Monthly Archives: January 2017


I am writing this article from a balcony cabin veranda, 10 floors above a blue-green sandy ocean bottom a quarter mile off the Cozumel coast.

I mention this not to make you jealous but to remind you that you are in a pretty good business and you too could be writing your next blog post or newsletter from this vantage point.

Tomorrow is the last full day at sea of my annual sales conference, and we will be heading back to reality in Tampa. It you are interested in learning about my next training cruise, shoot me an email at With enough interest, we can do this again sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

Polar Bears Aren’t Crazy

Don’t worry about what others think!

Today’s article is being printed a few weeks after your New Year’s Celebration, but I think my message still holds water.

As I have on almost every previous New Year’s Day, I saw a TV news segment that once again caught my attention. There stood a bunch of half-naked people freezing their privates off while most of them successfully dodged another heart attack. Some were older than others. Some a tad more buff. Most of them should have shunned the TV camera. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight

The Spring Travel Agent Forum will take center stage in less than two months at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, and will welcome more than 1,000 independent travel agents at every level in their career, seeking continuing education, supplier networking, and destination experiences to support their professional growth. The Forum, which will be held from March 26 – 29, is the industry’s largest event of its kind, and will house hundreds of travel suppliers from across the globe, affording delegates the chance to shop destinations, commissionable vacation packages, and various business resources to support their business needs.

For the first time ever, the Forum will offer a supplemental One-to-One Meeting Showcase, providing pre-determined mutual interest meetings among select suppliers and an audience of hosted travel agents, who have been carefully vetted based on their potential business contribution and overall sales volume. These hosted agents will individually represent a minimum of $800,000 in annual business, with clientele bookings spanning the globe. Supplier participation will cover the full gamut of commissionable vacation offerings, both from a product and geographic standpoint.  Read the rest of this entry »

The first part of today’s lesson involves the most important reason why most professional sales people are not more successful. Regardless of the industry, the geographic location of your company, or the size of your average order, this single shortcoming is responsible for damaging more sales careers.

Ask any professional sales person what he or she feels is their biggest roadblock and it will sound like the words follow-up. If you’re looking for just two words to help guide you to more profitable sales without hesitation or apology, they are the words “follow” and “up.”

Over the years, sales people have earned the reputation of saying whatever needs to be said to close a sale. Not unlike today’s politicians, sales people say and do what is required to make the sale. That may be the reason why sales professionals have such poor reputations. After the contract is signed, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen next. One thing can be counted on, and that is the salesperson is off focusing on the next prospect at the expense of their current customers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Jackson Hole offers a wide variety of year-round activity for the entire family. Teton Village, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and the Town of Jackson—all located within the iconic Jackson Hole, Wyoming valley—offer lodging opportunities for every budget. Choose from moderate motels to luxurious, historic inns and vacation homes. Stay steps away from the ski slopes or steps away from the antler arches in Town Square. Jackson Hole Central Reservations offers the most comprehensive selection of lodging and activities in the valley! Read the rest of this entry »

Today’s article at first may appear to be an attempt at stating the obvious with no particular message of value. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There’s an old saying reminding us us if we want to be considered as an interesting person, we must first become interested in others. The sad but true commentary is that most people don’t listen while they wait for their turn to speak. This practice could be considered as “business suicide.” Not only is it painfully obvious to the person currently speaking, but it also carries negative brownie points when it comes to building a relationship.

You already know what you know. You want to find out what others know, think, and feel. Your job is to get them talking. Your job is to become sincerely interested in the meaning of the words coming out of their mouth. Although rarely practiced to any degree of efficiency, this important skill is a lot easier said than done. Read the rest of this entry »

Talk is Cheap, Communication is Gold

Once you have the proper competitive attitude in place, have clearly selected a specialty that warrants your full attention, and you have listed a number of prospects whom you want to become customers, it is time to begin communicating with them on a regular basis.

