I have many times indicated the probability your clients do not understand the role of a travel professional. It is likely the un-schooled consumer thinks of you as a retailer of travel and imagines they are buying a cruise or a trip from you. If we don’t monitor our language and the context we thereby create, we may well reinforce these mistaken assumptions. Let’s see how we can shift from selling travel to assisting our clients in making an intelligent and informed buying decision and move away from transactions to relationships. Important to the process is also the transition away from the concept of being a travel agent to being a travel consultant. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
Unlike most North Americans on board A-ROSA Silva today, my journey began this morning on an easy and fast flight from Copenhagen to Frankfurt (about 90 minutes). Shortly after landing, Monica and I picked up our bags, which arrived quickly thanks to the German penchant for efficiency, and wheeled them into arrivals hall. Although an A-ROSA representative was there to meet us for the transfer, apparently we had arrived early (thanks SAS) and had just missed the complimentary shuttle to the ship. The next shuttle would be coming for us — in 45 minutes. That was a bit discouraging to hear, because we were eager to get to the ship and explore Frankfurt. We considered taking a taxi (about 25 euros), but sat down for a bite to eat. Within 20 minutes we were summoned by another A-ROSA representative. Our chariot was waiting. Read the rest of this entry »
Language alters perception and thus people’s realities. The language we use also sets the context for our conversations. When we speak to our clients focusing on a list of features and line item costs we establish a context of left brain analysis and critical thinking. However, if we first talk about the experience of travel, if we paint a picture for our clients, we activate a more romantic context where the client will more easily intuit the value of the travel you are jointly planning. Read the rest of this entry »
This week we are looking at the impact language has on our psychology. What comes next I have written on before and managed to stir up some debate, not all of it in agreement with me. I love it when that happens.
You will meet more challenges in the travel business than in most, simply because of the pace of innovation and change. The industry has been in a state of complete liquid flux since 1994 or so. Many of the suppliers and travel professionals we old timers once knew no longer exist. But in their place have arisen a new crop of exciting business models and individuals molding themselves to fit circumstance. On occasion, these same people mold circumstance to fit themselves. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
Get ready for the holidays
As the year comes to an end it is the perfect time for your hotel, restaurant or travel agency to thank your clients and create a unique experience for them that will make them remember you in the New Year.
Here are 10 ideas you can use to get your travel agency, hotel or restaurant in the holiday spirit: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Outposts
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 and incredible 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.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
Welcome to a sunny day in island paradise: 82-degrees Fahrenheit with only a few clouds scattered across the sky. Sparkling, aquamarine waters gently brush the vibrant white beaches while a lone windsurfer floats on the horizon, catching air on the low-breaking waves. Farther down the shore, a couple riding horseback disappears down the coast, basking in the warm temperatures and loving every minute of their vacation in Aruba.
The small yet plentiful island of Aruba is a divine place for all things outdoors – a sparkling jewel on the bracelet of the Lesser Antilles. If the Caribbean is the place you want to be, look no further – Aruba is the perfect island destination. This article is brought to the travel community by the experts at ShoreTrips!
This week we are looking at the way language affects our psychology and perhaps hinders or helps our progress. The difference between the word “should” (or “need”) and the word “want” is one of my absolute favorites because of the very real impact it has on my motivations. I have been aware of this difference for many years now, but still find myself lapsing into misuse with a need to re-mind myself. Let’s take a look and see if you agree with me. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Travel Agent Diaries
Well with the year almost coming to an end I have to say it’s been an eventful one. I survived 2013 with the ups and downs and roundabouts. It has travelled fast and it’s hard to believe that we will be starting it all over again for another year. I have sent people on dream trips, bucket list trips, honeymoons and weddings; and got to see their photos and hear their wonderful stories. I have been on learning trips myself whether it be sailing on Celebrity’s ship or visiting Vegas for Virtuoso Week or escorting our home team football packages for games. Overall it’s been one big life lesson that has been difficult at times trying to balance work life with personal tragedy but I did it. Juggling does not come with an owner’s manual so all we can do is face one day at a time and do the best we can. Read the rest of this entry »
Words matter. It is hard to overstate the power of words in shaping our perceptions of reality. Consider the amazing impact language has on our psyche. Our innate understanding of the influence of language is built into our minds in creative ways: why do we call magic a “spell” and our attempt to re-shape another’s beliefs as “dis-spelling?” What type of spell do you cast when you speak to your clients? How do you shape their understanding of the reality you seek to share? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 1:1
Eric has more than 20 years of travel industry expertise in both leisure and corporate travel distribution, and a strong track record applying innovative marketing and technology strategies to help travel professionals work more effectively and efficiently.
