Monthly Archives: January 2013

Posted In: Publishers Corner

5 Steps to Managing A Change

Political sloganeering to the contrary, change is not popular. Clients have a comfortable relationship with the status quo and any attempt to change can meet with great storms of resistance. Most companies make the mistake of thinking their best clients will be the most accepting of a change. However, time and again this proves to be a fallacy.  Ask Starbucks. The coffee chain’s recent logo redesign resulted in a decidedly negative response from their most loyal customers. As might be expected, less loyal clients were ambivalent.  With no investment in the brand from the outset, casual customers viewed the logo changes with no response or positively. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

12 tips for email success

I am a firm believer that email (as well as direct mail) marketing* works. It is not a panacea. It does not replace any other forms of marketing you may undertake with social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. However, judging from my own experience, it works. But how do you make sure that your marketing emails actually get delivered? There are so many pitfalls along the way; but with these 12 tips, you should be able to put those worries behind you! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – January 11, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: TROTips

The Basics of Domain Names

It seems like such a simple thing – choosing a domain name for your business.  Domain names are the “address” by which your website is found on the Internet.  In fact, websites are identified by an IP address that looks something similar to 123.456.789.0.  But, that looks ugly and it’s hard to remember – so, domain names act like a mask on top of the IP address.  It’s much easier to remember rather than an IP address!  But, if you don’t plan properly, your domain name can actually hurt your business!  I have seen many strange domain names in this industry, some of which make me ask, “What were they thinking?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Today’s installment brings the year to a close!  But all of the great content ideas we’ve provided the week are just the beginning. Now it’s your turn to write the articles.  When you do, keep SEO in mind, because with unique content, you have the ultimate control of the keywords and search phrases included in the article. Set up an editorial calendar you can live with and then devote a few hours each week to writing your article.  Use Google to assist with the research and pound out your original content.  You and your travel practice will be well served.

Remember to include some type of call to action with every article!  Request readers to sign up for your newsletter or to download a white paper.  Ask them to pass along the article to others or to Like it on Facebook.  If you look at the article you are now reading, you will see several banner ads, requests for comments and widgets for social media.  By the way, if you like what we have done for you this week, be sure to Like the article below. (See, I just did it again!). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Avid Cruiser Voyages: New Zealand

This week’s Avid Cruiser Voyage revolves around a destination that is frequently grouped alongside another, but one that truly needs to be considered on its own merits. We’re talking, of course, about cruises to New Zealand.

Frequently coupled with Australia on many cruise search and booking engines (as well as itineraries), New Zealand features heaps of natural beauty and an abundance of deep-water ports that help to make this country of more than 4 million inhabitants an avid cruiser’s dream. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

It’s Thursday and we are covering 10 more ideas for you to use as the basis for original content articles on your blog, website and newsletters.  However, don’t stop there!  You should use social media to further distribute your original content.  Tweet your articles, post them and share the content between your other in-house media.  Make the best and highest use of any content you generate to maximize the return from your hard-earned investment of time.

Be sure to also create an easily accessed and searchable archive of your content.  Once you have written an article, it is a shame to have it utilized for only a week.  Make good use of tags and other indexing features of your website or blog to ensure your content’s shelf life will be extended indefinitely. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile A Better Class Of Service For Less has been providing a better class of service for less since 1974. We provide discounted consolidator fares on international Business and First Class air travel and have negotiated contracts with 28 major airlines, giving us access to deals unavailable to most travel agents.

We never rely on booking engines or automated assistants, because time and time again we’ve found that, when it comes to business or first class tickets, humans find the best and most reliable deals. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Don’t be afraid to take any of the concepts in our list of 52 original content ideas and mix it up a bit.  Variety in your writing creates interest and holds the attention of your clients.  For example, you could insert the word “NOT” into the title of any of the “How To” articles and create a completely different frame of reference for your writing voice.

Likewise, not all of your original content ideas need to be in writing.  Many of the ideas in our list would work well as videos!  Pick up your iPhone, open a YouTube account, get to know Screenr  and become the star of your own travel tips channel.  Everyone will have a comfort zone for their method of  content delivery. Find your comfort zone and then step just a bit outside of it! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Be happening

Each year, I return to my high school to speak to the current senior class and I advise them to run away from negative influences in their lives. I remind them that it is much easier to neg people out than to lift them up…that misery loves company… to stay away from downers at all costs.

The flip side of this advice is to migrate toward “happening” people. When you come across a person full of ideas and who is not frightened to try new things, make an attempt to hitch your wagon to this stabilizing force and explore the possibilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week, TRO’s 365 Guide is providing 52 article ideas for you to develop into original content for your newsletters, websites and blogs. Intimidated by the prospect of writing?  Enlist  a local copywriter to assist the effort. If you have a college in your home town, there is an English department filled with students eager to try their hand at travel writing. If you want a few short articles about writing as a travel agent, check out these articles.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Thailand from Solar Tours

From bustling metropolises to acres of rice fields to miles of beautiful sandy beaches, Thailand earns its spot as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. This 60 second geography brought to the travel professional community by Solar Tours.

