Monthly Archives: July 2016

Straight From The Mike: Why Not?



In message five this week, I wanted to toss my two-bits into the mix.

Advertising has been enormously affected by the introduction of the Internet over the years. With much of the world going digital, print ads, direct mail, and even television advertising has been altered significantly.

With the ease of digital communication (a push of a button), the volume of information has become almost intolerable. The “noise factor” has grown exponentially and SPAM coupled to the DELETE BUTTON is the calling of the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Caribbean Comeback?

Susan Schaefer

Not too long ago, the mass market cruise lines were reducing their inventory in the Caribbean.  The economy was struggling, demand was down, and inventory was saturated so ships were deployed to other regions.  The question is, has this turned around?

Recently, Celebrity Cruise Line announced that the they are redeploying the Celebrity Equinox to sail the Caribbean next summer.  Add in all the other cruise lines deploying ships to the Caribbean next summer, and we have 20 or more ships in the region.  Approximately half of those ships belong to Carnival Cruises alone.  With cruise lines aggressively increasing inventory in the region, this can be interpreted as their belief that demand will be rising to meet the increased inventory. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

contributed by Aaron Saunders

Chalk up a big win for Viking Ocean Cruises. After little more than a year in service, the oceangoing arm of Viking River Cruises has been nominated by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine as the #1 Ocean Cruise Line in the world.

That’s a big deal in and of itself – but the bigger story is that Viking managed to snap the award from luxury line Crystal Cruises, which has previously won this prestigious recognition for the past 20 years in a row. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

Is it really about price?

Lance Armstrong wrote a best-selling book a few years back before he finally admitted to cheating, called “It’s Not About the Bike!” By now virtually everyone knows the story of Lance Armstrong, but the title made me think about a situation we all encounter on a regular basis as salespeople.

How often do you get this call or email? “Can you give me your best price on XYZ Tour?” Okay, you do a little research and send them a price. You never hear from them again. You send a couple of follow up emails or phone calls with no response. You just got sucked in by the oldest of all prospects – the price shopper! You probably wasted a half hour or so, got your hopes up, only to have them dashed. It’s kind of like when we were in high school and the girl or guy you liked wouldn’t return your calls. You didn’t give them a reason to want to call you back (well, in high school it was probably a little more complicated.) Read the rest of this entry »

“Research. Love it or hate it.”

The Little Blue Book of Advertising by Steve Lance and Jeff Woll, page 81

In a recent article I suggested the wisdom of doing one’s homework in the form of due diligence when trying “enter the conversation they are already having with themselves.” This procedure can also be placed in the category of Market Research.

I know what you’re thinking: This is beginning to sound academic and complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. To position your thinking properly, I want you to start thinking more like a detective trying to crack another interesting case. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

How popular are you?

Remember back in high school all the cool kids hung together and the rest of us… well, we were in awe.

Now that social marketing is part of our business lives, being popular socially takes on a life of its own. While gathering fans is important, it’s more important that your fans LOVE you and want to be a part of your conversations.

Firing up clients and potential new clients to seek out your social sites and then engage with you can be a challenge. Here 9 hot and savvy ways to let people know where to find you socially and why they need to join your conversations. We’ll start at a novice level and move into more advance and socially savvy tactics. Read the rest of this entry »

“Buyers are selfish with their time, attention, and powers of memory. You need to satisfy them. You need to appeal to them with benefits that are of interest to them.”

The Little Blue Book of Advertising by Steve Lance and Jeff Woll, page 94

In a nutshell, I suppose this is the old “Features vs Benefits” discussion.

Finding out that your business is more difficult than you ever imagined often leads to looking inward by beginning to doubt your qualifications. Don’t panic. This is both a human and fully expected response. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Exceptional Emerald Value

Now in our third year of serving guests and sailing the rivers of Europe, we are delighted to have earned our second award from the Editor’s of Cruise Critic, ‘Best River Line for Value’. This was a great follow-up to the 2014 award for ‘Best New River Ship’, also from the Editor’s of Cruise Critic. Our ships have been praised for their innovative highlights and modern approach to river cruising; something we believe really sets us apart.

Emerald Waterways’ river cruises are deluxe, all-inclusive vacations. Pricing covers airport transfers to and from the ship, complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, all tips for shore side and onboard staff, complimentary Wi-Fi, a shore excursion each day, bicycles, and complimentary tea and coffee available 24 hours a day. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Your supplier representative has co-op dollars to invest. They are particularly partial to investing in group opportunities. Their money cuts your marketing budget in half (or allows you to do two times the effort). Every marketing dollar NOT spent out of your pocket drops to your bottom line.

