Monthly Archives: September 2016

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

The Reason Travel Agents Fail

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 »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Experience the Unique Side of Italy with SIT Italy

SIT Italy was founded in 1999 by Giuseppe Aloi, a native Italian entrepreneur from the southern region of Calabria, with a background in the hotel business and a vision for the future.

Giuseppe, with his Ph.D. in Business, had already traveled extensively when he joined his uncle to operate several Sicilian hotels in the early 90s. His financial knowledge helped boost the business and Giuseppe’s many American friends and acquaintances, from his visits to California, populated the hotels on a regular basis.

As the end of the millennium approached, Americans were flocking to Italy for the superior value, cultural experiences, and magnificent historical sites that the country offered. The trend continued into the 21st century and Giuseppe soon found himself arranging special vacations for travelers who wanted more than a seat in a coach, a more authentic travel experience in his fascinating homeland. Giuseppe’s passion for Italy, combined with a unique understanding of this new tourist, led him to devote all of his time to creating customized programs for the savvy traveler. Read the rest of this entry »

“The average golfer misses short putts because of fear (and the lack of concentration).”

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime In Golf by Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake, page 106

Some things should just be a “given.” They should just work. They should be a forgone conclusion. They should be a “piece of cake.” But sometimes they just don’t turn out that way.

Today’s quote pertains to every man, woman, and child who sets out to accomplish just about anything. It is particularly relevant when attempting to grow a business. Fear has no place in your future, and concentration is king. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Regardless of what you sell, one of the ongoing challenges running any business today is first being found. Getting potential clients “in the door” and then turning them into clients who purchase products using our professional services and expertise is the next critical step. In the case of travel agent professionals, once we get that first sale and get the booking in, the next step is getting those clients to come back and continue booking through us. What’s the best way to be found and build your clientele? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Margaret River is one of Australia’s most lush and fertile winelands. This region in Australia’s west country is still relatively quiet in the tourist circles, which has led to the continued preservation of the area’s many natural features and draws. Among these are the stellar surfing coves, smaller Australian towns full of charm and vigor, and the natural wonders that have developed for thousands, if not millions, of years.

Read the rest of this entry »

“I want you to believe with all your heart that the shot you are about to hit will be a good one. I want you to have total confidence.”

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime In Golf by Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake, page 71

Belief in oneself is not only important, it is also very elusive.

We talk to ourselves all day long. Our mind is constantly in motion and the conversation going on between our ears is often quite lively.

Unfortunately, the context of this internal dialogue is usually more negative than positive. In truth, 90% of the time you are probably bad-mouthing yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

I can’t believe it is time for me to put pen to paper again or in this case fingers to keyboard. I blinked and it is the middle of September with the 4th quarter just around the corner. I’m just on the heels of two trips: my Amazing Aussie Adventure with Travel2 and my host conference in Charlotte with Gifted Travel Network. I haven’t even had time to do my follow ups or load my photos which is on my ever growing list of things to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Cally Papas, President of Cloud Tours, Inc.

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Cally Papas is the President and sole proprietor of Cloud Tours Inc, a tour operator specializing in travel to Europe and the Middle East for over 47 years. Cally’s parents immigrated from Greece to New York City, where she grew up and has lived all her life. She graduated from Queen’s College with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, and from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Teaching English As A Second Language. She never visited Greece until she was a young adult, and once she did her life was never the same! In Greece she fell in love with the country and its people, and discovered a deep passion for travel. Upon returning from her trip, she decided to pursue a career in travel and landed a job at Olympic Airways. Cally began her career with Olympic as a receptionist and ended in the executive position of National Marketing and Sales, the third highest US position in the company. Cloud Tours was one of her accounts, and when the previous owner wanted to retire, Cally seized the opportunity to run her own business and create something new in the world of travel. Read the rest of this entry »

“As a teacher I have learned that one of the most delicate matters to attend is the students grip.”

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime In Golf by Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake, page 30

How hard can it be? You pick up a golf club with both hands and hold on tight. But based on most people’s scorecard, there must be more to the game than grabbing a stick and whacking a ball towards a pole with a flag on it.

This quote immediately had me thinking about the importance of fundamentals. What seems so basic at first, simple and non-important, soon becomes the foundation that must be addressed if any good is going to come from your endeavors. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Recently, I partnered with a friend to create a podcast for a non-travel business. To be honest, I had no idea how simple, effective, and powerful they could be. In fact, I was so blown away that I likely will be starting another one for my travel business soon enough. Podcasts have been around for a long time and recently are taking off. With most consumers accessing content from mobile devices and most states preventing people from using them while driving, podcasts are becoming huge with commuters in addition to people at work who can listen. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Killing Time

We have all heard that “time is money.” Indeed, much of the way we speak of time has a monetary ring to it. Your time has a real value and spending it poorly is a dangerous thing to do. Carl Sandburg once said that if you don’t spend your time wisely, others would spend it for you. If there is any skill that comes to the fore during periods when you are very busy, it’s time management.  In a one-on-one service industry like travel consulting, keeping track of your time can be a very difficult thing to do.  We build our travel practices not on an hourly basis, but on the satisfaction of the clients we serve, so we naturally invest a great deal of time ensuring the quality of the experiences we create.

