Monthly Archives: June 2013

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – June 28, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Cross marketing

Cross marketing refers to the practice of working with a non-competitive retailer to enhance business opportunities for both parties. Any compatible product  is a possible theme for cross marketing purposes, and travel presents a great opportunity because of how easily it can be linked to almost any theme.

Retailers make excellent cross marketing partners because they typically do not compete with travel agents and because it is easy to create real value by marketing together.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Has anyone else changed or refined their niche and company’s sales strategy recently?

Although I opened my home based agency in 2007 and had over 25 years of sales and event planning experience, I never really felt like I had “made it.” I never felt the excitement and contentment that I had dreamed about for so many years when I thought about opening my own travel agency.

Sure, I had clients. I was selling general travel and cruises. I was always fighting the lower prices the Internet had to offer and working very hard to close the deal and provide excellent customer service. Because of all the time I spent taking care of these folks, I was not earning enough commission to compensate me for my time at an acceptable rate per hour. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

One of my all-time favorite lines about world cruises comes from none other than Geoff Edwards. Wikipedia describes Geoff as an American television actor, game show host and radio personality. I describe him as one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Penning a story for Avid Cruiser called Confessions of a World Cruiser, Geoff wrote:

Today’s world cruises are organized in segments, and the most asked question on board is “How far are you going?” Some will say Hong Kong, some Sydney, some Mombasa, but members of a select group respond with a slightly condescending, “I’m going all the way!” — a phrase I hadn’t heard since high school.

Apparently, a lot of folks are planning to go “all the way” soon. Both Silversea Cruises and Crystal Cruises report strong bookings for future full world cruises. Crystal told us that its 2015 world cruise is already 70 percent sold for those going all the way — and that was more than a month ago since we spoke. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

No travel consultant escapes the trap: friends and family who travel will ask for your assistance. You are the family “travel agent” and, as such, fully exposed to requests for “discounts”, “good deals” and “freebies.”  Just beyond your gene pool are the neighbors, acquaintances and friends who want and need your professional assistance.

Friends and family – there is no more accessible, nor unforgiving, collection of clients anywhere to be found. Acting as a travel consultant for close friends and family (F&F) can be something just short of torture when things go wrong. Here are a few tips that can both salvage your relationship and provide you with a close group of intimate clients and evangelists. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Costa Rica Dream Adventures has been in business for over 15 years and is based out of Atlanta, Georgia. They are especially proud of their great team in Costa Rica, available for hands on support with 24/7 service for all the clients in Costa Rica. They are a unique, single destination tour management company. They customize tours for individuals, couples, family vacations, weddings, anniversaries, groups, corporate and incentive travel. They remain one of the largest tour operators in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Planning to Achieve Goals

If I were to ask each of you whether you had  goals for your travel practice, I’m willing to bet the answer would come back “Yes” almost universally.  However, If I ask each of you to name three of your goals, many of you would have trouble immediately telling me what your goals were with specificity. The ability to articulate your plans in a concrete fashion is an important step in actually achieving your plans.

We all set goals to some degree. Actually, setting a goal is the easy part. Developing a plan that is reasonable and workable, however, can be a bit tougher. Too often, we begin a plan that is too ambitious at the outset and in failing to execute that plan, fail to achieve the goal. It is best to start with small, easily achievable steps. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

There is a four-letter word that begins with an F and usually raises a few eyebrows when it is heard.  Any guesses? No, not THAT word, this is a PG-13 site!  I’m speaking of “fees!”  It definitely raises eyebrows, and not always in a negative way.  In fact, I’ve never seen a greater interest from travel agents than I am seeing today.  It looks like a lot of you are beginning to love the F-word!

A few years back, TRO hosted a webinar of mine in their “No Limits” series. In line with the theme, participants were asked to submit questions in advance, on any subject, for me to answer during the webinar. With a record number of registrations (more than 600), MOST of the questions asked were about fees!  I was pleasantly shocked. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Explore Tuscany with Europe Express!

Once home to Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Michelangelo, the breathtaking region of Tuscany extends from the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea to the snow-capped Apennine Mountains. This valley cradles some of the most enlightening sensual experiences Italy and Europe have to offer–whether your passion is good food, breathtaking views or fine wine, you’ll find something to inspire you under the Tuscan sun. This article is provided to the travel community for free by Europe Express.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

There are lots of things to be done everyday. There are clients to call, there are deadlines for payment, there are meetings to attend. But it occasionally pays to take a step back from the day-to-day processes that are absolutely necessary and to just think about what we are doing. Are we as efficient as we could be? Are we delegating tasks to give us more time at what we both do and enjoy best? Are we investing adequate time in marketing and professional study? Are we growing our client list as well as maintaining it?

Some business people have a “marketing mindset” – a capacity to see application of nearly any event to growing their business. Every advertisement is a business lesson, every article read an inspiration that somehow relates to their business. Read the rest of this entry »

Most people outside the travel industry think we live a glamorous, jet-setting lifestyle. Acquaintances are constantly asking where am I headed next and can they come with me. As we all know, it’s not nearly as glamorous as people think. In reality I’m struggling to juggle the many conferences, FAM’s and workshops on my calendar; not to mention, caring for my clients while I’m also traveling. “How do I pick the right FAM or conference?” is a question I hear over and over from colleagues. “I can’t afford to go on all these FAM’s,” is another common complaint, and I can understand why. These events are not free (as some people would like to believe). After my return home and adding up my expenses, all I can think is, “was this worth $1,700?”  What did I learn?  Could I have used this money in a different way? What is my ROI? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1



Mavian Arocha-Rowe is currently the director of brand communications and content for Vacation Express, where she creates and ensures articulation and consistency of Vacation Express’ desired brand image and position. Her position ensures all communication and marketing efforts are aligned with vision, mission, ambition and brand strategy. She is also the editor-in-chief of Strategy Magazine, a national business lifestyle publication, where she has received accolades from FOLIO Magazine and the Library Journal. Her hands-on experience in the ever-changing business world has ignited her passion and perseverance to creatively fuse Strategy’s “Strategy for Life” slogan.

