Monthly Archives: January 2021

Posted In: The Rosen Report


To check out Part 1 of this two-part article, please click here.

Tripadvisor is offering its 463 million monthly customers easy access to a professional travel advisor—and you have to give them credit for going ahead with the rollout of the Reco program this month, in the midst of a global pandemic. The travel advisors who have signed up are being patient, though. After all, the program costs them nothing but time (which many have plenty of)—and holds the promise that the world’s largest online booking site will be sending them a stream of new fee-paying customers when travel comes back.

“This is our chance to have a crack at the luxury market that is not using travel advisors, our chance to convert DIYers Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans


With 2020 finally behind us (thank goodness), we, like many of you, feel a dire need to plan for 2021 and beyond. After all, who among us can say they’ve not missed cruising? Though the first week of 2021 has not proved to be much better than last year was, we are still holding out a lot of hope to board cruise ships in 2021. Below, you’ll read more about some of the trips that we’ll be hosting in 2021 and 2022. Today, however, we want to talk to you all about our plans for the new year here at Avid Cruiser & River Cruise Advisor. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

Lake Balaton and Western Hungary


In a continued look at the beauties of Hungary, I’ve covered some of the more well-known cities such as The Best of Budapest – as well as The Interests Around Budapest. Today’s article on Hungary will dive a little deeper into the premier holiday destination of Central Europe, Lake Batalon and its surrounding areas. As central Europe’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Balaton is a prime in Hungary destination to enjoy it’s Mediterranean-like climate.

Once exclusively the home of resort centres for the aristocracy of Hungary, Lake Batalon’s tourism expanded to the middle class in the late 19th century. And, while resort towns line the lake these days, the more historic towns gain quite the attention of visitors. Read the rest of this entry »


COVID-19 is one of the deadliest natural disasters the world has ever seen. Scientists who study pandemics say COVID, SARS, ebola and avian flu are consequences of human incursion into animal habitats.

Rob Jordan, of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, explained in the Stanford News, “Viruses that jump from animals to people, like the one responsible for COVID-19, will likely become more common as people continue to transform natural habitats into agricultural land.”

If we ever thought of sustainable travel as an altruistic impulse, we now know better. Sustainability is a matter of self-preservation Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight


Located where the Blue and White Nile Rivers converge into one great river, Khartoum-proper is a city moving quickly into modern times. This metropolis is the capital of Sudan, which did not gain its independence until 1956. It is now a center for trade and economics in North Africa, but still holds onto its traditional roots just outside of the glass and steel of its center. Markets, mosques, and Sudanese culture await the traveler. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point


It’s early Spring. Most Americans will be vaccinated by summer, and outbreaks are being controlled. Most of the world is open for travel to anyone who is vaccinated and willing to be tested twice before arriving at a ship or resort. The pent-up demand for travel is triggering outrageous bargains, and most people haven’t a nickel on this in the past year. How do you ensure that you share in this good fortune?

If you’re an experienced agent with a huge book of clients, it will hopefully be like “shooting fish in a barrel.” But what if you don’t have a huge following, and you need to try something different from how you’ve marketed in the past?

A very promising strategy, which I’ll be trying myself, is to sign up for free personal and business accounts on Snapchat Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

To Whom Am I Speaking?


The foundation of success in communications is to know your audience – to whom are you speaking. If you don’t know who your audience is, you are going to struggle with even figuring out what you want to say.

Here’s an example: I’m Starbucks. I sell coffee, tea and other beverages, and some other notable items. Now, I have to develop a website, marketing materials, emails, and social media posts.

I could start the process of building all of that out by writing something like: “We have the best tasting coffee in town.” It tells one of our stories. We sell coffee. It’s boastful. We sell “the best tasting coffee.”

But how is that going to resonate with our audience? If my coffee is a dark roast, that is more of an acquired taste than say a deli’s coffee, or the coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Read the rest of this entry »

Sales Lessons From ‘The Queen’s Gambit’


I am not a regular when it comes to TV viewing, but I capitulated when my son strongly recommended I watch a particular program on Netflix. The show features the exploits of an orphan who later became a chess genius. I was glued to my TV as each of the seven episodes unfolded. It is reported that this was Netflix’s most watched serial, The Queen’s Gambit. You do not need to be a student of chess to enjoy and personally benefit from this program.

I was entertained for sure. But more specifically, I was engrossed in the story line. Although far from the story’s main theme, I was often reminded of a number of sales lessons. I would like to share a few of these with you this week. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Few people I have ever met are what I would consider larger-than-life. Butch Stewart was one of those men; and as 2021 gets underway, the travel industry is a lot poorer for our loss; yet a lot richer for the legacy left behind by Gordon “Butch” Stewart.

