Monthly Archives: November 2020

Posted In: Taking Control

Your Client Relationship Status: It’s Complicated


Despite everything we might try to do to label someone this or that – Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, Leader or Follower – people are so much more complex than the simple appellations we would like to hang on them.

I may have liberal views about social issues, but I am more conservative when it comes to how I spend money and how I like others to spend my money. I may enjoy leading a team or take the helm on a project, but I like stepping back and watching others learn how to lead, following their direction so they can learn the qualities they need to one day be a leader themselves.

So, when you are dealing with people in business, it’s best not to think of them simplistically. Read the rest of this entry »


It is a new day, with new leadership, preparing to get us all back on the right track. Whether they introduce progress or not will be determined in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. But that being said, here is something you need to come to grips with sooner rather than later.

The politicians, regardless of the label they place on themselves, their style or their beliefs, will not make you a winner as far as your business is concerned. YOU are driving YOUR bus. YOU. And it is time that YOU slide into the driver’s seat and put the “pedal to the metal.” It is time to accelerate your forward progress and for YOU to get back on the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Cross Marketing Strategies for 2020 and Beyond

Cross-marketing refers to the practice of working with a non-competitive retailer to enhance business opportunities for both parties. Any compatible product is a possible theme for cross-marketing purposes, and travel presents a great opportunity because of how easily it can be linked to almost any theme. As we emerge from the Covid-19 standstill, and as retailers of all types look to recoup from the resulting slump in sales, cross-marketing may well be one of the best possible vehicles for extending your reach.

Retailers make excellent cross-marketing partners because they typically do not compete with travel agents and because it is easy to create real value by marketing together. When you pool your client list with that of the retailer, both benefit by leveraging the other’s circle of influence. When the retailer introduces you to his clients, you enjoy the inherent third party endorsement and trust the retailer has established with his own clients. Properly executed, the effect of a strong cross marketing program can be powerful. Read the rest of this entry »


Follow Up Is The Key Ingredient (Written in 2005)

As many of you know (since this column shares many of my personal experiences), I am beginning to plan my retirement by moving to up-state New York. I know. I know. “Mike you’re too young to cash in your chips.” My answer to this is that it is never too early to start “planning.”

Since Barbara and I are investigating log homes, we did what any investigators might do… purchase a log home magazine at the supermarket and send away for all the free stuff that was not nailed down. Send we did. Stuff we got.

But here is where today’s lesson begins. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

As we all know, we need to be on our “A-Game” as we navigate and come out of this pandemic. Some of us will not make it. At TRO, we have tried to highlight different tasks, concepts, best practices and thoughts to help you come out on top.  But today, I want to flip that narrative and give you 9 surefire ways to end up on the bottom. Success is hard. Failure is easy. Here’s how to do it. Read the rest of this entry »

What Do Clogged Gutters Have to Do With Anything?

Have you noticed there are more commercials on television these days promoting the benefits of protecting your home from gutter leaks? You will now that I have called your attention to it.

What I find interesting about these advertisements is their focal point. It became clear to me – almost immediately – that they were not referencing how dried leaves backup in gutters and can clog up the downspout. Water then builds up and backs up until it freezes. Then the fun begins. Ice creeps up the roof and soon, with the sun and the warmth coming from inside your home, the ice melts and find its way into the under layers of your roof, and down into your ceiling.

These ads do not mention the damage ice can cause as a result of a backed-up gutter. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

At the beginning of this year, none of us could have imagined how COVID-19 would impact our daily lives. I remember hearing about the novel Coronavirus in January, a mysterious virus that was spreading in Wuhan, China. Though there were few known cases of COVID-19 in the United States in January, late in the month when my grandmother developed a cough I worried about her. “What if it’s the Coronavirus?” I asked her. She responded, “Britton, if you are worried about the Coronavirus, you are even more paranoid than I thought.” We laughed about my worries, but I remained careful. Read the rest of this entry »

From Annoying Pest to Welcome Guest


I recently received three emails from members of my Inner Circle Group asking me to critique recent attempts of drafting sales letters. This task has become increasingly difficult thanks to the COVID-19 situation.

In all three cases, I spotted a common mistake as well as a few other faux pas, which I felt compelled to comment on. Let’s see if we all can learn anything from my recent experience.

Because it is a subject you feel most comfortable with, there will be a tendency to write about your qualifications, sincerity, and interest at the expense of the more important focal point. THE READER. Read the rest of this entry »


Under the extreme duress presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, American Tours International (ATI) is offering one viable avenue for travel advisors to get back into business after the pandemic-induced paralysis of the industry.

American Tours International is a 43-year old company that specializes in tours and travel in North America. The company has built a formidable business over the decades, providing tours of America to visitors from abroad. Now its expertise is greatly needed as Americans turn inward to explore their own home continent.

With so many countries keeping Americans out right now, travel advisors with strong survival instincts are turning toward whatever travel that is still possible. And the most obvious destination that is still open is – the United States of America.

