Monthly Archives: April 2016

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Fravel Travel was founded by Katie Fravel in 2013, who spent years in the travel industry specializing in Ireland. The next clear step for Ms. Fravel was to build her own company, providing custom itineraries to Ireland. In 2014, she added Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to the list of itineraries provided by Fravel Travel. While at first glance these destinations may not seem to have a lot in common, each of these destinations are known for their gorgeous natural scenery and outdoor activities. Fravel Travel has always catered to travel agents and will continue to do so, offering the option for net rates or for agents to name their commission to be built into the rate. Read the rest of this entry »

Cast; Setting: Process.

Be Our Guest: Perfecting The Art of Customer Service – by the Disney Institute & Theodore Kinni, page 66

The key to Disney’s success has much to do with these three words.

Cast: You must have the right people. They must all be singing from the same song sheet and they must all be highly customer focused. Your cast must be “coachable” and not afraid of failing at times. They must exhibit a sense of humor (to some degree) and it will help if they understand how lucky they are working in an industry like travel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

I’d like to ask you a simple question, business owner to business owner. If you decided to host a surprise birthday party for your best friend, and you knew she was a very popular gal so there were going to be at least 50 people there, would you wait until the day of the party and all 50 people had arrived before you purchased the food, beverages, and other party supplies? Read the rest of this entry »

“Hire the best people to make it happen, and bump the lamp.”

Be Our Guest: Perfecting The Art of Customer Service – by the Disney Institute & Theodore Kinni, page 28

I have noticed over the years that due to the nature of your work that when it comes time to filling the void left by a former employee, the knee-jerk response is to “fill the seat” and get on with business. Another tendency is to look for someone with direct travel experience. This is definitely one huge mistake, and in all probability, two huge mistakes. Read the rest of this entry »

The life of a travel agent is nothing as glamorous as others may think. The past few weeks have been challenging to say the least. I say this because technology is attempting to replace the travel agent—again. I’ve received calls from potential clients requesting quotes only to compare them to what they have found on the internet.

I have been interacting with honeymooners whose main interest is to find the best “deal”. Many like the fact that they can go online and book their entire trip with the online travel agency-which means cutting out the travel agent altogether. But instead of getting discouraged, I’ve decided it’s time to adapt to the changing market. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

As you may know, I’m currently engaged in a study of travel agency websites. Indulge me for a moment and consider the merit of my strongly held belief: consumers don’t need another place to buy travel. Consumers have an almost unlimited access to travel product. They can buy direct from suppliers, from other travel agents, from monster-sized online sites, and from organizations and clubs like AARP or Costco.

So I thought it timely to re-publish this particular article.

Travel, travel everywhere.  Read the rest of this entry »

“Quality Service means exceeding your guest’s expectations and paying attention to details.”

Be Our Guest: Perfecting The Art of Customer Service – by the Disney Institute & Theodore Kinni, page 25

An error many agents make upon entering the industry is believing they know what their clients expect from the relationship. Ask a person what their dream vacation looks like, and chances are you will get as many different replies as people you ask. What you think does not matter. Only what the client expects matters. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

I am ticked off!  Maybe it is because I am a little stressed out over work. Maybe it is the tuition bills for three kids in college. I am not sure what it is, but I have written off several local businesses in the past seven days. I will never do business with them again.  Now as I have a somewhat more clear head, I can see that their “infractions” were not that severe; but they may have become a victim of poor timing nonetheless. Usually I am incredibly forgiving. I often joke that I have a sign that only restaurant servers can read that says “ignore me.” But this week—not so much. So what happened? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

One Client at a Time

Too much marketing is an afterthought – companies launch campaigns when they need business.  The problem with this approach, of course, is the timing.  If you wait until you need business to seek it out, you are a bit late to the races.

The first quarter of 2016 is well behind us.  What better time to evaluate our progress to date?  Better now than playing catch up in August!

When business is good, many companies lay off their marketing efforts;  big mistake.  Quiet spells in marketing today inevitably equate to slow business periods in the future.  If we are to maintain a consistent flow of income, marketing must be a constant.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Here is a Flip on Tipping – I Can’t Leave a Tip

Susan SchaeferI am currently sailing on the Celebrity Equinox. We took advantage of the GO BEST promotion and got the Premium Alcohol Beverage Package, unlimited WiFi, $300 onboard credit, and prepaid gratuities. Specifically with the beverage package, I have been accustomed on previous cruises of the practice of the wait staff still bringing you a receipt, zeroed out (no balance due), but still a way for your to leave an additional tip of you liked. Read the rest of this entry »

“In a mature industry the consumer becomes the boss. They will tolerate nothing but excellence – there will be choices everywhere.”

