Monthly Archives: November 2020

Posted In: Taking Control

What Have We to Be Thankful For

Editor’s Note: This article was incorrectly published under Mike’s 1-Minute Marketing column yesterday. This is a corrected publication and attributed to the author Richard D’Ambrosio. Thank you.


Even when times are good, sometimes Thanksgiving is a difficult concept for me to grasp. It calls on me to distinguish between wants and needs, and explore what true gratitude feels like and how I put my thankfulness to work.

I wanted the Mazda CX-5 I currently own because its practical, gets good gas mileage, has a sunroof – and it’s red, my favorite color. I shop for certain foods in my home because my children and I enjoy the way they taste, and they’re generally healthy for us to eat.

But I noticed something recently, when my car didn’t work properly. What I treasure more than my car’s sunroof, Bose sound system, comfort, etc., is that it affords me freedom. Living in a New York City exurb, you really can’t get very far quickly here if you don’t own an auto that runs properly. Read the rest of this entry »


The most recent audio book I am listening to is titled Essentialism by Greg McKeown. In a nutshell, it suggests that we eliminate the non-essential tasks in our lives that are holding us back from achieving what is most important. I listen while I walk at noon each day. (You are finding the time “making the time” to walk each day, correct?)

Chapter 17 was titled The Power of Small Wins. Coincidentally, three days ago my sister sent me a motivational YouTube link from a Navy Seal outlining the ten most important steps to success. The initial step focused on “small wins.” Twice in the same week, from different sources, one of my main topics of discussion were supported from without. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking Your Talk


To set the table for today’s message, I would like to ask you a few questions. Answer these as honestly as you possibly can without attempting to cover up your humanness. What is are your initial thoughts when you come across these situations?

  1. You see a stranger walk into a restaurant with a baseball cap on. He does not remove it as he takes his seat at the table.
  2. You see a man walk to the passenger side of his car only to open the door for his companion.
  3. A stranger, a good 20 feet in front of you, holds the door open for you.
  4. You spot a woman in a food store parking lot return the empty shopping cart back to where she initially picked it up?
  1. You see someone walking down a walkway stop to pick up some litter that was not their own.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Right around St. Patrick’s Day of 2020, it appeared that the sky was indeed falling. Cruise ships were afloat and being denied entry to ports around the world and we all were hoping that this strange, new virus from China would somehow decide to not visit the United States.  We now all know how that worked out. But all is not lost. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Message in a Bottle

I’m thinking about containers and contents lately. We all love great containers. Last year, I went to a local shop and purchased a new hummingbird feeder crafted by an artist somewhere near Asheville. Instead of the plastic parts found on a standard retail feeder, this one has a very unique red bottle as a container. It is decorated with copper tubing from which the hummingbird drinks and metal flowers are soldered onto the copper. It is a real work of art, and I enjoy it tremendously.

I’m pretty sure the hummingbirds, however, care more about the content in the bottle.  If I put something less to their liking in the bottle, it doesn’t matter how attractive the container.  Not only will they not drink from it, they will eventually quit coming to that particular bottle. Birds are quick learners. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report


Travel agency owner Michael Graham is an overnight expert on the morality of selling travel during a pandemic. He took four customers with him aboard the SeaDream’s first Caribbean voyage last week – and left two behind in Barbados, in quarantine, when they caught Covid-19 onboard. (More on that below.)

Personally, I’ve learned a thing or two myself these past weeks about the moral dilemma of whether to sell travel right now. A B2B writer all my life, I was excited when the consumer press gave a shout-out to my column and my Facebook page. But soon I – and TRO along with me – found ourselves in the middle of a shoot-out between USAToday’s Chris Elliott and ASTA.

The controversy brought to mind three questions I used to tell the reporters to consider before pitching a story: Is it true? Is it news? Is it fair? No one wants to hear what you think, I’d tell them. It’s about getting your facts straight, telling both sides, and letting your readers decide for themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

After taking delivery of the new ship from Fincantieri in Ancona, Italy, on Friday October 30, 2020, Silversea Cruises unveils the first glimpses of Silver Moon’s interiors – the ninth ship in the cruise line’s fleet. Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s Chief Marketing Officer, hosts a series of five virtual ship tours, in which viewers are guided through Silver Moon’s new S.A.L.T. venues, public spaces, restaurants, and suites. Read the rest of this entry »

The Deadliest Sales Mistake


How to stop making the most glaring error in salesmanship.

