Monthly Archives: May 2020

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Competition Understood

The travel standstill gives us an opportunity to sharpen our marketing skills and to begin to re-position the way we think of our mission in the travel business. One of the more important thoughts to consider as you plan out your re-opening strategy is how you view “competition.” I once had a travel professional take me to task because I provided them with an article in USA Today which also contained advertising for other travel programs. That would never do, she assured me, because like so many other papers and magazines, USA Today was “filled with travel advertising.”  Likewise, many agents will not link to travel articles that include the contact information of hotels or tour operators.

I believe many travel professionals sometimes work with an over-broadly image of their competition because they have failed to properly define their customer base and their proper relationship to their clients. To these few, the landscape is filled with competition. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

This week, I am highlighting 4 world-leading events that take place ANNUALLY in May. They include the Chelsea Flower Show as you’ve never seen it before, the opportunity to virtually attend the Hay Literary Festival, a close encounter with the Badminton Horse Trials, and a look at the renowned Bath Festival.

I’ve added a day in the life of treasure-filled Waddesdon Manor, a closer look at the internationally renowned Leonardslee Gardens and, to further lift your spirits Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans


American Cruise Lines will resume sailing on June 20th, making it the first cruise line to resume sailing in the US.

American Song will sail the Columbia & Snake Rivers on June 20. The seven-night itinerary will take guests from Portland, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington. Other ports of call include Astoria, Oregon; Mount St. Helens, Washington; The Dalles, Oregon; Pendleton, Oregon; and Richland, Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

A Smile Can Go A Long Way


Today is Friday and on Monday evening, earlier this week, I was reminded of a very powerful truth. It may sound like a stretch, but I will give it a shot.

I suppose you can associate today’s message to “There are two sides to every coin,” or, “Be wary of initial impressions.”

Back story. I have never been a fan of Kanye West. This goes back to the evening he grabbed the mic from TS during a music awards ceremony to share his personal opinion on who should have won the award. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

How Many “Masters” Do You Serve?


“If you serve too many masters, you’ll soon suffer.”- Homer (The Odyssey)

The same can be said for your travel business. As the industry seeks to emerge from this pandemic and we begin to adopt our new normal – it is now more important than ever to gain clarity about who it is you serve.

Keep in mind, for many agents / advisers the only real value they have to offer, is price. But if that’s their business model, then they are already crystal clear on who they serve. It’s the rest of the agency channel that tends to be unclear. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight


The current situation in the travel industry is a tense one, a waiting game without a certain end. Travel Advisors, Suppliers, and Consolidators are all handling this in different ways. Some are simply lying back, ready to rock when the travel bans are lifted and COVID-19 has passed. Others are brainstorming, getting creative with their current approach to marketing. The latter is where the #CityWillWait Campaign, created by the cities of Poland, comes into the picture. Read the rest of this entry »

Commit To Your Success

The person who first reminded us that “time flies” knew exactly what they were talking about. Nearly one year ago, I was honing in a 12-pound weight loss to win a bet with a friend of mine. $100 was going to a charity of my choice, if I managed to tip the scales at 188 by June 6th, 2019. (I won the bet and The Wounded Warriors were up a C-note.)

That is not what I came to talk to you about today. One year later, I stepped on the scale (this morning) and read 187.2. It was hard losing the weight. It was a lot easier maintaining it.

So, where is the message? Read the rest of this entry »


Yesterday, I asked you to request the full-blown copy of my Special Report titled My 12-Word Marketing Plan. Send me an email with the number 12 in the subject box and get ready for a blinding flash of the obvious. (Well worth your time to read.)

I promised you the Cliff Notes version today. Here it is.

Are you ready to get down to business? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

The Croatian Coast

On the Adriatic Sea, just across from Italy, is the coast of Croatia. These 1104 miles of magnificent coasts, and 1246 islands, are world-renowned. The stunning clear-blue waters along the Croatian coast have always been a draw for those looking to experience a vision of paradise. Cliffs and islands offer up sites to behold that can not be overstated. The shores of Croatia are picture-perfect in every way. Read the rest of this entry »


Yes They Can!

These 12 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 rest of the 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 a bit for you and save you some time. Read the rest of this entry »


I recently “warned” my readers in a recent Travel Research Online article that I would soon be casting much of my “political correctness” to the wind. It is time to address our reality head on, and do what is necessary to move on down the road while putting a little bounce back in our step.

If you are a bit thin-skinned, I politely request that you move along and wait for milder messages in the days to come.

In a recent browsing episode, I happened on a blog from 2008 with the following post. These ARE NOT my words. I quote: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

We are going to get out of this. That is a given. But for now, many of us are still under some form or restriction as the nation is cautiously looking to other areas to see if re-opening the economy can be done without a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus. But I wonder what will happen when the “all-clear” signal (or maybe it is a “kinda-clear” signal) is given? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Silversea Cruises prepares to take delivery of new ship Silver Origin, following a great display of resilience, determination and fine European craftsmanship from Dutch shipyard De Hoop. Despite the global lockdown, De Hoop implemented rigid safety procedures, reduced its workforce, and devised ingenious ways to overcome posed challenges, including a world-first during the ship’s sea trial. Read the rest of this entry »

I Can’t Listen Anymore!


One thing is for sure. There is not a shortage of training webinars and Zoom gatherings these days. This may be an indication for what we can expect in the near future.

At this very moment, I am investing one-hour of my time listening to an on-line webinar from a “professional” who I had assumed had something to offer me and my future. I can’t believe what I am hearing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

The National Parks of Colorado


Colorado is a nature-lover’s dream come true. Snow-tipped mountains in the distance, with trails and valleys snaking through its pristine landscapes. Lush alpine forests, desert dunes, and sights that bring forth inspiration from scenery nearly unmatched. These qualities are more than abundant at the national parks of Colorado. Read the rest of this entry »


Recently, I found myself flipping through the restaurant review section of my local newspaper and I spotted one “food joint” where I thought I would like to try for an upcoming night out. I had heard a few good things from friends and felt comfortable in my decision to call and make a reservation for the next date-night with my wife Barbara. I began reading the reviews thinking that they were only going to reinforce my decision. I was wrong – very, very wrong.

The first review changed my thinking 180 degrees. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH


Fast forward 10 years… It’s now 2030. Let’s just imagine what we’ll be saying as we look back on 2020.

How would you complete this sentence: “Back in 2020, I accomplished ____________ .” Right now, you have the power to position yourself for the future and to influence how you finish this sentence.

While we all remember other game-changers in our industry and the legacies they’ve left on our industry, let’s think about what legacy you’ll be creating for your business. Here’s a blue-print to consider as we move into the ‘next normal’. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Anybody Care What I Say?


My guess is… sometimes… and that depends.

I was brought to my attention recently… by me… that I may be getting tired of playing the politically correct card in fear of getting a few of my readers upset.

I have given this more than just a little thought over the past few days, and I am leaning toward “opening up” my articles just a tad. Why would I want to “risk” having readers wanting to “opt-off” my list? After all, I mean well; and, like you, I would prefer to be “liked” than used as a human dartboard. Read the rest of this entry »


On October 3rd, I will do a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and finish with a 13.1-mile run. I write you from St. Petersburg, FL, training for a St. Jude Memphis Ironman 70.3. To all who saw my May 17th Facebook post while on my Southwest MEM/MDW/TPA flight and wondered why and where Stuart was flying to, now you know.

I’ll tell you what it is like to fly when most others are choosing not to fly right now. This article is not about what it’s like to train for an event that most others do not choose to do, ever. I’ll save that story for another day. Read the rest of this entry »