Monthly Archives: October 2021

Posted In: Deck Plans

Before boarding Crystal Debussy in early October, I wondered if this would be the same Crystal River Cruises that I had experienced two years ago. In October of 2019, I cruised Crystal Bach on the very same itinerary on which I was about to embark: an 11-day voyage on the Rhine and Moselle rivers.

That cruise two years ago had been so good that I wanted to show others the beauty of the Moselle with a river cruise company that caters to guests who demand the best, and so I set out to put together a group sailing. More than two dozen people signed up to travel with me in the fall of 2020. Because of the pandemic, our cruise was pushed forward to October of 2021 – and even that timeline seemed dubious. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

RCCL Leaps Into World Cruising

It’s a traveler’s dream vacation, and a travel advisor’s dream commission—even a sign of hope that one day soon the world will be open and the seas free to roam.

So, of course, Royal Caribbean’s announcement of its first-ever world cruise, the longest in the industry at 274 nights, made some headlines this past week. And for some travel advisors, it actually did get clients calling.

While some said it was too long (especially for customers with pets) and some said it was too expensive for the traditional RCCL cruiser, Royal Caribbean SVP Vicki Freed said that in just the first couple of days “hundreds of bookings have been created” as “people are moving their ‘bucket list’ trips into their ‘to do list’” and travel advisors tell me that indeed some categories are almost sold out.

The “Ultimate World Cruise,” sailing round-trip Miami on the mid-sized Serenade of the Seas beginning December 10, 2023, is broken down into four legs Read the rest of this entry »

Repetition Is Often the “Key”

Practicing, repeating, editing and tweaking all play a major role when trying to perfect any singular skill, activity, challenge or assignment. It takes time, patience and, often times, many attempts before we begin to imbue the necessary steps into our “muscle memory.”

With this in the forefront of today’s message, I have elected to repeat a message I have shared before in hope that this time the lesson will take root and, as a result, you will benefit from my unsolicited advice.

Here is the first marketing mistake many travel professionals make from my list of fifteen. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

We’ve all heard a phrase like “he picked the low-hanging fruit” in reference to something easy. Well, let me go on the record that there is nothing wrong with “easy”. In fact, I go out of my way to find easy ways to be more productive in many aspects of my personal and business life.

If I can find a tool to make me more efficient, I will use it. Scheduling social media posts and email broadcasts? Yup! Moving specific emails automatically to specific folders on my MacBook? Yup, got them too! And I also look for the easiest way to increase my revenue whenever I can with that low-hanging fruit—my existing clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

10 Early Warning Signs of a Problem Client

Raise your right hand if you have ever had a problem client, the type of individual that made you reconsider your entire career as a travel professional. Keep your hands raised. Now, raise your left hand if you currently have a problem client. Even at this distance, I can see most of you have both hands in the air. Go ahead and lower your hands, you are going to need them to assist some of these clients to the door. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

We’ve just returned from a series of cruises: AmaWaterways on the Rhine, Viking Ocean Cruises in Bermuda, Crystal River Cruises on the Rhine & Moselle, and Avalon Waterways on the Rhone. This webinar replay from October 20, 2021 covers a wide range of topics from testing before leaving home to life on board and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

With transatlantic flight restrictions between North American and the UK being lifted on 8th November, let’s talk about developing some itineraries that will really appeal to clients who, by next spring, won’t have been to the UK for over two years!

Culturally minded travellers will relish what I can offer them when using the internationally famous festivals in Brighton and Bath as the hubs for 3-4 nighters before reaching London. Murder Mystery fans will enjoy rubbing shoulders with top crime novelists and some pre- and post-Father Brown/Inspector Morse ‘On Location’ visits. Similarly, green-fingered clients will immediately want to know the dates of travel for the Chelsea Flower Show, especially when you share with them the video I’ve included from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, patron of the National Garden Scheme. There are four more you can use, which you can show to customers to promote your ideas.

Email me and let’s start developing some UK-bound ideas for next May Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Don’t Ride Elephants

When I was in India I took an elephant ride. It’s an attraction that is offered tourists in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The elephants were decoratively adorned with colorful weavings. I sat over the shoulders and rocked with the movement as the elephant walked up a hillside toward a temple. It was a thrill to be on the back of such a big, wonderful animal that was generously allowing me to ride on his back. I felt gratitude and friendship for the gentle giant.