Like many, I was shocked to learn that Stewart passed away on January 4th in Miami of a “recent” undisclosed illness at age 79. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Eliminate What Stops You

As a travel planner, no doubt you are very aware  of all the “shoulds”: you should develop a marketing plan, you should email clients on a regular basis, you should have a newsletter… there are a lot of “shoulds.” In fact, coming up with a list of things to do is easy. Accomplishing the list is a bit tougher. As you continue to build your travel practice, one of the nicest things you can do for yourself is to consciously remove the obstacles  you can identify that prevent you from acting on and accomplishing your plans. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives


I don’t know about you but after the Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations, January and even February are often dull and drab months that have to be endured. Let me lift your spirits with a collection of festivals and events that can be used as the cornerstone for a UK tour that can be customised to meet your customer’s interests, time frame and budget. To enable them to travel less and therefore see more, they are based in the Cotswolds and in the colourful seaside city of Brighton. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report


In an unusual year for travel, a partnership between an OTA and established travel advisors is arguably the most unusual alliance of all.

And yet, say the advisors who signed up, the global pandemic has them thinking it’s a good time to rethink they way they do business. Tripadvisor’s Reco program promises to put them in front of 463 million potential travel buyers a month, to show these do-it-yourself bookers just how important a real-life travel advisor can be—and to set $199 in the public’s mind as a base fee for working with a professional travel advisor.

Charged 18 months ago with developing new products for the world’s largest booking site, Tripadvisor’s New Ventures Directors Sean Graber and Erik Ornitz “were not big users of travel advisors,” Ornitz acknowledged when we chatted, and were only vaguely aware of the role of consortia and host agencies Read the rest of this entry »

Relaunch 2021


Monday came down like a ton of bricks. January 4 was the Mother of All Mondays. It was the first Monday and the first business day of 2021, the year that finally assigns the disastrous 2020 to history and the rearview mirror forever.

After the brief holiday respite, when the New Year’s reveling dies down and the weekend winds to a close, I always feel like I’ve been thrown headlong into the New Year and find myself suddenly well into January. Never more than this year.

Back to serious business, and some grim realities lingering from 2020. COVID has made clear that it doesn’t respect boundaries, and that includes the boundary between 2020 and 2021.

But there are good signs: 2021 is going to be a good year. That’s my prediction. There are many reasons to believe this. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

For Cruisers, 2021 Will Be a Much Better Year


If you book one of the December Australian cruises we featured a few weeks ago, your cruise experience may take a few different twists. Here are how things may go.

Before You Leave

  • When you place your deposit, your confirmation will notify you that a Health Passport number will be required, and the fare will include an inexpensive COVID-19 insurance policy. MSC has been charging about $25 a day for theirs.
  • When you make the final payment in August, you will be sent a scannable Health Passport QR code. The first part of your ID code will always identify you; the last few characters will be added in real-time after your vaccination record is checked and verified with a selfie, fingerprint and State Department passport. Health Passport QR codes are able to be generated by a smartphone and in kiosks that will be similar to those used in airports for Global Entry.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sometimes I freeze at the keyboard. I get all fired up to craft an article or create a keynote, and nothing flows. Just prior to settling in, I had great intentions and big ideas. So, why the work stoppage? Occasionally, I suffer from FONNS (aka. Fear of Nothing New to Say).

Have you ever experienced FONNS?

Throughout my career, I have written countless messages of motivation and education. I have been humbled as many times by readers and viewers who expressed heartfelt gratitude after consuming a nugget that triggered life-changing transformation.

What was a common practice to me turned out to be catalyzing to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control


I don’t make New Year’s resolutions myself. For me, every day is the best day to resolve to do something different, to get on schedule to doing and being something new.

However, if you’re still looking for some promises to make to yourself, let me offer three ideas below. They’re all about getting to the heart of your compelling narrative and unleashing its power to grow your travel business.

Why do I believe storytelling is important? Like business guru Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”

I can purchase travel directly from a supplier. Read the rest of this entry »

Today We Wipe the Slate Clean and Begin Again


The year 2020 tested our character, our resilience, our tenacity and, often times, our sense of humor. Yesterday is now in our rearview mirrors and we are tightly focused on what lies ahead.

As many of you know by now, this is the first of 52 weekly kick-offs falling under the newly created column, Mike’s Monday Cup of “Mo-Joe.”

Follow my logic before I leave you with something to think about today. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Ahhh.  Usually, I am a bit melancholy about the passing of years; you know, that whole getting older thing. But 2020…can’t leave fast enough for me. Or for any of us.  I hope everyone had a nice (yet different) holiday and are ready to tackle what 2021 might throw at us.  But don’t be worried. There are plenty of good signs, so let’s all take a collective deep breath! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

5 Ways To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” ~ Mark Twain

New Year’s resolutions often are a topic of derision. We treat the annual ritual of making promises to ourselves as a joke, a light-hearted acknowledgement of our inability to keep a commitment.

Something about that sits poorly with me. Read the rest of this entry »