Monthly Archives: December 2017

Posted In: 1:1

Tava Foster, Travel Advisor and Tour Manager, Ramblers

PictureTava Foster is the Travel Advisor and Tour Manager for Ramblers, a walking and hiking tour company based in the US that specializes in tours in the UK and Ireland. With a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a Master’s degree in TV/Video Production, Tava currently oversees the sales, marketing, and tour management for Ramblers as well as New Adventures; New Adventures is part of the Kendelo Travel Family, along side Ramblers. Tava Foster has been a traveler at heart since she was young, and is thrilled to share her love and passion for active tourism with clients. To learn more about Ramblers and Tava Foster, continue reading on.

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Posted In: Publishers Corner

Travel Agent Diaries – The story of who we are

Every now and then I decide I need a new project, something to do in all of my spare time.  So I have a new project and, again, I’m inviting the travel professional community along for the ride.

TRO is putting together an anthology of travel agent stories for hard-cover print publication. We are looking to highlight the role of the travel professional and the role they play in the lives of their clients. These stories can be humorous or humanitarian, tales of terror or trial. Have you been a hero for a client? Have you had a client be a hero for you? What stories stand out in your career? What special trips have you orchestrated? What about travel have you seen change your life, your family’s life, the lives of clients? Read the rest of this entry »

Pick A Target Before Giving It Your Best Shot

Here is another lesson via the PGA…the Professional Golfer’s Association. I think you will connect with the message.

The subject: Luke Donald, professional golfer. Back from a wrist problem and recent surgery.

The place: The CA Golf Championships. Doral Golf & Country Club, Miami, Florida.

The scene: Luke Donald was playing alone with his caddie and his coach in a practice round.

This was a “practice” round.

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Posted In: Agent Perspectives

With the Wave Season just around the corner, here are a few suggestions for pre or post cruise extensions that will increase the profit from Southampton, Dover or Harwich arriving/departing cruises you may be arranging for your clients.

The first and second timers among them will want to spend more time discovering London, but there will be plenty of others for whom a few days in the English countryside will be of real interest. Invest some time in creating a list of anglophile customers and having sold them the cruise that ticks all their boxes, increase your profits by offering them a tailor made add on that achieves the same result.

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Posted In: Soundings

Marketing Holiday Cruises

We are in the midst of Hanukkah right now, and Christmas is only a few days away. You might get a last minute call from a client wanting a cruise for the holidays this year, but this isn’t the time to actually market 2017 holiday sailings. However, this is a great time to start marketing to clients about booking their cruises for Hanukkah or Christmas 2018 or even 2019 (some cruise lines have already released their 2019-2020 itineraries for booking).

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Posted In: Deck Plans

Currently, there are more than 20 ships operating Douro River Cruises, and that number is growing. See our story, Six Reasons Why You Should Do A Douro River Cruise Now. No wonder the Douro’s popularity is soaring. The Douro is a great destination for those wanting to explore Portugal’s natural beauty, its delectable food and wine, and the country’s warm and friendly people.

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Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

The Secret of the Wealthy Travel Agent

Since 2016, luxury cruise capacity increased by 45%. In two more years, it will have more than doubled. Brands in the luxury tour and hotel segments are also increasing their offerings at a record pace to meet a growing demand. Yet, according to a survey conducted by a leading travel industry weekly publication, agency focus on selling luxury sales is DOWN 5%! Traditional agencies, over $10 million in sales, are down a whopping 9%!

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This is a true story. “Mine-That-Bird” was the name of the nag who left the gates at 50 -1 odds…and won The Kentucky Derby. Apparently, nobody told him or his jockey that 50 – 1 was just another way of labeling the beast a “loser.” “Mine-That-Bird” was not meant to win. He was meant to lose. He won.

How many of you reading this today are not feeling like “winners” at the moment?

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My wife Barbara and I once responded to an impulse, and decided to drive to Ft. Lauderdale to watch a one-man band perform on stage. I recognized the musician as the man who once  “gave” me two tickets to an unknown performer if I would purchase two tickets to his own concert back in 1968. The unknown performer was James Taylor.

Tom Rush was his name, and he was famous for playing the Cambridge, Massachusetts coffee houses back when long hair on gentlemen was considered vogue.

Not to bore you with the specifics, but we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we meandered back stage to say “hi” to Little Tommy Rush after the concert. Upon learning that he had an instructional DVD available, I became yet another “customer.”

