Monthly Archives: August 2020

Bad News Travels Fast!

What is it with bad news? Every news channel features less than positive stories as their main focus, and then they beat it to death. While pondering this question the other day, I recalled an experience of mine worth repeating.

I remember sitting at a conference table with an event planner. In the first 20-seconds of our meeting, an event held earlier that day was referenced and the name of a 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 absolutely worst one I have ever seen. Just awful.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

How to Get Creative in Tricky Times

Are you still wearing your hair the way you did after high school?

Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every single day?

While there’s comfort in sticking to habits and styles that work, the thing I’ve found in this pandemic is that trying something new and different works NOW.

Who would have thought that our industry would be turned upside down? Read the rest of this entry »

UnCruise Adventures, an operator of small-ship cruises, had a passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Juneau airport and it forced the company to cancel the cruise four days into it, and then to cancel its whole season, including four more Alaska cruises that were scheduled to take place over 10 weeks this summer.

The incident cost UnCruise Adventures millions of dollars and deprived many people of their planned trips. And it’s still not possible to say for sure if the passenger was really infected. Read the rest of this entry »

The Rolling Who?

The Rolling Stones is a rock group… a really old rock group. They are still plying their trade. After nearly 50 years of rocking and rolling, they still manage to get audiences up and tapping their feet. Incredible! They still have the juice.

Here’s a past quote from the New York Times when the “boys” were preparing to make another appearance at Madison Square Garden:

”Rock’n roll requires a certain amount of energy,” said Mr. Jagger. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Give Cruisers Incentive to Book Cruises NOW

Many veteran cruisers see no reason to book cruises right now. Their income is uncertain, many resent how they’ve been treated by cruise lines and insurance companies, and they’re not sure they can cruise safely. Many avid cruisers thought they knew the rules of the game:

Sail on a few favorite cruise lines, get to know the ships and key staff, and the companies would look out for you.

This changed when COVID-19 struck. Read the rest of this entry »

You Have to Show Up

Once upon a time, a record Belmont Park racing crowd witnessed the biggest upset in Belmont stakes history as Saravas’s odds, at 70-to-1 upset the heavy favorite War Emblem. In doing so, Sarava put an end to another Triple Crown shoe-in. A two-dollar wager returned $142.50. This translated to a “nice day” at the track.

I love to read about upsets, and I find myself smiling when the underdog mounts the podium. This is what makes life worth living. Games worth playing. Businesses worth running. Read the rest of this entry »

Salespeople with the greatest intentions establish the weakest connections by failing to uncover primary objections. If you’re engaged in one-on-one sales and want to sell more, try asking me what I DON’T want.

By nature, we salespeople are eager to please and excited to share. Embarking on talk tracks of fabulous features and benefits is how we are trained. So, after asking standard set-up questions cleverly designed to lead customers to say what we already assume they want from us, we slide right into confident sales mode and start heading for the finish line. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

Do You Know Your Numbers?

You’ve heard the pundits and read the headlines:

“Advisors need to pivot, experts say.”

“Agents have to adapt to the new normal.” (Ugh. That phrase.)

While these concepts are great advice, what should you as a business owner do to employ them at your business? Well, that’s the thing about trendy catch phrases; they usually aren’t useful if that’s all they offer.

I think a good portion of why there’s so little real, good advice out there for entrepreneurs is because too many pundits and “experts” really don’t want to share their “secret sauce.” Read the rest of this entry »

Go Fish!

“Chivas regal and Johnny Walker started preaching the choir in campaign aimed at scotch lovers.”

This headline grabbed my attention not long ago.

The gist of the article is ”fish where the fish are.”

According to the quote above, there appears to be an intense competition going on between white spirits and brown spirits. This competition is heating up and apparently there is a need to change the strategy for selling more booze. Read the rest of this entry »

The “Yootes” of Today

Young people have yet to win or lose at life. Their game will be getting started the moment they graduate from high school. Even then, many will postpone the “real” game for another four years, as they polish up their academic resume. Not long ago, I found myself sharing a number of my ideas and suggestions with a room full of high school seniors.