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that the majority, the so-called sales professionals, terminate their business building efforts prematurely. I wish there was a magic pill available that could speed up the process, but as of today’s date such a pill remains in the laboratories.

Building a business takes time. Establishing relationships with future customers takes time. Developing a meaningful communication stream takes time and is the only and fastest way to a profitable business. Read the rest of this entry »

Targeting Your Next Customer

Targeting your market is perhaps the most logical way to grow your business. Although it makes all the sense in the world, it’s remains an elusive strategy for most small business entrepreneurs.

It is more than obvious that one way to grow one’s business is to go out and find more customers. That may be true enough, but all your good intentions will be thwarted if the task is not defined tightly enough. Just “more customers” is not good enough.

You do not go out and find a husband or wife by accepting the first one that comes along. Nor does one build a business by simply going out and finding a bunch of  “new clients.” Your success will be expedited once you spend ample time and energy focusing on a specific target while deciding exactly who you want to do business with.

To explain how target marketing works, I want you to picture a dartboard. A dartboard clearly provides the direction to aim at before tossing your darts. In my example, the board represents your prospect while the dart can be thought of as a marketing tactic. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

NACTA version 2 photoAnn Chamberlin, the President of the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) and is responsible for the overall operations of NACTA. This includes member and supplier sales, revenue management, meetings and events and membership service. Ann leads the overall vision for NACTA, strengthens the company through strategic partnerships and membership growth to ensure NACTA remains the top membership choice for travel consultants. Last July, Chamberlin also added the title of Senior Vice President, Operations for the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of ASTA, focusing on membership growth and support, chapter operations, and consortia partnerships. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you tuned up?

It’s funny how words change. Or maybe it is how we define them. Take the word “tune up.” To a musician, it may be the preparation for a concert. To a mechanic, it is all about spark plugs and filters. So, let’s cut to the chase and just say that for this week, I am talking about your website. And I am about to list some recent figures about the Internet that you will want to know. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Buying on Emotion

People rationalize their buying decisions using the most precise logic. Once they have made a decision, a buyer can list all of the features that drove them to purchase. The reality, however, is that people make buying decisions in a large degree based not on logic, but on emotion – how they feel about the product and, more importantly, about you. That’s why a good travel consultant must understand both the client’s logical thinking process as well as their emotional make-up. At the end of the day, buying decisions are based on other than pure logic. Read the rest of this entry »

Present Like a Pro

As much as I enjoy speaking to groups of people and sharing my ideas and experiences, I understand how difficult this may be for others and have no intention of minimizing this so-called fear.

It would be easy for me to suggest that if speaking in public is a fear of yours, it is high time that you get over it. As much as I would like to say that, I will not.

If you are interested in growing your business, there are a number of topics needing to be addressed. You will be meeting new people. You will have a service to offer them. They will not have a reason to acccept or reject your offer until they understand exactly what your offer is. If you do not clearly explain your offer, who will? Therefore, it is high time you come to respect and appreciate the importance of a well-orchestrated presentation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Poof, They Are Gone

It can come as a surprise when a cruise line (or two) closes up shop, cancelling future cruises, and stranding current cruise passengers.  That is what recently happened with both Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery when their parent company (All Leisure Holidays Group) announced it was going out of business that day without any warning. Usually there are telltale signs, but not always.

We have had cruise companies shut down before; Cruise West comes to mind.  But travel agents had an inkling something was going on.  When commission checks aren’t sent in a timely manner, and calls about where the commissions are go unanswered, that’s usually our first clue.  When a supplier suddenly starts pushing for cash payments instead of credit card payments, when that hasn’t been a payment practice of theirs in the past, that raises huge red flags.  Clients who pay by credit card (not debit cards) have a recourse with the credit card company to get their money back.  Paying a supplier with cash is never a good idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Anita Pagliasso took a leap of faith in 1992. Following her passion for travel, she switched gears from owning a successful and thriving electronic manufacturing rep business in the heart of Silicon Valley, CA., to opening her home-based travel business, Ticket To Travel. In 1993, Anita accepted Gary Fee’s challenge to become the San Jose/Bay Area Chapter director, which during parts of her 20 plus year reign became the OSSN flagship chapter. 

