It took moving from one house to another for me to admit how much “stuff” I had accumulated in my home office over the last 6 years (since our last move). Suffice it to say it was a lot of “stuff.” Our reason for moving was to downsize. Our daughter moved out earlier this year, and took (most of) her stuff with her. We decided that 3,300 square feet for two people was unnecessary. So we downsized to 2,400 square feet. We also lost 1/3 of the garage space, as well as the unfinished basement and attic space that was used for storage. This all translated into “junk had to go.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
Smash open your piggybank and get your credit card ready, because this week’s Avid Cruiser Voyage isn’t for the faint of heart. But while it may be on par financially with a World Cruise, a transit of the fabled Northwest Passage arguably offers more than a voyage around the globe: It is an experience few have ever done, but one that is becoming increasingly more accessible. Read the rest of this entry »
I was asked to stop by an automobile dealership to share a few ideas with their sales team. The monthly sales target is to sell 300 cars. (That’s a lot of cars). Each salesperson in the room carried a gold coin in their pocket reminding them that they were the best in the business. The dealership’s one word mission statement caught my attention. Read the rest of this entry »
A year ago I was in a very dark place. My decades old marriage was falling apart, someone I cared very deeply about disappeared from my life, and my job was at a dead end. I went through Thanksgiving and Christmas in a daze; as if I was watching someone else live my life. With the holidays over, I realized I had to get myself together. I had to be able to think and function. My children needed me. I needed me. Read the rest of this entry »
Under the pretense of “aligning with our clients’ preferences” Carnival Cruise Lines has expanded their fare categories from 4 to 7. Is this really an alignment with what customers want? Throughout the sales process, we have been trained (and rightly so) to keep it simple. We do not quote every hotel in Paris for an FIT. Even the cruise lines suggest giving the client two to three choices of cabins to keep them focused and moving towards a closed sale. If so, why is Carnival introducing 4 new fare categories to cloud the already cloudy pricing for a cruise? Read the rest of this entry »
Things work when you make them work.
Your job is to make things work.
Here are three ideas to think about this week.
#1. The Lunch Meeting
Last week out of the blue, an unknown subscriber of mine called and asked if they could meet over a salad and a cup of coffee….just to brainstorm and explore a few opportunities. My calendar was clear so I agreed. I enjoyed lunch immensely. How’d this meeting materialize? Someone asked me to lunch. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
Argentina is a country of vast natural resources and beauty. From Iguzazu Falls in the North to the vineyards of Mendoza and the splendor of Patagonia, Argentina has for too long been largely overlooked by travelers from North America. Explore Argentina with us and check out Avanti’s amazing values to South America. Remember that travel agents can use 60-Second Geography articles on their websites and in their newsletters! Read the rest of this entry »
The holidays are quickly approaching, and our schedules are on overload. We have been receiving many requests for last minute holiday getaways, and as we know in this business, holidays and last minute don’t really go hand-in-hand.
Additionally, we have still been attending many training events to help us learn about any changes to products and tour operators. It seems like they always come in big spurts at one time! We have also been participating in bridal shows, which usually get honeymoons and destination wedding bookings as a result. It appears that brides this year are looking for unique destinations such as Napa rather than the typical all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 1:1
Rob Betz joined The Mark Travel Corporation in 1994 and has held several duties involving sales, marketing, operations and product contracting. He is inspired and energized to continue working with such a knowledgeable and dedicated team at Blue Sky Tours, who recently completed and launched a complete overhaul of their website and booking engine. His mission is to grow the business and further the reputation of Blue Sky Tours as an industry leader in the Hawaii market.
TRO: What motivated Blue Sky Tours to create a new booking engine and website?
RB: Blue Sky Tours has always been a wonderful company that prides itself on its innovative systems and wonderful customer service. Our Customer service continues to be second to none and we wanted to ensure that our system kept pace. We have improved our web site and booking engine to bring the best pricing and ease of booking that our agents have come to expect from Blue Sky Tours. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then rekindled by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Though I’m not a big fan of award shows, I have always been impressed by the spontaneous gratitude that so many winners immediately feel. An Oscar, an Emmy or a Grammy might be the pinnacle of a lifetime of hard work, but rather than pride the best often burst into an outflowing of genuine gratitude. The winner suddenly recognizes that their success has as much to do with the graciousness of others as it does with their own talent. The “thank you’s” that follow typically begin with the present and stretch all the way back to childhood, to teachers and parents who first fostered the creative spark.