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

Pajama Party

Are you sitting at work in your PJ’s today? There actually is  a “National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day”! I stumbled upon the official website and it says that originally the “National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day” was always the day after taxes are due in the United States. Working from home, we are fortunate to have the luxury of celebrating this awesome day any day of the year that we want. This freedom of choice of wardrobe does not stop at working at home in your pajamas, it extends to every aspect of your business.

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Whiskey For My Men; Beer For My Horses

Some of you might recognize this as the title of a Toby Keith song. It leads me to the first of three nuggets I would like to share with you today.

  1. Titles in articles and newspaper columns should be written to capture the reader’s attention. The same holds true for the subject you choose to write in the “Subject Box” of your emails. Don’t rush these important areas of your marketing communications. Don’t get hokey, but definitely don’t gloss over them in haste to get your message out.

MESSAGEThink Headlines. Give this element of your communication ample time and thought. They are important. 

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Posted In: 1:1

PictureVice President of Brand Management for Emerald Waterways Lisa Norton has been in the travel industry for years. In her current role for Emerald Waterways, she is responsible for the growth of Emerald Waterways’ footprint in the U.S and Canadian market. She is often on the road meeting with agents to develop and grow relationships for her brand in the travel agent community. Lisa works tirelessly each day to raise awareness for Emerald Waterways while also making relationships and connections with other cultures. To learn more about Lisa Norton and Emerald Waterways, continue on below.

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A while back I was doing a little web “surfing” when I came across a major travel industry conference, and I began to snoop around.

This event really looked cool, and I thought I would spend a few days down at the convention center to learn what I could learn…and to see whom I could see. After all, I guess after 30 years it might not be a bad idea to let a few people in the industry know that I am still alive and capable of fogging a mirror with the best of them.

But, that is not the purpose of my writing today.

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Posted In: Editorial Musings

And now…time for a nap

In this “go, go, go” world we live in, it is important to take some time for yourself. Forever (it seems) teachers and professors have been able to take sabbaticals to refresh and renew. They take their time off and relax, and re-educate themselves to be the best they can be for their students when they return. Unfortunately, in our industry few of us have back up agents to carry us for many months; and those that do likely don’t have the cash flow to support that time off. So here’s what we do.

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Posted In: Soundings

What’s Old is New Again

When cruise lines make a change, like introducing a new type of cruise fare or changing their group policy, etc. it’s not easy to predict how the change will be received. Four months ago Royal Caribbean changed their onboard rebooking policy (link to previous article:  https://www.travelresearchonline.com/blog/index.php/2017/08/keeping-up-with-onboard-future-bookings/). In a nutshell, they did away with the $100 per person reduced deposit, and the only onboard credit offer is now tied to the new nonrefundable deposit cruise fare.

My educated guess was that this may have been a result of passengers taking advantage of the previous low deposit amount, and booking multiple cruises only to cancel the bulk of them right before final payment. If you can’t decide which cruise you want, or don’t know if your vacation request will be approved, why not hedge your bets? You had nothing to lose since the deposits were refundable. However it was a pain for the cruise lines, with cancelled bookings dumping back into inventory.

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Posted In: cartoons

Are We Having Fun Yet?

It is my personal opinion that “it doesn’t suck being me.” I feel this way because I have come to learn and appreciate that my numerous failures were just temporary set-backs. In fact and in truth, they all played pivotal roles in my development over the years. (And I have more than my share of goof-ups.)

“Failure is in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true.” – John Keats

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Don’t Be A Buffoon

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I do become upset at times. It usually comes as a result of running into a buffoon of some sort, shape, size or gender. And it has come to my attention over the last couple of years that our world has its fair share of them.

Labeling a person as a “buffoon” is my personal observation, and is based on my own interpretation. You should not endorse my list until you concur by your own set of standards.

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Posted In: Spotlight

PictureJennifer Stevens is the U.S Senior Trade Marketing Specialist for small-group based tour company G Adventures. With G Adventures Jennifer not only oversees trade media partnerships and agent campaigns, but has also worked hard for the last six years to cultivate relationships with top preferred agencies and consortium accounts. G Adventures’ is currently on the search for agents for the 2018 Ambassadors of Change program, something Jennifer is very excited to talk about. A native Rhode Islander, she has had the opportunity to travel to an array of different locations around the globe. Read on to learn more about G Adventures, Jennifer, and their incredible Ambassadors for Change Program. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

For a unique Croatian experience, look no further than Via Tours Croatia. Their mission is to offer exclusive experiences away from the public eye that are preserved for the most discerning travelers to discover the authentic way of life in Croatia and Eastern Europe. Via Tours is the local link to all the best Croatia has to offer.

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