Monthly Archives: January 2015

Honeymoons Designed – from CPA to travel

A big “hello” from Tulsa, Oklahoma – where it is currently colder than it should be, and farther from the tropics than I would like it to be.

First I’d like to say that I am honored to be writing for the TRO Travel Agent Diaries. I am in great company and hope to live up to my current and past colleagues!

Before I go into “my innermost travel life” details, let me start by providing a background of where I started, and it has nothing to do with travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Attitude Adjustment: Part Six

Don’t Focus On Negatives

It’s only human to focus on negatives. Heaven knows there are enough negative things going on in this world to provide plenty of opportunities to succumb to the Dark Side. There isn’t much you can do to change this fact or influence other people’s behavior. You can, however, decide to change your response to the world’s stimuli. You absolutely do not have to follow the pack and become a negative person. Being positive is an option. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

This past weekend, I took a road-trip to North Carolina to drop my daughter off at college; she was a mid-year transfer so things were a bit different than a fall start to the school year. While in the end, it all worked out (it always does), the process was infuriatingly confusing and unclear. As I tried to navigate through two days of orientation, I was thinking if the processes I had in place in my travel business were clear to my clients? Or were they experiencing a similar state of frustration dealing with me? Throughout the weekend I drew a lot of parallels to my travel practice and booking travel in general.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – January 9, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Do Not Underestimate Your Prospect’s Intelligence

A counter-productive (popular) attitude is underestimating the prospect’s intelligence. I suppose doing this can sometimes soften the blow of “rejection”. After all, the guy who just turned down your supremely perfect proposal must be a dummy, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

After more than two decades in this business, it’s time that I hosted my own trip. After all, I have met thousands of people on hundreds of ships and trips, and I’ve been a good traveling companion to all, so I am told. I can’t imagine that I will have much trouble finding 22 others to travel with me again on a beautiful canal voyage in Provence beginning on June 19, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Susan SchafferIt’s not your imagination. Making a decent living selling mass market cruises has become more challenging over the years. I just finished booking a good client on an upcoming cruise. The commission? A whopping $34.00 total. When pressed about non-commissionable cruise fares, most cruise line executives answer, “sell more.” Vicki Freed recently commented similarly in an interview with TRO. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

I hear it all the time. Agents complaining about having to arrange experiences to enhance their client’s adventures that do not produce revenue–taxis, transfers, reservations, etc. Now while we are ultimately in this to make money and earn a living, and not a charity or an information service; we need to realize that to stand out above the OTAs and mega-sites that not all the services we are able to provide, will earn us money. It is just the way it is. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Attitude Adjustment: Part Four

Not Seeking Success For Your Clients

If you want to get to the top of the sales profession, you have to focus on helping others and stop focusing on “selling”. When you try to sell, it comes off as just that, and no one likes to be “sold” to. But when you’re legitimately, openly, and sincerely interested in helping people, you will have their undivided attention and, eventually, access to their check book. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Attitude Adjustment: Part Three

Take Responsibility of Your Attitude and Your Future

If you don’t make it happen, chances are nobody will. You must make it your business to grow your business. Not assuming responsibility for what happens in your career, week, day or sales call is a mistake. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Not so long ago, at an industry event where I was about to speak, I was sitting at a table full of travel agents.  As often happens, the subject of “the good old days” came up.  I joined in with four fellow long-timers to share almost mythical stories of happy flight attendants, tasty airline meals, free FAM trips, agent upgrades,  and rock-solid commission structures.  One tablemate said with a sigh “I sure miss the way things used to be.”

After about twenty minutes of listening politely, a relative newcomer to the industry had had enough.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Attitude Adjustment: Part Two

You can’t change the world, but you can change YOUR world.

Your job is to light a fire under your own backside and make certain that you don’t come across looking like you are marketing time between now and hereafter. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

A diverse region filled with incredible remnants of a historical and ancient civilization, the Republic of Peru reflects beauty not only in landscape, but in culture, as well. Discover the many sounds, colors, and tastes that make up Peru and explore what this rich society has to offer with Marnella Tours.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

LeeAnn Roper Cumbow’s career within the world of travel began in 1992 with Northwest Airlink as one of their flight attendants. In 1997, she shifted gears and launched her career with Vacation Express as one of their travel agents. She immediately caught the attention of Vacation Express executives, and in 1998, Cumbow became their Business Development Manager for Memphis.
Read the rest of this entry »

So, I was approached with the idea of doing this monthly column “detailing the struggles and successes of running a travel agency” and thought…why not? But before getting in to the day-by-day and week-by-week, I wanted to start with “How did I end up here?” I don’t yet know who the other contributors will be, or their stories. I assume it will be a cross-section of the industry, with home-based and brick and mortar, long standing and newcomer, etc., represented. 

I am the new guy. And the “home-based” guy. Although I don’t particularly care for that term, as I don’t think it reflects how I (and my IC’s) do business. We don’t sit at home in front of a computer and a landline. Thanks to technology, we can do business with anyone, anywhere, from a smart phone. I can conduct business at home, while grocery shopping or Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Attitude Adjustment: Part One

Happy New Year, and let’s get ready to make 2015 the best year of your life!

My name is Mike Marchev, and I will be providing your daily “whack-in-the-head” for the next 12 months with one, and only one, objective in  mind. Some of my messages will be longer than others. Some will be quick and simple. They will involve sales, marketing, customer service, motivation, and at times, daily observations. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

It’s a new year! Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions? What were they? Can you tell I am full of exuberance? Or perhaps it is just one too many cups of coffee as Travel Research Online kicks off 2015! No it is legitimate excitement that each year brings. I am a believer in setting goals for yourself, both personally and professionally. But I also believe that any goals need to be attainable.

Sure, I’d love to personally sell $10 million in travel this year. I’d also like to cash that commission/fee check. But that is unreasonable. Read the rest of this entry »