Monthly Archives: September 2015

Posted In: Editorial Musings


Babies are, well, crybabies. They cry at the drop of a hat. But as they grow, the crying becomes more infrequent and they in turn become self-reliant.  When they are teens, they know it all—just ask one!  Over the years, I have played the “macho” card and made the false assumption that I knew it all and could do it all on my own without any help.  I could not have been more wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – September 18, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: Deck Plans

En Route To Kangerlussuaq — Boating among chockablock icebergs in Ilulissat yesterday was a breathtaking experience. Although we spent only a couple of hours in the presence of the towering cathedrals of ice, those 120 minutes were among the most moving on a trip that had touched my son and I in so many ways.

In only a week’s time, we had stood beneath magnificent waterfalls, did a rigorous trek to Santa’s Castle (who knew it was in Greenland?), tramped the grounds where ancient cultures had lived, and gazed upon a cliff where eight well-preserved mummies were found. We met local people and learned something of their lives up above the Arctic Circle. Greenland and the Arctic certainly have the power to stir souls. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Susan SchafferThis is an idea that I recently ran across and wanted to share. Of course it doesn’t have to be limited to cruises, but the cruise product is probably one of the easier fits. The promotion is called a “conditional refund” promotion: think of it as a hole-in-one promotion on steroids. In otherwords, a promotion that can generate actual sales. Let’s face it, hole-in-one promotions are more about getting your name out there, but they don’t typically generate a lot of sales (but if you get one or two cruise bookings from it, you’re doing well). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

The Rule of 7 comes to mind whenever I talk about “persistence.” The Rule of 7 states: To make an impact in a strangers mind, you must contact them a minimum of seven times in each 18-month period. Most people quit or give up after the first rejection. A majority of those remaining quit after try #2. Seven contacts is the secret. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

A simple act of gratitude

Recently while in the bookstore perusing the bargain section, a book called “A Simple Act of Gratitude” caught my eye.  It had the tag line “How learning to say thank you changed my life”; I became very curious about the story behind that. So I purchased this book by John Kralik and read it all in a day!  Although not a literary masterpiece, the idea is so simple yet so profound. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Mistake #4: You have no marketing plan

I don’t want you to jump ship on this one. Very few people in business today have a marketing plan. Most well-intentioned folks have a “wing-it” plan. They have a “we try harder” plan. They have an “I’m a nice person so I deserve success” plan, and they all call them Marketing Plans. No such luck! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Book Premium Flights With AccessFares

After more than twenty years in business, AccessFares grew to become the industry leader in premium air travel.  AccessFares provides an unprecedented inventory of published and unpublished international flights in first, business, and premium economy, meaning that you the agent can offer your clients more for less.  Agents will be thrilled to know that AccessFares’ prices are discounted up to 70% and offers highly coveted, hard-to-find unpublished airfares at significantly discounted pricing, letting you determine your own markup. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Most customers are getting tired of hearing companies chant the “CUSTOMER SERVICE MANTRA.” Based on my experiences in the marketplace, chances are pretty good that most companies are full of baloney.

There are a great number of organizations out there who still don’t know how to spell customer service, no less how to deliver it on a regular and consistent basis. TOO MANY! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Be visible… always

Several years ago, Macy’s closed a number of stores for declining profits. This came as no surprise (retail is tough), but the fact that a major department store with a long and storied history in my neighborhood was potentially closing… that was big news indeed.

Why? Because I didn’t even know it still existed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Mistake #2: You don’t know why your customers buy

Let’s use an example to “drive” this point home.

If I asked you what attributes you look for when shopping for an automobile, you would give me your buying criteria on the matter. These are your personal feelings as they relate to you – specifically. If I asked someone else what it is they look for when they shop for a car, chances are they would give me an entirely new set of “needs.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

A celebrated destination for any wine enthusiast, Bordeaux has undergone significant changes since the turn of the 21st century. Once known as “La Belle au Boise Dormant” (or Sleeping Beauty), the city adopted more pedestrian-friendly streets, a modern public transportation system, and a restoration of its classical architecture. The entirety of the Bordeaux region enchants and charms visitors year after year Read the rest of this entry »

Well, things went pretty much as predicted last month and by the time I got on a plane for my Mexico City FAM, I was exhausted. But I had a good chunk of the rest of my year all lined up. So, that made me feel better.

Mexico was awesome… but exhausting. The highlight of the trip was a sunrise balloon flight over Teotihuacan, a pyramid complex so old no one really knows who built it. It had been abandoned for centuries when the Aztecs first discovered it.

Mexico City itself was awesome: The history. The traffic. The culture. The traffic. The food. The traffic. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Mistake #1: You don’t know to whom you are marketing

For the next three weeks I am going to remind you of 15 Marketing Mistakes you need to eliminate from your daily program. I will highlight one each day to give you ample time to focus, reflect, and think about how you can avoid making these mistakes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

New customers are not the path to success in the travel business.


Well, of course we all need some customers, but do not build your business plan solely around getting new ones. Instead, focus on retaining your old ones with repeat business. With satisfied repeat clients, you will have mini evangelists for your business all over the globe. So what are some tips for creating that satisfaction besides just sending them on a trip that went well? Here are a few suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Open Jaw – September 11, 2015

Courtesy of Open Jaw and Sean Kapitain

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This “trigger” is more obvious than it sounds. Perhaps the best way to explain the effectiveness of social proof is, again, by example. I will use a restaurant and a gas pump to clarify the meaning behind this trigger.

While traveling in Greece with my wife who was attending a business meeting in Athens, I found myself chaperoning Barbara and a few of her associates on a last-minute shopping spree. Much to my dismay, we ended up in a jewelry shop sampling the trinkets like kids in a candy store.

Before exiting the shop, I asked the proprietor if he knew of a restaurant in the area where we could grab a light bite to eat before taking a cab back to the meeting site. As he was about to close the shop for the day, he smiled and said “As a matter of fact, I do. Follow me.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

As the saying goes, there’s a first time for everything. But choosing your first cruise can be a daunting and intimidating task simply because of the number of options that there are out there. Here we look at five of our favorite destinations for first-time cruisers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Mental Trigger #7: Scarcity

Why is it that we seem to always want what we don’t have? I found this to be true years ago when a dance club in New York City became the “in” thing. Studio 54 had a reputation to be extremely difficult to gain entry, if not down right impossible.

The fact that it was so hard to get in only made it more intriguing. (I tried on numerous occasions to “bust a few moves on the Studio 54 dance floor” but never managed the secret to gaining entry.) I remained “outside the ropes.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

“How do I get more fans on my Facebook page?” is probably one of the questions I hear from travel professionals most often. Of course the easy answer is “with Facebook ads”, but not every agent is ready to take that leap yet, and even if they are using paid advertising, everyone appreciates some free options as well.

There are countless ways to grow your Facebook fan page, but I have three favorites that are easy to implement and can start working for you right away. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

For the 10 years that I have been a luxury travel planner, customizing vacations for high-end clients to every corner of the globe, I’ve never had the guts to use the word “vacation” in my own “Out of Office” automated email response. As the business owner and Chief Decision Maker, it just didn’t feel right to me that I should take a vacation from vacation planning. Read the rest of this entry »