Monthly Archives: May 2019

Posted In: cartoons

Itchy Feet Comics – May 31, 2019


It dawned on me this morning that this is my column, and I can write anything I want to write. Cool! Very cool indeed.

I also reflected on the fact that it is your time and you can choose to use your time any way you wish. Reading my thoughts each day is just a single option.

Therefore, if I want you to read, I better write something worth reading. This is known in the trade as “customer focus.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Whether you see your extended family regularly at Sunday dinners or only gather during holidays, breaking free from the status quo rejuvenates your group and creates new chances to bond and create lifelong memories. Plan that family reunion or vacation you’ve been putting off and join together for a trip of a lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

We can all agree that one of the hardest parts of a trip, second to paying your cruise fare, is packing. The great news, though, is that someone always seems to have advice for how to make packing easier.

Last year, Ralph wrote an article on packing tips. In this article, Ralph provides a lot of great insight to how and what to pack; however, one of our readers pointed out that this list was geared mostly toward men. I reached out to you, our women readers, for help on what to pack, and some of the best packing tips you’ve learned throughout your years traveling. So let’s look at your tips, as well as some of mine. Read the rest of this entry »

Today I am piggy backing off of a column I read in a New Jersey based newspaper. Written by Mark Schnurman and printed in the Sunday edition of The Star Ledger, I read this man’s ideas with genuine interest. Among the five points he made in a bulleted format was the following, and I quote:

“A manager is responsible to find each person’s trigger. Everyone has different motivators. Meet with each employee to gain greater insight into what motivates them. You do not need to be covert, but rather ask them what their key motivators and de-motivators are.”

I smiled when I read this, as I still find comfort that there is at least one other individual in America who thinks like I do. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

“If you absolutely can’t tolerate critics, then don’t do anything new or interesting.” — Jeff Bezos

It is a well-known fact that I wrote the book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together- The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales. The book was first published over two and half years ago and is still a consistent best seller in its genre. Recently after years of four- and five-star reviews – I got hammered with two very negative (one-star) reviews within two days of each other. They were hateful attacks, not just on the book and how bad it sucked, how poorly it was written and that it was so thin it shouldn’t be called a book. The worst past was the attack on my integrity with the accusation that I was paying reviewers for their testimonials. Read the rest of this entry »

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 pull-out section. The headlines read:

“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.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Buenos Aires, Argentina is the perfect mix of Old European influence and the passionate culture of South America. The largest city in Argentina, it was named after the fair winds which drove the trade in and out of the city. This made the city a blender of culture from all around South America, and the world. From classic architecture to some of the best steaks in the world, Buenos Aires will delight the traveler with its sights and sounds.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

Paris is a tried and true destination. Romantic, classic, and full of culture that has influence the entire world in multiple industries. Of course, there are the monuments that one must see. The Eiffel Tower, an iconic sight that captured so many hearts its original purpose as a temporary installment was extended to the foreseeable future. The Arc de Triomphe, a celebration and remembrance of France’s epic past. And, group tours through one of the most prestigious museums in the world, the Louvre. But there is more to Paris that these larger sites, a deeper feel for those that have been there and thought they’ve seen all that Paris has to offer.

Read the rest of this entry »

I must admit that although I have come to learn that there are more than a few weird people in the world, I still have trouble coming to grips with The Polar Bear Club. These folks get nearly naked and plunge themselves into the ocean on New Year’s Day for reasons beyond my comprehension.

To me, this exercise is spelled “strange behavior.”

This past year however, I looked at the PBs and thought of something entirely unrelated to splashing around in cold water. I thought of you and the sales profession. Go figure! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

PictureHaving spent the majority of my professional career in the travel industry working with both Cruise Lines and Tour Operators, I joined the Celestyal Cruises North American team in February 2019 with a divine passion for cultural exploration, destination immersion and a devotion in expanding our products and services to our strategic partners in North America.

My role involves traveling Western North America to assist our strategic partners in helping grow their Celestyal Cruises business. Much of this time is devoted to client and agency visits, often for training, luncheons or virtual webinars conducted in house to home agents who don’t live in the ‘neighborhood’. In addition, I also conduct many webinars to assist with education for new clients/agencies on our newest product updates, additions, and company advancements.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bad News Travels Fast!

