Monthly Archives: February 2021

Posted In: Deck Plans

The Top Three River Cruises For Millennials

Cruising is often seen as an activity for retirees – especially when it comes to cruising the rivers of Europe. Throughout the past few years, as river cruising has gained popularity, river cruise companies have taken steps to cater to younger travelers. From active experiences and hands-on cultural immersion, there is something for young people to do both on and off a river cruise vessel. Read the rest of this entry »

Tauck: How a Global Tour Operator Manages Risk

The year 2020 was supposed to be Tauck’s banner year, its 95th Anniversary. The tour operator was founded by young Arthur Tauck Senior in 1925, when he put an ad in a New Jersey newspaper saying, “All I want is a congenial party…” and offered to take guests along with him as he drove around New England trying to sell banks on a coin tray he had invented that mechanically automated the counting process.

But in 2020 one nasty little virus stole the show, and Tauck’s 95th Anniversary didn’t get much attention. Flash forward to 2021, there are signs of hope in the struggle against COVID-19. And as that hope trickles day-by-day into the marketplace, Tauck is hearing the phone ring more than it has in a long time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

4 Great Cruise Bargains

Despite the high prices that everyone fears when cruising resumes this June, there are several genuine bargains that offer exceptional value when clients book immediately. Will these cruises be standouts, or will they be joined by many other cruises that offer significant value? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

Does This Fam Trip Number Surprise You?

Fam Trips. They are the number one tool travel advisors want for educating themselves about a destination and/or a supplier. Makes sense, right?

You can take all of the online training you want. You can attend industry conferences and see a dozen sales presentations. But there is nothing like being in a destination, and testing out a supplier’s product, to be able to know whether or not those places, services and experiences are right for your clients.

So, when Travel Business Mastermind conducted a survey about the various services and support travel advisors receive from the industry, what I didn’t expect to learn was that the number one benefit agents want from a Fam trip is – wait for it – room inspections. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

Off the southern coast of Australia is an island that remains mostly untouched by the hurried movement of the modern world. A place where the hunger of unhindered progress has yet to mar its forests, mountains, and beaches. Nicknamed Tassie, the Australian island state of Tasmania is a destination of natural beauty, a complicated history, and a cultural depth sure to pull the traveler in to its allure. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Empathy and Sales

As a nation, we are a jaded lot. From Willy Loman to the used-auto hucksters in countless movies, the public in general holds sales people rather low on the scale of esteem. Indeed, most of the people you encounter are so afraid of being “sold” something that they refuse to speak with sales people when they enter a store or walk onto a car lot. “I’m just looking” is used as the warding spell against the sales person, and woe to the one who persists beyond that point.

Most travel consultants share this cultural bias against “sales.” Ironic, isn’t it?

Read the rest of this entry »

Getting in Position to Win

An accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500 resulted in victory for driver Michael McDowell, who had no chance to win up until then. After 498 miles of racing, this driver found himself “in position” to take advantage of a last lap pile up. The result was a trophy and a large sum of money.

The lesson was glaringly clear. If you ever want to have a chance to win as a result of the unexpected, you had better find a way to get yourself in “position.” Opportunities often evaporate as fast as they appear. You must be able to respond in a flash before giving your opponent room to rebound. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Over the past year, many of us on TRO have offered advice on how to move forward through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. With each new day we know something more and that advice has changed, and likely will continue to change as what we are going through now is (to use tired phrase) unprecedented. But one piece of advice that rang true 100 years ago, 2 years, ago, today, and will ring true especially in the future is to never underestimate your client. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

Tax Tips for Travel Advisors in 2021

Take one new tax law that passed on December 27. Add payment delays at the IRS. Top with one global pandemic. “This is one of the nation’s most important tax seasons ever,” says IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

In short, lots of issues lie in wait for taxpayers this year. Travel advisors surely understand that it is important to talk to a professional when making important decisions in a rapidly changing environment. But as you work with your tax advisor, here are some new developments to consider Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tourism South East recently staged an excellent virtual version of their hugely popular Excursions trade show. Being a great believer in hub and spoke tours, two destinations have caught my eye; one in the English countryside and the other at the seaside. The first is the Kent town of Maidstone, which is home to a collection of internationally renowned hotel brands that provide the highest quality accommodation. The second is the seaside city of Brighton, where the 5-star Grand Hotel and many seafront 4-star properties tick all the right boxes for the high-end traveller. Let’s take a closer look at why they make a very good base for a pre-London, or pre-cruise, 3-4 night stay.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Crystal announced that it has updated its new health and safety protocols to now require all guests to be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to their Crystal cruise. Guests will need to provide proof of vaccination before embarkation and must have received both doses of the vaccine if recommended by the manufacturer by that timeline. The vaccine requirement augments the company’s Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, including negative COVID-19 tests for both guests and crew, temperature checks at the terminal prior to boarding, a mask policy, social distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures, reduced capacity and more. Read the rest of this entry »

I Choose Optimism

Last week, ASTA put out a statement that was a distress call to everyone within range of its voice to recognize the dire state of one of America’s most endeared industries, to get the word to legislators that help must be included in the rescue bill now being run through legislative procedures. Otherwise, America could lose its retail travel industry.

