Posted In: Editorial Musings
At a certain point in your career, you think you have seen it all. Even more dangerously, you might even think you know it all. This past weekend, I made what I now know was a complete rookie mistake and one that will have me revisiting all of my policies with a clear eye.
I have been lucky in my nearly 20 years in the industry. I have had very few clients have a need to make a claim against their travel insurance policy. I have had none make a claim against my agency or our Errors & Omissions policy. I thought I covered my bases until this weekend when a client ended up in the hospital with a punctured lung after falling from a horse. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
I had my doubts about Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas. I really did. When someone promises they’re going to serve the moon up to you on a platter – even if it’s one of the most successful cruise lines on the planet – I tend to be skeptical. And there were promises aplenty: ten-minute check-in. The fastest internet at sea. Revolutionary new amenities. Plugged-in components. Read the rest of this entry »
You know the type: they ask a thousand questions, take up your valuable time – and then disappear. The time waster never actually works with you, but is always willing to take plenty of free advice. I watch travel agents struggle with this type of individual continually. How do you control a time waster? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Soundings
I just returned from Cruise World 2014 in Ft Lauderdale, so ship inspections are fresh on my mind. After comparing notes with other agents who inspected other ships, the question came up: Are these ship inspections really worth our time? And the answer is: It really depends. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Departures
With so many nicknames, like “Daughter of the Baltic” and “miniature St. Petersburg”, it is hard to imagine one place could account for such a variety of traits and characteristics. Founded in 1550, Helsinki, Finland has developed into a thriving modern city and a major European destination, offering tourists rich history, a variety of culture, and beautiful landscapes. Read the rest of this entry »
Each day, this column describes a marketing tip designed to assist travel professionals in building their practice. There are dozens of books written on marketing, sales and positive thinking. There is no shortage of consultants and advice. But much of what needs to be said about marketing boils down to a few simple truths. Marketing, to be effective has to be three things: authentic, intentional and consistent. When put into practice, marketing must be constant, part of a mindset always looking for opportunity. It’s easy, however, to lay marketing aside and to begin acting in a less than intentional, less than consistent mode. Sporadic bursts of marketing effort, however, simply are not as effective as long-term, consistently applied campaigns. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Supplier Profile
Travelades, Inc. has been serving the travel agent community since 1978, offering a diversified array of forms, itineraries, ticket envelopes, document envelopes, and luggage tags to meet all of your client’s needs. The many changes in a ever-changing and fast-paced travel industry led to the founding of Travelades, and since 1980, the company has been a supplier of a wide range of agency forms, such as low priced invoices, standard or half-price econo document/ ticket envelopes and a catalogue of helpful working and teaching aids . Read the rest of this entry »
Clients can spot a quiet confidence. Feeling good about your travel practice, its prospects and the job you are doing for clients shows. People rally behind the self-confident person who carries their confidence with grace. It’s easy to understand why: confidence inspires confidence. Yet, confidence must be genuine and authentic, borne of a sense that you can actually accomplish the tasks and projects you set out to do, and you can accomplish them with style.
There are a few things each of us can do to maintain the proper attitude and to generate the inner confidence we need to approach each and every day correctly. Confidence can be built. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
“If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it.” I remember hearing the phrase like it was yesterday. It was the husband of a Russian immigrant couple in Chicago. He’s a successful ER surgeon and she is a successful…you guessed it…travel agent. Their home was modest, yet beautifully furnished. The good doctor said after passing the rolls at the dinner table… Read the rest of this entry »
You know this already: Everybody is not your client. There are lots of good reasons, but the best is simply that you can’t please Everybody. You will spend a fortune trying to market to Everybody, and you won’t make a fortune in return because, well, Everybody is not your client. Be glad that Everybody is not your client. You simply cannot impress Everbody. You do, however, want Somebody, to be your client. So let’s start there. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Travel Agent Diaries
Sometimes it is frustrating that people do not understand that our work involves traveling and working; not traveling and vacationing. It happens all the time; and for me, just last month.
I went to the Feria De Turismo Cultural Mexico (Cultural Tourism Fair in Mexico) in October. It was a last minute decision, but I was so glad I got the opportunity to attend. It was my first visit to San Miguel and it was fantastic! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Outposts
With its intriguing contrast of vast, open landscapes and modern, vibrant cities, Australia offers travelers unique experiences and once-in-a-lifetime adventures from every point on the continent. Through its spectacular natural environment, rich ancient culture, and strong economy, this continent has quickly become a world treasure. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: 1:1
Joe Maloney began his career in the travel industry in the late 80s, working as a Tour Director throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe. He transitioned into travel sales and marketing in the mid-90s, and has been involved in developing sales through various channels ever since. Read the rest of this entry »
Travel is a “repeat buy.” Many clients will travel on a schedule approaching every one or two years and some much more frequently. Their repeat business is a big part of the growth and stability of your travel practice. It is important to stay ahead of such clients by anticipating their needs. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
I’m proud of what I know. I work hard to make sure I am knowledgable on topic on which I opine. Whenever I become involved in any endeavor, I really try to become as much of an expert as possible. I take the time to do extra research. I ask for opinions from other experts. I learn from my mistakes and I am very willing to share my knowledge with others. Sometimes I am a fast learner and other times … well, not so much!
We hang our shingle (or our URL) out as a travel professional. We explain what we do ad-nauseum. We network. We travel. We read. We research. We surf the web. We attend training. We listen to webinars. We speak with suppliers. We build relationships. All of this makes us what we are-professionals! We are experts in our field. So why are there clients and prospects that always seem to question our expertise? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
I have been fired. Have you? If so, you know that beyond the immediate shock and pain comes a certain amount of relief. You get to start over. In a new environment you can start over, put on your best face and work at a new level of competence and energy. Have you ever fired anyone? It’s not easy. Firing a person does damage. But typically, firing an employee causes everyone to re-evaluate their position, the levels of performance required and the need to demand the best of every employee and position. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Soundings
According to Meriam Webster, one definition of commodity is “a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price.” Years ago, travel professionals saw air flights slowly slide into the realm of becoming a commodity. As the airline profit margins shrank, the airline companies began to react by cutting costs wherever they could, including travel agent commissions, meal service on domestic flights, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
How well do you know your competition? This week we have discussed the need to properly position your travel agency in the market, largely by defining the characteristics that set it apart. Each travel agency should seek to find some unique selling point that will convince clients to do business with them over all others. However, without some subtle market research you face the possibility of not knowing how to position your agency versus your competition. If your travel agency and the one down the street are both stressing your expertise in Costa Rica as your unique selling point, or if you both offer “excellent customer service” then your selling points are not unique! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Agent Perspectives
If you’ve been in business any length of time, you’ve probably heard a lot of people talking about “branding,” what it is, and how to do it. You’ve heard it from everyone else, so you might as well listen to my take on the whole branding thing as well.
First off, some definitions. ADVERTISING is when you put the word out through broadcast, print or social media; about a specific product with a “call to action” included. MARKETING is more generally putting it out there about the range of products and services you offer. PUBLIC RELATIONS is letting people know what you do outside of actually booking travel, generally through interviews, articles, press releases and that sort of thing. Read the rest of this entry »