It is absolutely true that there is no such thing as a truly “self-made” person. Every success we enjoy, every small achievement is the result of an interplay of grace and circumstance. Life has a synchronistic way of supporting us in our endeavors when the time is appropriate and when we have surrounded ourselves with the right people. Read the rest of this entry »
Wouldn’t it be nice if owning a business came with a foolproof plan for success? Just imagine if there was a document to which you could refer when you went astray to put you back on course. Or, if you are already successful, imagine a document to keep you on track for years to come. Well, to my knowledge, no such document exists; however, I can give you a single, two-word, tip that might do the trick. Read the rest of this entry »
I have 2 dogs and a cat. While I love them dearly, sometimes they frustrate the heck out of me. Yet I still love them. More importantly they have taught me a lot of things. Things that I apply to my business. I know what you’re thinking: “Are you crazy? Your pets actually teach you something?” Before you call me certifiable and haul me away, let me explain. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
I love cruising the Baltic. There are lots of wonderful cities to see — Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn — and great excursions. You can even visit land-locked cities such as Berlin or Moscow on a Baltic cruise. But with so much to offer, the Baltic requires some advance planning. Here are Avid Cruiser’s five tips to make the most of your Baltic cruise. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently had the pleasure of reading a famous quote from a Winnie the Pooh book (I believe the best business leaders are inspired by quotes found in these types of classic stories!), it says… “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”. It got me thinking about how we prospect for new business.
If you’re still prospecting for new business like you always have and NOT getting the results you want then it’s time to change it up and DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. Without making a change, your chance of growing your business, and survive for that matter, is severely limited. Planning and preparing to prospect are just as critical as all of the steps in your sales strategy, yet they are usually not discussed and are overlooked in traditional sales training. Not sure how to start planning and preparing? No problem, read on… Read the rest of this entry »
Here we are at the end of the Travel Agent Diaries. I am still not quite sure where the year went, time has flown so quickly. Participating in the Travel Agent Diaries has definitely been a great experience – being publicly accountable helped me focus on the goal, even if I fell short in some areas.
Posted In: Publishers Corner
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
Have we tortured ourselves and each other enough over the past election? If there is anything to be learned from the 24 hour news cycle and the endless punditry parade, it is there is no shortage of opinion on what constitutes truth, justice and the American way. It’s not over yet. During the next few months, many crucial decisions have yet to be made by our leadership, directly affecting the travel industry.
I have watched over the past months as a good many travel professionals used social media forums as a platform to proclaim their political beliefs. In many instances the comments were real reasoned, heart-felt conviction. In others the diatribe represented the political equivalent of those who take doomsday interpretations of the Mayan Calendar seriously, repeating endlessly the most negative attacks of each party already discredited by the fact-checkers. Read the rest of this entry »
Prospects are everywhere. More likely than not, you have a service that can help them out in some way. If you keep your eyes open, you will discover potential clients everywhere— at little Timmy’s soccer game, in line at the grocery store, wandering a crowded parking lot looking for your car, on a plane, and even in an elevator.
An “Elevator Pitch” has been defined as a concise (30 seconds to 2 minutes), carefully planned, and well-practiced description about your company that your mother should be able to understand in the time it would take to ride up an elevator. If in Shanghai or Singapore–you probably have some more time!
Elevator Pitches are critical in the travel industry. Your prospects are quite literally everywhere; and with the ease of entry into the industry, you need something to set you apart from the others—something beside that fact that you “love” travel and are “passionate” about customer service.
Studies have shown that you only have 30-60 seconds to make a first impression. The attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before their mind starts wandering. So you have a half-minute to tell your story and impress them enough to continue listening for the rest of the ride! Read the rest of this entry »
A few years ago, Carnival Cruise Lines made a rather large splash in the travel industry by moving entirely to e-documents for their cruise passengers. Further, their cruise luggage tags were now part of the e-docs. Reading the instructions on the page, one was to fold the page this way and that, wrap it around the handle of the luggage, and tape or staple it to hold it in place.
Travel professionals all over reacted negatively on behalf of their clients – while undoubtedly saving the cruise line millions of dollars in printing and mailing costs, the move was seen as tacky. No longer would clients receive a nice set of documents with customized luggage tags, helping to enhance the pre-departure excitement felt as the day of a cruise drew near. And who travels with a roll of tape or a stapler? Why would the cruise line choose to subject their guests to such cheapness? Read the rest of this entry »