Monthly Archives: May 2021

I am often asked where I get ideas for my columns. My answer without hesitation is… everywhere. A day does not pass, or a TV show perused, or an evening news soundbite heard, or a trip to the post office taken where I am not bombarded with “fodder” that has my mind spinning with ideas and some sort of reaction.

Today’s observation and resultant opinion stems from a conversation between my wife’s physical therapist and myself. We were sitting at our breakfast table while he was doing something therapeutic to my wife’s foot (bone spur).

During his last visit, I gifted this gentleman a book I wrote with tips directed toward high school graduates Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Have you ever been to a party and “that guy” was there?  You know, the one that everyone gravitates toward. The one that has everyone laughing hard with his stories.  You know, the proverbial life of the party (LOTP)?  Maybe it’s you. If so, you’re lucky! If it is not you, I have some things to tell you. But be warned, it’s all about your travel business, not an alcohol-fueled neighborhood soiree. I will leave that for the true life of the party! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Many of your anglophile clients will have read about the new RHS Bridgewater Garden in their gardening magazines. I’ve put together a short stack of touring ideas which show how a visit can be included in a number of different itineraries in the north of England and North Wales with an extension to Ireland.

Using iconic names like the Beatles, Beatrix Potter, James Herriot (as recently enjoyed on PBS) Harry Potter and Dracula, this stunning new garden could give you the key that unlocks some profitable new perspectives on your old friend Britain.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

In previous posts, we learned how river cruising evolved from an experimental steamboat on the Saône to paddle-wheelers plying rivers in the United States and Europe to something resembling river cruising today: the first hotel barge in France. Since that first barge made its debut in 1966, forward-thinking entrepreneurs continued to develop and build riverboats that were the blueprints for the industry today. Next, we’ll head to a city on the Rhine to what may well be considered the birthplace of modern-day river cruising. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Checklist: Tour & Event Marketing

Woohoo! Your first post-COVID tour is planned (or nearly planned). Now comes the fun of marketing it.

As things open up again and tours start rolling, getting butts into seats is goal #1. However, if you’re looking to effectively market in this new era, some things have changed since pre-pandemic. What worked in 2019, might not work as well to attract consumers now.

Whether you’re marketing your newest tour, looking to attract potential clients to a consumer night, or hosting a virtual information session; here’s the social marketing essentials you’ll need to be successful. Read the rest of this entry »

The travel industry has long been a leader in environmental protection, because it’s an industry that has a major stake in preserving the environment. As the environment is degraded, the tourism product is destroyed. Every year that terrible disaster called climate change gets more in your face.

The acceleration of extreme weather events in recent years has made believers out of many who previously stood on the sidelines. Climate change is real, and very serious. It’s not an exaggeration to talk of it as an “existential crisis” for life on earth, at least for the kinds of life human beings care for.

So, what are we supposed to do? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Smartphones, notably the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, are photographic miracles. They can see in the dark and rise to nearly all photographic challenges. If you’re within 10-15 feet of your subject, the newest smartphones are almost infallible in their ability to provide a bright, sharp photo—even if you make no adjustments and press the red button on the screen. When you are this close to your subject, smartphones can rival larger, dedicated cameras in their ability to generate beautiful images—if you don’t enlarge them too much. Read the rest of this entry »

When I set out on the journey of self-employment nearly 40 years ago, I had my first brochure professionally produced. I planned to include the piece in all of my future sales letters. I recently found an original copy, and see that my tips are just as meaningful today. Here they are verbatim for you to internalize. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

You have heard of the Pareto Principle, but you probably call it something else. 80% of all of your business comes from 20% of your marketing efforts. Roughly 20% of your time management is highly efficient and from that activity comes 80% of your productivity. 80% of the money made by travel professionals is made by 20% of the travel professionals. You probably know the Pareto Principle as the 80/20 Rule. It seems like everyone has encountered bully Pareto somewhere and is convinced of the immutable nature of its power.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Do you sometimes get frustrated when you spend hours crafting the perfect email broadcast and after it is sent you see a dismal open rate, and an even more dismal click-through rate?  I am subscribed to a gazillion (no exaggeration there) email lists and I decided to look and find out what it was that made me open and click.  Here are some of my thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: 1:1

For too long, travel professionals have ceded their clients’ domestic road trips to self booking. American Tours International, however, has put together the technology allowing travel advisors to customize domestic road trips in a manner to enhance the experience for the client and the commissions for the travel professional.  Charlie Kao and Richard Earls of TRO-Travelmole had an opportunity to interview Nick Hentschel, COO, and Jenny Tecklenburg, Vice President of Sales with American Tours International (ATI). 

Charlie Kao: Nick,  How are things in California?

