coachable coach?

I’ve been watching the interplay between the business coaches and the travel professionals who participate in TRO’s Community. As John Frenaye pointed out in his column last week, the dialogue is often lively! It is also highly instructive and important for those serious about the travel profession. Let me explain why.

Most of us have had the experience of working with a coach, whether in school sports or as a business person.  The coach’s task is to bring to the fore the best the student has to offer. The best coaches work with no hidden agenda, helping the student to better understand inherent strengths and weaknesses. Coaching is indeed a powerful tool.

But two conditions have to be present for coaching to work its magic.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Unless you were living under a rock last week, or on an amazing trip and off the grid; you had to have heard the firestorm that erupted when the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulled their funding from Planned Parenthood.  In a very clear demonstration of the power of social media, their decision was reversed and now they find themselves trying to figure out how to recover.

This story is not new. In the past three months, we have seen Bank of America back down from charging their customers a fee for ATM usage. We have seen Verizon Wireless back down from charging their customers a “convenience fee” for paying their bills online.  While these are national and international stories, it can happen to you and has happened in the past to several travel agents. Read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

A Hidden Benefit of Joining Toastmasters

“Stop…collaborate…and listen.” – Vanilla Ice

Has this ever happened to you? You are sitting down with a pair of clients, taking notes and you happen to hear a fleeting mention of “Rock Wall.” Suddenly, the expert travel consultant you are starts mentally planning their cruise. You know which ship they will sail and in what stateroom they will sleep. With barely another word from your client’s mouth, you start in with the name of the ship and all of the benefits. Your enthusiasm and excitement begin to grow because you have sailed this very ship. You know the ins and outs; you know to pre-register for the shows; you talk in depth about the difficulty of climbing the rock while 160 feet above the ocean. Next thing you know you are doing a mental calculation regarding your commission.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – January 3, 2012

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

Antwerp, Belgium

The city of Antwerp can rightfully pride itself on its rich, historic past. Through the centuries the city has managed to develop a rich and unique cultural heritage. Antwerp has always been at the crossroads of culture and the arts, being the hometown of great painters such as Rubens, Jordaens and Van Dyck, as well as architects and authors.

Belgium’s second largest city (population: 450,000), Antwerp is a cultural melting pot, with a port that is Europe’s second largest. The river Scheldt links the city to the North Sea some 60 miles (97km) away.

The importance of the river Scheldt cannot be overemphasized. Antwerp would not be what it is today without its river, which has been – and continues to be – of major strategic importance to the city. Many river cruise vessels visit Antwerp. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

The power of planning

There is power in planning when considering your business goals for 2012.

Planning is simply the steps we take toward achieving our goals. Planning is your guide and accountability process.

The important part about a business plan is that it be written by you, the owner of your business. For the home based agent — being the owner of your desk, your computer, your current/past travel customers and your business contacts, constitutes being the business proprietor.  Take ownership!

There is something profound about putting pen to paper, or in computer terms, key-stoking your plan into a computer.  Once you write something it begins to take on a life. You now have something to look at that is concrete.   Although it is concrete on paper, as you progress, you are encouraged to make path corrections. Life will continue to happen around you. Read the rest of this entry »