Monthly Archives: March 2021

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Seven Pitfalls in Selling Travel Insurance

No one should buy an expensive home here in California without strongly considering both fire and earthquake insurance. Likewise, your clients shouldn’t book an international cruise or any other form of vacation without travel insurance. This has been especially true since COVID has ravaged the world. Hospital costs for treating the coronavirus and complications can easily exceed $100,000. Medicare and most private insurance are null-and-void when you leave the United States.

Medical evacuations to hospitals in the United States can also cost more than $100,000—especially if they involve private jets and nurses. Care in hospitals abroad can be expensive, if you’re not part of that nation’s health plan.

Here are some pitfalls of which you need to be aware. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

Travel Advisors Have Never Been More Important

Travel is on the rise. Advance bookings are looking strong well into the fall. Advisor friends of mine are reporting some resorts are booked solid for weeks. Car rental rates and airfares are reported to be soaring in markets where demand is far outstripping the slow return of supply.

And then there’s COVID, creating a complex web of travel requirements that change seemingly week to week, and month to month. One wrong move and a traveler could find themselves being denied boarding or entry into a country, or be stuck in their destination because they don’t have a negative COVID test Read the rest of this entry »

Flying Around In Circles

I have finally gotten around to writing my fifth book titled Bedtime Stories For Travel Professionals. It crossed my mind that, in order to promote my book properly, I should provide a sample chapter or two to give my potential readers a better idea as to the type of story involved. I decided on a slice of my life that I will take to my grave. It describes a lesson I learned from when I was testing for my private pilot’s license. I am sure I shared this lesson with you in years past, but it is definitely worth repeating in case you missed it. Here goes: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Are you still struggling with your broadcast email newsletter?  As anyone who knows me knows, I am a strong believer in the power of email. Aside from face-to-face it is the most powerful tool you have–even more-so than the telephone! Your website is like any store in your local mall. People can stop by, take a look, maybe buy, maybe not. You have very little control. With email, you are more like that creepy Amazon service that lets drivers inside your home! Think about it. With an opt-in email newsletter, your customers and prospects have given you explicit permission (and never add names to your list without permission) to come into their email inbox. But there are some tricks to making sure you get the biggest bang for your buck. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Credentials: Investing in your travel career

A large part of your identity as a travel consultant is made up of the credentials you earn over time. The word “credential” comes from the Latin credentialis (giving authority), derived from credentia (trust and/or belief). Credentials are a third-party attestation of competence and skill. Typically, credentials have two sources. The first are the credentials you earn through study and testing, the type of credential that result in certificates from trade associations such as The Travel Institute. The second source for your credentials, of course, is the story that you build through the work you do each day for clients, and you should certainly strive to make those credentials as tangible as a destination specialist designation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Celebrity Cruises’ Caribbean Comeback

Celebrity Cruises announced its return to cruising beginning June 5. Celebrity Millennium, the ship at the forefront of the company’s fleet-wide modernization program, will homeport in St. Maarten.

Beginning March 25, travelers can book the new seven-night Caribbean itineraries departing through August. The ship will sail with vaccinated crew and will be available to vaccinated adult guests and children under the age of 18 with a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of embarkation. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome New Airlines in 2021

Back in the late 1970s, when airlines were deregulated under President Jimmy Carter, the airline business was opened to the free market. This was supposed to unleash competition, to create diversity in the marketplace, and expand choices for consumers. It didn’t quite go as planned.

Gradually, the big airlines gobbled up the smaller ones, and the number of airlines dwindled; until, by 2017, four airlines controlled about 80 percent of U.S. passenger air traffic. It sounds more like the description of an oligopoly than a free market.

Of course, in the late ‘70s no one knew what to expect. It had never been done before. It was all brand new territory. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

The Rise of Uber-Luxury Ships

For at least the past five years, Regent Seven Seas has been the leader in cruises that give a new meaning to the label All-Inclusive. To most travel advisors and experienced travelers, “all-inclusive” meant that the costs for all beverages, tips, fees, most specialty restaurants, concierge or butler services, and economy air were built into the price.

Using that definition, Regent, Silversea, Seabourn, and Crystaland sometimes Oceania, Cunard, Celebrity and otherscan proudly claim that they were all-inclusive; at least when certain promotions are underway and for some levels of accommodations (“Free economy air and butler service for all guests in penthouses & concierge suites.”) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

In last week’s column, we discussed how not every potential traveler is an ideal client for a travel advisor. This goes beyond the style of travel an advisor focuses on—“I’m a romance travel advisor. I don’t work with families.”

Despite the fact that professional advisors are so good at matching ideal clients with the right vacation experience, I believe they receive too little support from suppliers and destinations in generating sales leads that make everyone more money.

In my consulting work and writing, I still see and hear about how most suppliers and destinations shape their travel advisor partnerships from a “me-centric” viewpoint Read the rest of this entry »

Some of You Are Drinking the “Kool-Aid”

Even by my standards, today’s article may sound a bit edgy. Good. If it serves as a whack in the head and gets you off the bench and back in the game, then I am sticking to my guns.

The reference to “drinking the Kool-Aid” stems from the Jim Jones tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana back in 1978. Over 900 cult followers lost their lives after believing the words of the wrong guy. They played “follow the leader” to their demise. And in this case, the leader was less than squared away.

