Monthly Archives: June 2021

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Convincing Clients You’re Worth an Advisory Fee

The past year’s events have shown travel advisors that they will not survive unless they can charge advisory fees, in addition to their usual commissions. If you’re a travel advisor, the advisory fees are yours to keep even if your booking is canceled or deferred to a later date.

There is a rich tradition of travelers paying fees for advisory services. Since 1902, the American Automobile Club (AAA) has served American motorists. While their primary service has always been to get tow trucks and charging vehicles to members in need, a close second has been to identify gas stations, tourist attractions, and noteworthy eating establishments along the route. My parents would never start a motor trip without a custom-made AAA Trip Tik® Travel Planner on the front seat. Read the rest of this entry »

The People Who Came Before You

“Maybe I’m not listening to your pitch because the 100 people who came before you abused my trust, stole my time, and disrespected my attention.

Perhaps I’m not buying from you because the last time someone like you earned my trust, he broke my heart.

People are never irrational. They often act on memories and pressures that you’re unaware of.”

This was a quote taken from Seth Godin’s Blog post a few years back. It rang true to me then, and it is just as poignant today. Maybe more so, as we slowly climb back from the change in mindset Covid-19 has created. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Travel is back.  I know that my home airport, BWI, is reporting increases in passengers when compared to pre-COVID numbers, so that is good.  The war between the CDC and the cruise lines appears to be ending.  Together, the travel industry should be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. But with that relief, comes some added responsibilities for the travel professional. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Topping off my “Life List”

“Every man dies — Not every man really lives.”William Ross Wallace

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman a few years ago gave new currency to the term “bucket list”, that collection of destinations, goals and dreams you want to experience prior to “kicking the bucket”.  I personally have always preferred the term “life-list” – the places I want to go and the things I want to do in this lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

When Gerrilyn Grant was practicing law, her clients always made an appointment if they wanted to speak with her. But when she opened M&E Unlimited Travel in Montgomery, AL, a decade ago, she was hungry for business—and anxious to appear accessible. “Call or email me any time and I’ll reply right away,” she told potential clients.

But no more.

With a client list of 1,200 who suddenly all want to go on vacation, Grant pulled out her old legal playbook and began requiring appointments. “My phones were ringing off the hook and I was getting email after email; it’s been really really something,” she says. So when her payment app, Square, added appointment scheduling software, she took the lifeline and signed right up. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

This week, the Globus family of brands – consisting of Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms – introduced important updates to pre-trip Health & Safety Protocols, including requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to join the company’s upcoming international tours, river cruises and independent vacation packages. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Last Tuesday was supposed to be Covid Liberation Day here in the UK but, instead, our Government lost its nerve and sentenced us to another month of lockdown. Predictably, it went down like a lead balloon! To cheer myself up, and thanks to a press release from Kew Gardens, this week’s article will take you to their fantastic and uplifting Orchid Festival which fills the month of February 2022. With low airfares and off-season hotel rates, this will appeal to green-fingered clients and GB-starved clients alike.

I’ve also included something on Cornwall’s Gardens, stunning in March/April, which—with a dash of Doc Martin, Poldark, and Arthurian myths and legends—create a winning combination. I’ve also added some tempting ideas for a tour based on Tulip Festivals in the southeast of England.

Read on, and let’s exchange some emails about your UK plans for next year. Read the rest of this entry »

Everything is opening, almost all at once. I see flashy banners on restaurants saying, “We are open!”—which didn’t used to be a big thing. Now it’s huge. It’s great news. The great pleasure of being able to get out among people again is gushing out all over. It’s a vast explosion of joy. But… well. It’s complicated.

There is an underlying uneasiness. We were all holed up for a year, living in our own little caves. Going back out into the world is a new kind of adjustment. It’s not just a matter of flipping a light switch and the world comes back again, just like it was before COVID forced us into lockdown. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Whether to accept unvaxed guests onboard has been resolved in the luxury and premium cruise ship markets. Anyone who refuses to be fully vaxed has very few high-end ships from which to choose. These cruise lines’ primary market, prosperous seniors over 65, have voted overwhelmingly with their credit cards to vaccinate everyone.

Here is The New York Times map of those who are fully vaxed in the United States. These data are as of June 18, 2021. The darker shades of green indicate more county residents are fully vaccinated. Read the rest of this entry »

I Don’t Like Everybody

When I mention this in my live programs, I usually get more than a few giggles in disbelief. I then tell the audience: “I mean it. I don’t like a lot of people. Who said that I have to ‘like’ everybody? The word ‘people’ is too general for me to rubber-stamp my affection toward anybody and everybody who can fog a mirror.”

Like in my live programs, I think it is time to hear my rationale.

The secret is not to like everybody, but to like the people you like. And then, be willing and eager to do everything within your power to service these people. No rules. No exceptions. No excuses. Not when you just feel like it. All the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

You must have done something right. Your marketing must be working. The prospective client called and asked to meet with you. You chose a great meeting location, maybe your agency office, maybe a coffee shop. You dressed the part, you rehearsed the meeting and prepared well. You made a terrific presentation. Now it’s time to ask for the prospective client’s business. You can feel the tension. Why is closing so difficult?

