Monthly Archives: February 2019

Don’t Be Boring!

Much has happened in the last twelve months.

My son decided to move.

My Scottish friends have come to America to stay with us for the fifteenth year in a row.

My wife has had another birthday; She is still a knockout at ???  (I’m not stupid!)…

I have been asked to speak in a number of fine locations for a number of fine organizations.

I added a few new names to my client list. Read the rest of this entry »

Do What You Say You Will Do

You have often heard me say that the answer is often found in the question. You have heard me suggest that you must stop selling and start asking more intelligent and meaningful questions. You have heard me infer that you are making this “selling-thing” harder than it has to be.

Here are a few questions worth asking: Read the rest of this entry »

Execution

E-X-E-C-U-T-I-O-N is a nine-letter word that identifies the reason most companies (and individuals) fail to meet their full potential. Or, put another way, a “lack of execution.”

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines ‘execute’ as, “to carry out; perform; do.” The issue is not a lack of knowledge. It is a shortage of do. This week, focus on the concept of E-X-E-C-U-T -I-O-N. Do something. Do anything. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

The Mississippi River is an American treasure. It has been a central figure of trade, exploration, literature, and music in the United States. In fact, Mark Twain once wrote, “The Mississippi River towns are comely, clean, well built, and pleasing to the eye, and cheering to the spirit. The Mississippi Valley is as reposeful as a dreamland, nothing worldly about it…nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon.” Thanks to American Cruise Lines, you’re going to learn all about why cruising the Mighty Mississippi should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

Read the rest of this entry »

Elephants Don’t Bite

Little things can make or break deals.

In a “me-too-only-cheaper” competitive environment, the fundamentals and strict adherence to the little things will position companies faster and more accurately than just about anything else.

Fact: Clients are in the driver’s seat.

Fact: They know it and have a number of options when preparing to make a purchase.

Fact: Your success will have everything to do with how you manage the “details.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

As we get near the end of our 2019 resolutions (only one more after this), we finally get to my favorite resolution. Finding your niche! When I entered this industry in 1997, I immediately realized that very few people can be all things to all people and to succeed, one would need to specialize. This was highlighted in my own office where I had corporate agents that had no idea how to book a leisure trip. And leisure agents who had no idea what a back-to-back or hidden city ticket was.

Admittedly at the beginning, we were an agency that provided all things to all people but over the ensuing 10 years and in the years beyond, we narrowed our focus more and more until we became the niche agency that we wanted. So, how do you do it? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

The Worst Feedback

Criticism can be difficult to take. On a regular basis, I solicit feedback from the travel agents that use TRO and Voyager Websites, and there is usually no shortage of good suggestions. Likewise, I speak with our advertisers frequently to see if we are exceeding their expectations. In the position of publisher, I have to patrol both sides of the fence, making sure that every aspect of our business is where I want it to be. It seldom is. We get close, but perfection seems always somewhere way down the road, usually miles away.

Sometimes the criticism can be brutal. The articles we craft, the editorial point of view, the look of our Destination Guides, the layout of our home page can all at times become the object of someone’s critique. I have only one thing to say to that:

Thank you. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

Itchy Feet Comics – February 22, 2019

Although I am often classified as a “motivational speaker”, I am the first to admit that this could be yet another example of false advertising. The truth is, I can’t motivate anybody. To even try would prove to be an exercise in futility.

That being said, we all need a little stimulation now and then. We all need to re-energize our creativity, and reintroduce the bounce back into our steps. With life’s path representing a sine wave, we all exhibit mood swings that go up and down mirroring our feelings. We all need a periodic boost to get us moving back “up” again. So where does this motivational impulse come from? The answer may fool you. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Last week, I wrote about my day at sea aboard Nieuw Statendam. This voyage report marks the fourth and final chapter of my time aboard.

Our last port of call before reaching Ft. Lauderdale was Half Moon Cay, a private island only visited by Holland America Line and Carnival guests. While a few people who work on the island live there, 86 people commute 18 miles to and from the island for work by boat. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

For many years, I counseled travel business owners from the comfort of my corporate office. I didn’t have to worry about paying the bills, I doled out advice and collected my salary. That all changed three years ago when I made the leap back into home-based business ownership. It was baptism by fire! I had to adapt rather quickly. Five things come to mind that helped me to thrive in this environment. Read the rest of this entry »

My house guest this week was an old friend and athletic swimming coach…and teacher. I promise to keep this on point. The message I am about to share with you is one I have been preaching for years. This very morning it came to the surface again…but from a different angle.