I know what you’re thinking! How can I isolate hands-down the single most glaring error a professional can make in the field of salesmanship? You are probably wondering right now about the myriad possibilities to choose from, including lack of follow-up, talking too much, inconsistency, failure to listen, and a hundred more sales-related glitches, as well as more obvious business-killing turn-offs.

But there is one mistake that stands head and shoulders above the rest. In my 30-plus years of “carrying the bag,” I have yet to uncover a sales mistake that even comes close to the “deadliest mistake.” The irony is that this mistake, along with most of the others, does not have to be made. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

The Interests Around Budapest


Budapest is, of course, a highly sought after destination. As the Danube passes by its shore, the city is alive with 2,000 years of history. You can read all about the details in another article. However, the outskirts of Budapest are waiting for those to see castles overlooking small villages, magnificent houses of aristocrats, medieval castles, and vineyards that stretch to the horizon. All along the Danube river bend, the atmosphere of these towns is one of pure beauty that only Hungary and its history can offer. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

3 Reasons Why Social Ads Fail


Are you ready to give up on social ads?

Maybe you don’t feel like your ads are generating any interest. Well, you’re not alone; 62 Percent of Small Business Owners Say Facebook Ads Miss Their Targets.

Stop wasting your time and effort creating ads that fail!

But wait… why even look at this if social ads fail so often? Here’s the deal: out of all of the B2C companies using social media, 97% of them use Facebook! It matters! It works! Let’s explore 3 steps to get you on the road to fail-proof ads today. Read the rest of this entry »

Your Two “A” Lists


Turning suspects into prospects then customers is the way the sales cycle was designed. And in today’s competitive sales arena, it takes a great deal of time and effort to see the cycle through to fruition. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes communication.

Once a prospect “raises their hand” and indicates an interest in what we are offering, I have always recommended you place this “HOT” prospect onto your “A” List. Then, it becomes your responsibility to cultivate your “A” List – until the prospect becomes a customer or drops off of your list.

Your “A” List is made up of some very important people.

Prospects come and suspects go. Customers renew and you will lose some to attrition. The business beat will go on. But wait a minute…

Just the other day, I was thinking about my “A” List. And then I started thinking about my real “A” List. Read the rest of this entry »


Austin Adventures, the Billings, Montana-based adventure tour operator, acquired Wildland Adventures, a 36-year old company based in Seattle. To ensure a smooth transition, Wildland Adventures CEO Kurt Kutay will stay with the combined company for “the foreseeable future,” working on quality control and product development.

The happy ending of this story is that the acquisition will keep Wildland Adventures going after hitting a rough patch in 2020 that threatened to bring the company down for the count. And, in addition to that, this move also keeps the prime mover of Wildland involved in the company’s operations as it evolves through what can only be called a catastrophe for the travel industry. That’s as close to stability as can be hoped for in the Age of COVID. No company is going to come out of 2020 the same as it went in. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Reasons Why I Did NOT Buy from You


I am in the market to acquire something. You are one of many businesses offering what I need. It is your fault if I buy from you or not. From the moment I shop you online, correspond via email, chat by phone, or meet in-person – the judgement begins.

One way or another, you will influence me. It’s your fault if I buy from you or not.

I will buy what is best for me from who is best for me. Many others sell the exact same thing that you sell. Rub me the right way or the wrong way and the outcome is determined. Influence is everything.

These seven areas of influence will win me or lose me in the end. I am judging all consumer touch-points: your online presence (including web and social sites) and how you communicate with me in chats, emails and phone calls. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile


As the world struggles to control the spread of Covid-19, the travel and lodging sectors continue to navigate the unprecedented turbulence and major business challenges delivered by 2020. The U.S. is showing a 50 percent decline, year-over-year, in digital travel sales – which are not expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels until 2022. Even with the promise of a pre-pandemic return to a new normalcy in the next three years, we can expect some pandemic vacation trends such as “staycations” and road trips to thrive as the world gains some control of the virus.