Because we make it difficult. Is there any possibility shifting from a transactional model to a relationship/consulting model will remove some of the pressure of “the close?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Technology has empowered customers in ways we never would have imagined ten years ago. Heck, we probably could not have imagined it last week. With the touch of a few buttons, customers can have all the information they want at their fingertips and often “know” more than we might about a particular destination—and that’s alright.

Also, they also can decimate a business with a few taps on their phone with a negative review, or worse. This scenario is even harsher for smaller agencies with fewer reviews—the negative ones will stand out!

Keeping up with technology isn’t easy. As a business owner, you need to think about not only managing your reputation but how to get the attention of potential clients and keep them interested enough to make them want to continue interacting with you.

So, what can you do to increase the number of customers engaging with you and your agency? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

“Go Human. Book Human,” say the ads running this week in New York and Los Angeles, on Instagram, Facebook, Google and YouTube. “If machines can’t dream, how will they plan your dream vacation?”

“Don’t let an algorithm plan your vacation,” say others. And for the business traveler or family caught in a Covid spike, “0% of bots understand the pressure of making the last flight out.”

They’re all part of Internova Travel Group’s first-ever consumer advertising campaign, aimed not—as is usually the case—at its existing customers, but instead at the broad swath of consumers who do not use a travel advisor at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

When I first started river cruising, I found it difficult to choose which river, which river cruise company and which ship. Hopefully, these tips will make it easier for you to navigate the wonderful world of river cruising. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

7 Steps to Scroll-Stopping Video Trailers

Remember the last time you went to the movie theater and saw teaser trailers of all the upcoming movies? Such a great way to have a sneak peek and then make a date to see the movie.

The beauty of the movie makers’ marketing magic is that you get to see the most intriguing part—the hook. And then, you’re hooked! The movie theater is nearly guaranteed to sell more tickets. What if you could use this same genius marketing theory to attract more video views on your own Facebook business page? You know, create your own intriguing, gripping trailer. News flash: You can do this now! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Last week we described the great cruising grounds of Europe and Southeast Asia. This week, we’ll describe some other cruise opportunities that your clients may consider, if you suggest them.

Oceania (Australia, New Zealand)

Australia has three fantastic cruising routes. The most popular cruise is Sydney-Melbourne-Hobart-South Island (New Zealand). Sydney is one of the world’s most popular destinations, and Hobart is great for hikers and foodies. Your clients will cross the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand glaciers, and sail up the South Island (of Harry Potter fame). It has wildlife refuges, mysterious caves, and small welcoming Read the rest of this entry »

Someday Soon!

It was 7:05 am on a Thursday morning when I stumbled across a recent blog post by Seth Godin. It was titled Date Certain. Not being sure what that meant, I clicked on the link and was immediately nodding my head in agreement.

The gist of Seth’s advice that day was to “pick a date”—any date. Flip your calendar, circle a day and month in the not-to-distant future. For lack of a better term, let’s refer to this as your target date. Using this date as your deadline, what are you planning to accomplish? What will you do? Who will you meet? Who will you be? How will you be different? How will you be better? By that date. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Gone are the days of knocking on someone’s door to make a sale (unless you are re-selling electric apparently). And blindly calling someone is nearly dead as it is very intrusive. But in the travel business, we get cold (or warm) leads all the time. And post-COVID, there will be more. So, how do you convert them from a lead to a prospect; or better yet, a sale? One solid way is email. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Your Points of Contact

Most travel agencies pay a great deal of attention to the brand image they project in their advertising. An advertisement printed in a magazine or newspaper gets a rare amount of attention from everyone involved. The agency owner, the marketing department, the ad designer, all get involved looking closely at the details to ensure that it projects the appropriate image for the agency. After all, the advertisement will be seen by hundreds, even thousands of potential travel agency clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

I would hazard a guess that, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, your anglophile customers have been watching endless episodes of Downton Abbey, Inspector Morse, Doc Martin, Keeping Up Appearances, Poldark, Midsomer Murders, Grantchester, and The Vicar of Dibley to name just a few of the British TV series appearing on PBS. Bridgerton is the new kid on the block, and you can read and see more in the story below after Downton Abbey.

You will know who these people are and instead of leaving them to imagine what the great castles, stately homes, gardens, market towns, villages and countryside really look like; talk to them about their favourites and let me help you put together a UK tour that matches their interests, time frame and budget.

Catch the vision and talk to them about converting TV fiction into touchable reality in the English countryside. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Tauck announced the official restart of its operations in Europe and Africa. The company plans to reopen in stages, beginning with selected departures of its “Iceland” and “Treasures of the Aegean” small ship ocean cruises in June and July. Also scheduled for July are the resumption of the company’s cruises in the Galapagos Islands as well as its Tauck Bridges family adventure in Costa Rica. Tauck’s guided safaris in eastern and southern Africa will resume in August, as will its land tours in Spain, France and Portugal. Read the rest of this entry »