Monthly Archives: June 2021

Posted In: Preview

“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: TRO SMITH

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 »

The Great Release is Here: Are You Ready?

After a year of being pent up, the Great Release is upon us, and now it seems sudden. Things are opening faster than predicted just a few months ago.

In March 2020, the COVID pandemic submerged us in the exponential growth of new infections and, before we could comprehend what was happening, we were virtually imprisoned, taking shelter to save our lives. We settled in and got used to being confined. Now the release is happening all around us. And it seems to be happening faster than almost anyone expected.

The demand for travel is, unsurprisingly, going through the roof. But to say “it’s complicated” is to vastly understate the circumstances. World travel now is an extremely tangled web. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

Exploring Santa Monica

Located directly on the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by mountains, at the end of Route 66, Santa Monica enjoys an average of more than 280 days of sunshine each year. With average temperatures in the mid to upper seventies year-round, this beachside city’s weather is one of its most attractive assets and being outside is a part of the city’s lifestyle. But there is so much more to discover in Santa Monica than great weather, and visitors to the Los Angeles area miss out if they don’t spend a bit of time in this eclectic community. If you are looking for a unique domestic destination to visit with iconic world-class dining, entertainment, and famous sites, Santa Monica is worth your consideration. Many of the attractions that make the beach-front city special have found residence in our collective conscience, and you may find yourself surprised at your osmotic familiarity with some of the key points of interest in Santa Monica.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

If some of your clients love cruises, they may have promised themselves that – if they got through the COVID crisis unscathed – they’ll find some new places to visit. Here’s how you can help them fulfill these promises. Suggest some new places to explore and provide them with enough information to turn their dreams into reality. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Preview

A Different Kind of Saudi Arabia

Its motto is ‘Jeddah Ghair,’ meaning ‘Jeddah is different.’ It is a historic port city with a different way of life than the rest of the kingdom. Serving as the gateway to Mecca, and with almost 68 miles of waterfront along the Red Sea, the second largest city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia awaits the traveler. Jeddah is a leisurely getaway to enjoy the finer points of the Saudi Arabian coasts. Read the rest of this entry »

200-1 Odds? Go Figure!

This year’s PGA golf tournament was both entertaining and historic. The winner, by the way, was a 200-1 longshot. Nobody in the history of the game has ever won a “major” golf tournament at his age.

The final day was an up and down seesaw of great shots, followed by less than great shots. As a matter of fact, I personally have hit a few more attractive shots than some viewed on television on that particular Sunday. What appeared to be a runaway at first glance came down to the final hole. In the end, it was Phil Mickelson who took the final bow at age 50 plus eleven months. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Did you know that with more than 300 million people living in the US, more than 27 million are entrepreneurs? And for the record, I really hate that word; but for this column, it is probably the most fitting. An entrepreneur runs most travel agencies. And if they want to continue running them in a post COVID world, here are three steps that must be taken without a stumble.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Empowering Your Clients

Long ago, travel agents held the keys to the kingdom. The general public knew very little about the logistics of travel. Anyone wanting an itinerary of any complexity went to a travel agency for assistance. Travel agents had access to “hidden” resources like the GDS systems and access to travel specials not available direct to the public. But there were urban legends of people who knew tricks. Rumors of cargo ship travel, package couriers, backpackers and mysterious student discounts floated about, making many feel as though everyone in the know was traveling better and more cheaply than they. There were “secrets” out there and travel agents weren’t talking because they wanted the public to book with them.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Lindblad Expeditions has announced it will be reactivating National Geographic Explorer for a series of voyages in Iceland this summer. Plans call for the 148-guest polar vessel to explore the mythical land of the midnight sun on two alternating itineraries, Wild Island Escape and The Circumnavigation of Iceland. On both expeditions, guests will discover why Iceland is known as the “land of fire and ice” as they journey through the country’s fjords, tundra, waterfalls, and geothermal hot springs. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

ASTA’s annual Legislative Day brought a crowd of travel advisors and consortium executives to Washington to talk travel industry issues and concerns. I caught up with two of my favorite people, Alex Sharpe, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, and Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion LLC, following their press conference there to talk about some of the biggest concerns of travel advisors.

Here’s what they said: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

The tipping point for the cruise industry occurred last month when the CDC permitted cruise ships to sail, provided that 95% of the passengers and 98% of the crew were fully vaccinated. Since that time, cruise bookings have skyrocketed, and deep discount pricing is becoming increasingly rare. The CDC has also given cruise lines more freedom to determine the masking and social distancing safeguards that they will require onboard, if everyone is vaccinated.

Airline passengers deserve the same privileges. They could get them if airlines were permitted by the CDC and FAA to declare some flights “Vaccinated Passengers Only” (VPO). Read the rest of this entry »