Read the rest of this entry »

As I sat down to write this first entry into what will become the baring of my soul for all to see – this lyric and tune from current hit movie Les Miserable echoed in my ears – bringing a smile to my face and a sweet twinge to my heart—‘Who am I.’  Who we are today is the culmination of all the things we have been and done in the past – so I guess a quick recap of that is in order to gain perspective of the journey that lies ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

A Year of Content Ideas: Weeks 1 – 10

Original content plays an important role in your travel agency’s marketing.  Certainly search engines love original content, but so do your human clients!  Educational and entertaining information is the very heart of great marketing campaigns. The client comes away from your newsletter, blog or site feeling not only better informed but with the important identification of your brand as the source of their new found knowledge.

Generating a constant stream of fresh content  is challenging.  Even if you publish no more than weekly, your schedule will require you to find 52 new ideas to present to your readers.  Need some assist? This week, TRO is going to give your content marketing a boost by providing you with ideas for an entire year of articles for your websites, blogs and newsletters.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1


PictureYvette De Vries grew up and studied in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She spent the first 10 years of her career in public relations in the local wine industry before moving to the United States and settling in Connecticut.  As the senior consultant at African Portfolio since 2001, Yvette’s extensive travels throughout the continent and years of first-hand experience has been of great value to hundreds of travelers for whom she has tailor-made unique and memorable adventures in East- and Southern Africa, Morocco, Egypt, the Seychelles and Mauritius. She is President of the Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa, or APTA.


TRO: What made you interested in becoming part of the travel industry?

Yvette: When I first came to the US on a vacation, I quickly realised that Cape Town was not nearly the “world renowned city” that I had thought. After explaining where it is to a very friendly lady on a train, she mumbled that seeing as she was a geography teacher, she probably should have known that…

I realised right then & there, that I had my work cut out for me here. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Since the Saints are out of the playoff picture, this past weekend I switched my allegiances to my two local teams—the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins.  Both were wild cards and both had a decent shot at advancing to the next stage of the playoffs. The Ravens did. The Washington Redskins….well they imploded. And as I sat in a local pub in disbelief with a few hundred other fans, I realized that there is something to be learned here that can apply to your travel business. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – January 4, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Ethical Issues In Travel

Every day, we come face to face with ethical issues that we may not know how to deal with.  Sometimes, the correct way to proceed is easy and clear, other times it’s horribly clouded and we are left wondering what to do.

One such example came to me not long ago.  I recently moved to a new state and in getting settled in, I developed a list of prospects for my niche specialty. One such prospect is someone I knew about before moving up here – I felt he would make an excellent group cruise leader.  He has a rather loyal, and large, following, he’s active on social media, and he fits several other of my “ideal” criteria.  The problem for me was that he had previously done group cruises with another agency in the city.  I felt that I could provide him a better program than the traditional travel agent group cruise program, something that would really enhance his followers’ loyalty and grow his revenues if handled properly.  Do I approach him about my program, knowing well and good he’s worked with another agency/agent in the past? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Avid Cruiser Voyages: Expedition Galapagos

One cruise destination that escapes the recognition of many travelers is undoubtedly the Galapagos. Situated some 500 miles off the western coast of Ecuador, the islands first appeared on maps toward the end of the 16th century.

By 1793, the Galapagos Islands could be used as a suitable base for the numerous whaling operations that were in operation. Fast forward more than a century and a half later: In 1960, tourism began to develop in the area. Cruising, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer to the Galapagos. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Take a walk!

Believe it or not, the power walk is an effective marketing tool. Make it a habit to get out of your office for the next 60 days to take a walk. You pick the time. The secret is to just walk. Don’t concentrate on anything but walking. The positive effects will surface all by themselves. Your mind will take over and soon, exciting ideas, solutions, thoughts and remedies will come to you.  Read the rest of this entry »

Your 2013 Travel Agent Diary Agents

For the past four years, Travel Research Online has highlighted the lives of five of your colleagues. Some operate from home. Some operate from a bricks and mortar location. Some specialize and others generalize. Some are online, and one was even a large host agency. The people who have volunteered to put their business lives on the Internet for you to see are newbies to the industry and some old stalwarts. Regardless of their position in this great industry we call “travel,” they all have something to offer. It might be a marketing idea. It might be a tip on how to handle a group trip. It might even be a step-by-step guide to expanding and growing your niche business. Read the rest of this entry »