Monthly Archives: July 2014

Posted In: Deck Plans

Take our guided tour of CroisiEurope’s Botticelli as we sail through the majestic landscapes of France — aboard a European river cruise line that arguably knows Europe like the back of its hand. There’s good reason for that: Headquartered in Strasbourg, CroisiEurope boasts nearly four decades of experience in operating voyages along the waterways of France and Europe. The company also does so at a price point that’s far less than what most North American lines are charging: roughly $175 per day per person. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Closing the Sale With Tact

This week we have focused on the entire concept of closing as it relates to the buying process. In short, we have attempted to remove the pressure from a single point – the close- and replace it with trust and a series of understandings and commitments spread across the entirety of the relationship. In every travel planning effort, however, there is always ample opportunity to wreck a lot of good work with an unfortunate comment or misunderstanding.

Just as your mother told you, there are a few topics polite company never discuss. Avoiding select items in the course of your client encounters, no matter how tempting, will serve you well. Ironically, the consultant paradigm more easily sets the travel consultant up to make a social mistake because Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Discover the Baltic with ShoreTrips!

The charming European towns and cities that line the Baltic Sea are some of the most magnificent in Europe, including 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: Supplier Profile

Africa Answers is a division of the multi-award-winning travel company The Answers Group. Founded in 1992, the Seattle-based tour operator has an extensive history of customizing life-changing vacations for independent travelers and groups.

Africa Answers’ President, Kirk Demeter, has a passion for Africa, and built a team of African Destination Specialists who love to bring traveler’s African dreams to life.

Kirk intuited that people envision Africa as a continent of exotic wild animals, vast game reserves, epic sunsets, nomadic tribes, and sun drenched savannah – all true. But what they soon discover upon researching their trip is that there are myriad promising options, and the ability to discern which is most suitable becomes overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Closing the Sale With Trust

Nobody wants to feel pressured to make a buying decision, and certainly not when planning leisure travel. Yet, in a traditional “sales” situation, both the travel agent and the consumer often find themselves in an adversarial posture, each concerned about elements of the travel planning experience. The travel professional should learn to anticipate and recognize these impediments to an open consulting relationship and remove them from the buying process. Freed from negative expectations, both the travel planner and the consumer can better relax into the buying process and appreciate it for the exciting exercise that it truly can be.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Since this is the last article in this series of ten, sponsored by AmaWaterways, I am going to try to contain my emotions while delivering today’s message. The message is incredibly sad, but comes with an enormous opportunity. I am betting that I now have your attention.

Stories are memorable so I will craft my words into a story.

I have a drainage problem in my backyard. I have tried just about everything that didn’t come with a price; but, now it’s time to pay the fiddler.

I called an equipment rental company and left a detailed message indicating that my wallet was out and I was ready to do business.  That was ten days ago. No call back. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Discover Korea with the Korea Tourism Organization!

South Korea represents perhaps one of the most exciting international experiences you can enter into today. Amidst a thriving and ancient culture, woven from the fabric of Asia but also distinctly its own, you’ll find one of the most prosperous nations on the planet, complete with sprawling metropolises of activity sitting next to serene and inviting mountain ranges. Come see South Korea with the Korea Tourism Organization! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Close the Relationship First

Traditional sales places the Close at the end of the process. The sales person asks questions, evaluates the answers and makes a presentation, after which the buyer makes a decision. Because the sales person typically has a limited range of product, the buyer’s decision is based on how well the product meets the buyer’s needs. If the sales person has what the buyer wants or needs, if the price is right, and if the buyer likes the sales person, then the buyer decides to buy from the sales person. The further into the sales process, the more time each party spends “at the table” the more pressure builds toward the close. Everything culminates in a single moment totally under the control of the buyer. Is there any wonder that the Close is the subject of great study and anxiety? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Bryna Blum, President of The WCBS Group

Bryna_Face_SmBryna Blum – AKA “The Printress” – is President of The WCBS Group (“WCBS”). With technology as the impetus, Bryna and her IT Manager, Marty Gronewald, have moved from providing invoice / itinerary forms to a local clientele in 1981, to become a full-service company with 4 websites under the WCBS umbrella, suppliers across the USA and Canada, and clients in all 50 states, Canada, the Pacific Rim and the Caribbean. WCBS now provides everything from logo design, corporate packages, online offset, digital & large format printing to promotional products. WCBS has evolved over the years to be who their clients need them to be.


Travel Research Online: Why did you first begin working in the Printing and Marketing service industry?

