Monthly Archives: September 2020

Posted In: Point-to-Point


The Harvard Gazette ran the following headline last week: Cheap, frequent COVID tests could be “akin to vaccine,” professor says.

There now exists a new generation of inexpensive saliva tests that Harvard epidemiologist, Michael Mina, says, “can be as effective as a vaccine at interrupting coronavirus transmission – and is currently the only viable option for a quick return to an approximation of normal life … These are our only hope. We don’t have anything tomorrow, other than shutting down the economy and keeping schools closed.” Read the rest of this entry »

Elephants Don’t Bite


In a “me-too-only-cheaper” competitive environment, strict adherence to the details (the little things) will position you faster and more accurately than just about anything else.

Take these three facts…

  • Fact: Customers are in the driver’s seat.
  • Fact: They have a number of options when preparing to make a purchase – and they know what they are.
  • Fact: Your success has everything to do with how you manage the “details.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

What’s the Value of FAM Trips in a Time of Coronavirus?


The Familiarization (FAM) trip is a cherished institution travel suppliers and destinations use to reward top producers and encourage them to keep booking more sales. It’s also a carrot on a stick for advisors looking to build their business with a supplier.

But in a time of coronavirus, this time-worn tradition may be in need of a major upgrade. Both travel advisors and their hosts have taken huge hits to their bottom lines, so funding trips isn’t the easy decision it was before March 2020. Every penny counts. Read the rest of this entry »


In Part 1, I shared with you my feelings on trading speed reading in for focused comprehension. Today I will shift to another daily practice that, in many cases, results in wasted opportunity.

I begin each day by filling out USA Today’s Online Crossword Puzzle. It dawned on me the other day that I was wasting an opportunity to enhance my general knowledge base in an effort to “complete” the puzzle. Let me explain.

There are many clues that result with instant recall. You understand the clue, and you immediately know the word. There are other clues that have you flummoxed right from the giddy-up. You have absolutely no idea what the answer could be. Read the rest of this entry »

Books and Crossword Puzzles: Part 1


It dawned on me, recently, that these three well-known occurrences have one very important thing in common: More often than not, our primary objective is to get to the end of them. When you stop to think about it, this behavior is extremely counter-productive. Let me see if I can explain my position.

You buy a book or are told to read one in school. The first thing you do is turn to the Table of Contents to see what lies in store for you. You might also flip to the back to see what kind of investment you are about to make time-wise, as you see this baby has 465 pages of ink. (Yuk!)

You begin your journey and soon find yourself seeking logical stopping points. For many, this is at the chapter’s end. For others, it is on any page that ends with a period. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you in? Or are you out?

OK folks, time for some real talk here. We’re friends, right? So if I can take a few minutes and be brutally honest for a few hundred words, I hope to give you something to seriously think about. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Turning Point

Today, in an article on ATI-DriveAmerica, TRO posted a video produced by Clayton Reid, the CEO of MMGY Global. The presentation is an important, clearly stated, and credible explanation of not only the current status of the travel industry, but also regarding the likely path of the road to recovery. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

An important presentation for travel advisors (45:40)
Read the rest of this entry »


My early experience with “failure” conjures up painful memories of my Little League Baseball years. At age nine, I was introduced to the agony of defeat without a single opportunity to enjoy the thrill of victory. That year the “Hawks” went 0-20, and that was the year our team learned that life was not fair. Unlike today’s losing teams, we did not receive a trophy for simply “showing up.” We watched our friends receive the accolades they appropriately deserved. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

7 Reasons NOT to Blog


Are you on the fence about blogging? Tourism colleagues tell you that a blog is essential. ‘Experts’ say you have to blog if you want to grow your brand.

Yet, deep down, you don’t really want to blog and you’re not sure the ‘experts’ understand your brand. In fact, you probably have a long list of reasons you don’t want or need to blog, right?

Let’s just add these 7 reasons to your list! And you’re done!

Is that little voice saying…but, but, but…

Even if you’re a definite undecided, on-the-fence blogger, here’s 7 reasons you can forget about blogging! That’s right, just don’t write a blog! These 7 reasons are solid! Read the rest of this entry »


Something has been on my mind for days, and today is the day I am going to get it off my chest. It involves the connection between a daily crossword puzzle and running a successful travel business. (Yes, as we age the mind works in funny ways.)