Here are some key trends and predictions as we look ahead to the status of short-term rentals in 2021 and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point


Now that vaccinations are almost here, many long-term cruisers are transitioning from “Should I go cruising in 2021 or 2022?” to “Which cruises are likely to be the most satisfying and safest?” Most typical cruise junkies are over 65 and no stranger to maladies such as obesity, diabetes, and previous cardiac incidents. After a year “on the hard,” as sailors say, a lot of us are willing to take some risks to return to cruising.

If I’m describing you, your partner, or parents, how do you decide which ships to go on, and which destinations you to consider? What about a system for choosing between cruises? I’ve taken 20 features that are now included on some ships, and I’m using them as proxies for the quality and safety of a cruise. Read the rest of this entry »


Picture yourself at 2500 feet above the ground, sitting in a Volkswagen Bug with wings. You are at the controls of a Cessna 152 single engine airplane sitting next to an FAA inspector who has your future as a pilot in their hands. At the moment you have their life in your hands, but since this model airplane has two yokes that really is not the case.

Yesterday I shared the meaning of “The Hay Is In The Barn” with you. Today has a similar theme, but in today’s case the result of making a mistake could prove to be far more painful.

Today was the day I had been training for, studying for, reading for, practicing for and looking forward to. Today was the day. And I felt I was ready. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

The Courage to Look in the Mirror


Over the course of two months, I’ve tried to use most of these columns to reimagine our industry with a focus on the relationships advisors have with suppliers, destinations, and other third parties. I’ve advocated for the industry making a commitment to live up to its long-standing mantra – “travel advisors are our greatest partners.”

I say “live up to” because, while I think travel advisors have never had more respect from others for the value they create, I still see a good portion of our industry paying lip service to the notion that advisors are treated like true partners.

I see it in the travel advisor education portals that suppliers and destinations publish, which are for the most part focused on teaching features and benefits. Our industry conferences do much of the same. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hay Is in The Barn

It is a sad truth that some (many) people do not believe in paying their dues, doing their homework or paying the price that comes with success. Expecting something for nothing is a fool’s game, but many opt to take part in that game just the same.

This subject came to light when I read an incoming email reminding me that there is plenty of opportunity out there waiting for the prepared person. It was Louis Pasteur who once said, “Chance Favors The Prepared Mind.” The translation of this quote is, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

But what does this have to with hay or barns? Here is where I segue to today’s lesson. It was back in 1968 when I first heard the term, “The hay is in the barn.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you ready for a new world in travel?

In my home state of Maryland, we are in the predicted fall surge or COVID-19 with no real hope for vaccine availability until the spring or summer of 2021. The situation is likely the same where you are. The first cruise ship to begin re-cruising in the Caribbean is experiencing a COVID incident. This virus is not going away, so we are likely stuck in this travel holding pattern for another six months at least.  But are you ready when the demand returns?

First of all, the demand WILL return. It always does.  The trick will be for us all to keep it all together until it does.  But I think the travel landscape will look vastly different based on recent signals. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1


Miki is in love with travel, culture, event planning, planning destination weddings, and creating Taylor Made Travel Xperiences & Events To Fit Your Lifestyle. She has been an accountant, domestic & international, for over 23 years. During that time she created & implemented a travel program for a software company that grew from 50 employees to over 200. With this experience came her love of working in the travel industry. When the best boss one could ever ask for decided to leave the company Miki was working at, Miki decided she needed more, and needed to feel able to make a difference. So, she left the security of a 6-figure income, became a Global Concierge, and created Taylor & Co. Travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Ready, Fire… Aim!

There is absolutely no doubt that a failure to plan is one of the biggest mistakes many business people make.  Without a solid business plan, even the best travel consultant can fail to act consistently in any given aspect of their practice. Planning is truly essential.

But so is action.

I see far too many travel professionals planning their lives away, getting ready to act, and then… not acting! In the time of Covid-19, the problem can induce a near paralytic state. Too many times we over-plan and over-perfect, and in the process lose valuable opportunities to others who are quicker to act.   Read the rest of this entry »