I reminded them: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

I have long been a proponent of the buddy system. We used it in kindergarten when we crossed the roads. We used it in high school and college when we were working on group projects. And right now, at this point in the history of our industry, it probably makes sense to revisit. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Find a Hero

Instinctively, we seek out heroes. In our political, social, and family life, we know the value of a person who will step up and take charge, who will risk safety and comfort for a greater good. Heroes remind us of what is best in the human character. Deep in our archetypal psyche, the stories of men and women who have managed to persist against great odds holds a special place.  Our religion, literature, folk tales, and movies all tend to revolve around the individual on a quest, willing to do the extraordinary, inspired by a deep passion. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Replay of a chat with four of Scenic Group’s top cruise chefs. Learn what it takes to create the top-quality dining options enjoyed by guests on Scenic and Emerald Waterways river cruises as well as on the world’s first Discovery Yacht, the ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse. Whether it is dealing with the variety of special diets, operating eight restaurants on one ship for 228 guests, producing five-star meals in a kitchen just a little bigger than a postage stamp Read the rest of this entry »

Today’s article is a bit longer than usual, but I think the message bares repeating. Thank you in advance for your patience.

Professionals know what they are doing. I was recently reminded of this and how professionals truly make a difference in our lives.

Once upon a time, I found myself flirting with disaster. Not knowing a worn ball bearing from a left-handed steering strut, I was not sure what was happening when my steering wheel started to shimmy.

My car suddenly veered to the left and the wheel began to shake wildly. I knew something bad was happening and that my life might have been in danger… as well as everyone else in my immediate proximity. Worse yet, it was 6 a.m. when my car started to “dance,” and I heard myself repeating to no one in particular, “Please, just get me to the airport. Please get me to the airport.” Read the rest of this entry »

What Gets Measured Gets Done

I realize I may be a bit out of season, but I think today’s message makes a lot of sense. Give me a minute.

There are 138 days left until Christmas at the time of this writing. I know this to be true, and most of you did not have a clue. I know it’s a fact as of today’s writing, there are 138 days left.

How do I know? Because Christmas is a very special and important occasion and my wife’s yearly event schedule. She has a countdown calendar hanging on our kitchen wall. Every morning she makes an adjustment and we know exactly how many days remain until Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »

In the Age of COVID, the world in which nearly all countries competed fiercely for the American tourist dollar is a fading memory, and today there is a relatively small list of destinations that welcome Americans.

Sad as it may be for Americans to give up the throne of favored tourism demographic, being unwelcome is a minor problem compared to the possibility of catching the deadly disease. In terms of both of these issues, and some others besides, Africa emerges as a strong possibility when considering venturing out again after months of sheltering to avoid COVID. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Luxury Travel Tips

Elvis Has Left the Building

Not long after starting my training firm, The Wealthy Travel Agent, I received a call from my friend Richard Earls, publisher of Travel Research Online (TRO), asking if I would write a column on luxury travel. I immediately agreed. Over time, it morphed into one that advocated sound sales-based business practices with luxury travel as the product of choice – but could be applied to any model.

I don’t want to be that person who overstays their welcome. Read the rest of this entry »

It is Time to Act

Here are a few ideas, projects, and assignments of just plain meaningful action-plans to get you off the dime and moving in the right direction again. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

On June 30, 2020, the European Union (EU) released their first EU Healthy Gateways Report, their guide for cruise companies operating in the EU resuming operation. The report was written by a “working group” that represented the Ministries of Health in nine European nations. Many major cruise lines participated in the writing, but it probably went further than many of them imagined.

The first six chapters — which we discussed last week — focused on mandatory testing for guests and crew; quarantine facilities both on the ship and in ports; compulsory notification to port authorities of guests and crew, if COVID-19 infections are suspected. This week, we’ll discuss the structural modifications and changes Read the rest of this entry »

Avoid Raising The Red Flag

When I ask audience members to share the first word that comes to mind when they hear the word “salesman” they quickly respond with sleazy, pushy, aggressive, manipulative, insurance, car, commission and dishonest.

I then remind the group that they too are salespeople, and these terms do not define their professionalism. But, if that is what the population thinks, that is the reality of their life’s calling.

I was reminded again this past weekend of how this less-than-stellar reputation was earned. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

Susan Shultz-Gelino is the Vice President of Trade Relations for American Cruise Lines. She has been with American Cruise Lines for over 20 years and has worked in Sales and Marketing for over 30 years, beginning her career with the Whirlpool Corporation in Benton Harbor.

During her tenure with American Cruise Lines, Susan has led American’s sales department to record numbers. In 2014, she was integral in expanding American’s U.S. sales force to the Line’s Salt Lake City, Utah office. In 2018, Susan formed a team of Business Development Managers, positioned throughout the U.S., to assist American’s growing network of Travel Advisors. She now oversees all trade partnerships and group sales. Read the rest of this entry »