Monthly Archives: March 2014

Posted In: Supplier Profile

ShoreTrips’ GIVE Voluntourism

Barry and Julie Karp founded ShoreTrips over 12 years ago, starting an independent company that settled into a previously-ignored niche: providing tours and excursions in ports and major cities, offering hundreds of new activity options (and increased revenue) to agents in addition to what cruise lines or other suppliers offer. The company started by selling excursions in the Caribbean; in the past decade, they have expanded to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

People Are Like Magnets

Mike Marchev’s wit and wisdom will be filling in for Richard’s 365 Column this week – enjoy!

Today’s article introduces two reminders that I feel are extremely important. The first one reminds us of the Law of Attraction while the second reminds us of how to use just three questions to position strangers for future interaction. Let’s look at one at a time.

I remember the day like it was yesterday, when I first found myself attracted to a member of the opposite sex. Well, I wasn’t exactly attracted as I was flattered. The whole thing wasn’t my initial idea but I fell right into step as the story unfolded.

I was approximately ten years old when I experienced my first “crush.” A very interesting phenomenon occurred as soon as I learned that a female thought I was pretty cool. Sweet! I immediately returned the feeling. “If Mary liked me, then I liked Mary.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

I hear from just about every type of travel consultant and agency you can imagine.  I hear both challenges and triumphs.  And still, after all these years, professional fees still top the list of questions and comments.

Recently there’s been an increase in agencies successfully charging what many would call “premium” fees.  They charge $250, $500, and even $1,000 on top of commissions earned.  In some cases, they’re in the same markets where others claim any fee was impossible.

What makes the difference between these fee superstars and those who struggle with fees of any kind?  Read the rest of this entry »

Every trade publication I pick up these days has at least one article in it where the best practice of focusing on a niche market is shared as a key to success. Well, I finally decided to focus any marketing, training and client acquisition on a specialized area of travel! It took me a year to make the decision and it didn’t come easily because my goal was to book anyone and everyone I possibly could to build my business.

The specialty I chose was a natural one for me – the gay and lesbian market. Primarily, because my partner and I happen to be gay Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Out of sight = out of Mind

Mike Marchev’s wit and wisdom will be filling in for Richard’s 365 Column this week – enjoy!

If you believe what I am about to remind you, and make it your business to do something about it, your future success will almost be guaranteed.

Not enough people know you’re alive.

This six word phrase should be considered “a keeper.” That means that if you learn nothing else from our time together, I want you to, at the very least, to believe the six words printed above. And if, by chance, a good number of people do know you are alive, I want you to memorize the next 11 words.

When you are out of sight, you are out of mind.

Regardless of your particular industry, it is a competitive jungle out there and the world is filling up with “noise” faster than you can tune in to Jerry Seinfeld reruns. The long and the short of it is we are inundated Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Meredith Hill of Gifted Travel Network

 

Meredith-smallMeredith Hill, ex-President of Hills of Africa Travel, founded the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) to empower struggling travel consultants by helping them to connect with their passion again, attract ideal clients, and build a business that makes positive difference in people’s lives.

In 2007, faced with a long-standing struggle of not having enough clients in her travel business, Hills of Africa Travel, Meredith and her business partner were on the verge of closing the company’s doors. Thanks to their determination and efforts the company doubled its income within the first year. During 3 of the most difficult economic years in travel history, Hills of Africa quadrupled its business and was doubly proud of hitting a milestone in 2010, when they surpassed $1.6 million in sales.

Meredith’s deepest passion lies in empowering travel business owners who want to make a difference. Meredith’s goal is to revolutionize the travel industry by helping people connect with their passion again, adopt a mindset for success, get desperately needed support and build successful travel businesses that change people’s lives. Meredith continues to use her gift to blaze new trails and guide her clients to their paths of success.

Meredith has more recently been driven by a mission to help the travel agent finally be seen.  Meredith, along with her business partners, founded the Gifted Travel Network (GTN) host agency in 2013 in an effort to help travel entrepreneurs become more visible.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Without a doubt, the most read, shares, and commented columns that I have written center on the down and dirty advice. You know the type–what to do when this happens. I have written for consumers and trade alike and they always draw the most attention.  To be honest, they are some of the easiest to write. After all we all work in an industry that has no shortage of tales, snafus and screw-ups.  I can usually draw on a past experience to create the topic; but then I thought–what if I drop dead? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Little Things Work

Mike Marchev’s wit and wisdom will be filling in for Richard’s 365 Column this week – enjoy!

The following phrase is used in a number of different areas of our lives, and sales is no exception: STICK TO THE BASICS.  

With much of the thanks going to our fast-paced, over communicated, internet influenced world, we all have a tendency to try the latest trend or introduce the newest technological advancement to our day-to-day activities.

In sales, this can prove fatal.

I want you to stick to the basics; dance with who “brung-ya”; focus on the little things; do what has always worked; walk before you run. You get the idea,

Why?

Because one of your objectives is to capture the attention of your targeted audience, and one of the more effective ways to accomplish this formidable task Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Months ago, I did a series of columns on what travel professionals could learn from practitioners of other professions. From barbers to waiters to yoga instructors, we took a look at the valuable skill sets other professions developed to engage their clients. A recent encounter with another true professional reminded me of an important omission I wish now to correct.

Bartenders. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – March 14, 2014

Picture
Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week, we have focused on five small psychological shifts that can have a significant impact on your travel practice. This next one comes out of discussions in the TRO Community following the  some of the No Limits Webinars. Again, those webinars are a most valuable opportunity for every travel agency owner – a “must watch” webinar. They are available to you in the Community here on this site, so do take the time to watch them, you will be glad you did.