Anita serves as the Conference Director for the Travel Agent Forums, where she is responsible for educational content, securing relevant authors, keynote speakers, travel industry top executives, and co-coordinating panels and panelists, all while working closely with the staff at Travel Show Marketing Group.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Last night the Seabourn formally introduced Seabourn Encore at a festive evening ceremony pier side in Singapore. International recording artist and world’s best-selling soprano Sarah Brightman presided over the naming ceremony as godmother of the new 600-guest ship, the first of two new all-suite vessels for the company. Read the rest of this entry »

Niche Marketing

A business lesson that is hard to come to terms with is the fact (the truth) that you can’t be all things to all people. You can try. You can even succeed at times, but in the long run, you will be shooting yourself in the foot.

To become exceptional at what you do and thereby distance yourself from the competition, you must become very good, very knowledgeable, and very focused on your chosen subject matter.

Generalists compete on price. Specialists compete on total job satisfaction.

It is important to understand that you will not be limited to your niche. You will still be in position to pick and choose those projects that are appealing to both your interest and your pocket book. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

As we come off the holidays and kick off the new year, I want to ask you something: “How were your sales in Q1?” You are probably thinking, “What the heck is he smoking? We’re just now starting our first quarter.” Let me qualify the question.

Most businesses operate using one of two calendars. The first is obviously a calendar year, January – December. The second, used primarily for accounting purposes, is a fiscal year, which will vary depending on the company. Most of us are familiar with these two, but if you have followed me for any length of time, you know there is a third year. The one I use, which has been instrumental to my success selling travel, is what I call the “Sales Year”.

Have you ever thought about why most cruise and tour companies are so focused on their Alaska and Europe products in the fall? Trying to book your BDM for an event is virtually impossible unless you did so in June or July. Here’s why: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

30 Second Marketing

What is it?

They are called elevator speeches and are intended to prepare you for very brief, chance encounters in an elevator. But elevator speeches are not just for elevators!

An elevator speech is a short, 15-30 second, approximately 150 word sound bite that succinctly and memorably introduces you. It spotlights your uniqueness as well as focuses on the benefits you provide. This is something that should be delivered effortlessly. And it is an excellent way to market yourself.

So, who better than you to describe with passion, precision, and persuasiveness what you do? A great elevator speech makes a lasting first impression, showcases what you do, and allows you to position yourself for meeting new potential clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

American Cruise Lines, the largest cruise line in the U.S., leads the way with more than 35, elegant 4 to 21 night itineraries visiting the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New England, the Southeast, and the Mississippi River. The line is committed to continuous growth through an innovative shipbuilding program that elevates the standard of cruising in America.

The companies new ship design, creates intimate atmospheres for guests looking to receive the attentive and personalized service that is the hallmark of the brand. American Cruise Lines’ ships boast the most spacious staterooms in the industry and feature all the amenities of a modern hotel, including full-sized bathrooms and private balconies. Each room also has an interior entrance, giving guest’s unobstructed views of the picturesque scenery. Read the rest of this entry »


If there was a single word that I would recommend as your next tattoo, it would be the word “prospecting” with very little hesitation. It certainly would initiate some very interesting questions.

The sooner you can internalize the importance of seeking new business opportunities, the sooner you will be feeling very good about your future.

For those of you who may remember Dustin Hoffman receiving career advice from the husband of Mrs. Robinson in the movie The Graduate, you know that “plastics” represented the secret. Strangely enough, the secret word today still begins with the letter “P.” Today’s secret word is “prospecting.” Let me explain.

I have been known to boast that I can divide the population of our planet into two distinct categories. 7 billion people into just two groups? Yes I can. (So can you.) Read the rest of this entry »