A few years back, I was introduced to the online version of USA Today’s Crossword Puzzle. It is the same one that appears in the daily paper edition. This was a new experience for me and, in the beginning, I found it very difficult to arrive at the correct solution for each clue. As a result, I opted for the “regular” version that notifies me immediately if I am making a mistake with red highlights. Read the rest of this entry »


More than once during the early days of the COVID lockdown, I heard someone make reference to Anne Frank. The significance was obvious. As we Americans, who are so accustomed to being free, had to hole up inside our homes to save our lives, it gave us a window of insight into what it must have been like for a 13-year old Jewish girl. A girl whose family had to hide out in an attic apartment for two years to avoid being dragged off to a concentration camp where they would most likely be killed.

The implications were that, as strange and difficult as was what we were going through with the COVID lockdown, what Anne Frank’s family went through was immeasurably worse. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Southwest & Delta are Doing It Right!


Southwest Airlines & Delta have been leading the way in keeping middle airline seats empty. Southwest has committed to it until at least November 30, and Delta has made the same promise until January 6. Both airlines have also committed to reducing capacity in the forward cabins by keeping additional seats empty. In contrast, other airlines are cancelling some flights to try to fill their remaining flights.

No one is challenging the fact that leaving middle seats empty, and reducing passenger capacity in the forward cabins, is significantly safer. Their complaint is the revenue they lose. Read the rest of this entry »


Just yesterday, I was browsing through my TV channels when I came across the US Open Golf Tournament. As I was saying to myself, “It is a shame there are no spectators,” I watched an unknown golfer strike his ball and watch it travel 28 feet before disappearing into the cup.

My mind then shot back to a book I once read by Bob Rotella titled Putting Out of Your Mind. I flashed back to a quote of his that said, “Your problem is that you’re worrying about speed instead of putting to make it.”

Let’s think about this. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

Do Travel Industry Education Programs Get a Passing Grade?

I’ve spent the last three weeks talking to about three dozen travel advisors and industry executives – with different roles, tenures, agency specialties and business models – trying to understand what role “education” plays in supporting travel advisor success – and how these programs can help advisors through this COVID storm.

If I had to boil down their feedback into three key learnings, here are the points I take away: Read the rest of this entry »


I was speaking with my brother the other day, and he asked me if I ever just started laughing out loud driving down the road thinking how lucky we are? I said I knew exactly what he was talking about. As far as I am concerned, COVID or no COVID, political embarrassment or not, I am pretty much pleased with my life.

For the first sixty years of my life, I spent “laughing and scratching” down the road based on the mantra, “Good enough is good enough.” At age 60, and for the next ten years, I began questioning this philosophy. Looking back over my life, I started to think that maybe I should have spent a little more time pursuing excellence. Perhaps if I did, I would still be “laughing and scratching” but at a higher level. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

An important presentation for travel advisors (45:40)
Read the rest of this entry »

Clarity of Intention


“Clarity of intention propelled by enthusiasm is the most potent combination known to humankind. It is the basis of all accomplishment.” – Author Unknown

Wanting to grow your business is admirable. Wishing you had more profitable sales is a common objective. Hoping things work out for you in the long run should come as no surprise. Praying for the strength to do what is right is admirable.

Wanting, wishing, hoping, and praying won’t do it. The hard truth is that you must do something – if you want to see progress. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Walt Disney left an incredible legacy behind when he passed away in 1966. Disney defined what great customer service is in the hospitality industry and crafted a conglomerate that I the envy of most every business.

If I had been in the travel industry when he was alive, you can be sure I would have gone to the ends of the earth to hear him speak or to (gasp) meet the man behind the mouse. Maybe not…I would have been 5, but you get the idea!

Why? Just take a look at some of his “isms”, and (my comments) and tell me these cannot be guiding principles for your travel practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Ex Fida Bona

Ex Fida Bona is Latin for “good business norms.” Last week TRO produced a webinar entitled “Don’t Let a Crisis go to Waste”. The webinar had its origin in an article in TRO by Richard D’Ambrosio. Like many good articles, I think Richard’s was a starting point.  Listen to it with the slightly abbreviated podcast below, or watch it on our webinars page.  This first webinar did a good job of stating the problems.  Now, it is time to find some solutions.  As a result, TRO is launching a series of webinars, articles and online-courses in travel law, accounting and insurance. We want to be a major part of bringing us all out of this mess. This industry is our life, and TRO will be there  fighting along with you. Read the rest of this entry »