Monthly Archives: September 2016

Posted In: Deck Plans

Adventures Ashore: Akrotiri & Chania

Today we’re in Chania, a beautiful coastal city influenced by the Ottoman conquerors mixed with the charm of Crete. We’re going to take a stroll through the old town, visit a market, and stop at a war cemetery, but first we’re going to pay tribute to a man who was one of Greece’s most important political figures.

His name is not one that easily rolls off the tongue. Elefthérios Venizélos is fondly remembered throughout Greece. While his tomb is here in Chania, his legacy spans far and wide. In fact, the international airport in Athens is named for him.

Venizélos was a prime minister of Greece on more than one occasion. A liberal, he is remembered as the “maker of modern Greece.” There’s extra benefit of coming to the final resting place of Elefthérios Venizélos. The park where he was laid to rest provides a beautiful overview of Chania and its harbor. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Nadia Ali-135Key West is described as the southernmost city giving visitors a taste of the Caribbean without even leaving the US. The tourist board even states Key West is a “unique tropical island city.” However it is defined, Key West is alluring, entertaining and peaceful all at the same time with sightseeing tours conducted on conch trains down roads lined with Colonial houses. Read the rest of this entry »

“They made mistakes like everybody else, but they were able to learn from them, let go, and move on.”

The Present by Spencer Johnson, page 52

One would think that by age 67, the vast majority of mistakes have been made and are a thing of the past; there couldn’t possibly be many left.  If only this were true!

Here is an update to the Big Two certainties in life. In addition to death and taxes, you can count on a life-long series of mistakes. The good news is that most mistakes are not life-threatening. Some are. Remain vigilant. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

A call came in from one of my favorite clients wanting a package to Maui – again!  They have been to the island countless times and have consistently stayed at the same two resorts.  Taking my roll as an “advisor” seriously, I mention perhaps exploring a different island in Hawaii or a new tropical destination.  It would be quite easy to fulfill her request and have a nice easy booking, but I really feel like there is more out there for this lovely couple to see!   Read the rest of this entry »

The Present: When Do You Light Up a Room?

“People feel more alive when being around him. In his presence they felt better about themselves.”

The Present by Spencer Johnson, page 82

There is a common belief that people have the ability to light up a room. Some people light it up upon entering, and others light it up once they leave. Which category do you fall into?

This may come as a surprise to you, but most people have enough baggage and a plethora of sad stories of their own. They are not particularly interested in listening to your problems. In fact, they have no interest whatsoever hearing how the world has made you its doormat. Read the rest of this entry »

“Studies of Olympic athletes, world-class musicians, and chess grandmasters all have the ability to motivate themselves to pursue relentless training routines.”

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Coleman, page 79

The key here as far as I am concerned is the word “motivate.” Becoming world-class at anything requires more than just a wish and a prayer. The words “training” and “practice” play important roles, as does the word “confidence”. Being the best, or even being really good, takes a focused effort. That single behavior is what differentiates the handful of greats from the watered-down rank and file. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

With the post-Brexit exchange rate holding at its lowest level since the mid ‘80s, fans of English costume dramas will be thrilled by Masterpiece Theatre’s mid-January screening of ITV’s ‘Victoria,’ while Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary will encourage more ‘On Location’ interest in some of their earlier productions.

Staying with the literary theme but blending together David Hockney, Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth, James Herriot, and JMW Turner with the ongoing Bronte 200, celebrations programs opens up new opportunities for more creative tours in England’s North Country. Read the rest of this entry »

Emotional Intelligence: Keep Calm and Be Professional

“Benjamin Franklin said it best: ‘Anger is never without a reason, but seldom good one.’”

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Coleman, page 59

Heaven knows there is plenty to be angry about these days.  Just pick up the morning paper or browse your news feeds, and you will be “loaded for bear” before you finish your first cup of coffee.

Just as Benny suggested, you have plenty of reasons to get the hair on the back of your neck pointing toward the nearest fire alarm.  But let’s look at this subject calmly, and if possible in a more mature vein. (If you are pissed off for any reason as you read this, stop reading and come back later when you are not seeing double.) Read the rest of this entry »

It’s been 2 years since I’ve been working from home as an independent consultant. As with most things, there are pros and cons. I’m still trying to adapt and figure out what works best for me.

One of the things that I really miss from working in an office with other consultants, is the ‘what do you think?’ situations. Any recent feedback on an all-inclusive resort? How do you reissue a ticket due to a schedule change? What was that cruise promotion that came out last week? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Katie Fravel, Founder and CEO of Fravel Travel

KF - Cape Chignecto (1)Born and raised on a dairy farm in Virginia, Katie Fravel always had a sense of adventure, with a love for nature and travel. She began in the travel industry in 2008 working for a ticketing company, followed by a job with a supplier that specialized in the British Isles. At the end of 2013, she embarked on her biggest adventure to date, with the launch of Fravel Travel.

Beginning with just Ireland, Katie would later add Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to her specialties.  These places are known for their gorgeous, natural beauty. They remind her of where she grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, a place where stunning scenery and friendly people are abundant. With Fravel Travel she is able to connect with clients, sharing the places she loves and helping them to plan a memorable getaway. Read the rest of this entry »

“As we have seen, worry is the nub of anxieties damaging mental performance of all kind.”

