Monthly Archives: June 2019

Posted In: Publishers Corner

What Are You Worth?

Let me ask a question for your consideration: What Are You Worth?

Let me provide the answer for you: “It depends.”

The reason you have to give a less than precise answer regarding this question is simple: the value of any product or service is not entirely inherent in the product or service by itself. You cannot answer the question without asking about the context.

For example, consider a six night Western Caribbean cruise on Disney Cruise Line in March, inside cabin, for $1,296. Is that a good deal?  What if you upgrade me to a balcony cabin for free?  That cabin on the same cruise is listed for $2,490. Is it a good “deal” now?

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Posted In: Deck Plans

I felt like a kid opening a Christmas present last week when my AmaWaterways cruise documents arrived. The docs are for an upcoming cruise on AmaMagna and a christening ceremony on July 11. Three things that excite me about this trip:

  1.  AmaMagna itself, which is nearly double the width of traditional river cruisers. That extra width gives the new ship more in amenities, public rooms and space, resulting in a lot for us to explore and write about.
  2. I’m traveling with my daughter, Britton Frost, who is, of course, the host of Avid Travel with Britton Frost. Have you heard her latest, An Interview With Samantha Brown?
  3. And TV host Samantha Brown, who, as godmother of AmaMagna, will send a bottle of bubbly smashing against the hull of the new ship on christening day.

Our cruise itinerary is called “Melodies of the Danube.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Recently, the California Senate has begun to push through a bill that would shake the foundations of how Independent Travel Advisors work in the state of California. This model, that has worked for decades, creates an environment for travel advisors to utilize the resources of host companies without the commitment of being considered an employee and frees them up to remain a sovereign individual in the business world. The bill is California Assembly Bill 5. Read the rest of this entry »

“What’s that sound? I didn’t notice it yesterday? There it goes again!”

These were my exact words a week or two back when my clothes dryer began squeaking for what I could best determine was for no reason whatsoever. Like many people who share my upbeat attitude toward life, I knew that it would probably go away as fast as it came. I went back to living my life.

But when it started to make the same noise the next day, I took notice. Years ago I would have given the dryer at least two to three months to correct itself. Then, like most good husbands, I would have eventually gone out and replaced the unit.

But I am older now, and so much wiser. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow Up Is The Key Ingredient

Before we decided otherwise, Barbara and I were investigating log homes and we did what a number of “shoppers” might do. We purchased a log home magazine at the supermarket and sent away for all the free stuff that was not nailed down. We began planning our next home. We began “shopping.”

Send we did. Stuff we got. But here is where today’s lesson begins.

I am absolutely appalled at the lack of professionalism shown by the log home industry. (They do not have the monopoly on this, believe me.) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

I don’t normally share my travels with you as this is a newsletter about the business of selling travel, but I would be doing you an injustice not sharing this experience.

I have been fortunate to visit many places, but never had the overwhelming desire to go to Tahiti. So, when our good friend Sandy Stevens, vice president of sales for Paul Gauguin Cruises, invited my wife and me to join her and other travel advisers on a cruise this past January – I was less than enthusiastic at first.

Then, I remembered that Tahiti receives roughly the same number of visitors in a year that Hawaii gets in a week! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight

The northwest corner of Argentina is an area often overlooked by travelers. A historic region full of natural sites and views to keep the traveler in wonder of nature’s splendor. This region is made up of the Salta and Jujuy provinces. Here, where the cities meet the mountains, subtropical forests, and arid plateaus, the traveler will find a colorful getaway to the north of Argentina. Today’s article is brought to you by Borello Travel & Tours.

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My “A” List

Today’s message may sound like a whack in the head. It just may be exactly that.

Brian, Sara, Lauren, Megan, Will, Anne, Anthony, Mary, Cassidy, Andrew, and Mila.

Turning suspects into prospects, then into customers, is the way the sales cycle works. And in today’s competitive sales arena, it takes a great deal of time and effort to see the cycle through to completion. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes communication. Read the rest of this entry »

The Word Was Balance

Balance is an important concept as we all struggle to make ends meet while trying to keep our sense of humor. Like everything else in life, achieving BALANCE is easier said than done. We chuckled at the notion that as we grew older (more experienced) life would get easier. No such luck!

I am reminded of a bumper sticker that read: “Don’t Believe Your Parents: Adulthood Is Way Over-Rated.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

The Sights of the Danube River

The Danube has become one of the most popular rivers in the world for cruising, and this is for good reason. It is Europe’s second longest river. Its southeastern flow goes through or passes along 10 countries, which is more than any other river in the world. A trade route that once defined the eastern border of the Roman Empire, this 1,770-mile river has more than its fair share of sites and activities along the way through classic Europe. Today’s article is brought to you by Collette.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

A Failure to Advise

On occasion, a neighbor or an acquaintance, knowing I am somehow connected to the travel industry, will ask me about a vacation they would like to take. I use those opportunities to refer the person to a rotating selection of travel professionals I know. I tend to use different travel advisors depending on the person’s request. Recently, a neighbor asked me about a trip to Thailand she and her family wanted to take next year. I checked with a travel agent friend to see if he wanted the referral and I then put the two of them together.