We were talking over coffee about the importance of “positioning” oneself as something worthy of another’s time and attention. He was referring to college graduates, and gym teachers in particular. I was making the connection to business entrepreneurs. This is what he said: Read the rest of this entry »

Never Cold Call Again

‘Cold calling’ is a term that defines the action of a salesperson approaching an unsuspecting prospect and making an honest attempt to make some form of inroad.

This was the way sales were initiated a few years back. That was back when sales managers endorsed and played “the numbers game.” Make a million calls…make a few sales.

Thanks to what appears to be a shorter day and a faster clock (we still have 24 hours, but it seems like twelve) and add to this the many benefits the internet has brought to the party, cold-calling just doesn’t have the same respect it once had. I know, I hate to cold call. Read the rest of this entry »

Can Twelve Words Can Make a BIG Difference?

Are you ready to get down to business? You may have spent some time devising specific goals and actions to guide you through the New Year. You have likely reviewed your progress to analyze what recently went wrong and what went right. All good moves. But let me see if I can simplify this for you and save you some time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

There are more well-known cities and areas in Argentina than Mendoza. Larger, more exciting locations that offer up typical adventures, adventures a tourist would experience with a passing remembrance. Mendoza is different. It is a place to feel the pulse of true Argentine life, a place for the traveler to relinquish preconceived notions about South American life. Mendoza is a deeper experience. It’s also a fantastic place to revel in some amazing food and wine.

Mendoza is located near the northwest border shared with Chile, nestled just below the snow-capped Andes Mountains that make up this border. It is a city of just over 100,000 people; not small, not massive. It is also a place that celebrates the independence of Argentina from the rule of Spain. These two aspects create a perfect environment to witness the heart of Argentina. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Sara Walker is the Senior Advisor on Wildlife Trafficking at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Prior to joining AZA, Sara was the Executive Director of the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA), until a merger was announced in 2018 that AZA and WTA would be joining forces to combat wildlife trafficking. As the Senior Advisor on Wildlife Trafficking, Sara continues to lead the efforts of the WTA and also work closely with AZA members on wildlife trafficking issues.

Prior to leading the WTA, Sara was the Director of Wildlife at The Humane Society of the United States, leading two national campaigns that focused on fur-free fashion and lead-free initiatives. Under her leadership, the fur-free campaign educated the luxury fashion industry about cruelty-free alternatives and exposed rampant false labeling of “faux” products; and the lead-free campaign raised awareness about lead-based ammunition and sought state and federal policies to adopt stricter environmental standards for hunting and fishing equipment. Read the rest of this entry »

These six words hit me last night in my sleep some time around 3 a.m. They woke me up, and I began to reflect on the validity of these three options.

We are always thinking to ourselves…about how things could be, might be, should be. When alone we can even hear ourselves talking about what we would do if we hit the lottery. If only …

Without any degree of research on this subject I am willing to wager that 98.65% of people in America who are currently in position to “fog a mirror” fall into the first two categories. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Onward with the resolutions inspired by Travel Pulse. This week, it’s all about improving your sales skills. This should be an easy one! If you are serious about the travel industry, you know that you never need to look too far to find a way to learn something. Heck, if you are a consumer, there are plenty of options. But, travel professionals, by definition, should have an advantage over the consumer—that’s why we exist! So I’ve broken it down to four ways to improve or increase your product knowledge to help you maintain your edge! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Content Marketing

Every few years or so the phrase “Content is King” enjoys new popularity. What most surprises me is that content has ever lost its royal positioning in marketing. Why does it come as a surprise when we re-discover the importance of well-written, engaging content? That aside, what role does content play in your own efforts to market your travel practice? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Voyage Report – Nieuw Statendam, At Sea

I last left you in St. Thomas.

My third day aboard Nieuw Statendam was spent at sea. Some of my favorite days aboard ships are at sea, especially when they are in the middle of the cruise. By that time, you have gotten to know people and you have gotten familiar enough with the ship that there are plenty of things to do. My sea day aboard Nieuw Statendam was no exception. Natalie, my travel companion, and I had big plans for the day that involved trivia and of course, music. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons