Monthly Archives: November 2014

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Uber, a great product. Just not for your clients

UPDATE:  Uber has suspended operations in Nevada based on a court ruling.

Recently, I attended Travel Weekly’s Cruise World in Ft. Lauderdale. If you haven’t been to this show, you are missing out and I highly encourage you to make plans to attend the next one, in November 2015. But, that isn’t what this article is about.

My hotel was about 3 miles away from the convention center where Cruise World was held. Although shuttle buses were provided for attendees, there were times they were not convenient, or not running at all. Taxicabs are plentiful in Ft. Lauderdale, but they’re rather expensive. For the 3-mile trek from the hotel to the convention center, the fare was about $15. Sure, I could walk, but some destinations just require a vehicle. Enter Uber. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Come prepared

My message this week is short and sweet. Come prepared.  Those two words will serve you well in almost any business situation. It was reinforced to me at a recent trade show I attended where I saw plenty of people unprepared to do business.

People exhibit at trade shows ready to do business and wanting to do business. They come to the show wanting to meet new prospects. They come to the show with very good intentions. But Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Discover Peru with Yampu Tours

Whether you are trekking through the luscious landscapes of the Peruvian Amazon, admiring the ruins at Machu Picchu, or finding your way through Pisac’s Indian Market, Peru provides visitors with countless opportunities to learn and explore. Tourists travel from around the world to get a glimpse of the historical Inca civilization that once resided in these mountains, yet, there are many other landmarks and adventures just waiting to be discovered.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

The word “radical” denotes the idea of getting to the root of a problem. When mathematicians want to find the square root of a number, they use the radical symbol to express the equation. For travel agents, getting radical on a problem means seeking out its cause. One of the best ways to do so is to work backwards and ask, quite simply, “WHY?”

Long ago, we discussed the sales funnel. There, we examined the sales process and noted that at every step of the way, potential clients fell out of our sphere of influence. As we looked to the sales funnel, we noted that a lot of clients were being lost at the top of the sales process and fewer as we went along. However, the further along in the sales process any given client was, the more time and energy we had invested in the client. Read the rest of this entry »

The time has come to write my last Travel Agent diary entry. Time certainly does fly and that couldn’t be truer than in the travel industry. Back in January when I started my entries we had many projects that we were looking to roll out over the course of 2014. As one could imagine some of those projects were a hit, others did not pan out at all as we expected and a couple were pleasant surprises.

My entries followed along how those projects affected my day-to-day travel agent tasks and hopefully some of my experiences may be of help to some of you. I even had an entry that was pretty much me venting. I wasn’t sure if I should share, but I figured I am human; and as travel agents we sometimes just throw papers in the air, put our face in our hands and just let it all out. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Finding Your Niche

Developing and marketing a niche area of expertise is one of the best possible ways to differentiate your travel practice from the competition. As an expert in a particular theme or destination, you can quickly establish your travel agency as the only reasonable resource to which consumers should turn when considering travel in your niche venue.

Niche marketing is a way of helping you focus on locating new clients, not a set of restrictions on your business offerings. Niche marketing is not necessarily about gearing your entire business  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Wouldn’t it be nice if owning a business came with a foolproof owner’s manual?  Just imagine being able to turn to “chapter 5” when something went awry and the manual would tell you exactly how to get back on track. Well, wake up, no such manual exists; however, I can give you a single, two-word, tip that might prevent 99% of the mistakes you might make.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – November 21, 2014

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Spotlight

Draped in Mayan heritage with acres of unspoiled coastal land, Costa Maya is filled with rich, cultural influence and vast, natural beauty. Part of the Mexican Caribbean, Costa Maya has the highest concentration of Mayan archaeological sites and the largest Mayan population in Mexico. Follow the footprints that lead you into the historical past that make up this spectacular city! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Richard Hellar - Marine Operations ManagerRich is the Marine Operations Manager at G Adventures. Having worked with the tour operator’s marine programs since 2006, he has had the opportunity to visit some of the world’s most remote and beautiful destinations, almost always by boat. Rich brings a mix of field experience and passion for wildlife, remote destinations and shipping that help G Adventures create life-changing experiences. In addition to the tour operator’s Toronto headquarters, Rich has spent time working in the Antarctic and South East Asia.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Today, travelers want an authentic experience when they visit a destination. They want to be enthralled by the people, culture, and cuisine they encounter. Not only do they want to be entranced by a mirage of rich history and sparkling beaches, but guests also want to be immersed. When they leave their vacation, they want to feel as if they left a piece of their soul behind, bringing back grand memories in its place instead. This concept is not alien to Louis Cruises. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

PR can play an enormous role in providing your travel agency with the credibility you need to grow. I am often surprised how little attention the entire range of public relations strategies receives from travel agents. For those of you engaged in building a local, community based practice, there may be no more important arrows in your marketing quiver.

