Monthly Archives: July 2013

Posted In: 1:1

 

sandrineAPG] Sandrine de Saint Savuer is a mover and shaker in the airline industry. As a native of France, she came to America to attend San Diego State University. She has worked in the travel industry for 20 years and currently serves as the President & CEO of APG, Inc. Her passion for travel was sparked at a young age while on a turbulent flight to St. Thomas – she recalls never feeling more exhilarated. With her father in the airline industry, she felt it was in her blood to follow his lead. For more information on APG Interline E-Ticketing, visit their website at www.apgiet.com

 

Travel Research Online: APG has gained a strong presence in the airline industry. Can you explain further the function of APG?
Sandrine de Saint Sauveur: APG stands for The Air Promotion Group (APG) Network. The organization was established in 1991 to meet the demands for airline representation (Sales and Marketing) services worldwide. Today, we are the world’s leading network for Airline Distribution and Financial Services with 112 offices serving 176 countries on 6 continents. We have commercial relationships with over 240 airlines. Some of the services we offer include, in addition to  Interline Electronic Ticketing in cooperation with Heli Air Monaco (APG IET),  a robust General Sales & Services Agency (GSSA) practice, variable cost access to IATA’s 83 BSPs (APG IBCS) and ARC in the United States (AACP). We also have just created a product in partnership with UATP (ACTP). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Introducing Yourself

Everyone in business has to learn to blow their own horn. Of course, it helps to practice first. We have all heard the advice to develop a short answer to explain to others what we do as travel consultants, but how many of us have actually done so? Jay Conrad Levinson calls it a “sound bite.” You may have heard it called an “elevator pitch.” Whatever you call it, it’s pretty important to be able to intelligently answer THE QUESTION: What do you do?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Last Thursday a 7-year old boy was killed in my hometown 4th of July Parade. He either stepped or fell from a slowly moving parade float and was run over. The EMS teams tried, but the injuries were so severe, he died within an hour.  It turned a celebratory evening into one of shock and sadness.

The boy was a participant in the parade. His family owned a company that provides a mobile amusement that allows people to perform wheelies on a tricked out, stationary motorcycle attached to a trailer. In case you thought it could not get any more tragic, the boy’s grandfather was driving the van that was towing the trailer. By all accounts, it was a horrible accident and it could have happened to any of the parade participants. It could have happened to you and your agency if you were in the parade. Regardless of how it happened, the company was immediately thrust into the spotlight in a less than positive way. How would you handle it?  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Get out of the house–really!

Agents ask me all the time “How do I market my agency?” In my opinion, the best way is to get out of the house, and go talk to people. How lucky we being home based? We can go out at any time of day, and attend the function of our choice.

As Mike Marchev often says, this is a people business.  And as exciting as social media is, I want to do business with people I see each week at my networking meetings, each month at the various social and “special interest” groups and organizations I belong to, and at non-travel workshops and events where I can learn something and meet new people. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

CookTravel.net 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

Word of mouth marketing is really no more than consumers providing information about you to other consumers. As a travel consultant, you know the value of a good reference. Smart word of mouth marketing encourages and gives people a reason to talk about you and your services. While word of mouth marketing happens with or without your participation, you can encourage and facilitate it.

One of the most important ways to facilitate positive word of mouth activity is to very directly ask for referrals from your existing clients. Give your happy customers a way of easily describing your services to others. Provide two business cards to each of your clients: one for them and one to pass along to someone else. Some clients reward their clients for referrals with a small gift. However, a “Thank You” note is also an acceptable acknowledgement of the favor. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Over the years in the industry, I have continually stressed the importance of being known by your clients as a true travel consultant and not just an “order taker.” I believe strongly, that to build a meaningful list of “lifetime clients,” that every year, an agent needs to touch base with their clients and recommend a couple of vacation ideas. Yes, out of the blue! Think about it…if your clients can find every trip they take online, do they really need you? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

