Monthly Archives: July 2019

Incentives Work


Here are two examples I happened across in just the last two weeks, each tied to an opportunity that may prove right up your alley.

I heard from a group of tractor dealers that an incentive worked wonders for those who saw the benefit of parting with a little cash. Yes, it appears that money still manages to get some people’s attention. How does that old saying go? “You have to spend a little money to make a lot of money.”

I then read in the newspaper that banks are spending money to grease their own personal referral chains. This physical sign of appreciation serves as an endorsement and says ‘Thank you,’ with more than just hot air. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

National Transaction Corporation (NTC) has been proudly serving the travel industry with offering professional and customized payment services for over 25 years and has just renewed its 15 year partnership with ASTA. We are a full service merchant account provider with extensive experience in the travel arena and related markets, servicing thousands of travel-related merchant accounts by specializing in non-cash electronic transactions. Traditionally, travel-related merchants have a difficult time obtaining merchant accounts. Travel environments are unique in that your transactions are usually keyed; there is almost always a delayed delivery period Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

PictureAnn Chamberlin, Senior Vice President of Membership & Strategic Partnerships and the President of the ASTA Small Business Network, formerly NACTA. She is responsible for the association’s membership growth and support, chapter operations and consortia partnerships. She leads the vision for ASTA membership programs, strengthens the company through strategic partnerships and membership growth to ensure ASTA remains the top membership choice for travel advisors.

During her NACTA tenure, she and her team raised the membership criteria qualifications, rebranded the association, expanded the supplier portfolio, and strengthened the chapter system through a regionalized structure. ASTA member engagement and participation in ASTA’s many programs and events remain her main focus. Reporting directly to the President and CEO of ASTA, she works collaboratively with the staff of the American Society of Travel Advisors to ensure the success of both associations. Read the rest of this entry »

Give’em A Call!

I recently finished the fourth book written by a guy named Harry Beckwith. I enjoy this man’s writing style and I easily “connect” with his messages.

His four books include: Selling The Invisible, What Customers Love, The Invisible Touch, and You, Inc. They are all good, easy-to-read, and are written around short, message-bearing vignettes with a bold, one sentence sum-up message at the conclusion of each story.

On the last page of book four, You, Inc., an invitation to join his newsletter list was included so I decided to sign up for some more input. I went one step further: I emailed the author (Harry) a brief note which led to a series of emails between the two of us. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

The Gulf of Papagayo

On the northwestern coast of Costa Rica is the Golfo de Papagayo, meaning “gulf of the parrot”. A place with the best of what the rest of the country has to offer: beaches, national parks, scuba diving, fishing, and much more. But the peninsula along it offers up resorts and protected natural landscapes within a gated community, and plenty of relaxation and adventure. Thanks to Costa Rica Dream Adventures, todays article will go into this recently developed part of an already popular destination, Costa Rica. Read the rest of this entry »


I was reminded of the power of “authenticity” this past week in an email arriving from a friend of mine who also happens to be the President of a speaker’s bureau.

In a back and forth communication (email ping pong), I shared my story for when people find themselves fretting about competition. I remind them that in my business my competition is anybody with a mouth. This usually draws a few chuckles from my audiences… but I am stone-cold serious. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

What lawsuit? Marriott is under the microscope in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. While Marriott is the target of a recent lawsuit, it has ramification for all hotels, large and small. In fact, this suit (win, lose, or draw) will usher in a new era of pricing transparency with hotels worldwide for US citizens. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Going with the flow?

The only direction you can drift is downhill – My father

Ok, dad was admittedly all caught up in the Puritan work ethic, but I think he had a point. It’s easy to “go with the flow” without realizing the noise you hear is a waterfall.

Here’s what I do know. There was a time when being a travel agent was easy.  Really.  I was there.  People could book travel themselves, certainly, but fearless few.  Travel agents knew so much more about the products available than the general public.  Travel agents held the keys to the kingdom, what with our ARC appointments,  ticket printers and all. Airline tickets were the gateway drug, but then the public came in for the really hard stuff – tours, FITS and cruises.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

AmaWaterways Christens AmaMora

AmaWaterways celebrated the christening of its new 156-passenger vessel, AmaMora. Co-Founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst joined Mayor Adalbert Dornbusch of Lahnstein, Germany and Godmother Libbie Rice, president of Ensemble Travel Group, for a day of festivities officially commemorating the company’s third new ship launched during the 2019 season. AmaMora will sail the enchanting Rhine river, while recent launches of AmaMagna and AmaDouro expand the company’s presence on the Danube and in Portugal, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »

If there is any truth to this title, then I suppose it is in our best interest to get a few of our prospects and customers moving in the right direction.

Today my plan is to introduce a system that is designed and proven to just that. It is affectionately known as the 2-Step Marketing System, and you can virtually take this strategy to the bank.

This is a non-intrusive way to get “interested” prospects in your particular marketplace to raise their hand indicting a genuine interest in your product or service. The system happens to be as old as dirt itself, but like everything that is good and logical, it still works today like a charm. Read the rest of this entry »

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

A few years back I had the pleasure of speaking to a room full of tractor distributors in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina. This was an audience of t-shirted, baseball-capped, suspender-equipped, gum-chewing ladies and gentlemen who like you had an intense interest in learning how to “eat regularly.”