Public relations includes media (articles about you), speaking opportunities, events and publication (articles by you). In each of these efforts, your personality is at the core of the marketing tactic. When the public reads an article about your agency, hears you speak, works with you at an event or reads an article you have written, they engage you as an individual, not as a faceless company. That encounter is intensely personal and carries an authority that an advertisement cannot. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

When I started my business in November 2005 I didn’t really have much of a plan. I had a lot of hope, ambition, and education, but no real work experience in the industry, and wasn’t exactly sure of where I was headed.

When I look back at the last nine years, I’ve had a lot of successes and a handful of failures as well. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Quantum of the Seas Recap

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas Delivers

Aaron Saunders, reporting for Avid Cruiser Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Marketing is not just about brochures and advertising. Much marketing happens during the course of other activities in the life of your local community. Attending and participating in community events is one of the most important ways to gain a public relations advantage for your travel agency. Wherever people gather, you have a quiet and subtle opportunity to introduce them to your travel company, to promote your own unique brand of travel consulting and to further integrate your business into the life of your community. Authentic marketing is keyed to your personality and community events offer an excellent opportunity to put your talents and personality on display for both existing and potential clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Plan Your Next Trip with SITA World Tours

With over 80 years of industry experience, SITA World Tours has built an excellent reputation in the world of luxury travel as the preferred Tour Operator for exotic destinations. By partnering with travel agents and offering customized opportunities, SITA has delivered the comprehensive services and values that luxury travelers appreciate. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

When we craft a public relations campaign, we weave together networking, public speaking, media relations and publication. While each of these activities are separate disciplines in their own right, they have something in common – the are vehicles driven by your personality. In each instance, you power both the message and the delivery. For better or worse, your travel practice will walk and talk like you do. If that is truly the case, it is important for us to choose carefully the persona we project. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Thankful for cruising

I have found that Thanksgiving is a perfect time to spend some time reflecting on all the things for which I have to be thankful. I always start with the fact that I am still enjoying good health. This has become even more important now that I am in my early 70s. Then I reflect on how wonderful it was that I have such a great lady in my life–someone that enjoys cruising as much as I do. This also seems more important now that we have more time to get away on cruises. I still find a way to justify my cruises as part of my continuing travel education, as I can come back and share my experiences with the travel agents that use my agent mentoring program. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Discover Mumbai with TransAm Travel

Previously known as Bombay, Mumbai is the commercial capital of India and the most eclectic and cosmopolitan city in the region. Over the years, Mumbai has transformed itself into a thriving, diverse metropolis capturing the many faces that make up today’s India. The old coupled with the dynamic new are reflected throughout the city, yet, the heart of Mumbai remains immersed in Indian customs, values, and traditions.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Most successful business people will humbly admit that luck had a great deal to do with their success. However, those same business people are just as likely to tell you that they were exceptionally prepared for luck to happen. Smart travel agents train themselves to spot opportunities and recognize that marketing is a continual exercise in awareness. It is a part of the “marketing mindset” to know when opportunity is presenting itself.

I spoke to a travel agent once who was preparing to escort a cruise group of piano enthusiasts. I asked him how he had managed to put together such an unusual group. The agent, I’ll call him “William”, said that the group resulted from a chance conversation he had with the publisher of a piano magazine. They were both at breakfast in a hotel and William struck up a conversation with a stranger. The publisher said this, William said that, and soon a cruise group was forming.

That William is one lucky guy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

We have all heard that “It’s who you know that counts.” While that aphorism is certainly not the whole of marketing, your range of acquaintances is very important to your public relations efforts. After all, the term “public relations” itself indicates a relationship with the public! Having a large network of people that you can reach out and communicate with on any given project is a potent arrow in your quiver. It’s a good idea to begin cultivating some new relationships and renewing some old ones. Read the rest of this entry »