A mere 3-hour flight from Miami, Costa Rica is Central America’s coveted jewel. Costa Rica appeals to travelers of all sorts; the country’s natural attractions, wildlife and reputation for enlightened conservation draw visitors from all over the world. The government has made immense efforts to preserve the country’s reputation as an eco-tourism haven. As a result of this watchfulness, Costa Rica shelters a whopping 5% of the existing biodiversity in the entire world. Costa Rica is a nature-lovers paradise. Costa Rica boasts warm and sincere local people, an exceptional variety of hotels along the Guanacaste Pacific coast, and some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world. It is the perfect blend of scenery and adventure to create a unique and memorable destination for couples, singles, and families alike. Costa Rica offers nearly every adventuresome activity a traveler could ask for; bird-watching, zip-line canopy tours, world-class diving, extreme water sports, hiking through the rainforests to active volcanoes, horseback riding, bungee jumping, mountain biking – just to name a few. These activities offer once-in-a-lifetime, extraordinary experiences that will stay with you forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

What’s Your Message?

You have a big story to tell. It’s the story of who you are as a travel consultant, of the company you work for, the people you work with. Why you are in the travel business and how it has changed your life and affected those around you. It’s the story of the professional resources you have at your disposal and the associations to which you belong. You tell the story in a lot of different ways, in your marketing literature, on your business cards, in your advertisements and your one-on-one encounters with clients. Most importantly, it is the story of how your clients benefit from your experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Wow as each month goes by, writing this column feels more and more like a stint in front of the “Confession Cam” that the reality shows use – but isn’t it nice to find out you are not alone in some of the day-in/day-out issues of running a business?

So what deep dark fear should we drag out into the light of day this month?

How about the M word – Mistakes. We all make them – for goodness sakes we are human – but it can be frustrating, embarrassing and even a little disheartening.  You swiftly move from trying to assess the damage, to thoughts about how you can fix the problem, and then finally, how you will save face in front of the client. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Interview with Mike Marchev, Author and Speaker

 

mikemarchev

Mike Marchev entered the travel industry in 1984 and has been sharing his sales, marketing and business development strategies with proactive travel professionals ever since.

Author of “Become the Exception,” the “More-On” business series, the “Travel Agent Success” series, the Mike & Nolan Show and now the “Sales Kit in a Box” programs, Mike is a frequent speaker at industry events. He makes a point to mix both content and entertainment in his down-to-earth, logical, believable and doable training sessions.

Mike writes regularly for TRO and The Travel Institute and has appeared in Travel Weekly and Agent @ Home Magazine on numerous occasions.

Mike has spoken to audiences in 18 countries and in over 75% of the United States. He has earned a marketing graduate degree and has taught sales and marketing classes at the university graduate school level. His latest focus is to help travel professionals sell and promote River Cruises while they represent the hottest trend in the industry. He is collaborating with AmaWaterways to help travel professionals take full advantage of River Cruising; find out more at http://www.mikemarchev.com/rivercruising.

Travel Research Online: What is the earliest experience in travel you can recall?

Mike Marchev: My dad was a true, dye-in-the-wool salesman who often took me on business trips. When air travel was involved I remember the plane was called an Eastern Airline Electra. That should position me with your readers as a “fossil.” (LOL) In addition to making his sales calls, he always found time to check out the local sights. We had fun traveling together. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

How Accessible Are You?

Your clients have your office number, your email address and your cell phone number. They know your office hours and how to get in touch with you after the doors have closed. But how accessible are you? Is there any possibility that your clients feel they are actually bothering you when they want to research a bit of travel? Web site designers go to great lengths to make travel web sites “accessible”: easy to understand, use and navigate. But what about your own interface with clients?

Is your entire  travel practice easy to understand, use and navigate? Are you emotionally and psychologically available to existing and potential clients? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

For years, I have been a staunch opponent of MLM-type travel agencies*. Call them what you will—a pyramid scheme, network marketing company.  I have never apologized for my position on what I feel is a scourge on the thousands of well-intentioned professionals who are legitimate travel agents. I applaud Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, NCL and the other suppliers who took a stand (and still do) about not supporting this type of business model because of the damage they do the reputations of their primary distribution channel and the product itself.

YTB, or Your Travel Business, undeniably was the leader of the MLM agencies. Read the rest of this entry »