Posted In: Deck Plans
River Cruise Advisor’s Aaron Saunders & Ralph Grizzle talk about new trends in river cruising, including the trend that mixes river cruising and bicycling. Be sure to follow us as we report live from rivers in Europe during the months of April and May during Six-Plus Weeks Of River Cruising On Live Voyage Reports. Read the rest of this entry »
Sooner or later you are going to find yourself in stressful situations while plying your trade as a travel professional. Stress seems to come with the territory and although there are ways to minimize it, I don’t believe you can avoid it all together.
I think the best advice when it comes to dealing with stress is to stop pretending the world works differently than it does. &*&% happens and it will happen to you. If you lull yourself into thinking that you are “stress-proof” then you are in for some rough sledding. But once you recognize the fact that you will indeed become uncomfortable at times you can continue to operate without falling to pieces.
Here are five ways to combat the inevitable:
The proposal is your best shot at demonstrating that you are serious and qualified to help your prospect achieve his or her goals. The proposal helps you present your case in a most compelling and attractive package. It is your best shot at positioning yourself as the go-to resource. You can’t afford to shoot yourself in the foot.
With this in mind, here are five mistakes that can prove deadly to any proposal:
Posted In: 60-Second Geography
“The Mississippi Valley is as reposeful as a dreamland, nothing worldly about it . . . nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon.”― Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
No body of water in the United States is as storied as the Mississippi River. Traveling along this legendary river and its tributaries is an experience set in a time past and a testament to the ingenuity of the pioneers who first traveled these waters. The Mississippi’s shores are home to sprawling nature preserves, unique wildlife, and vivid American towns that bring you back to an earlier time.
Thanks to American Cruise Lines, the supplier sponsor of this column, you can use this 60-Second Geography article in your own travel agency’s newsletters and websites. You may want to pay attention to the many opportunities American Cruise Lines gives your agency to provide amazing travel to clients. Click here to order a cruise guide for your agency.
POGO was the comic strip that became somewhat famous for the following saying: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Without bumming you out today with too strong a message, I feel it is important to tell you in no uncertain terms to “Snap out of it.” (Reference to the movie Moon Struck)
Too often we are our own worst enemy and we allow ourselves to fall into self-imposed traps that thwart our progress and turn our lives into less-than-attractive works of art.
Posted In: Outposts
Within the forest-cloaked mountains of northwestern Costa Rica lies a true Eden. Nestled between two cloud forest preserves and situated along a string of active and dormant volcanoes, the small community of Monteverde is a mountaintop paradise renowned for its beauty, biodiversity and outstanding tourist accommodations.
The sales letter will always play an important role when deciding on ways to contact new prospects. Very rarely will your letter make the sale, but it will often pave the way for a phone call or email, which will set the appointment… which will lead to a sale. But first things first. Step one often involves the letter. You probably expected me to focus on an email but I feel the pendulum may be swinging back to a more formal and sincere, initial encounter.
Posted In: 1:1
Terri Burke (MCC, CTC) has an extensive and varied travel background spanning over 30 years. Her travel industry career began as a frontline agent and includes executive positions with supplier and retail industry leaders including Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Cruise Planners/American Express, AAA National and the Globus family of brands. As part of her travel industry career, she has successfully developed and coordinated two award-winning online travel agent universities and is a champion of travel industry education and accreditation. Through the Avalon Waterways Specialist program, Burke inspired travel professionals to become certified with this important online river cruise training tool.
Years to build it … seconds to lose it! I was reminded of this fact of life in New Orleans. For over two hours I shared useful publicity strategies and techniques with a great group of people. My message was well-received and brought genuine laughter at all the right times. I was having fun and the audience was connecting with me and with my message.
Posted In: Editorial Musings
Hopefully every year you put together a marketing (and business) plan for your business. There are travel nights, travel shows, advertising, direct mail, email, Facebook ads, and Yellow Pages—well OK maybe not Yellow Pages, I have not been listed in more than a decade! But here’s a thought for you. Are sponsorships part of your overall marketing plan? If not, they should be; and here’s why! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
“When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups.” ~ John Coltrane
There are many reasons to be grateful for having a career in travel planning, but I think the most important is the impact a travel professional has on the life of the client. Travel professionals assist clients to turn vacations, family travel and even business trips into the best possible experiences. By visiting the streets of new cities, meeting people from around the world and exposure to different cultures, we are all made better people, citizens of a larger reality. As a travel professional, you have the opportunity to play an important part in people’s lives. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
There is nothing like traveling through the Mediterranean. I have been there countless times, often stopping in the same villages, yet I have never tired of them. There is a romance to the whole area that particularly blankets Italy, France and Spain where I find comfort when I return and see a city as I left it, and yet there is always something new.