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Coleman, page 83

According to the Huffington Post, 85% of what we worry about never happens. According to Daniel Goleman “worry” is a primary stimulant for many mental disorders. According to me, worry is a waste of time and energy and it negatively effects your magnetic abilities to attract “happening people” into your world.

What are you worried about? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

OK there is the old adage, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” And yes, I agree with it… to a degree. Many times, you have no control over the small stuff anyway, so sweating it makes no sense and cannot change the outcome. But the small stuff you do have control over… definitely sweat that!

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. How many times have we heard about perfecting that elevator speech? Well, the same advice applies to your written word as well. In fact, good impressions in writing are paramount to your reputation. Spoken words can be forgotten. Written words are their forever. (See what I just did?) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

King Cartoons – September 23, 2016


Posted In: Deck Plans

Today we’re visiting two Corsican villages. They’re high up in the hilltops; getting there is half the fun, so let’s get going.

Only 115 miles long at its longest and 52 miles wide at its widest, Corsica is famous for its stunning scenery. Corsica also boasts more than 600 miles of coastline and in excess of 200 beaches.

The island is also known for its charming villages. Have your camera handy as you stroll the narrow streets through some of the island’s most beautiful villages, such as the one we visited, Pigna. You’ll enjoy exploring the narrow streets and alleys. Duck into a church or find that perfect spot overlooking the valley and sea for a cool refreshment before moving on to the next village. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

The Focus on Food

Susan Schaefer

Apparently food is on focus of several cruise lines right now, with recent announcements from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Holland America. Over the past few years, cruise ship food has been slipping in quality as far as many passengers have been concerned. It appears that the cruise lines have listened, and changes are coming.

Royal Caribbean ditches Dynamic Dining

Royal Caribbean recently announced that they are eliminating Dynamic Dining from all ships except for Quantum of the Seas. When it was introduced, Dynamic Dining was a new approach to cruise line dining, but even after some tweaking it hasn’t caught on with passengers. The basic premise of Dynamic Dining was that passengers did not have to be tied to one restaurant or one particular seating time for dinner every night. Instead passengers were free to pick from several no-charge restaurants and make reservations for times they wanted to eat every night. The problem was that there was no traditional dining option offered, which didn’t sit well with seasoned cruisers that liked have the same server and same table mates every night. Read the rest of this entry »

“The piano master Horowitz told his students never to be afraid to dare. Never be afraid to play without asking advice. I’m not going to teach you, but to guide you.”

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime In Golf by Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake, page 117

Let’s face it, you don’t need to read, study, practice, or be mentored by anybody to fail miserably. You can manage this all-important business skill all by yourself.

I have gone on record to offer the following advice for years: “Fail faster.” It is through failure that you will succeed. Your business will become familiar with near misses and total debacles if you are taking your company seriously. But there is a sure-fire way to avoid failure. In fact, many travel agents have become skilled at this avoidance tactic. It works every time and it does not cost a dime. You probably are already familiar with this tactic. All you have to do is… nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

I had another topic in mind for this column; but then this morning as I was browsing quickly on Facebook I realized that I needed to change focus.

I try to limit my time on social media during the business day, but I do manage several pages and groups so I feel the need to check it a couple of times.  Here are the four steps I try to take: Read the rest of this entry »

“In competition you must be yourself.”

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime In Golf by Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake, page 113

Kathy Matea sang it best when she suggested that we “sing like you don’t need the money… love like you’ll never get hurt… dance like nobody is watching. It has to come from the heart if you want it to work.” These 31 words set he stage for your soon-to-be success.

Let me put an end to what I think may be your biggest success blocker. You are beginning to believe the negative print directed toward our sales profession. We all know what people think of salespeople. They define us as pushy, arrogant, manipulative, aggressive, dishonest, lying, cheating, self-serving &^*&^%^%$. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Did you know that a 1 minute video is worth 1.8 million words? Research predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.

Yet, so many travel and tourism marketers shy away from video thinking it’s too ‘techy’ or too difficult to learn.  Many travel pros say they just don’t have the time.  Let’s debunk these myths and see how you can jump into that video producer’s seat.

Video from Still Images

Creating your own videos from that stash of FAM trip photos, cruise ship site inspection photos, and destination photos is quick and easy!  There are so many tools available now to elevate your own images into short, shareable video that there’s no reason not to embrace this form of marketing.

You can simply upload your still images into one of these platforms, select some music, and add some transitions and text.  The tool does all the heavy lifting for you, creating a slick video in the time it takes to say “Cool Video”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

As a sales coach and business consultant in the travel and tourism industry, the question I am asked most often is, “What do I have to do to become successful?” It is a simple question and one that really has a simple answer.

Contrary to popular belief, the reason many travel agents fail is not due a lack of product knowledge, lack of planning, or lack of marketing. In fact, we tend to be pretty good at all three. The cost of entry in travel sales is typically very low, so it’s usually not for lack of funding either.

No, the reason many agents fail is so obvious, it is often overlooked. According to legendary management consultant, Peter Drucker, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep customers”. That’s it – period. Nothing else happens in this or any business until someone buys something. This first sale generates the revenue to help keep the lights and internet on. It helps to create momentum and funds marketing initiatives. This sale, and the others that will follow, helps you to create the lifestyle you want for you and your family. But it all starts with a single sale, or does it? Read the rest of this entry »