Prior to my chance to wax eloquent, I sat in the rear of the room taking copious notes learning what was important to this particular group. Reason being, I wanted to hit a “home run” when it was my turn to speak. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

A few years back, the self-help book genre was dominated by athletic coaches. Today, former US Navy SEALs are currently the rage. From Jocko Willink and David Goggins, to retired Admiral William McRaven – their lessons of courage, leadership, and perseverance are really and truly inspiring.

While all include mission tales of their military exploits, to which we owe a debt of gratitude, they each maintain a common theme from their elite SEAL training that we can carry over into our own lives.

SEAL training is physically tough, but according to the authors, the mental challenge is much more demanding. The lesson may sound cliché, but it is a fact. Master your thoughts and have a laser-like focus to achieve the outcomes you desire. Read the rest of this entry »

You Have A Dual Purpose

I remember it like it happened yesterday. Even seasoned travelers like myself have a bag full of embarrassing war stories.

This particular episode came into play as I forgot my passport while traveling to Toronto. Although not a life or death scenario, it did highlight the propensity for squared away individuals (like myself) to fall prey to the human element of stupidity.

I blamed nobody but myself for this time consuming and somewhat expensive faux pas. But if I had a travel agent who was not frightened to remind me to pack my socks, tie, toothbrush, and my Passport – I would have been sharing a different message today. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

This is the fourth of seven articles in a series titled Discover Your Group Niche. You will be able find the others in our Point-to-Point section.

Most people think I’m crazy when I exclaim, “T.G.I.M.!”. Truth is – I love Mondays. After 25+ years of personal and professional growth in the travel industry’s corporate sector, I’ve never felt T.G.I.M. as much as I do now as a solopreneur (of 13 years).

Why? I always work inside my Love Circle. I love the risk and return of being 100% responsible for my paycheck. I love that my commute is 20 steps down and one left turn (with no stop signs, red lights or brake lights). What I love most, though, is being irrationally passionate about my work (as Russell Brunson describes). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Mykonos: Beaches, Views, and Fun

Mykonos. It is the glimmer and glamour of the Mediterranean, a gorgeous getaway in the Cycladic Islands. Images of crisp white and blue radiate in the summer sun, while the seas and beaches invite the traveler to stay awhile. The view from restaurants is divine and the partying top-notch. There are plenty of reasons Mykonos remains a popular destination. Today’s Outpost article is brought to you by CTS Fares. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 60-Second Geography

One of the most iconic sites in the United States, the Grand Canyon has been a staple for travelers since olden time and home to a native population for thousands of years. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The Grand Canyon fills with me with awe,’ and declared it “the one great sight which every American should see.” It was one of the first, great tourist attractions in the US, and remains so to this day. Today’s 60-Second Geography is brought to you be Vacations By Rail.

Read the rest of this entry »

No Excuses!

Batters miss pitches. Receivers miss catches. Tall basketball guys miss free-throw shots. Singers fail to make the cut. Actors don’t always get the role. Talented people don’t get hired. The best proposal does not always win. Sales professionals miss deals. And you too, will fall short at whatever it is you do from time to time.

From yoga practitioners to the ski slope heroes, from the classroom to the boardroom, people have, do, and will continue to fail on occasion. And when they do the rank and file (those tethered to mediocrity) will dig into their excuse ditty-bag and begin boring us all to tears with all the “reasons why.”

I am reminded of an important lesson I learned quite a few years ago Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Just Sayin’…

Since entering the travel industry in 1984, I have effectively uncovered a simple way to hold on to your valued “partners.” Notice I did not label them “customers” or “clients.” I will explain why shortly.

Having recently been introduced to a shameful statistic, I thought it timely to offer my slant on this subject. I am anxious to see how you swallow this dose of reality: When interviewed, travel agents believe they retain 78% of their paying customers. When interviewed, paying customers cite their loyalty factor closer to 35%. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

PictureDaniel Turner is an environmental biologist who has been working for the advancement of animal welfare knowledge and protection for over 20 years. During that time, he has created and led initiatives that have influenced international policy, national legislation and activities by international travel industry.

From 2000 to 2017 he worked for the international wildlife protection NGO, Born Free Foundation, where he established its department dedicated to animal welfare in tourism. Taking a more pragmatic approach, Daniel developed partnerships with travel businesses and their trade associations to create capacity-building programmes and guidance, which included the Travelife Animal Attractions Handbook (2008) and ABTA’s Animal Welfare Guidelines (2013). In 2018, Daniel co-founded ANIMONDIAL, a specialist consultancy that provides impartial advice and practical guidance to travel businesses seeking to better manage their impact on animals and the natural environment. Working in partnership with likeminded individuals and organizations, Daniel hopes to use combined knowledge and expertise to advance an understanding in, and an application of, animal welfare science in tourism. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Pulling your business apart

Hopefully you have a business and marketing plan in place. In writing. And in use! Hopefully you are constantly revising it to maximize your agency’s potential and profit. I have always advocated the very real need to have a limited scope of service (you need to create a niche) and I feel it is of the ultimate importance to partner with select suppliers in a symbiotic relationship. You may think you are doing well. The economy seems robust and stable. But don’t rest on your laurels. Never. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Listen to this Advice: Trust Yourself

I’ve met a large number of new entrants into our industry lately. Certainly the economy has vastly improved and the time seems right to take on some new challenges. Training, study and good working relationships make better business people of us all and recently there is a proliferation of organizations and coaches offering their services.  We periodically need to be reminded to operate leaner, smarter, to market harder, to take more seriously every minute we have allocated to us. In both good times and bad we face obstacles, but I do agree with the adage “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Read the rest of this entry »