Mavian Arocha-Rowe is also a Speaker and Advocate for WellSpring Living and on-air contributor for CNN NotiMujer. She provides business consulting to PurseN, a fashion organizational company, and her knack for business is also witnessed within Little Pink Book and La Nueva Voz Latina, where she serves as one of their business blog experts. She has won numerous awards for her work in the travel and publication industries.

Travel Research Online: Though you still work in many publication fields, you moved from broader lifestyle publications to Vacation Express – was there anything which inspired your entering the travel industry?
Mavian Arocha-Rowe: Within my lifestyle magazine days, aside from beauty and fashion, I was at the forefront of reviewing hotels and restaurants. So, let’s just say I was very fond of traveling prior to Vacation Express. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Leveraging Popular Culture

Travel is certainly about personal growth, enrichment, encountering and understanding new and exotic cultures. But travel is also entertainment.  Google the phrase “movies and travel” and you will see just how important pop culture is to the travel industry. Think about all the trips to London inspired by Harry Potter or how many people visited the Louvre because of The Da Vinci Code. IMDB now has a link in many of their movie reviews that shows not only the film location of the movie but also other movies filmed in the same geographical setting. The movies inspire us in many ways, but there is no doubt that they inspire travel. Eat, pray, love … travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

A distribution channel is the the way in which a strategy is implemented through a chain of tactics allowing you gain access to clients. If you have a web site, that is a distribution channel, as are the tradeshows you attend to sell your services; your face to face meeting with a client is another distribution channel. If you have a group leader program, that is a distribution channel, and if you cross-market with a local day spa or clothing store, that is a distribution channel as well.

It is important to recognize distribution channels and the role they play in generating business. Once you understand conceptually what a distribution channel is, decide whether you want to increase the number of channels with which you operate. You want to have more than one or two distribution channels. Some work better than others given the season, economic conditions Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Failure in 10 easy steps

Success is likely something you’ve been chasing for a long time. Homeownership, career success, family stability, or money in the bank. For some of us business owners, we might even define it a being able to make payroll this week.

But, the reality is that success is hard; and very uncertain. It might mean oppressive hours at the office. It might mean jumping out of your comfort zone to learn new skills that scare you. It usually includes some uncertainty and discomfort. But success is worth it! Or so they say.

In my mind, failure is much easier. If you want to be a failure, read on. I have laid out your personal failure plan in ten easy steps. But, if you are still reaching for the stars, read on and avoid these ten pitfalls. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – June 21, 2013

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Where are new ideas born? Does it seem sometimes like all the good ideas are gone and that the energy has drained out of your travel practice?  There are a few ways to pump new energies into your thinking and to generate some new ideas for marketing and growing your business.  Remember that your travel practice  is a reflection of you – it walks, talks and acts like you do. Thus, taking good care of yourself and your own energies is absolutely vital to the well-being of your travel planning.

Good ideas and creative thinking are difficult to schedule.  Often, they slip upon you at the least likely times.  However, giving yourself plenty of opportunity for reflection is important to the process.  The unfortunate truth is that we often spend far more time IN our business than ON our business.  The result is a lack of creative thought and fresh perspective. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Cantilevered 28 feet beyond the edge of the new Royal Princess and 128 feet over the water, the SeaWalk invites you for a stroll. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Is there any group of professionals that feel so misunderstood by their clients as travel professionals? Face it – outside of our best clients, the public largely does not understand what we do. The best travel consultants think of themselves as advisors, counselors, travel coaches. Much of the public views us as retail outlets for travel. The disparity in those two perceptions is the cause of much of the anxiety and frustration many travel agents experience in their day-to-day dealings with their clients. Worse yet, for the past seventeen years, the mantra of the media has been overwhelmingly negative as ill-informed writers direct consumers to “book it yourself” and “be your own travel agent”.

I have maintained that the fault is our own. The problem is self-inflicted. Travel professionals have failed to cooperatively make their case to the public. As a result, new clients approach travel agents with caution, just as they do when they approach a car lot in search of a new automobile, frightened that they are going to be “sold” on a bad deal. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

USACA: Experienced and Dependable Air Consolidators

Experienced travel agents have long used consolidators for obtaining the best possible pricing on international airline fares for their clients. However, many travel planners have little experience with consolidators and don’t know where to begin to establish the proper supplier relationships. The United States Air Consolidator Association, better known as USACA, is making it easier for travel consultants to work with its membership. USACA is an association of twelve distinguished consolidators who have joined together to provide travel agents with a better understanding of the consolidator market and the advantages to working with consolidator fares. USACA serves as the national trade association for airline ticket consolidators committed to integrity, trust and reliability. A travel agent may freely and confidently look to USACA members for consolidated airline tickets. The end result? Better international fares for clients and more profit for the travel agent. Sound like a good deal? Read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

How do you inspire yourself? What do you do daily to stay fresh, and to maintain the energy and resilience necessary to communicate your passion for working with clients? In the event you sometimes have to pull yourself out of bed to face the day, let’s dedicate a few moments to the task of inspiring the most important person in your company – you.

Most of us experience a degree of stress in our work. Some stress is beneficial as it motivates us to stay involved in our daily tasks. But too much stress has the opposite effect of immobilizing us. Excess stress occurs when you perceive  the demands on you exceed your resources. There is too much work, too many calls, too little of you to go around. Situations like this are demoralizing and certainly not conducive to a good work environment. Stress can also result Read the rest of this entry »