Monthly Archives: December 2017

Posted In: Deck Plans

Video: A Cruise Along Portugal’s Douro River

A Douro River Cruise gives you an immersive experience in Portugal. During the course of your cruise along the Douro, you’ll come to appreciate the beauty of the country, the warmth of the people, the taste of Portuguese wines, the fresh seafood and Portuguese specialities (think Pastel de Nata, the rich Portuguese egg tart pastry), and the enduring charm of villages where time seems to have stood still. At least for the moment. See it before it changes.

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What’s The Difference?

What’s the difference between The Five Second Rule and The Rule of Five?

This is a very important question if you are planning to continue to build a successful travel business in 2018.

And while I have you, I think I will fill in a few blanks regarding three other rules that will play a pivotal roles in your future progress. That makes five rules in total.

Let’s take each rule one at a time.

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Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

2018 Sales Calendar – First Quarter Check Up

As we come off the holidays and kick off the New Year, I want to ask you something, “How were your first quarter sales?”  You are probably thinking – “What the heck is he smoking? We are just now starting our first quarter.”  Yup, you heard me correctly.

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 is instrumental to your success selling travel – “Selling Year,”

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Hi Mary,

Are you able to send me some recommendations for host agencies? I watched the video but still feel like I need some guidance. My company is based off of outdoor adventures such as hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, skiing, camping, etc. if you get a moment please check out my site at

Thank you for your help!
-Casey Tynan

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I was once preparing a speech to 100 Financial Planners. In performing my research (homework), I uncovered the following success formula that was listed on their web site.

I was reminded that regardless of the industry, running a business (any business) is pretty much the same. I think we can all learn from these points.  Find a minute to think about each one…and see how it pertains to you.

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Posted In: TRO SMITH

As we close out the year and start the party to ring in 2018 do you ever feel the need to take stock of how far you’ve progressed? Social marketing moves at lightning speed and here’s a couple of key takeaways to put you in a great position for 2018.

Get a jump start on 2018 and polish off a couple of things before the ball drops and the fireworks start.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

How and Where Travel Agents Book Travel

ASTA has been a reliable source of research on the travel agency industry for many decades. We collect, collate and analyze data that is not available anywhere else on agency operations from agency business models to revenue sources. Our data can be used to pinpoint agency trends, compare and contrast agency operations, and develop marketing tactics.

Part of the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) wide-ranging benchmark reporting program, the recent 2017 ASTA travel agent travel booking survey provides some trends and information regarding the U.S. travel agents’ use of resources to book travel by various segments through a fraction of ASTA agency membership that participates in a survey research panel. The hard-to-obtain information is valuable especially during the times that the GDS’s continue to face fierce competition from various channels and sources of travel bookings that can be done outside the traditional GDS channel.

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Posted In: Supplier Profile

If you are searching for the ultimate all-in-one platform built by the modern travel agent for the modern travel agent look no further than VacationCRM. Providing powerful tools to help you succeed, VacationCRM is trusted by over 5,000 agents and the go-to for efficiency.

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Today’s message comes from my archives, but I feel it is worth repeating.

I once called a trailer dealer (boat) and was told that the salesman I asked for was on vacation for the next four days. Hey! I am the first one to endorse well-earned vacation time. An incredibly high percentage of workers today fail to take their vacation time which, speaking for you the travel professional, is a pity. What I found of particular interest (spelled chagrin) was that there was no offer to provide an alternative salesman.

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All Good Marketers Do Every Day

When I am asked the difference between an amateur and a professional (in any profession) my answer is the same. An amateur does things when they want to do them, while a professional does things when it is time to do them.

As long as you are doing what you are doing, you might as well strive to become a professional. If travel is your career of choice, let’s work diligently at becoming a pro.

That makes sense to me.

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You Have To Earn Your Confidence Badge

I was a guest on a year-end webinar with my good friend Stuart Cohen earlier this month. We promoted the session as a year-end “conference.” Stuart and I went back and forth sharing business-building nuggets with our audience for sixty minutes.

We managed to complete our agenda in the allotted time before we opened up the lines to questions from those who wanted to stick around for an impromptu Q&A.

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Posted In: Soundings

Selling Incentive Cruises

Over the next week or two the phone calls will hopefully slow down to a trickle. During that time travel agents and clients alike will make their way over the hills and through the woods to celebrate the holidays with family. Possibly your clients will be talking to their families about their 2018 travel plans, possibly coaxing family members to join them. But what will you be doing during this down time?

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I remember like it was yesterday. I was sitting at a conference table with my wife, my son, his fiancé and a restaurant meeting planner.

In the first 20 seconds of the meeting, the wedding being held earlier in the day was referenced and the contributing florist’s name was requested. BANG!

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Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

Ten Tried-and-True Principles to Take to Market

If you’ve been in business for more than a day and a half, you’ve probably been reminded no fewer than a thousand times that in addition to whatever business you think you’re in, that you’re in the marketing business.

Marketing yourself and your business has been, and will continue to be, the most-important element for your success. The time to ply this trade is right now. I fear that many of you just don’t know what to do.

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Beware The Email

The subject of today’s column deals with emails.

EMAIL DANGERS – I received an email from a person this week that immediately triggered my aggravation button (and this is hard to do I might add at my age).

I am sure it wasn’t written in the way I interpreted it, and I like to think I am above such nonsense. Apparently, I am not. I was miffed.

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Let’s Make It Non-Negotiable

A column in my daily newspaper was reporting on health the other day, and gave a few reminders in a pullout section.

“Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to exercise. Make it non-negotiable.” 

The words ‘non-negotiable’ caught my eye and my imagination. It made me think of the well-worn phrase…‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’

We are all pretty good at making lists and identifying that which is good for us. These lists are heavily laden with personal goals involving diets, exercise programs, hobbies, skills, education, charity involvement, and more. Mine for 2018 include getting better at the piano and guitar while polishing up my French. We’ll just see how this plays out in the months ahead.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

Looking for something totally different to offer your clients on the African Continent?  EcoTraining Guides & Guardians is a South African company offering inspirational wildlife courses, accredited wildlife career courses, gap year opportunities and high school programs.

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What Are You Reading?

“More-On Marketing,” the first in a series of business-development books I am working on is now ready to be distributed to all interested parties.

You have all heard of the Dummies Books, and probably somewhat familiar with The Idiot’s Guides. I am very pleased to announce that my “More-On” series is now competing for attention. Please notice that I said “More-On” and not “moron.”

Today’s Message: One year from today, you will be the same person you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet. So, go meet someone and go read something.

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What Do “Looks” Have To Do With Anything?

When it comes to first impressions, the way you first appear does have an impact on what comes next. Image does play a part. I agree. My message today involves a reminder thanks to an experience I had this past week in Oneonta, NY. That is “upstate,” and nestled unobtrusively between cow pastures.

My wife and I were visiting a plumbing supply store in search of a few water-related items when we entered a company that was advertised to “fit the bill.”

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