Bryna Blum: It was a fluke. My late husband (and a partner) was selling hardware and software and ancillary products, when he was asked if he could do forms for SABRE, an airline reservation system. He said, “Yes!”, even though he didn’t know what SABRE was at the time, and the rest, as they say, is “history.” I went in to work “for two weeks” because he was ill and have been working ever since. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Close the Client’s Needs

The goal in a consulting relationship is to clarify the client’s thinking. By obtaining commitments from the client each step of the way, there is far less  pressure to “Close” the sale. Completion of the buying process becomes the logical conclusion to everything which the client has previously requested and to which they have committed. By spreading the client’s commitments throughout the buying process, pressure is taken off of a single attempt to “close” and both the client and the travel consultant will feel more confident about the decision making process.


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Depending on where you live, today’s column is all about sneakers…or tennis shoes (feel free to debate the difference in the comments), but it does have a lesson that can be applied to travel, or any business. It’s all about keeping your eye on the ball.  Do you know how Adidas, Puma and Nike got their start?  Listen up.

Last week, I discovered the story behind the rivalry between Puma and Adidas. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

The Psychology of Closing the Sale

You must have done something right, Mr. or Ms. Travel Professional. Your marketing must be working. The prospective client called and asked to meet with you. You chose a great meeting location, maybe your agency office, maybe a coffee shop. You dressed the part, you rehearsed the meeting and prepared well. You made a terrific presentation. Now it’s time to ask for the prospective client’s business. You can feel the tension. Why is closing so difficult?

Because we make it difficult. Is there any possibility shifting from a transactional model to a relationship/consulting model will remove some of the pressure of “the close?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – July 25, 2014

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

I saved the best myth for last.  I say it’s the best because once you are freed of its power, you will increase your earning power substantially.  Get this one right, because it’s devilishly tough to make it as a travel consultant without being able to move past this myth.

Myth #5 – Clients Won’t Pay a Planning Fee

Actually, what many agents will tell you is that their clients won’t pay a “plan to go” fee. These agents know that other travel planners collect an up-front fee, but remain convinced that for some reason their clients are different and will refuse Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Congratulations, you just found a new travel prospect. You are excited you potentially have more business. Once you answer the call and move beyond getting a name, what comes next?

Many times when speaking with others in all types of sales, they don’t know how to properly qualify their potential client. Qualifying a new client can be the difference between success and failure. If you plan a trip for your client the first time and miss, chances are they will not return. Do a great job, not only will they return, but they will also send referrals. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Emerald Waterways Live Voyage Report – Day 5

Durnstein, Melk and Austria’s Wachau Valley

Our Danube Delights itinerary aboard Emerald WaterwaysEmerald Star went into Austrian overdrive today as we called on two very small but beautiful towns nestled within the country’s picturesque Wachau Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

Click Here!Marseilles epitomizes the Southern French experience – incredible food, pleasant atmosphere, gorgeous views and a melting array of European and African culture will beckon you to come and enjoy. XL Airways invites you to see what this 2500 year old port city has to offer! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Most myths have some basis in truth, which often makes them particularly difficult to effectively dismiss. Today’s myth is one that we all face nearly every day and regardless of how often we hear a corrective lecture, continue to vest it with power over our travel practice.

Myth #4 – Price is Everything

I have many times heard a travel agent say that the only thing their clients care about is price. In fact, there is more consistent discussion of price, discounting and rebating than perhaps any other topic among travel agents. As a result, price becomes the lynch pin on which every other aspect of the travel planning process depends: if the price is not lower than the competition, the transaction does not occur.

It is natural for clients to focus on price – they are lay people, civilians, who do not fully understand the components of value in travel. It is not, however, OK for travel counselors to treat price as if it is the centerpiece of the transaction. As Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week we are examining five common myths that many travel agents believe. This next one is so widely held and fervently believed that it remains one of the most difficult to dislodge. Yet, dismissing it from your mind requires only a slight psycholgical shift.

Myth #3 – The Sales Process Is Difficult

Why do we think this? Is it because we begin with poorly trained clients and then compete with each other, suppliers and the internet to sell them a product? Yikes! You’re right. The sales process IS difficult. That is not how I want to spend my days. Let me suggest an alternative. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

I want to talk to you about a term called Kaizen.  Kaizen is spelled K-A-I-Z-E-N, and it’s all about incremental improvement as a means for change. Little by little gets things done.

Here is how it works.  Let’s say you finally get the message and you believe it is in your best interest to give up French fries as your favorite junk food.  French fries are good and tasty … and try as you might the chances of giving up French fries cold turkey is pretty much impossible.

So, order the French fries. And then let the Kaizen method lead the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week we are going to look at five common myths that many travel agents believe. Do an inventory and decide if you are harbouring some of these fallacies as cherished truths.  If so, you might need a serious attitude adjustment to prevent your next travel planning exercise from blowing up on you!

Myth #2 – Clients Expect Too Much

Clients can be demanding. They have impossible budgets and unrealistic expectations. They blame you for every mishap and seldom give you credit for the miracles you pull off. Right? Not so fast. Read the rest of this entry »