Many of the questions that followed on the discussions of the webinars concerned the value-add nature of the services travel consultants offer their clients. A common concern was expressed this way: “Why would a client pay more for a cruise by paying me a fee, when the same cruise is easily available online or through an agency not charging a fee?” The concern is understandable and the psychological shift necessary is contained in the answer: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

This is part 5 of a 7 part series by Terry Denton.

Part 1: Ask for a credit card on the first call

Part 2: Ask for referrals on every sale

Part 3: Master the art of upselling

Part 4: Always recommend insurance

OK, this week it is time for a “check up from the neck up.”  Are you ready for some serious reprogramming?  You don’t have to be a devotee of the ill fated Heaven’s Gate cult walking around with five dollars in quarters in your pocket waiting for the next space trolley to get a little reorientation from time to time.

Carnival Cruise Lines did a fascinating study where they listened to travel agents speaking with their own reservation agents to determine the most common requests.  What they thought might take two weeks of listening to determine, ended up taking about two hours.  The two words that popped out of agents’ mouths like champagne corks at Times Square on New Year’s Eve were… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

You’d think with all of the cold weather sweeping across North America that cruisers’ thoughts would be on any place but Alaska. Nonetheless, we’ve had a slew of emails asking us for advice about cruising The Great Land.

Surely, Alaska is a destination that needs to go on everyone’s bucket list. If you’re planning on reaching into that bucket this year, take heart — it’s not too late. The 2014 cruise season does begin soon, however, so it’s time to get serious if you want to be on a ship in Alaska this coming season. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Top travel agents develop a particular mind set that gives them an edge in their dealings with their clients. That mind set informs every aspect of their professional relationships with not only clients, but also with suppliers – the tour operators, hotels and receptives that they use. The mind set cannot be boiled down to a simplistic notion of positive thinking. Instead, it is more accurate to say that theses agents have a sense of “ownership” when it comes to their practice.

Top travel agents take full ownership of their projects and professional relationships. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

ShoreTrips’ GIVE Voluntourism

Barry and Julie Karp founded ShoreTrips over 12 years ago, starting an independent company that settled into a previously-ignored niche: providing tours and excursions in ports and major cities, offering hundreds of new activity options (and increased revenue) to agents in addition to what cruise lines or other suppliers offer. The company started by selling excursions in the Caribbean; in the past decade, they have expanded to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your clients are afraid of paying too much for their vacation.  As a travel counselor, it is important for you to shift your clients to a focus on value rather than an obsession with price. You can assist your clients to better understand the value of their vacation travel and how in every well planned instance it is worth far more than the price paid.

Before you can lead your clients through a discussion on value over price, you have to be fully invested in the difference yourself.  Value means different things Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Although I never played organized baseball growing up, I now find myself helping to coach my nine year-old son, Caden, in his community baseball development team.  As my baseball skills are limited, my wife and I decided to hire local pro, Coach Shawn, to help Caden fine-tune some of his baseball skills.  Coach Shawn is not only a true professional but an exceptional communicator.

One of the key elements of the sport, he told Caden, was discipline. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Discover Brazil by TransAm

Brazil is on a roll, and its star city of Rio de Janeiro is the hub of all the action. Already the ninth largest economy in the world, Brazil may well reach the rank of 5th by the time the Olympics make their debut in 2016. Now is a good time to get to know Brazil because the 14.4 billion dollars scheduled to be spent preparing the country to host the Olympics is likely to forever change its face. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Have you had the experience of knowing a truth but not really understanding it? Many times we outwardly indicate our agreement with a concept or an idea, but we have not properly absorbed the notion at a gut level, we have not yet made it a part of our muscle memory. Often, we only realize the reality of a truth when some incident in our lives forces the issue to the top of the priority list. The topic for this week’s 365 Guide is about things you already know. Chances are you will not find anything in the five articles that you disagree with too strongly (if you do, let me know!). However, your agreement with them at an intellectual level is not necessarily the same as an emotive, deep acceptance of them – one so deep that you have actually integrated them into your travel practice.

Each involves only a small psychological shift. Nothing revolutionary, nothing earth-shattering. However, the difference in perspective Read the rest of this entry »

Is this year flying by fast or what!!

So much to do, so little time. I have a huge bridal show coming up at the end of the month, so the last month has been spent trying to decide the theme and getting all the collateral and displays I need to work the show. I am very excited about this show as I am mostly going to showcase my agency–in the past, it was supplier focused. I look forward to a great turn out and more clients for the 2014 wedding/honeymoon season. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

 

Kier_headshot-225x300Kier Matthews is the Vice President of Sales at Europe Express, where he is responsible for travel agent sales. Prior to his job at Europe Express, Matthews was a Manager of Member Sales & Service at Virtuoso, the travel industry’s leading luxury travel network. 

After completing his studies at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Matthews worked for Starwood Hotels & Resorts as Front Office Manager at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco and the Westin Seattle. 

Before Matthews entered the travel industry, he was a leading influencer in the political arena. Matthews joined the presidential campaign of former Governor Bill Clinton, which lead to a full-time position in the Scheduling Office at the White House, working directly for the President, Vice-President and the First and Second Ladies. Prior to that, he was the personal assistant to Florida Governor Lawton Chiles.

Today, Matthews spends much of his free time participating in civic service activities. In 2008 he was honored as one of 30 Outstanding African-American Fathers of Puget Sound. Matthews is the proud father of Isabella (8). When Matthews is not busy with her, volunteering and work he enjoys reading a great business book.

Read the rest of this entry »