However, co-op money is limited. As a former rep and rep manager, the money goes to the best group opportunities as presented in your co-op proposal. Straight out of group boot camp, here are 10 (of 20) ways: Read the rest of this entry »

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

The Little Blue Book of Advertising by Steve Lance and Jeff Woll, page 77

This reminder has been tossed around for ages. It holds true in just about everything worth doing. The reason it is so pertinent today has everything to do with the pace of our daily activities coupled with the enormity of our “to-do” list and our “should-have-done” list.

In an attempt to highlight the importance of this practice (but only if you are planning to become a success in the travel business), I will lay out a simple action plan for you to follow. Read the rest of this entry »

In the first two quarters of the year, we had a good wave of bookings for London—both groups and individuals. With many of our suppliers invoicing us in GBP, we naturally also maintain a GBP currency account.  But with the sudden drop of the GBP due to the recent Brexit vote, we did get hit with exchange rate losses. To offset this, and since no one knows what’s going to happen next, our immediate solution will be to sell, sell, sell London. Read the rest of this entry »

“Keep your employees in the dark and feed them sh*t.”

The Little Blue Book of Advertising by Steve Lance and Jeff Woll, page 47

These are not my words. This is a direct quote taken from page 47. But I hope it has you reflecting on how you involve your employees when it comes to running your business.

In most cases, employees tell me that they are left in the dark more often than not. One of two things is the root cause for this behavior, according to me. Either the owner has very low esteem and poor self-confidence, or they hire the wrong employee in the first place without proper training or guidance. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

I have written it before, but it bears repeating again, and again, and again: Email works! Point blank—if you do not have an email marketing program, get one! It will be one of the best investments you will make for your business. It does not matter if it is AWeber, Constant Contact, Emma, MailChimp, Marketing 360, or even the one offered by Go Daddy. Just get one. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Seven Seas Explorer Photo Gallery

This story originally appeared in Cruise Week by Ralph Grizzle

When coming up with the design of what is being billed as the “most luxurious ship ever built,” Frank Del Rio gave designers only a single image to work with. It was of a corridor in a luxury hotel.

“I leaf through a lot of magazines,” the President/CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings told reporters on Regent’s pre-inaugural sailing, “and I happened to come across this image. At the moment in time, I said, ‘You know, that’s what I want.’”

The hotel corridor was classic, with what appears to be marble floors, white walls, and chair railing, columns, and a couple of modest chandeliers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Pokemon GO or NO?

Susan SchaeferPokemon GO hasn’t been out for very long, but it’s already the best-selling game ever, and it’s taken the app world by storm. Of course, the question arose almost immediately; can Pokemon GO be played onboard cruise ships? So far the answer is pretty much “no.” But that’s not going to stop people from playing this addictive game wherever they can, like in cruise terminals before they board and in ports of call. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

“Shared thinking is stronger than solo thinking.”

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell, page 95

You are undoubtedly familiar with the phrase “two heads are better than one.” This is today’s message.

More and more people are following their dream of starting their own business and becoming their own boss. Although this sounds like an admirable achievement, it soon become evident that you bit off quite a mouthful. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Be empowered, be free!

To empower is “to have the authority or power to do something” and also “to make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.” That one word really carries a lot of weight! Empowerment can come from yourself, your boss, and even your client when they give you the authority to make travel related decisions on their behalf. To be empowered is to be confident! As you can see empowerment could come from others, but most importantly it must come from yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

“People who embrace possibility thinking are capable of accomplishing tasks that seem impossible because they believe in solutions.”

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell, page 60

That’s not possible. That has never been done before. We don’t do it that way. The risk is too big. The return is too small. We are not talented enough. We are not smart enough. We don’t have enough money to pull this off.

It’s a good thing the Wright brothers didn’t think like this. It’s a good thing that Charles Lindberg didn’t think like this. It’s especially good that Columbus didn’t think like this. Read the rest of this entry »

How Successful People Think: Fail Forward

“Cement your learning through action.”

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell, page 78

Talk is cheap, and lip service is exactly that. The majority of people talk a good game. The proof is in the pudding.

I’ll throw in one more phrase that might hit a tender nerve, and that is: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Read the rest of this entry »