Monthly Archives: April 2020

Be “Useful”


Let’s agree to keep our time together on point and simple. Here are three words that will turn your life around: Become More Useful.

Concentrate on the word useful. Become more useful. Don’t try to sell more. Don’t try to find more business. Just try to become more useful.

A person who is nice to be around, easy to be around, fun to be around is a person worth being around. (That’s as deep as I get.) Make it your business to be that person. Become useful.

This is a very important word – useful is what we want to be. And to do so Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips


In times like these, our natural tendency is to circle the wagons and go into ‘conservation’ mode. But it is also when the contrarians, those who do the opposite of everyone else (think Warren Buffet and Ray Dalio), tend to prosper.

For most of us, our businesses have been virtually wiped out. For some, the devastation is too much and they will abandon the industry altogether. But many of us will rise from the ashes and rebuild. In fact, now is the perfect opportunity to reimagine your business the way you have always envisioned it Read the rest of this entry »

Answering Blogs is a Good Marketing Strategy


If you are looking for ways to build your prospect list, you might want to think about contributing to blogs.

I am not suggesting that you write or author a blog. This could prove to be too much work and require too much time and effort. What I am suggesting is that you “respond” to other people’s blogs. (Not those written by other travel professionals.)

I came across a gentleman’s blog not long ago and I posted a return comment that contributed to his overall message. It was easy and it was fast. And it was just my opinion based on my personal experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing to The Wrong Audience


It happened to me again this week and I am sure it happens to you on occasion. It is when some form of negative critique enters your world, and you allow it to settle in your head and tosses you into defensive mode.

I suppose it is part of the human condition, but that does not mean you should allow it to alter your forward progress. It occurs when that one isolated comment is interpreted as less than stellar. In most cases, it comes as an opinion. Read the rest of this entry »

People Are Watching You


Today’s reminder involves a man who was picking up his family’s dinner on a Friday night from a take-out Italian restaurant in Boynton Beach, Florida. I don’t know the man personally but I found him to be a breath of fresh air.

I arrived at the restaurant only to see 20 people milling around the parking lot waiting for their take-out order to be called. My first thought was how pleased I was that this establishment was busy during this time of crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Creativity is intelligence having fun!”- Albert Einstein

Much of advice on building a travel practice stresses the importance of positioning and differentiation – setting your travel practice apart from the crowd. However, it’s clear that it’s not always easy to really BE different. Where do the ideas arise that will energize your travel practice in such a way that travelers will choose you over another agency or booking on their own? We all have a bit of extra time now to develop new and different approaches to our marketing, but where to begin?

The most important thing is to lead with your personality. You are the one thing that is truly unique about your travel practice. You are the one thing not duplicated online, in your office, or at another agency. You are the human element with which people want to engage. Learn to infuse your creative thinking with your own personality.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. I am seeing it here in my home state where they are beginning to look at plans to ease restrictions and move forward to a new normal. I don’t there there will ever be a normal as we defined it in January 2020 and I have already laid out my thoughts on what cruising might look like. But air travel is another huge component of what we do and it is going to be vastly different. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow Up

Your Success Begins With The Way You Follow Up

Question: Mike, are you implying that the simple practice of “follow up” is a skill?

Answer: Yes, I am. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

We surveyed 20,000 readers on our sites, Avid Cruiser and River Cruise Advisor, about the future of river cruising. Of the more than 1,400 responses as of today, more than half could see themselves on a cruise before the end of next spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

8 Secrets to Improve YOUR Videos

Do you ever wish your videos looked a bit more polished?

Do you wish your fans would share and comment more often on your videos?

Why even bother with video now in these crazy times? Here’s why: Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll Try.


Over the years, I have taught myself to recognize this phrase (“I’ll try.”) and question its validity immediately.

I have come to learn from experience that these two words really mean, “I’ll give your idea or invitation a moment or two of consideration before I come up with some lame excuse of why I can’t follow through as suggested.”

“I’ll try” is similar to the shopper’s knee-jerk comeback… “I’m just looking.” Read the rest of this entry »

Time is Not on Our Side


Contrary to what the Rolling Stones might think in song, “Time is not on our side.”

In fact, “time” is passing us by faster than we could ever imagine. And the truth is that we will soon be out in front of this crisis looking back over our shoulders at the “old” days. (Remember 9/11?)

If anybody for a minute thinks I am minimizing the severity of what we are all going through, you are sadly mistaken. We are experiencing a huge catastrophe. But the hours are turning into days, and the days into weeks.

You may not be feeling it today, but better days will soon be knocking Read the rest of this entry »

The “Pause”


There has been a lot of print these days about maintaining and establishing relationships. Yet, I see one enormous opportunity squandered daily as people continue to respond to emails too quickly as far as I am concerned.

Pausing long enough to think about and type a few more descriptive adjectives and heart-felt feelings in your emails will serve you well in the long run. I will attempt to drive this point home with an example. This email popped into my inbox yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

When do I start?


Do you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk? I know I do. And talking is the way I make my living. Today’s train of thought may be a bit convoluted, but stick with me, follow along, and it will become clear at the end. I promise!

Assume for the moment you are looking for a job. I can guarantee that your resume looks like every other resume that has been submitted. The secret to winning that job is to package yourself as something different – something special – something unique. Take a risk. Stand out from everyone else in the rank and file. Don’t be just another applicant. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Hopefully some of us were able to get some of that PPP money or the EIDL money to help out in this time of crisis. As I have mentioned before, right now is a critical time to make sure you are touching base with your clients. Not selling. Touching base.

Chances are, they are working from home and are likely looking for things to do and trolling emails for diversions. Give them one. And here is a perfect example from Annie’s Escapes. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

When Will We Return To River Cruising?

If the river cruise companies resumed operations in July, would you feel confident about going on a river cruise? Because we value your thoughts, we are running a survey to see how you are feeling about river cruising in the short term and beyond.

COVID-19 has made something as simple as going to the grocery store a large task that requires proper protection. Not only is the virus leaving people uncertain in their daily lives, but also leaving them uncertain when it comes to future plans. Read the rest of this entry »



It was Dale Carnegie who first reminded us, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”

I don’t believe that I am the first one to tell you that many, if not most, buying decisions are made emotionally and then justified with logic.

Start becoming a student of “emotion.” Begin by noticing yourself and how you react to certain situations. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives


Regular readers will be familiar with my four-word mantra of “TRAVEL LESS, SEE MORE.” This week, I’m taking you north of Hadrian’s Wall as I sow some seeds that could become the basis for a customised tour for 2-4 or 10-12 clients in the spring/summer of next year. Read on, become inspired, dream a little and then let’s exchange some emails about a plan for 2021.

Read the rest of this entry »

Persistence Pays Dividends


Although there may not be any do-overs or mulligans in business these days,
there is certainly time and rationale for “Do-Agains.”

Let me explain.

I recently sent out a blast email promoting one of my books. In this case, I was featuring my 52-Week Sales Planner. What better time to start planning for a brighter future than right now? Read the rest of this entry »