Nick Hentschel:  Charlie, things are getting back to normal here in California. We have done very well with the vaccine efforts and the removal of mass mandates outside.  We are reopening restaurants at a 50% capacity here in Los Angeles County and other shops and stores, so things feel like a comeback from a pretty tough December or January timeframe to some “new normal” that feels pretty good. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

You’d think that with a team of full-time employees, plus 52 independent contractors and 11 years of experience in the industry, Jenene Mealey could easily answer any question that comes up. But it’s lonely at the top of any organization, she says—and Travel ALLIES Society, a new support group for agency principals, gives her a level of support she never had before.

As director of outside sales at Canary Travel, a brick-and-mortar agency in Cleveland, Mealey is responsible for growing, educating and mentoring the team, as well as building relationships with suppliers and handling her own multi-million-dollar book of business. But no matter your expertise, she says, it’s just not possible to know everything a travel professional in a high-level management position needs to know these days. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Yesterday, the European Union announced that it would welcome fully vaccinated travelers as well as unvaccinated travelers from Covid-safe countries (the list of countries is expected to be released on Friday). While details are pending, the new measures could go into effect as early as next week. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Hacks for Clients Packing for Long Flights

In the time since most of your clients have flown, there have been some significant changes. Many relate to travel documents, disinfectants, and masks. Whereas all that was previously required was a passport and airline ticket, now they may have to supply vaccination data, testing information, health inventories, and reservations for many of the restaurants and entertainment experiences they’re planning to enjoy.

All travelers will require masks, possibly a medical-grade one to use on flights where some flyers are not vaccinated, and a light-duty one to wear outside in crowds. Also, many fliers will want to carry wipes for use on restrooms and seat surfaces.

By summer, many nations and likely some states will require virtual health passports, meaning that smartphones will be essential to display them. On long flights, smartphones will add charging cords or power bricks to the list of needed “stuff.” Read the rest of this entry »

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

A question I often ask myself is, “why are some travel agents more successful than others when they are all playing on the same gameboard.?” The marketplace is available to everybody. The destinations are available to everybody. The marketing tools are available to everybody. The fees are more or less competitive. So, why do some agents do so much better than others?

In most cases, the answer is simple. According to me and my 40 years of hands-on experience in the travel industry, successful agents do more, try more, fail more, get up earlier, think out of the box Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

By now, you probably heard about the current squabble between Facebook and Apple.  If not, here’s the background. So, why should a battle between tech giants impact the travel industry? Well, it doesn’t directly, but it might significantly affect your marketing and further reinforce the need to own your own sandbox. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Demystifying Travel for Your Clients

Travel will return soon, spurred by an increasing number of people vaccinated or simply willing to hit the road after so many months of being shut-in. If your clients haven’t yet made a road trip, that may be first on their agenda, and then as countries open up, that first airline ticket purchase. Already countries like Costa Rica, Belize, Poland, Croatia, and Iceland are accepting arrivals. Is it safe to travel now? That is such a personal question it is unanswerable in the abstract. Everyone has to decide for themselves when they are ready. Certainly, we have seen busier airports and destinations in Mexico are already seeing increases in the number of tourists visiting. But for each of us, the decision to travel absolutely must be a personal choice when your clients and their traveling companions are confident and willing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

To celebrate National Nurses Week, AmaWaterways has opened a selection of Europe sailings between October through December 2021 for eligible frontline medical heroes to enjoy a complimentary river cruise with one paying guest in the same stateroom. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

The recent Scotland Reconnect trade show has given me a great opportunity to take a closer look at a destination I know well and, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be introducing you to/reminding you about a wide variety of wonderful Scottish travel experiences you can offer your customers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Austin Adventures: Places You Can Go Now

As the world moves unsteadily toward eliminating the threat of COVID-19, navigating the world can seem like moving across a map on which all the countries are different colors. The pandemic has been global, but the response to it is highly fragmented. There is no standard international code for how to create a safe environment while COVID continues to be present. Every country is going about it in its own way.

That’s great for the spirit of independence, but it creates a whole lot of annoying complications for travelers who, a couple of years ago, used to cross many international borders with ease. For Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures, an operator of tour programs on several continents, it has become like an endless series of changing conditions Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

With Norwegian Prima Debut, NCL Adds Class

The Haven moves aft, the sea comes closer, the rooms get bigger. The Waterfront doubles in size, wraps around the deck and adds a global food hall. There are new infinity pools, glass bridges and an outdoor lounge. And, to add to the excitement, some lucky travel advisors get to sail free.

In a series of hints, tweets and press conferences, Norwegian Cruise Line ended months of relative quiet this week with one big reveal of what it has been quietly working on while the pandemic raged around it. The Norwegian Prima, the first new ship and new class in a decade, goes on sale today. Read the rest of this entry »