Med cruises tanked in 2016
Last year the Mediterranean was hit hard by many factors that affected tourism. We will never really know how people make their decisions but election years are always tough and it was also a restless time for many countries.
Many if not most wanna-be business practitioners fail to realize right from the beginning that their success will have more to do with their marketing skills than their mechanical acumen. Their enthusiasm may be in top shape and their intentions all solid enough. But it takes more. It takes a complete understanding that if potential customers do not know you exist, you have little chance to succeed.
Here are three hard facts of business life you need to internalize … now.
Posted In: Soundings
It is probably the biggest complaint we hear from clients about cruising; they feel like they are “nickeled and dimed” by the cruise lines. On most cruise lines you have to pay for sodas by the drink or through a soda package. Specialty dining involves additional fees. And then there’s the pressure to pay for spa treatments, buy excursions, pay to play Bingo, etc. We can warn clients and try to prepare them for what to expect, yet they still return and complain about all of the charges they incurred on their stateroom account. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
Emerald Waterways has announced a brand new Provence sailing for 2017, “Sensations of Southern France,” an eight-day voyage that will take place aboard the company’s newly built Emerald Liberté.
The sailing takes passengers from Lyon to Arles along the picturesque Rhône and Saône Rivers, passing through Chalon-Sur-Saône, Tournon and Avignon, where guests will be treated to an on-board, Provençal style dinner by acclaimed local chef and Top Chef France finalist, Fabien Morreale.
Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips
Last week, my in-laws decided we should all go to the casino for an afternoon of fun. I am not a big gambler, but for a few hours—I was game. One of the players at our poker table repeated these words with every hand: “Go big or go home.”
This reminded me of a big gamble I made with my travel agency. Outwardly, we were very successful, and from a sales perspective, we were. We did a fairly high volume of contemporary product. Because of this, we were often treated like VIPs—flown first class to inaugural events, served lavish dinners with industry executives, and so on. However, we were in real danger of going out of business due to low margins and high cost of sale, so we made the biggest gamble since starting the company. We turned our business model 180 degrees and began focusing on attracting affluent customers as a large part of the overall sales strategy. Go big or go home!
Selling professional travel services is not a one-call business. You cannot sell travel services the way automobile mechanics or dry cleaners sell their services. Conventional advertising does not work well for us, probably because we are asking the prospect to risk a great deal more than a few dollars. We are asking them to trust us with their vacations, honeymoons, reunions and valued time off from work.
Posted In: Departures
Athens is the city of classical wonders; a land of gods and temples, of sports and plays, where scholars and philosophers first dreamed up democracy; a must-see city for anyone visiting Europe. Step into antiquity. Step into Athens. Step into the past and discover breathtaking sites from one of the most important civilizations to ever flourish.
Athens is located in the southern side of Greece along the peninsula of Attica. Protected by mountains and nearly surrounded by water, Athens is a city with a bit of something for everyone. Adding appeal to the destination, the hot summers and mild winters encourage visitors year-round.
Tourist traffic has risen over the last few decades in reaction to the city’s rehabilitation of travel infrastructure. There is a state-of-the-art international airport, a new motorway and an expansion of the city’s metro system. Athens is an anachronism; an ideal destination for those who wish to look into the past while staying comfortably put in the present.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
Part of the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) wide-ranging benchmark reporting program, the Service Fee report, seeks to discover current service fee practices in the travel agency industry in addition to travel agents’ other revenue sources such as consultation fees, travel insurance, mark-ups and others. It is truly a balancing act for travel agencies and agents to maximize revenues by obtaining commissions from industry supplier partners and charging clients various fees, without overly relying on commissions or alienating prospective customers. The industry as a whole continues the effort of introducing the concept of fee-based professional travel advice to the general public.
Charging Service Fees
Among ASTA agency members, three quarters (76%) indicated that they charged service fees in 2016. It appears that the downward trend continues after the peak in the mid-2000’s with more than 90% of ASTA agency members charging service fees. The possible reasons can be two-fold: some leisure agencies are shifting away from booking air directly while others are exploring additional revenue sources such as consultation fees. Read the rest of this entry »