Monthly Archives: July 2015

Posted In: Deck Plans

In progress: Two Live Voyage Reports, one from Ralph Grizzle traveling from Prague to Vienna, with seven days on Tauck’s ms Savor and the other from Aaron Saunders on a 15-day journey from Amsterdam to Budapest on Viking’s Vidar (with interruptions and changes along the way). 

Some news today. We would not be going to Regensburg as planned. Following our morning tour of Prague and lunch, we were supposed to board motorcoaches at 1:30 p.m. for our transfer to Regensburg, a little less than four hours away. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

We all know what a professional looks like; but what about an unprofessional? You know, someone who arrives late, dresses inappropriately, talks more than they listen, snaps their gum and are basically disagreeable.

Is there more? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

What Was The Last Non-Fiction Book You Read?

I was 35 when I took up reading as a full-time hobby. After managing to “squeeze” a degree out of UMASS in 1971, I gave up reading for a few years: many students do. Little did I know I was retarding my growth exponentially at the time. But having successfully juggled studies with two collegiate sports for four years, I figured I had read enough for a while. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Downtown Travel, one of the largest air consolidators serving the U.S. travel market, announced today the launch of its new leisure travel brand: “Holidays With Downtown.” The brand is backed by the strength, time-honored success, and industry expertise of Downtown Travel, a leader in travel for nearly three decades and the first major air consolidation company to launch a comprehensive leisure travel arm. The aim of Holidays With Downtown is to present the highest quality and value for travelers via a complete range of experiential escorted touring programs, locally hosted itineraries, and flexible city stay packages throughout Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

What Are You Waiting For?

Today. Now. This minute. Pick up your pen, grab a clean sheet of paper (or sit your bad self down in front of your computer) and write that letter you have been talking about for the last six months. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Give ‘Em A Call!

I recently finished the fourth book written by a guy named Harry Beckwith. I enjoy this man’s writing style and I easily “connect” with his messages.

His four books include: Selling The Invisible, What Customers Love, The Invisible Touch, and You, Inc. They are all good, easy-to-read, and are written around short, message-bearing vignettes with a bold, one sentence sum-up message at the conclusion of each story. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Turkey is truly a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures. Positioned between the Middle East and Southeastern Europe and bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the region was conquered down through the years by  various empires  including the Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans. Modern-day Turkey was established in 1923 from the wreckage of the fallen Ottoman Empire, and joined the United Nations at its founding in 1945. Today Turkey’s warm and inviting people welcome visitors to its beaches, mountains, historical sites, and all of the other attractions the country has to offer.
Read the rest of this entry »

Card mills are cyclical. They come and they go. High season always seems to bring them out of the woodwork. The bargain-hunters. The something-for-nothing crowd. And the card mills that love them.

My colleagues and I have been seeing one “agency” in particular, and have been delighting in taking apart their online ads. While it looks gorgeous from the outside – free travel, piles of money for practically zero effort – pretty much every legitimate travel agent sees these ads and rolls their eyes at the inaccuracy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

What Travel Agencies Can Learn From Starbucks

No doubt, you have a local coffee shop that you absolutely love and that serves better coffee than Starbucks; and I know, friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks. I get it. Starbucks is a mega-chain, an 800-pound gorilla masquerading as a quaint neighborhood establishment. There is a lot of truth in that, except for one thing: Starbucks manages to be both a national chain and yet, at the same time, very local. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Incentives Work

Incentives work. Here are two examples I happened across in just the last two weeks, tied to an opportunity that may prove right up your alley.

I heard from a group of Tractor Dealers that an incentive worked wonders for those who saw the benefit of parting with a little cash. Yes, it appears that money still manages to get some people’s attention. How does that old saw go? “You have to spend a little money to make a lot of money.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

ted sykesTed Sykes joined American Queen Steamboat Company as President and COO in December 2012 with over 20 years of experience in the travel industry. Prior to joining American Queen Steamboat Company, Sykes served as CEO of eWaterways, an online aggregator of small-ship cruises. He also served as President and CFO of Viking, the largest river cruise operator in the world. He has been COO and CFO of The Vantage Group, a Boston-based seller of travel and operator of European river boats. Serving as CEO from conception through full operation, Sykes moved to England and launched Saga Groups entry into deep sea cruising. Prior to the launch of Saga Cruises, Sykes served as both CFO and Managing Director of Royal Cruise Line in San Francisco, operating four cruise vessels in the premium sector with a combined 2,500 beds. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Very often we forget to be nice. I am as guilty as you are. Last week, a woman spilled a cup of coffee in Starbucks and approached the counter and demanded a new cup—as if it were some force that Starbucks put on her to make her drop her coffee. She was not nice about it. But Starbucks being Starbucks gladly replaced her coffee, apologized for the problem, and cleaned up the mess. The customer walked out happy, and Starbucks put another notch in their customer service “headboard.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – July 17, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

A few years back I had the sincere pleasure of speaking to a room full of tractor distributors in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina. This was an audience of t-shirted, baseball-capped, suspender-equipped, gum-chewing ladies and gentlemen who also, like you, had an intense interest in learning how to “eat regularly.”

Prior to my chance to wax eloquent, I sat back in the audience taking copious notes learning what was important to this particular group so I could hit a home run when it was my turn to speak. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Wanna meet up? Why not Greenland? I’m headed there August 27, 2015 for a seven-day expedition on Silver Explorer. This is the perfect trip to couple with a longer Baltic itinerary roundtrip to Copenhagen. That’s because flying from the Danish capital is the easiest way to get to and from Greenland. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Hello Cuba! (Sort of)

Susan SchafferIn the U.S. there is a definite buzz in the air about the prospect of being able to travel to Cuba. Our non-U.S. readers may not understand the anticipation that is mounting here, but because of travel restrictions and embargoes dating back to the 1960s, travel to Cuba from the U.S. has been verboten. For some of us that are “too young,” we can’t remember a time when traveling to Cuba was even an option.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

It’s been one year since I moved from being a home based agency owner to an employee of a brick and mortar agency. And, looking back on my decision a year later, I wouldn’t change a thing.

At some point you wake up and ask yourself “am I where I want to be? Am I doing what I want to be doing? Am I still passionate about my job?” The short answer to those questions is “Not really.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Have You Ever Been “Nailed”?

As many of you know, I may fall under the classification as a certified book junkie. Ever since I turned 35, I became a bookstore’s favorite visitor.

My bookshelf is jammed with volume after volume of sales and marketing texts, all underlined and dog-eared. I write notes on each page and jot the page numbers down on the back cover. There is no way I could ever resell my books. I rip pages out, ear-mark others, and destroy the book in general. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This is not bad news. This is good news.

What gives marketing a bad rap is the notion that it is somehow manipulative. Nothing could be further from the truth if you approach marketing my way. And as far as I am concerned, my way is the right way. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

New Zealand: home of the kiwi (bird), lush and unspoiled nature, and the setting for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. New Zealand has slowly been stepping into the media limelight for its natural beauty, and that beauty shines brightest in Queenstown. If you love the outdoors and soaking in the tranquil majesty of turquoise lakes and soaring mountain peaks, then Queenstown is your next stop on your itinerary!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

I never thought I would be saying this!

Much has happened since we last spoke: My Scottish friends have come to America for the twelfth year in a row, and have returned to their wet yet beautiful weather. My wife has had another birthday, and I have ridden a zip line high over the beach in the Caribbean. Read the rest of this entry »