I’m afraid that many of you reading this article, and a great many who are not reading it, are listening to information that is not helping you get back in the game of growing your travel business. I often refer to this as “playing to the wrong audience.” Just because you have hit a few roadblocks recently, you may be beginning to feel frustrated and dejected.

To this, I simply say, “Welcome to the world of competition.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

As we gear up to handle the pent-up demand for travel, can I suggest a $50 marketing investment that I guarantee will bring a minimum of $10,000 in sales to your agency? In all industries, sales are driven by being at the top of the customer’s mind when they are thinking of buying. Are you? For that $50 I mentioned, you can definitely find a place toward the top.  Ready for this low-cost piece of high-tech? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

What You Don’t Know

Marketing is about winning new clients and keeping old ones: from the first we achieve growth and from the second stability.  The business trinity of marketing, sales and customer service is oriented to accomplishing exactly those objectives. Smart marketing, relationship sales and good customer service should combine to ensure continual growth.

If only it was that easy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Want to cruise this weekend on an eight-day Historic South and Golden Isles sailing between Amelia Island and Charleston? Yes, we consumed our morning coffee before writing this, and no, you’re not reading an old post from March of 2019. Cruising in the United States is back, after a year’s hiatus. You can now cruise again, this coming Saturday if you wish or any other Saturday thereafter.

This past weekend, American Cruise Lines’ 100-passenger Independence sailed from Jacksonville, Florida (Amelia Island) and is currently en route to Charleston, South Carolina. In Charleston, passengers will disembark Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

If every cloud has a silver lining, coronavirus has brought plenty of time to rethink the way we do business. As their customers hunkered down and phones fell silent, travel advisors turned to one another for support—and their many conversations have ushered in new alliances that promise increased revenues for all the partners.

In just a few of the stories I’ve come across lately, Jackie Magid and three fellow ICs formed a “collective” where they pool sales under a unique IATA number, while also each keeping their own business. Paul Cathcart and Carol Andrews are splitting villa rentals in Europe Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

With swathes of yellow daffodils and the forsythia bursting into flower, the long-awaited spring is finally here and with it, there’s an encouraging upward trend in travel advisor inquiries for later in the year and for 2022, in anticipation that planes will once again be crisscrossing the Atlantic.

To encourage you to take part in this Britain-bound renaissance, I’ve put together some updates on festivals taking place in September. They include the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, with some tips on costume hire; and the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay, where a link to last year’s Virtual event is a very useful marketing tool.

Finally, if your clients are into china and porcelain, they’ll thank you for helping them to attend the British Ceramics Biennial in the World Capital of Ceramics, aka Stoke on Trent.

Read the rest of this entry »

​Traveling Faster Than Sound

I tend to imagine progress as a straight line of development that always proceeds in an upward direction. But then, occasionally, I confront evidence in the real world that reminds me that progress, such as it is, takes place at best in fits and starts with a lot of lateral motion, if not outright regression.

I’ve seen more evidence than I would have wished that supports the theory of the rock and roll band Devo… that the human species is not progressing at all, but is actually “devolving.” Hopefully not, but one example of an area that seems to have regressed is supersonic passenger jet travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

The other day I was talking with a tourism pro who asked what they could do with all the photos they’ve taken over the years.

  • Photos of stunning destinations.
  • Photos of group tours.
  • Photos of exotic foods from around the world.

Sounds familiar right? Don’t you just hate knowing these images are sitting on your phone or hard drive. What a wasted opportunity! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

The writing is already on the wall. For the demand for cruises and flights to take off, all guests and crew members will need to be vaccinated.

Vaccinations are projected be available to every American adult who wants one by May 1. If substantial numbers of people have “vaccine hesitancy,” we may be able to get everyone vaccinated by June who initially wants shots. People will be able to celebrate the Fourth with others this year. It should also permit flying and cruising to begin in July—providing everyone that boards the ships or flights are vaccinated. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

The Rhythm and Sights of Lagos

The port city of Lagos is the second largest city in Africa, as well as the most populated. It can be energetic, delicious, and exciting. A night life full of music and rhythm moves the traveler, while amazing food is available on almost every corner. The coasts offer up exciting activities and remarkable views on the water. Lagos is a good time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Taking Control

​Outside of “pent-up demand,” the most overused and misused phrase in the travel industry right now has to be “ideal client.” I hear it all the time from suppliers and destinations, as well as marketing gurus and consultants—including yours truly.

Though, seldom do I hear these two words taught or described in a way where a travel entrepreneur can go and figure out who this magical persona is. Also, frequently left unsaid is what do these “ideal clients” want to achieve on their next vacation, and how can a travel advisor like you uniquely attract them? Read the rest of this entry »

Why Put Things Off?

Last week, before ending my Inner Circle sales meeting, I asked for opinions regarding my members’ most pressing concerns. I should not have been surprised when I heard the, more often than not, being related to sales. After all, without sales, you have no business. Without customers, you have nobody to service.

My mind shot to another recent response I received from those attending my Mastermind Owners Retreat in Cancun. The concern this group mentioned time and time again involved the negative behavior referred to as procrastination. In preparing for this week’s article, I decided to couple these two concerns together. Read the rest of this entry »