I was sitting here today, the first day at work in 2018, and reminiscing about all the changes in this industry over the last 35+ years and all I have learned.
Let’s go back to January 2, 1980.
It’s a new year, the start of my 2nd year running our family’s Milwaukee travel agency. I already have made up my mind on the changes that I’ll be making around here this year. First, I’m going to add another agent, bringing our selling staff to 8. They’re all full-time employees since the IC concept hasn’t yet caught on – we’ll have to wait another 15 years before that phenomenon really changes things in the industry.
Efficiency Thru Automation – 1980 style
I’ve been approached by my airline reps to enter the computer age by installing res. boxes in the office. We have decided to become modern and efficient. No more pulling tariffs each week. No more calling airlines to make reservations. No more hand-writing tickets. Eliminating the repetitive manual work will leave my agents more time to concentrate on selling and being more creative
What leisure agencies sold in 1980
We were a leisure agency. That means we’re servicing very few business clients. Our customers are couples and families flying to visit friends and relatives, and taking well-earned vacations. They’re going to Vegas, Miami and New York and Disneyland in Anaheim and Disneyworld in ORL (Orlando was still ORL; MCO came a couple of years later). A few are traveling to Hawaii (Cartan and Maupin) and Mexico. A popular trip is Mexico City for 3 nights- Taxco for 1 – and Acapulco for 3 nights. We’re booking Jamaica and Nassau FIT’s a lot thru the Gold’s wholesale operation in Chicago. Israel was really big, both FIT’s and groups! Everyone wanted to go to Israel. Church groups, Synagogue groups. Individuals.
Our cruise business went to Home Lines, Sitmar (loved the Fairwind), Costa, Royal Caribbean and NCL (loved the Norway).
Here is how we were different: Our Groups were always all-inclusive.
Back in 1980, groups were about 20% of our agency’s business, evenly split between Europe and cruises. Here’s how we handled the pricing of groups: we included everything in the selling price. We included transportation between our shopping center location and the airport, the flights, baggage handling at every step along the way; we included the cocktail parties and special evening events, trip cancellation insurance, and all of the sightseeing tours. Our cruise groups usually stuck together in each port, making it easy for us to figure out the involved costs. Once in a while, especially in St. Thomas or Aruba, we’d give the group members a choice between an island tour with time for shopping, or a round of golf. We never sold anything after deposits were made. We did this because once we had a group under deposit, we were able to move on to another groups.
Its January 2, 2018.
We sold our agency 18 years ago to start ShoreTrips. Here’s our advice to you today: If you are given the opportunity to handle a cruise group, when you price it out, price it out with everything included…with all the ShoreTrips priced in. Keep your group together in port whenever possible because a group that tours together forms a solid, long-lasting bond. That means that you’ll have an easier time next year with this group. Deposits will come in faster. Your groups will become larger.
We are ready to help you with your group, but don’t wait until you’ve given out the price. Call us before so that when you set the price, you’ll set it with the cost of everything already included. Believe me, you’ll sell just as many travelers, but you’ll be making a lot more money.
To learn more about ShoreTrips, visit them at www.ShoreTrips.com