I admit, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. It was just a few moments of one day on a 10-day tour. I took the ride, enjoyed it, and then moved on to the next thing on my itinerary. Then one day I met Stephanie Shaw, the corporate liaison for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and I realized what should have been obvious to me in the first place. Of course. Why did I ever think that an elephant would work a day job carrying humans around on his back constantly of his own free will, hour after hour, day after day?

When I learned the story behind the elephant rides, I felt ashamed of myself for being so insensitive to the animal. I was sorry for having participated in it, for helping to perpetuate the practice of selling elephant rides, which requires a kind of captivity and treatment I can hardly bear to imagine.

I assume others who take the rides are like I was. They saw the elephant ride attraction and went on it, not thinking that much about how it came to be that the world’s largest land animal would be submitting itself to serving as a taxi at a tourist attraction Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

Shakedown!
Breakdown!
Takedown!

Remember that old song by Bob Seger from 1987?

When Facebook broke down recently, that’s the song that came into my head. It started playing louder when Frances Haugen testified before Congress!

Facebook has become a huge part of our work and personal lives. Yet, I wonder how many of us thought about the old adage about not putting all our eggs into one basket when this breakdown happened? Or the adage that one shouldn’t build their house on rented land?

Really? What are we as travel industry pros supposed to do… market by carrier pigeon? Pony Express? How about using a town crier?

These days, none of those are viable options; however, we may want pay attention to those old adages as breakdowns and takedowns may become more frequent in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

As sales and marketing advice goes, this may very well be up there with the best of it. I was reminded of this natural phenomenon this week, and I could not find my way to my computer keyboard fast enough to share it with whoever is out there listening. This is a BIGGIE. Tune in.

I ended a recent Zoom Meeting with what I consider to be some sage advice. To me, what I am about to suggest is both logical and extraordinarily simple. It is effective and incredibly apropos. It does not cost a red cent and the results are extremely powerful.

The truth is, however, that nobody can do what I am about to suggest without feeling uncomfortable to some degree. This last sentence, in and of itself, may explain why there are not more successful travel-related sales professionals in the United States today.

I challenged my audience on this particular day to pick up their telephones as soon as our meeting was over, and call a prospect, customer, or the first person who comes to mind to simply thank them for something. I reminded them not to get cute, fancy or eloquent. I urged them to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

I am going out on a limb here and say that your sales are down. Coming out of a pandemic, we are going to need every sale we can get to re-build our travel practices. Over the past 20 months, we (society in general) seem to have forgotten how to behave and interact with other humans. That will need to change. When it comes to sales and in particular selling travel, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels, and we need our “A-Game” to thrive once again. Complacency has a way of seeping into our world—I know it does mine; so here’s a refresher on three key focus areas for future success! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Sizing Up Your Competition

Here’s the bad news: you have more competition than you think.  Here’s the good news – you  can effectively compete. In fact, competition keeps us sharp and aware of the environment in which we operate.  Keep in mind that carrying the proper attitude about your competition is important.  Properly trained, your clients will adopt many aspects of your own attitude about travel and other distribution channels.  If your attitude is positive and healthy, chance are your clients’ will be as well.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

You wouldn’t think that writing about luxury travel has much in common with selling luxury travel, but in fact it really does.

At least that’s my takeaway from an interesting and different kind of panel at the Global Travel Collection’s Elevate virtual conference last week—where, in addition to the usual roster of company executives and top suppliers, a panel of travel journalists talked about emerging trends in luxury travel. Like travel advisors, many of the journalists noted that the best way to cover travel—and to promote it—is to travel yourself, and to explain the details that go into a trip in the time of covid step by step.

Town & Country editor in chief Stellene Volandes noted that in her recent travels, the last day or two of every trip was consumed by conversations about passing the required tests to return home. Feeling carefree is such a big part of luxury, she said, but even when you revel in the experience of travel these days there’s a cloud of concern that “disrupts the cocoon that envelops luxury travelers. The moment a bit of chaos enters, you feel unsafe and it rattles people.”