Let me set the scene: I was sitting at a conference table with an event planner. In the first 20-seconds of the meeting the event being held earlier that day was referenced and the name of the florist for that event was mentioned. BANG!

The event planner said, and I quote, “Perhaps I shouldn’t say this, but the florist in question is the absolute worst one I have ever seen. Just awful.”

I responded with, “Perhaps you shouldn’t candy-coat your opinion. Can you tell us how you really feel?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Don’t BS a BSer

I remember that phrase from my teen years. My father used to use it when I was trying to talk him into something that was probably a very bad idea. And today, I want to talk a bit about BS.

Today’s client is far from ignorant. In fact, they often know more than you do. So how does an agent survive? Hint: it’s not by trying to BS a client. In fact, it’s a simple word. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Downton, D-Day, Dahl and the Great Detectives

I’m always on the look-out for new ways of looking at your old friend Britain and this week’s edition spotlights 7 imaginative ideas that will delight adults and families alike and generate valuable extra profit for the innovative travel planner.

On Location with Downton Abbey leads the way and it’s followed by the celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of D Day. There’s a neat idea for Roald Dahl fans, some incredible edibles in Clovelly and if your clients can travel a little further into the world of Doc Martin, Poldark, King Arthur and Lorna Doone you will also see some tasty foodie reasons for adding the attractive North Devon to your itineraries in England’s West Country.

There’s an intriguing Children’s Literature tour suggestion for July and August and for niche marketeers, you’ll spot the potential in the British Ceramics Biennial in the World Capital of Ceramics. For those interested in converting much-loved TV series like Poirot and Miss Marple into see it, touch it reality, your little grey cells will start buzzing with September’s Agatha Christie Festival.

Read the rest of this entry »

If you are over the age of 35, and happen to have children, nephews, or neighbors over the age of 10—you know exactly what I am about to say. Young people seem to “know” it all. This trait, I am sad to say, is not limited to just young people. For my money, there are too many adults who seem to “know” everything they need to know.

But knowing and doing are two entirely different things. They know what to do, what to say, what to think, what to try, what not to say, what not to do and what not to think. It appears that “they already know” what needs knowing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Doing a river cruise alone was one of the most fulfilling travel experiences of my life. There is something about traveling solo that makes me feel fiercely independent and unstoppable. The only downside to traveling solo, however, is the cost. Well … sometimes.

Solo passengers often have to pay single supplements, meaning that they usually must dole out what a couple would pay for the same stateroom. Though single supplements can run high, some companies waive these fees. Some river cruise operators also have solo cabins, or, in Riviera’s case, a waived solo supplement for a certain amount of travelers on every departure. But more on that in a minute. First, let’s talk about what cruising alone is really like. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: cartoons

I Can’t Listen Anymore!

I recently invested one-hour of my time listening to an on-line webinar from a “professional.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

It had nothing to do with the information being shared, although that definitely had something to do with it. The presenter was putting me to sleep. I wanted to run out the door screaming. Incredible.

Ladies and gentlemen: I believe whatever you do, and regardless of your industry, your competition may be putting your prospects and their customers to sleep. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Do you want to close sales more quickly?

Do you want to grow relationships with your potential clients more quickly?

I’ll bet your answer is a resounding YES! Learning how and when to add video into your sales process is a super easy way to shift your sales into high gear. Tune in and finesse your next sales conversation with the tips in this video.

Join the 94% of businesses who see video as an effective sales tool. Read the rest of this entry »

Enthusiasm Sells

The information you share is very important. How you share it can be just as important—if not more so.

I once was given an opportunity to address an audience for 10-minutes at an annual convention. This isn’t much time to “connect” with an audience or leave them with anything worth thinking about.

I gave it my best shot, and was pleasantly surprised at the warm ovation I received at the conclusion of my message. According to me, I hadn’t said much. I didn’t have enough time to set the hook, and follow up with some brilliance. I soon realized they were not applauding my words. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Dubai with Mill-Run Tours

Dubai is a different destination than others. It is an oasis of skyscrapers, man-made islands, and affluence in the middle of the desert. The city caters to the traveler with lavish lodging and choice shopping. Observation decks on the tallest buildings in the world give a view of a place that seems to spring from the sand. Dubai’s aesthetic is one of having one foot in tradition and one in the future. Read the rest of this entry »