Yesterday, months after our original conversation, I ran into my neighbor and asked how the travel planning had progressed. Looking at me a bit sheepishly she said “Well, your travel agent friend couldn’t find us anything cheaper than we could get online by ourselves.”  I explained to my neighbor the travel professional is not about the “best price” but was instead looking for the “best value.” I explained the travel professional was looking after my neighbor’s interests by choosing reliable suppliers, coordinating their travels and acting as their advocates. My neighbor listened, but the lesson was, I fear, arriving too late.

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The Power of the Checklist

Years ago (many years ago) I learned to fly single engine airplanes. There are three lessons I will always remember that will serve me forever.

  • Use the entire runway. The surface behind you is useless. Use it all.
  • A stiff neck will kill you. Look around and always be observant of your surroundings. No tunnel vision allowed.
  • Use your checklist…or else.

In this morning’s paper there was a reminder of how important checklists are and I thought I would pass along this sage advice. The headline read, “Make a checklist – it will keep your business healthy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Since I sounded the alarm (well my personal alarm) last week about travel to the Dominican Republic, I felt it only fair to follow up and offer some tips on how to deal with your clients who may be concerned. For those that are following along, the count of American tourists to have died in the Dominican Republic this year just increased to 11. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Wrong Demographic

Over the weekend I was helping a friend with a school assignment involving a marketing plan.  As a part of the exercise, she had to justify her business decisions by taking note of the demographics of Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee. In the outline to the assignment, the key demographics were listed as per capita income, population by gender, and age ranges.

As I worked through the project, it occurred to me how little help typical demographic statistics in reality are for a marketing plan. Certainly such numbers  are important criteria in early decision making.  If, for example, you are setting out to launch a travel practice in any given area, you want to know sufficient population is present with enough disposable income.  Beyond that, however, these are the wrong demographics for marketing purposes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

There may be no better way to truly immerse yourself in a new destination than to befriend it through its history and food. Take a walk-through Old San Juan on a culinary walking tour to discover a world-class destination and one the second oldest European-founded city in the Americas. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Ours is a creative industry and if you like thinking out of the box, you’ll love what’s in store for you and your clients on this side of the northern gateway of Manchester. As many of you can easily use Virgin Atlantic’s flights from Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando (see schedule) start a conversation with anglophile clients about customised tours that include Beatrix Potter, the Brontës, Wedgwood, David Hockney, Hadrian’s Wall and the heritage cities of Chester and York. Let’s create something that matches their interests, time frame and budget. Take a close look at this website and discover no fewer than 23 exciting new products that are waiting, just for you! Read the rest of this entry »

This just in off the breakfast table. Where better to glean important, life-changing information? News Flash: Referrals are a good way to go.

When we first relocated to Florida my wife and I did not have a rolodex of “go-to” resources. When an eye ailment hit my wife we first went the quick fix route by going to Walgreens. When the problem persisted, I asked if a doctor’s office may be a better place to tear up?

If you have been hibernating the last dozen years, you may not realize that Florida is a place where old folks go to hang out for the winter months. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Cruising is often a great choice for family travel. There is no packing and unpacking, lugging bags and backpacks on trains and busses, or trying to figure out what to do each day. The ease of cruising is what makes it so appealing to so many people. However, a lot of times families forget to look at river cruising as an option for travel – and for good reason. Families could not easily be accommodated … until now. New cruise ships are being developed with connecting staterooms for families, as well as triples and quads that will accommodate a family of four. Read the rest of this entry »

I was eating my free cup of yogurt in Lumberton, NC this week on my way north on Rt 95. Breakfast is included at the Country Inn & Suites. This was a regular stop for our annual warm weather migration up to the north country.

You might have noticed that some people talk louder than others in public, and yesterday morning proved this point. I “tuned in.” Her words struck a chord. I listened. I ate yogurt. I learned. I wanted to share this with you.

Unbeknownst to many of my readers, I capture much of my “fodder” by eavesdropping at Starbucks, airport lounges and hotel breakfast tables. That is where ‘life” happens and reality surfaces. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Simple Summer Social Tips

Are you trying to stay on top of social marketing AND enjoy summer? Don’t let the beach bump your social marketing to the back burner.

Here’s two quick social marketing questions that are HOT topics in our industry, along with quick tips you can use right now to grow your marketing—while not missing out on the pleasures of summer.

 

Q1 – How Can I Reach the RIGHT Fans?

How can I market to people who are really interested? I don’t want to pay to advertise to people who are not ‘warm’ leads. Read the rest of this entry »

Finish What You Start

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. More realistically, it is a lack of execution

According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary ‘execute’ is defined as: [to carry out; perform; do.]

The issue is not a lack of knowledge. It is a shortage of do. Try this out, for the next seven days focus on the do…the concept of execution. Read the rest of this entry »