Monthly Archives: May 2014

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – May 30, 2014

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Lurking around the corner of every attempt to set ambitious life goals is doubt, undermining our plans and shadowing our dreams. We want to be rid of its incessant nagging, but we are too often afraid it speaks the truth. How do we achieve our goals, business and personal, with this uninvited companion dogging our every step and threatening to shout at every point that the emperor has no clothes? We are not likely to be rid of doubt completely, so the plan is to make it an ally and to put doubt in its proper place. Doubt actually serves some vital functions important to our well-being. When you recognize doubt for what it is, a cautionary function, it becomes far less powerful in the face of your desire to grow and manifest a greater reality for yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

OK, so the headline is a bit extreme or perhaps misleading, and the answer is simple–you don’t! But this is a question that a “professional” asked on a public forum. After picking my jaw up from the floor, I realized that a reminder on the importance of upholding professionalism in this industry is paramount.

Here’s the question–verbatim. I have redacted the specific property and am not specifying the particular forum to maintain my own sense of professionalism. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

I am writing these words on a Tuesday evening in the south of Sweden. It is 9 p.m., about 30 minutes before sunset and a few hours before the sky gets pitch dark. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Goals – Achieving Balance

Learning how to set goals – and to then achieve them – is a vital skill for every travel agent to acquire – but not at any price. Far too many business people have learned the hard way that the costs paid for success can be too dear. Our physical well-being, our spiritual life and our families can suffer if we are willing to sacrifice too much and too often at the altar of our careers. Instead, let’s learn to set goals in a way that is not only balanced, but which will assist in achieving a well-rounded set of priorities. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Gifted Travel Network is a travel host agency specifically created to support YOU and YOUR individual brand.

Meredith Hill, Founder and President of the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE), teamed up with Vanessa McGovern and Jen Cochrane to launch GTN as a travel host agency unlike any other in the industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide


One of my favorite comedians, Eddie Izzard, set the almost unbelievable goal of running all the way around the circumference of England and Scotland, the equivalent of 43 marathons in 50 days,  for charity. He had never run a marathon before. I think it may be possible to learn something from Mr. Izzard.

Indeed, goal setting is a path to enhancing every aspect of your travel agency’s business plan. When applied to your sales efforts, goal setting assists you with focusing on the most important elements of the sales process and programs the unconscious mind to maintain the right attitude toward your work. Sales professionals years ago developed the “S.M.A.R.T.” acronym as a mnemonic device Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Today’s message brings me back to a time when I was 10 years old.  If you asked me (or a great number of grown men) how they managed to meet their first girlfriend, they would likely share a similar story.

A young boy is introduced to his first girlfriend in the 5th grade at the age of ten.  The reason I know this is because that’s the age we realize that women exist.  Until that point it was all about basketball, football and baseball. (I’m generalizing.)

In all probability here’s how your first girlfriend entered the picture. You were minding your own business at lunch when a friend (let’s call him Jimmy) approaches to give you the latest news. He might say something like, “Hey Mike. I’ve got something to tell you.”  You say, “What’s that, Jimbo?”  He replies with a sheepish grin, “Susie likes you.”

In my case I  replied, “Well, if Susie likes me, I like Susie.”  Then, I looked around the room, paused for what seemed like an eternity before asking Jim, “Which one is she?”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

The Baltic and Tallinn, Estonia by ShoreTrips

The charming European towns and cities that line the Baltic Sea are some of the most magnificent in Europe and include Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is said to be one of the most underrated cities in Europe; this relatively undiscovered gem has preserved much of its medieval architecture and offers rich, welcoming culture to travelers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

In discussing the development of a marketing plan, this column has given a great deal of time to the concept of setting goals and objectives. Likewise, each travel consultant should set goals for their business and personal life as well. By setting goals, the travel professional can better focus on the necessary actions to take to achieve success in their travel practice. There are a few tips that will assist you in setting and realizing your goals, and the balance of this week will speak to establishing an intelligent and achievable set of goals for yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend that you’re well rested and as excited about growing your business. I certainly am! This week, I want to start my entry with a question – the same one in fact that’s been playing over and over in in my mind lately. I hope you’ll take a moment or two to share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. What goals do you have for your business? If everything played out according to plan, what does your business look like in 5 years? What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

