Monthly Archives: April 2017

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Who to blame?

Things go wrong.  In any given week, there are problems aplenty with clients, suppliers and associates.  There seems to be no lack of blame on social media. But I ask you, who is to blame?

If you are lucky, you are.

I come from a school that requires accepting total responsibility for everything that goes awry. In fact, I think the best years of my life began when I decided most of the problems in my life I was responsible for creating and my destiny was of my own doing.

When you blame others, you give up a powerful force for change: yourself. But we are often taught otherwise.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

King Cartoons – April 28, 2017


With 10% as our growth target, it is time to get busy. You should now have a list all of your clients, and I want you to now categorize them into three specific tiers.  For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to them as “A,” “B,” and “C.”

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Posted In: Deck Plans

Crystal River Cruises: In A Class Apart

Crystal Mozart stands apart because of its width alone. At 22.85 meters (roughly 75 feet), Mozart is nearly twice the width of the standard river cruiser. With so much real estate, Mozart can boast features that most river cruise vessels cannot, such as an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, a spacious gym, four restaurants, an ultra-wide sundeck with a retractable bar and much more.

Of course, all that space comes at a cost. Mozart can navigate up the Danube not much past Passau. That’s not a huge handicap. The section of the Danube that Mozart can cruise is among the most popular stretches on the river, with marquee attraction such as the Melk Abbey and the Wachau Valley, and storied cities like Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Until I went on a Caribbean cruise recently with a bunch of girlfriends I always thought “duty-free” was just another excuse to get all those vacationers into the shops to stuff their shopping bags full of items that could be had back home for roughly the same price. I learned on this trip that I was completely wrong.

This time, because some of my girlfriends were actually going to the pre-port shopping talks I have always avoided, I decided to give it a chance. Previously I had traveled with my husband, who was about as interested in shopping as he is in packing a rabid marmoset into his suitcase. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

Direct Channel

I have been fortunate to have spent most of my career as an agent, agency owner, and in consortia management. But as a former cruise line sales executive, I also have the luxury of the supplier perspective on many subjects that affects travel professionals every day.

Some years ago, while the owner of a successful cruise agency, I was interviewed by a major travel industry trade publication for my opinion, on what was and is still a very sensitive subject. The question put forth was “Do you believe that cruise lines should continue to grow their direct business channel?” My answer might surprise you. I responded, “Yes, absolutely.”

The reason, while not a popular one, remains as valid today as it did then. Cruise lines (and other suppliers) are not charitable organizations. They are for profit corporations – just like yours and mine. In most cases, they are part of very large public companies which demand ever increasing shareholder value.

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Posted In: Spotlight

Founded in 2004, Vacations By Rail is dedicated to the belief that the journey to a destination should be just as important and exciting as the destination itself. The company strives to give clients the journey and destinations they desire. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

What would you do if you worked in a brick and mortar storefront business and your walk-in traffic dropped by 50%?  Yikes, you’d probably be thinking about moving or advertising, right?

Well, as a travel, tourism or hospitality pro, moving is probably not in the cards.  So that leaves advertising.  Now that organic social reaching is dropping quicker than you can say ‘travel’ (some estimate a 50% drop year over year), we need to power up our social ad strategy.

Read the rest of this entry »

I could definitely grab your attention by citing a handful of today’s headlines dealing with world of politics, dangerous weather situations, sports upsets, education reforms, city mayhem, juvenile delinquency and crime in our schools and on our streets. Let it suffice to say that we are living in unsettling times, and from my vantage point, there is no sign of immediate relief.

My question to you is, “Is it time for you to throw in the towel?” Are you ready to raise your hands and surrender? Has the visual of a passenger’s butt-crack being manhandled off a jet airplane represent the last straw? Have you seen, heard, and witnessed enough? We are surely being tested.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

Join ASTA’s 2017 Research Family

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is calling on agency members to participate in the 2017 ASTA Research Family survey program. ASTA members who are chosen and who fulfill the survey requirements will earn a $60 credit toward their 2018 annual dues when they renew.