Rightly so. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

King Cartoons – September 16, 2016

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Posted In: Deck Plans

The famous French poet Frédéric Mistral said that he who has seen Paris and not Cassis has seen nothing. What did he find so special here? Let’s go check it out!

Once only a fishing port, Cassis has become a popular seaside resort. The cool streets along the sea and in the Old Town are brimming with character, and there is no better way to get to know Cassis than to stroll somewhat aimlessly. Wander along the narrow streets of the old town, past shops and restaurants and take in the ambience. Read the rest of this entry »

“What specific tasks can I perform right now to move this particular sales objective further down the sales funnel?”

Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by America’s Best Companies by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman with Tad Tuleja, page 244

It has been stated that the majority of sales occur after five contacts with your targeted prospect. This should come as no surprise since trust takes time. It is also believed among sales professionals that 50% of those in sales quit after the initial attempt to close a sale. An additional 25% quit after a second attempt. In both cases, these salespeople fail to understand how sales works. It take multiple contacts to complete 80% of sales transactions.

Today’s quote raises a question that will help you overcome the tendency to quit too soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Maximizing Your Group Profits

Susan SchaeferRecently a travel agent asked me about group cruises, and she commented, “I’m sure that it won’t be as lucrative as other travel.” That caught me off guard for a minute. I find that cruise groups, if done with some forethought, can be very lucrative for travel agents. Granted, there are trips you can book that garner four figure commissions without blinking an eye, but they tend to be longer than your typical 7-night cruise (my clients going to Machu Picchu for 15 nights comes to mind). Unless your group cruisers are booking suites, the commissions for the individual rooms may not have commas, but groups can still turn out to be very lucrative business.

I thought I would share some tips on how you can increase your group cruise profits. Keep in mind these are GENERAL tips; your mileage will vary depending on the cruise line you work with and their specific group policies. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

The topic of charging fees comes up in travel agent forums on a regular basis, and this week was no different. In the most recent discussion, some of the travel agents complained about how clients don’t value our time, which leads to their resistance to paying fees.

They are wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight

Planning a family vacation can be difficult. Parents want to have a relaxing time and share wonderful experiences with their kids, but finding a destination that appeals to kids and adults alike is harder than it seems… especially if you don’t want to drive all the way to the coast and spend hours in line at a theme park once you get there.

The best solution might be one you hadn’t considered yet: a Colorado adventure vacation at a dude and guest ranch!

Bringing your kids on a family trip to Colorado for a week – or even longer – can be just what you need to get a bit of relaxation, change your perspective, and pull everyone closer. To understand why, here are five things you’ll never hear your kids say while visiting one of Colorado’s dude ranches: Read the rest of this entry »

“How do you feel about this proposal? How can I improve it to make you feel more comfortable?”

Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by America’s Best Companies by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman with Tad Tuleja, page 166

When reading this passage, I immediately was reminded of the concept of “lagniappe.” To put this in layman’s terms, lagniappe is the act of “putting the cherry on the top.” What you do after all is said and done is what will differentiate you from your competition.

Travel back to Mexico with me a few years back when I was speaking on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship heading down to Cabo. I found myself disembarking and taking a walk to clear my mind. I turned left at the corner and right at the light post. Soon I was walking down a street that made me feel very uncomfortable. One more turn brought me onto the beach where I spotted a group of boys holding court on another sunny Sunday morning in Mexico. They had a boat and they had a rope. They also had an old parasail. They also had a business. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Blogging Like an Expert

It is important to your digital marketing plan to consider incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s website. However, with so many blogs vying for attention, you need to take steps to ensure your blog will stand out and speak with an authority that captures the attention of your readership. As a professional travel consultant, you have a real expertise on a topic of interest to the public. The key to delivering blogging articles that truly engage readers and elicits comments from them is to generate content that is lively, unexpected, and fresh. Making sure that your blog is communicating on both an intellectual and an emotional level will keep your audience returning to your blog for new information. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Launched in 1979 as Jersey European Airways, Flybe has grown over the years to become the UK and Europe’s largest independent regional carrier, with 218 routes serving 10 countries and operating from a total of 75 departure points – 40 UK and 35 European Airports.

With bases strategically placed around the UK at Southampton, Exeter – where the company has its corporate headquarters – Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, the carrier offers frequent service to practically all significant population centers in Britain. Major hub cities are Birmingham (BHX) and Manchester (MAN) where flights are scheduled to dovetail into regional and international flight times to allow for seamless connections. Franchise alliances with Loganair and Stobart Air allow Flybe to extend its reach into the Scottish Highlands & Islands and Northern Europe. London is another important city for Flybe, where it uses the smaller, more convenient airports of London City (LCY) and London Southend (SEN). Both are located much closer to central London than LHR or LGW, allowing for easier and quicker commutes to the center of the city. Read the rest of this entry »

“It always takes time, even for the most reliable of sales people, to build trust in the selling firms capabilities.”

Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by America’s Best Companies by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman with Tad Tuleja, page 75

In addition to doing whatever you can to increase your visibility within your defined marketplace, you must always be focused on building trust with your targeted audience. This happens to be a double-edged sword. Building trust is essential, but this is easier said than done. On the other hand, maintaining trust is also important. Unfortunately, losing trust is (also) easy to do. Read the rest of this entry »