Prior to becoming CEO of ABC Global Services, Eric managed Thomas Cook North America’s Leisure Distribution business, growing the company’s retail and e-commerce business from $120 million in sales and 130 employees to $650 million in sales and more than 700 employees. He joined Thomas Cook North America (formerly MyTravel North America) in 2006 as a consultant to the CEO, and became Senior Vice President in 2008, overseeing strategy for several companies, including ABC Global Services.
Eric also held senior-level positions with American Express in its Supplier Relations Group and as Vice President of its U.S. Consulting Services business, focusing on strategic planning, innovative marketing strategies, M&As, and building industry relationships. He was twice named a rising industry star by Travel Agent magazine.
TRO: What first inspired you to work in the travel industry?
I have spent my entire adult life, and some of my teen years, in the travel industry. When I was a teenager I picked up my first airline timetable and saw that Pan Am flew all over the world; both mundane and exotic destinations I had never heard of and from that moment I was hooked. I started a summer job at Brainard Travel in downtown Cleveland delivering tickets and wearing a sandwich board advertising that week’s specials on the corner of 13th and Euclid Ave. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
Have you had the opportunity to speak to a group about your business? Maybe at a leads or networking event? How about pitching a group trip to a large social organization? Your local chamber? An industry event? The PTA?
They say that peoples’ biggest fear is public speaking. They also say their second is death. Seinfeld actually had a bit about this in one of the earlier episodes. Read the rest of this entry »
TRO has spent this week exploring the possibilities of well-crafted travel agency newsletters. We want to wind up the series by delving into a few best practices and a few legal issues that confront newsletter publishers. Many of the best practices pertain to any email marketing, but they are worthwhile repeating to keep you and your agency in good standing both with your clients and with some important third parties!
When formatting your newsletter, try to avoid complicated CSS style sheets. Many email readers, notably Outlook 7.0 are not kind to CSS and will play havoc with the appearance and layout of your newsletter. Have your designer use simple “in-line” html tags instead. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
A lot of folks “Liked” my photograph from seat 1K on Lufthansa flight 431 from Chicago to Frankfurt this past Friday. I was sitting in that seat to get to my Christmas Markets river cruise, which begins in Frankfurt on Tuesday. I wrote about my First Class experience here. Read the rest of this entry »
TRO is spending this week exploring the possibilities of well-crafted travel agency newsletters. It is hard to put a direct value on each subscriber to your newsletter, but suffice it to say that your readership represents a pool of clients, both existing and potential, to which you can market in an extremely cost-effective manner. Building a strong list of subscribers should be a goal on which you continually work. Patience is the key as it takes time to accumulate a stable base of subscribers, but the end result is a very valuable asset for your agency.
Know first that it is possible to buy and rent lists of consumers in almost any geographical market. The quality of such lists vary, but in general are very weak in comparison to lists you build yourself. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Supplier Profile
My company, Applause-Tickets is celebrating our 26th Anniversary this year. As you know, Applause has been providing the travel agents like you, with excellent service and superior seating for both Broadway and the London Theatre. In addition, we offer tickets for nationwide events, local concerts and sporting events. Read the rest of this entry »
TRO is spending this week exploring the possibilities of well-crafted travel agency newsletters. There are a number of tips that experienced newsletter publishers will tell you work to keep a publication lively and strong. In addition to the ones we have already covered, here are a few more that will add to the overall content strength of your travel agency newsletter.
Adopt a publishing schedule that is comfortable for you to meet. Beginning with an overly ambitious program, for example weekly, can cause both your readership and your editorial staff to burn out. Think of your newsletter as a long-term communications tool and don’t feel compelled to over-expose it. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
Dr. Bob Joselyn enlightened me about professional fees more than twenty years ago; and I’ve been on a mission to help others overcome fee-fears ever since. As a result, my email inbox receives a steady stream of success stories and pleas for help.
I hear from those who struggle with $10 service charges; and those who collect $250 with ease. I’ve seen successes in virtually every market imaginable. For every proclamation that it won’t work, someone is doing it. Last month however, a truly unique situation developed. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 1:1
Martha Tavera was born in Lima, Peru. She attended college in South America and began her career working in the American Embassy in Peru for 3 years. Before she opened Marnella Tours 32 years ago, she worked for American Airlines, Viasa Airways, and Argentina Airlines.
During this time she became a member of SITE and was responsible for assisting the opening of the SITE Chapter in Mexico and Brazil. Her travel experience has always been in Tour Operation and Incentives. This gave her a foundation for understanding group travel and also viewing at clients as VIPs and not just clients. She is now in the field of consulting and teaching new employees in the company as well as special customized programs.
TRO: What was your earliest travel memory you can recall?
Martha Tavera: Flying to the US from my home in Peru over 50 years ago on Ecuatoriana de Aviacion (no longer in business) when the fly hostess offered to fix my hair after an overnight flight! From then I was hooked on the glamour of travel. I was 22 years old.