Monthly Archives: September 2013

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Explore Roatan with ShoreTrips!

Roatan is one of Central America’s hidden gems. An island located off of Honduras, it is a collection of picturesque beaches and rain forests that make it an ideal destination for those looking for a remote and relaxing getaway. The turquoise waters are inviting to anyone, in particular snorkelers and divers. Located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Roatan has become a popular destination for scuba divers. The activities aren’t limited to the water, Roatan offers incredible eco-tourism and exciting activities for every type of traveler. Use the article below in your own newsletters and on your websites, compliments of ShoreTrips!

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Posted In: The 365 Guide

Getting noticed in a sea of travel suppliers, newspaper advertising, television commercials, online booking engines and the Travel Channel can be a challenge. However, one tactic that should be in every travel professional’s strategy quiver is a specialization.  Find a destination or a theme at which you are an expert and highlight your marketing of a niche.

Travel agents that have a specialization have distinct marketing advantages.  Firstly, it is easier to locate your market.  Specialize in Celtic ancestory, disabled travel, birdwatching or  skiing, and the location of your target market becomes instantly visible.  Your ability to reach out Read the rest of this entry »

The past few weeks have been ones filled with mistakes–and lessons learned from those mistakes. I suppose as one navigates the world of entrepreneurship we learn what works, what doesn’t, and what we will never do again in a million years.

I’ve lost money and precious time recently as I saw one of my grandiose plans fail miserably; but I had it coming. I had discussed my plans for a travel show with my business coach, he recommended I start small and slowly and I should’ve listened. I ended up investing money and time with people I didn’t fully trust and I ended up losing in the end. I should’ve listened to my coach and my gut.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Carol Dimopoulos at Perillo’s Learning Journeys

 

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Carol Dimopoulos, MBA and President of Perillo’s Learning Journeys, has over 20 years of experience in the travel industry. She also is honored to share her knowledge with students in her role as an adjunct business professor.  Her passion is connecting cultures through travel.  She is a leader in the field of educational travel and has had the opportunity to work closely with schools, universities, affinity and family groups to develop programs for learners in all walks of life.

She is committed to the vision of developing cultural understanding and reciprocity through integrative educational immersions woven into the global travel experience to deepen individual growth and experience on a personal level.   Her experience provides a platform for people to learn something new, which lasts far beyond the physical experience of the journey. 

Travel Research Online: What was your earliest travel memory you can recall?

Carol Dimopoulos: My father was a Bell Captain at a hotel in New York City. As a very young child we would visit him frequently at work. I observed guests from all over the world and found the different languages and cultures fascinating. I knew that I wanted to visit the lands they came from. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Travel is a crowded field, and it is hard at times to be noticed. Or is it? This week we are going to look at five tactics to raising the visibility of your travel agency’s profile in your local market. Each of the techniques we are going to review will center around one or more marketing concepts that we have discussed many times in The 365 Guide. Each will be relatively inexpensive to implement but, as always, will require a commitment of time and energy. The pay-off, however, will be a greater brand recognition in your community. When people think of travel, they will be more likely to remember you and your agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Last week, I was having drinks with an agent who was regaling his story of being sued by a client for a “ruined” vacation. Thankfully (fingers, legs and arms all crossed) I have not had the “pleasure” of being sued by a client, but my colleague had some tips  in five distinct areas that I thought might be useful. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – September 13, 2013

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Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week we have been reviewing limiting myths – stories that limit our professional potential if we buy into them even in the smallest way. How you inwardly see yourself and the profession of travel counseling has much to do with the attitude you project. For travel agents the problem is two-fold. The first aspect concerns societal perception of the travel profession in general. The second deals with one’s personal self-image. Being consciously aware of the influence of these two aspects of one’s personality and working to place self image in its appropriate context is a worthwhile exercise in becoming a better travel professional. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Price: how important is it?

We have all heard it, and may have even caught ourselves saying it:  “My clients want the lowest price possible.”  Do we facilitate their focus on price, because we personally focus on price in our lives?  Do we just assume that our clients think price is paramount?  Ultimately, we need to counsel, educate, and move their focus away from price.

A few months ago, I did an unscientific poll at two different venues.  It was a simple question:  would you pay $3.21 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline or $3.89 per gallon? What do you think the results were? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Visiting The South Of France In 16 Videos

I was extremely fortunate to spend last September in the south of France. Along with Vancouver-based videographer Chris Stanley, I visited a mix of destinations, some that are already on cruise itineraries — and some that deserve to be. You can view them all in the Youtube player embedded in this post. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

You have heard of the Pareto Principle, but you probably call it something else. 80% of all of your business comes from 20% of your marketing efforts. Roughly 20% of your time management is highly efficient and from that activity comes 80% of your productivity. 80% of the money made by travel agents is made by 20% of the travel agents. You probably know the Pareto Principle as the 80/20 Rule. It seems like everyone has encountered bully Pareto somewhere and is convinced of the immutable nature of its power. PictureWhat bothers me about the Pareto principle is the way that travel agents accept it as applying to them, and assume that their practice must therefore fit the Pareto principle’s boundaries which encompasses an enormous range of mediocrity.