You see, I was watching a “Sales & Marketing 101 Webinar” a few weeks ago and had an epiphany. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Back in 2012, I made a serious change in my business. It was more serious than switching from Sabre to Worldspan. It was more serious than jumping head first into ClientBase and TRAMS for Back Office. I gave up on my PC and went to Mac.  For years, I had heard how Mac was far superior to all but the highest end PC. I was skeptical of the hype from the “Apple fanboys” but when my PC decided to take it’s permanent vacation, I decided to give it a try.  And I never looked back. My experience with Apple over the past 2 years has been nothing short of stellar; and I believe that some of their successes can also be used in developing a travel agency into a super agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week we have been examining language patterns in the travel profession and suggesting a modification of the way we address our clients. As we take leave of the discussion, there remains a small lexicon of other words I want to suggest we avoid. In each case, the problem with the word is largely one of connotation: regardless of the intent the wrong psychology is implied in its use. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Where to go, what to do

Whether it is wave season or the quietest time of the year in the office, travel agents should be consistently marketing.  Marketing online is great, but it is equally important to “get out there” personally (stealing an old tag line from Royal Caribbean)?  But where do you go, how do you get out there?

Everyone knows about bridal shows (and some of us run screaming in the opposite direction from them).  So where else can we set up and get the word out about our agencies?  Here are events that some agents have successfully participated in: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

“I’ve only seen this once before,” said Frank Neumann, hotel director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2. He was referring to the magic happening over our heads as we zipped around the harbor in Syracuse, Sicily, on Zodiacs photographing Europa 2 at anchor. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your role in each and every travel planning exercise is not to sell travel. In fact, in an established relationship with a client you are not selling anything. Instead, you are assisting clients to make intelligent buying decisions. Some would argue the line I am drawing is one of mere semantics. In new relationships, of course, you do have to sell yourself. Once you are engaged in a relationship with your clients, however, your role dynamically changes. Nevertheless, the difference between being a buyer or a seller is important at the very least from a psychological perspective and worth your consideration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

The Vienna Tourist Board is the official destination marketing agency for the tourism sector of the city. It provides many service offers, tips and much information for Viennese tourist businesses.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Editor’s Note: Mike Marchev has been busy. He has crafted a series of 10 lessons to help you become a better travel professional. Travel Research Online will be running a lesson a week (on Wednesdays) for the next 10 weeks.  Please be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts after each one! (JWF)

When I had the opportunity to share some of my sales and marketing information with you, I jumped at the chance.  I have so much I want to share. You are about to find that I look at marketing and sales from a different angle.  The older I get, which means the more experienced I get, the easier it gets.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Here is an analogy I don’t like: “Would you like fries with that?” I dislike the analogy for any number of reasons beyond calories and cholesterol. Firstly, the analogy suggests the merits of the sales trick known as “up-selling.” It is inauthentic. If you are a consultant, you don’t up-sell. Instead, recommend. Replace “would” with “should.”

Look, friends, you are the expert here. Why on God’s green Earth would you leave insurance, a balcony view, or an amazing tour as an option? Up-sell? Why not just ask, “Would you like to enjoy yourself?” The answer is pretty clear without asking the question. Instead, recommend the best, most complete package your intelligent assessment of the client and their travel history suggests. If it is too expensive, I assure you they will let you know and you can begin to subtract elements of the plan. (Note the word “intelligent”). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Greece by European Tours

When you think history, you think Greece.  The nation is full of it, with a long lineage of exuberant people and events that will continue to make history books for generations to come.  From the mind-blowing architecture to white beaches kissed by azure blue waters, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

It’s time we dropped the term “travel agent.” The fundamental problem, of course, is the orientation of the term: it indicates our primary relationship is with the supplier rather than with the traveler.  If that is true, then we are doomed to move from one travel transaction to the next. If, however, our relationships are with clients then we can act as travel consultants, planners and professionals.

Let’s look at both the semantics and the perception cast by the use of the term “agent.” Read the rest of this entry »