So I am doing my bit to pass on the word, because America without its travel advisors would be a much gloomier place indeed. It would be like the transformation of Bedford Falls to Pottersville in It’s a Wonderful Life. That would not be a world many of us would want to live in. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Was one of your goals for 2021 to grow your email list? If you wrote down that goal, you’re one step closer to reaching out to people when the tsunami of travel rolls at us with the full force of pent-up demand.

But what will a stronger, longer email list mean as the tides change in travel. The benefits are endless, so let’s start with these: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Travel Devices That Can Save Your Life

When it comes to cruising, the sun is quickly rising. President Biden’s announcements that vaccinations will be available to every American who wants them, by this summer, will hopefully lead to a cascade of bookings.

But the news is even better. For many of us, going for close to a year without seeing a doctor very often has been an eye-opener. We’ve had to take more responsibility for our own health, decide when it was worth it to visit a doctor, go to an emergency room, or change our intake of some medications. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

Want to Host a Webinar? Do It Julia’s Way

As much as we hate it, COVID has sent us back indoors. For an industry that is the polar opposite of lockdowns and physical distancing, this is the cruelest blow. In order to maintain contact with clients and keep them inspired about traveling again, just about everyone—including me—has resorted to video broadcasts of one kind or another.

For so many travel advisors, the most common concept has been a 60-minute Zoom webinar co-produced and co-sponsored with a supplier or destination. Since these became the rage starting in early summer, I’ve sat through about 50 of them. I took copious notes about things like number of attendees, quality of the presentations, attendee engagement, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Who’s Next?

There is one thing that travel entrepreneurs can never lose sight of: what is true today may, not be true tomorrow. If this past year has not delivered that message to you in spades, then I do not think you have been paying attention. But yesterday’s news is just that… yesterday’s news. How you choose to spend your time today will largely determine the size of your smile tomorrow.

There is another fact we all can agree with, and that is there is not a shortage of “advice” coming from the mouths, offices, and websites of industry gurus.

If there was a single word however, that I would recommend as your next tattoo, it would be the word “prospecting.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

The Learning Curve

While working with some travel professionals on the topic of  “Expanding Your Digital Footprint” my research revealed a rather surprising weak spot. Most of the travel professionals were eager to know the best practices in social media, search engines, websites, newsletters and blogging. But many also quickly confessed to a deficiency of fundamental knowledge on how to get started. A general understanding of social media marketing, blogging, websites and reputation maintenance is present, but the actual mechanics of each sometimes seems elusive.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. In our business, you might not think it is terribly loving right now; but hold on, I have good news for you.  2021 and beyond is setting up to be not only the Year of the Ox (for you Lunar calendar people), but the Year of Love! Well, perhaps not “love” but one of relationships.

For travel, the past 90-days has been, shall we say…. challenging. Insurrections, Federal assistance grants, more potential Federal assistance, layoffs, new rules, a vaccine arrival, and questions about when travel might be able to truly re-commence. Despite the turmoil, there are some positive signs ahead; but you need to read them, and prepare! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

In 1783, in the city of Lyon, a 32-year-old engineer and inventor did something remarkable: He unwittingly gave birth to river cruising as we know it today.

On what was presumably a warm day in mid-July, thousands of Lyonnaise gathered along the banks of the Saône to watch the Frenchman chug upstream in a boat measuring 150 feet long and 16 feet wide. They were witnessing a spectacle never before seen: the world’s first successful voyage by steamboat. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

“For the first two weeks of January, I felt like a genius,” says Lynn Clark.

Heading into Wave season in the middle of a Milwaukee winter, she had upped the hours of the four retail agents at her Travel Leaders franchise from one day a week to three, on condition they call two clients a day—not to sell, just to “remind our best customers we’re still here, and kind of get the pulse of the market.” The clients loved it, and it was generating sales.

Then came January 12. The CDC announced that all inbound travelers must test for Covid before departure, and quarantine in place if they test positive. “We thought ‘OMG,’ it’s all going to go again!”

Clark wasted no time. She immediately went into ClientBase and pulled up the 114 bookings for customers headed for Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica for January through April. Then she started emailing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Ex Fida Bona

As of November 3, 2020, twenty-five Caribbean countries have reopened their borders to travelers and have implemented COVID-19 travel protocols to protect travelers and citizens. Each Caribbean country has different regulations on COVID-19 and, as a travel resource provider, we inform our clients of the existing rules and travel restrictions. One of the best resources that I found was the COVID Controls website. This website allows you to see the current status of each country’s COVID-19 Read the rest of this entry »