For travel advisors, then, the key is to make the luxury travel experience “even smoother than ever. I want to feel like if I am stranded in an igloo someplace, like I can call an expert who can help me Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

“I listen to my body, and my body says no to the vaccine.” I was standing at Amsterdam’s Rembrandt Square, dipping fries into a dab of mayonnaise (patat met) when a fellow standing next to me said, “Eet smakelijk,” which I understood to mean enjoy the fries. I thanked him and said that I hoped he enjoyed the apple that he was gnawing on. Thank you, he replied in English, before adding: “I’ve just finished a march and cannot find my car. Luckily, I know people here and someone is coming to help me.”

I learned that he was from Arnhem, about 90 minutes away, and that he had come to the Dutch capital to protest against the vaccines and the QR codes that restaurants and bars now require patrons to show before entering. The QR codes demonstrate proof of vaccination.

“It’s not fair,” he said. “I have grandchildren. I don’t want them to be vaccinated until we know the long-term effects of the vaccines.” He feels shackled by the QR codes, living in a stratified society where there are those who can now enjoy pre-pandemic life in the Netherlands, going to restaurants and bars, for example, and those who cannot. No QR code, no entry into the pre-Covid world.

For the American visitor, however, all of Amsterdam seems to exist in a carefree world with little regard for Covid transmission. Though I had only been in Amsterdam for the afternoon, having arrived from Atlanta, what I observed was an ocean of differences in our responses to Covid-19. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight

Bryce Canyon National Park

The national parks of the western United States are wondrous sights that have been part of America’s charm since before President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service in 1916. Many of these parks, particularly those in the southwest, seem like a surreal and alien landscape to be held in awe. Eroded by time, they stand as monolithic reminders of the Earth’s vast history. The ways in which the traveler can enjoy these parks Read the rest of this entry »

Persistence Pays Dividends

 

Although there may not be any “do-overs” or mulligans in business these days,
there is certainly time and rationale for “Do-Agains.” Let me explain.

I recently sent out a blast email promoting one of my books. In this case, I was featuring my 52-Week Sales Planner. What better time to start planning for a brighter future than right now?

I wrote a sales letter and hit the button which sent my words out to internet land. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

What Are You Worth?

Let me ask a question for your consideration: What Are You Worth?

Let me provide the answer for you: “It depends.”

The reason you have to give a less than precise answer regarding this question is simple: the value of any product or service is not entirely inherent in the product or service by itself. You cannot answer the question without asking about the context.

For example, consider a six night Western Caribbean cruise on Disney Cruise Line in March, inside cabin, for $1,296. Is that a good deal?  What if you upgrade me to a balcony cabin for free?  That cabin on the same cruise is listed for $2,490. Is it a good “deal” now?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Hey, did you see that viral meme that went around Facebook, What’s App, and Instagram last Monday afternoon?  Of course, you didn’t because Facebook, What’s App, and Instagram all were down for the day. Oh yeah, and Messenger as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Building a Travel Business Is Easy

I do not see what all the fuss is all about. Who said that building a business had to be difficult? Certainly not me. Like everything worth pursuing, it is the fundamentals along with the basics that will get you to where you are trying to go.

In an attempt to simplify your journey, I’ve outlined five steps that will have you feeling like a pro in very short order. The work stems from the concept of “consistency,” and not from tedious and laborious “work.”

Let’s break this thing down to its component parts.

First, identify a market consisting of people who want what you have/do Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

It is a horrible feeling, your Google alert hits your inbox and there it is, the dreaded one-star review from a client.  Like it or not, reviews are here and not going anywhere anytime soon. Ignore them at your peril. But since you cannot do much about them, why not use them to your advantage. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Craft

The word “craft” is a wonderful word. Both a noun and a verb, “craft” denotes expertise, intelligence, intuition and skill. A craft is more than a hobby, more than a pastime. When you craft an answer, you work it, paying attention to details, to the magic that is in the turns and twists in the subtleties of language and insight. A craftsman is devoted to a chosen trade and practitioners of a craft are both learned and wise in application of their practice. Read the rest of this entry »