The Nordstrom Way – by Robert Spector & Patrick D. McCarthy, page 203

Chapter 8: Customer Service The Nordstrom Way

It is true that the person carrying the wallet is sometimes referred to as the customer, or in this passage, the consumer. It is also true that the consumer has a myriad of choices today, and they can demand excellence when they feel it is time to open their wallet. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

In season one of Adventures Ashore, we feature shore activities in (or from) the following destinations. Watch all 10 videos in succession in the Youtube player below – or select a specific destination to launch the video of your choice. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

The Rebating Debate

In her book “Let Them Eat Cake”, author and luxury goods researcher Pam Danziger states, “The business of experiential luxuries remains largely one based on consumers paying full list price. Luxury travel is the only widely discounted experiential luxury where 64% of buyers got a “deal” – otherwise they expect to pay full price for luxury goods & services.”

Unfortunately, this observation can be applied to all segments of travel, not just to luxury purchases. I am a realist, and if 64% of customers claim to receive a discount or a deal on their travel, the subject that needs to be addressed objectively by the trade channel. Read the rest of this entry »

“My goal is to meet three new people a day and make one of the three a personal customer.”

The Nordstrom Way – by Robert Spector & Patrick D. McCarthy, page 185

Chapter 7: the Art of Selling

Although I am not a fan of the “selling is a numbers game” crowd, I did find myself underlining the above passage. I did so for two reasons:

If you wake up each morning and do not have a specific goal or objective for the day, chances are your days will pass you by without achievement. The word goal got my attention, and I began to think. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Enjoy Your Flight With Hong Kong Airlines

Established in 2006, Hong Kong Airlines is a full-service airline firmly rooted in Hong Kong. Ever since, Hong Kong Airlines has grown to become an internationally-acclaimed carrier with its principal place of business in Hong Kong. Recognizing the warmth of its service and the quality of its onboard offerings, Hong Kong Airlines has been awarded the highly-esteemed 4-star rating from Skytrax since 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

“Nordstrom sells nice clothes to nice people.”

The Nordstrom Way – by Robert Spector & Patrick D. McCarthy, page 137

Chapter 5: What’s Inside

Brace yourself, because before this message is over, you may find me up on my soapbox getting a little hot under the collar.

Where is it written that you have to do business with everybody? If you have taken the time and made the effort to define your ideal client, you know exactly who it is you want to do business with. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

No matter how experienced the travel agent, when it comes to marketing I seem to always get the question, “Where do I begin Meredith?” The answer I consistently give is to start with Module 1 of the Make Money Selling Travel Blueprint. While this may sound like a huge plug for my own product, it’s not. The reason why I created the MMSTB is because I found people wanted a pathway to properly marketing their businesses. Since no two businesses are alike, there is no marketing plan that will look the same. But the steps can be similar. That’s why I painstakingly put together a very clear, step-by-step path to making a customized marketing plan for any business selling travel. Read the rest of this entry »

“People will work hard when they are given the freedom to do the job the way they think it should be done.”

The Nordstrom Way – by Robert Spector & Patrick D. McCarthy, page 99

Chapter 4: The Nordstrom Culture

I am a one-man band, so when it comes to handling, managing, and motivating employees, my opinions must be weighed from whence they came. (“Whence” is a cool sounding word, but I am not certain I used it correctly in the last sentence.) If I had employees they might have corrected me. That brings to light one glaring weakness of working alone: you have nobody to correct you or improve upon your idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

The islands made famous by the observations and theories of Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands are absolutely teeming with life in both land and sea. The wildlife of these Ecuadorian islands are so accustomed to humans that they barely glance at visitors gawking and flashing pictures. The islands are a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site for their environmental importance and stunning beauty. The islands are also considered to be biosphere reserves, conserved for research and future generations to enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Once under the rule of the infamous Medici family and one of its islands the setting for one of literature’s most captivating tales of betrayal, Livorno is one of the most understated of Tuscany’s destinations. This port is more than simply a dock to weigh anchor for cruise ships, but has a mysterious charm all its own. Most will immediately embark on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but consider taking the time to explore the area’s towns and islands; you will be far from disappointed.

Read the rest of this entry »