In reality, however, the Pareto Principle does not apply to every situation, especially those engineered to work otherwise. The Pareto principle is not an immutable law of nature, it’s all about averages. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Excellence with Elegant Adventures

Elegant Adventures is the leader in the creation of high quality, innovative travel to Central America. Since 1986, our hallmark has been our discriminating selectivity. Twenty-seven years later, we remain dedicated to providing attentive personal service, quick professional response, and a travel product of exceptional quality and value. Serving and supporting the retail travel agent continues to be our primary focus. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Limiting myths are stories imposing limitations on your ability to grow your travel practice. The tiny grain of truth in them gets exaggerated to the point travel consultants too often accept them as absolute truths. As a result, the travel consultant self-imposes limitations on the overall potential and enjoyment they can derive from their profession. The first two we looked at this week are bad, but this one is worse. If you buy into this one, you deprive yourself of one of the chief rewards of labor. Let’s banish it now.

In every profession there are people who operate at the highest levels, who squeeze every drop of potential from their work, and who earn terrific incomes while doing so. Travel consulting is no exception. I personally know several travel consultants making 6+ figure incomes. Granted, they are the in the minority, but that is actually the point. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

The mind quits first

Under the pressure of the day-to-day battle of selling travel, it will sometimes might sound like a good idea to throw in the towel. For some, this may very well be sage advice. For most of you, it will prove to be a big mistake.

Regardless of your lot in life, there will be times when you decide that a hotdog stand on the side of the road sounds very attractive. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

5 Limiting Myths – #2: My Clients Are Different

As I explained yesterday, a limiting myth is a story a travel professional subscribes to in order to justify a timid approach to building a travel practice. Today’s limiting myth is one I hear often, in many different contexts. It almost always begins with the phrase “You don’t understand my customers. All they care about is cheap.” This introductory sentence is usually followed by an explanation of how this particular agent’s clients won’t pay a fee, or only cares about cost. Sometimes their clients won’t travel out of the country or their clients won’t buy insurance, or refuse to be loyal. The foundation of this limiting myth is that this particular travel agent’s clients are different from everyone else’s – some people may pay fees, or buy luxury, or purchase insurance, or call out of loyalty but not THEIR clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Over the course of my time in the travel industry I have had the opportunity to attend many, many events and conventions put on by various organizations. I began the journey way back when with Joel Abels’ Travel Trade Shows and though the years have gone to CLIA 360’s, ASTA TradeShows, NACTA Conferences, Vacation.Com Conventions, HomeBased Agent Shows, Luxury Shows, Travel Weekly Shows…well – you get the idea.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Julie Davidson, Trade Manager for Visit Flanders

 

Julie“I have the best job in the world!” exclaims Julie Davidson, Trade Manager for Visit Flanders. Julie visits  Flanders four to five times a year and shows agents and tour operators around a destination that she has  fallen in love with. When Julie was hired to work at Visit Flanders, she had never been to Belgium!

She started work on a Monday and went to Flanders on Tuesday and has been there 17 times in the last 4 years.  She has become the expert in the office even though her colleagues are Belgian.  When Julie goes to Flanders she stays in hotels, goes sightseeing and eats in restaurants to stay keen on the culture of Flanders.

Travel Research Online: What first inspired you to work in the travel industry?

Julie Davidson: I’ve been traveling since I was about 7 or 8 years old and was instantly hooked. My aunt and uncle didn’t have any kids and they loved to travel and I was ready, willing and able to join them! My first airplane ride was when I was 8 from Washington to New York—I was scared to death! Mind you, back then people didn’t travel the way they do now. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Limiting myths are the stories we tell ourselves to justify a timid approach to building our travel practices. Most limiting myths have a small truth somewhere in their origin that over time takes on a far greater importance than their reality suggests. By examining these myths, you can greatly diminish their influence in your travel practice. Here’s the first limiting myth we will tackle: “You cannot compete with the big online travel agencies.” The actual situation is, the online travel agencies (OTAs) cannot compete with you either! Let’s take a look and see why.

My father once told me “Never play the other man’s game.” Everyone builds around their inherent specialties and strengths. If you try to compete with the OTAs playing by their rules and imitating their tactics, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you authentic?

On the weekends, I tend to let any office calls received go to my voicemail. Last night, I was in the middle of heading out to the grocery and the phone rang and I ended up answering the call.  It was a woman from New York who had heard of our group trips and needed more information—pretty standard phone call.

Based on past (bad) experiences, I do not put everything out front on the website and most people will call for more information. This gives me the opportunity to somewhat size up the client to make sure he or she is a good fit for the group.   So, we had a great conversation and she was pretty excited about the trip and was ready to leave a deposit.  And then she asked, “so, how do I check you out before giving my money to you?”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – September 6, 2013

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Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

We started the week out discussing the importance of setting expectations. We have covered how to be assertive, to make good first impressions and how to be heard.  But all of the above is of little benefit without a simple ingredient: clarity on what you want to convey to the world around you. Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all about you. Your conversations with clients are going to be predominantly about what THEY want.  However, as a professional, the course of the conversation should be directed by you.  Without clear direction, you and your clients will talk to each other rather than with each other.

We tend to have an unrealistic assessment of the degree of clarity we possess about even our most basic needs and wants. Let me give you an example.  Read the rest of this entry »