And you know what? It’s a great destination! People from all over the world want to come to see America. Now it awaits discovery by its own people. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Ex Fida Bona

Travel, Trouble, and Terms


In my last article, I spoke about the basics of contract law and how it applies to travel agents and independent contractors. In this article, I will discuss the obligations imposed by agent and third-party suppliers to the clients by contract, statutes, and common law. Statutes are created by Federal, State, and local bodies and can impose certain duties upon the agent and third parties that can affect the contract terms. Therefore, it is important to always have a severability clause in all contracts. The severability clause means that if one section of the contract is deemed invalid by law, the entire contract is not abrogated, and the rest of the terms and conditions remain valid. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Tough Questions for Cruise Lines & Guests


The NIH No-Sail Order expired this past Saturday, October 31. But read the details, and you’ll see that no cruise lines have permission to sail just yet. Before they’re permitted to sail, they have to build laboratories onboard each ship that can test all crew members weekly, document in detail how they will deal with any outbreaks, train crew members exhaustively, conduct practice cruises without paying passengers, and certify ships individually when they meet these and other requirements. And, if COVID-19 outbreaks occur on any of their ships, their permissions to cruise can be taken away, even in the midst of a voyage.
People magazine’s headline on October 31, for a story written by Georga Slater, summed up the picture perfectly:

CDC Says Cruises Can Set Sail Again, But Passengers Will Not be Allowed on Board Read the rest of this entry »


This next quote was taken from the book To Sell Is Human, written by Daniel Pink.

“It was an excess of assertiveness and zeal that led to contacting customers too frequently. Extroverts, in other words, often stumble over themselves. They can talk too much and listen too little… which can be read as pushy and drive people away.”

It has been believed for years that successful sales personnel exhibited an outgoing, people-oriented, fun, and vivacious personality. Sales pros had one thing in common, and that was the “gift-of-gab.” Read the rest of this entry »


“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Is it safe to say that you have attended a record-breaking number of online presentations this year? What percentage of the speakers kept you rapt? How often did your mind wander and the message minimize? I am betting that most went on too long and transformed you too little.

I wonder how many hours we have wasted collectively sitting through remarkably dull and woefully ineffective speeches. Our most precious commodity is time. We can never get those unproductive minutes back. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control


Travel’s recovery from this pandemic is a highly complex formula of science, time and money.

The science of the virus dictates the narrative, dear readers. If we don’t honor the science, we’re hurting everyone… including ourselves. How the coronavirus infects people, how we prevent COVID-19 from spreading, and how we treat those who get ill are immutable science – though we have so much more to learn to really get this scourge under control.

Then there’s time. How quickly we get people traveling safely again is critical to saving companies, business owners, and employees who only have so much cash flow left.

Which leads us to money. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile


Shine on, number nine! Please allow me to introduce the ninth podcast in the Travmarket Media Network of Podcasts. I am selfishly pleased to say that Nikita Brown is lending her voice and skills to the Travmarket Media Network of Podcasts. I need all the social media help I can get, and this gal is one of the BEST!

Nikita’s podcast, The Travel Lab, focuses on uncomplicating the social media challenges the travel agent faces. Her knowledge base, paired with her infectious energy, poises The Travel Lab as the motivational force you need to finally sit down, make a social media plan and be excited about executing it! Read the rest of this entry »


One of my favorite movie slips came from the movie City Slickers. Billy Crystal was riding alongside the tough-guy cattle herder played by Jack Palance (Curly).

Curly said the secret to life is just One thing, as he held up his pointer finger. Crystal was all ears, as that was exactly what he wanted to learn from the crusty old cowboy. “What’s the one thing?” he asked. “That is what you have to find out,” answered Curly as he rode out of frame.

For many, the “one thing” resembles a tiny pill. There seems to be a pill for just about everything these days Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Would You Call This a Slump?

Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting. ~ Yogi Berra

I hope nobody told you the travel business was easy.

For the next year or more, we will all be pulling out of a slump of a magnitude we still cannot truly comprehend. By any measure, the challenges we will face will be not merely difficult, but nearly astronomical  in proportion to anything like it we have ever seen. I can only see one solution.

Get to work.

I have always believed down-turns in business can be reversed if you take appropriate measures. Immediate action is the key. The worst thing you can do is “wait and see”- a slump is psychologically tough to handle, but giving into depression is self-defeating and prolongs the misery.   Read the rest of this entry »

My Advice to Job Seekers


If you have been reading my morning memos, you probably find yourself disagreeing with me from time to time. If you find yourself disagreeing with me more often than not, I suggest you stop reading my daily memos. This is known as emotional intelligence.

But, even if you do agree with my opinions now and then, I just may test your allegiance with today’s thought.

First of all, I am not a big fan of the job resume. That statement, in and of it self, may sound as sacrilegious to some of you. Remember, today’s article is being written by a “maverick.” I feel that the time spent crafting and editing a detailed document outlining your qualifications and how “really cool” you are – is more or less a waste of time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Disney has achieved success and fame through its amazing attractions and their films. In addition to that, it became famous for its perseverance. Despite the ups and downs, Disney is still on top of Splash Mountain.

How did they do it?  Well, they are not dumb enough to lay out a blueprint, but consider the following: Read the rest of this entry »