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Posted In: Supplier Profile

CCRA is a diverse family of brands designed to facilitate commerce between travel professionals and industry suppliers;  Not quite a host or consortia, and definitely not your typical association, CCRA provides innovative marketing programs, booking tools, education and training, and even accreditation for their elite customers through their travel commerce network. Built by travel professionals from all corners of the industry, CCRA is passionate and undoubtedly committed to the success of both their travel agency and suppliers.

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Borrowing from a few famous biblical phrases, “Ask and you shall receive.” “Seek and you shall find.” “Knock and it will be open for you.”

With these instructions in place, I would like to remind you of a few things you can do if you’d like to enhance your current position in your marketplace. Here are seven ideas designed to help you “make things happen.”

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Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Experience Akaroa’s French Charm with ShoreTrips

Akaroa may only be a small part of New Zealand, located 52 miles from Christchurch, but it is not one to be missed. Surrounded by beautiful bays and harbors, and lush with French and English history, Akaroa is a destination with more to offer than meets the eye. Spend your days outside, and your early evenings wine-tasting in this small piece of New Zealand paradise.

Thanks to ShoreTrips, the supplier sponsor of this column, you can use this 60-Second Geography article in your own travel agency’s newsletters and websites.

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I often approach an unsuspecting woman in a live seminar audience and catch her by surprise by asking her if she would consider marrying me. It should come as no surprise that a quick, and oftentimes terse, refusal follows in a Nano-second.

Priding myself as being rejection-proof, I immediately swing to a second woman sitting near by and ask the same question … only to receive the same answer. After the third attempt it becomes clear to the group that I am not interested in any particular individual, and that I must be working from a self-serving agenda. I simply want to become married, and I don’t particularly care with whom I perform the ceremony. As a result, not one of my targets should be flattered, and no one should seriously consider my proposal.

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10 Career-busting Traps You Must Learn to Avoid

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.

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Posted In: Editorial Musings

First United was dragging passengers off a plane to accommodate a crew shift; and now, less than two weeks later, American has hit a woman in the head with a stroller and a flight attendant has challenged a passenger to a fight. What is happening to the “friendly skies”?

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Posted In: Publishers Corner

Core Values

“For any man of good will, there is work to be done here, effective, virtuous, satisfying work which can give rich meaning to one’s own life and to others” ~ Abraham Maslow

What do you want? It is amazing how difficult the answer to this simple question can often be.  Perhaps it really isn’t such a simple question, and  it’s even a little bit dangerous.  Most of the decisions we make daily revolve around our desires, yet it can be hard to decide what we really want to have, what we want to do and what we want to be.

The question of desire is not insignificant to building your travel practice.  We engage in what we do, regardless of our profession, because of our desires.  We want to be a travel professional, we want to travel and help others to travel, we want to provide material and psychological stability  for ourselves and our families.

Getting a bit of clarity on our desires can help us achieve. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

King Cartoons – April 21, 2017


Posted In: Deck Plans

April 20-27, 2017, I will cruise along the Rhône river through France’s legendary wine growing regions. The region is home to such famous vintages as Beaujolais and Côte du Rhône, and I’m sure we’ll sample plenty of wine. We’ll enjoy wine tastings at local vintners, marvel at ancient Roman ruins, stroll through medieval villages and shop for Provencal crafts. Our itinerary includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon as well as Arles, the city where Vincent Van Gogh spent much of his life.
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Posted In: Soundings

iceland pro cruises

Gudmundur Kjartansson, a native Icelander, is the co-owner of Iceland ProCruises and Iceland ProTravel companies. With over 23 years of experience in Iceland tourism and selling trips to Iceland abroad, the cruise line is beginning their third year of operation specifically focused on Iceland as the destination. Read the rest of this entry »

In yesterdays article I touched on efficiency, organization, interest, needs, note taking, homework, listening skills, facts, truthfulness, and ethics. We will now take it from there.

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