Posted In: Editorial Musings
Managing a business is hard. We all know that. And it is frustrating when our efforts to manage the business fall short—as they sometimes do. Hopefully, you can learn from the mistakes I, and others, have made when it comes to social media. When I first entered the industry, all the airlines were still paying uncapped commissions. So, I have had plenty of opportunities to stumble and fall. Here are my best suggestions to keep you on your feet in the social realm! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Mike's Monday Cup of Mo-Joe
I love to visit early morning coffee shops when I am away from home. I listen to the locals meet and greet their friends during their daily ritual on their way to work.
It truly is better entertainment for me than today’s TV selections.
A recent visit was to The White Castle on Central Avenue in Clark, N.J. This could very well have been the birthplace of the famous New Jersey “Death Ball”—a greasy hamburger about the size of a quarter. (The coffee is a notch above okay.)
I was nestled in the corner hiding behind my open laptop when a policeman walked in and greeted the grill master. He then started chatting with another regular stool patron as they both propped themselves up against the counter.
I tuned in Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
“For any man of good will, there is work to be done here, effective, virtuous, satisfying work which can give rich meaning to one’s own life and to others” ~ Abraham Maslow
What do you want? It is amazing how difficult the answer to this simple question can often be. Perhaps it really isn’t such a simple question, and it’s even a little bit dangerous. Most of the decisions we make daily revolve around our desires, yet it can be hard to decide what we really want to have, what we want to do, and what we want to be.
The question of desire is not insignificant to building your travel practice. We engage in what we do, regardless of our profession, because of our desires. We want to be a travel professional, we want to travel and help others to travel, we want to provide material and psychological stability for ourselves and our families.
Getting a bit of clarity on our desires can help us achieve them. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Supplier Profile
Photo credit: UnCruise Adventures
According to Liz Galloway, Director of Marketing and Communications for UnCruise Adventures, the Alaska season is off to a strong start. With 6 ships deployed there, offering 9 full itineraries, UnCruise has a longer season in the Great Land than any other cruise line, and their ships are “quite full all the way through the season which ends in September.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
Avalon Waterways is dedicated to preserving the precious environments surrounding the world’s riverbanks with the Lighthouse Project, an initiative created to help travelers come together to reduce their footprint and give generously for the globe’s greater good.
With a mission of nurturing a culture of care and sustainability that extends to guests, the Lighthouse Project is focused on three, give-back categories:
Planet: Conserve and preserve each destination visited. To protect waterways and wildlife and shine a light on organizations that do the same. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: The Rosen Report
“There’s nothing better than launching a new cruise line into a market that has been closed with Covid,” says Francis Riley.
And indeed, adds the chief commercial officer of Margaritaville at Sea, the market is perfect for a three-day cruise out of West Palm Beach that sails year-round —and can be extended to six days, with a stay on Grand Bahama Island, for about $1,000.
The whole idea of getting out on the water is very much in line with Margaritaville’s laid-back luxury charm. While the 658-room Paradise, which set sail this month, is hardly a new ship; it is completely refurbished since its days as Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Classica.
“Every single cabin has been ripped out and completely overhauled, every single area of the ship is refurbished,” Riley says. And the cruise includes all the things you’d get in a Margaritaville resort—”the elevated room, pillow, mattresses, the food, the 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar, the elevated dining with JWB Prime Steak House, plus of course what you’d expect in terms of entertainment, with a new show written by Jimmy Buffet.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: The Incessant Traveler
It may seem strange to say I go to Africa to meet Americans, but it is one of the good things that happen when I attend Africa’s Travel Indaba, as I did in Durban, South Africa, May 3-5.
One of the many benefits of attending Indaba is being able to meet travel agents from the US who have been hosted by South African Tourism. Throughout the year, the tourism board works the trade show circuit in the US and singles out travel agents who are ripe for opening up business in Africa. Then, every year when Indaba rolls around in May, SAT brings a select few of them to South Africa. On one trip, SAT exposes them to the broad spectrum of the African travel industry at the one-stop trade show of Indaba, and then takes them around to give them a taste of South Africa.
I have met many American travel agents at Indaba, and it has given me a window into a blossoming market of African Americans traveling to Africa Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Point-to-Point
I recently needed to choose the best Australian cruises for next spring. Australia is opening now, but I will probably take the better part of the year before cruising gets back to normal. Also, there have been some things happening with cruise lines you have to watch out for—even if you’ve been booking Australian cruises for many years.
I was selecting cruises for two couples who were both well-traveled seniors. One couple had never cruised in Australia before, and the other had been on five or six Australian cruises in the past 20 years. Before the pandemic, both couples were booked on the Silversea Silver Muse on a cruise going from Bali to Sidney by way of Komodo Island—home of the endangered dragons whose bites are poisonous and can weigh 200 pounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
For better or worse, we are all in sales. No one eats unless something is sold—it really is that simple. However, many travel agents don’t see themselves as salespeople. They are purveyors of information, keepers of knowledge, and trusted confidantes. We are a notorious industry for coming up with creative names for ourselves—Dream Maker… Memory Builder… Consultant… you get the drill. But let’s not forget, if we don’t ask for the sale, we aren’t making any dreams or building any memories. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy simply because we follow the sales process to the letter until the very end when we don’t ask for the sale! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Mike's Monday Cup of Mo-Joe
It was 7 pm. As luck would have it, the race was just about to begin when I switched on my TV. I thought I’d missed it since I believed the race was at 5 pm.
There in front of me was a long cage filled with horses with numbers 1-21. I noticed stall #20 was empty and thought to myself that #21 was so far off the rail it was simply a futile attempt. At least the owner, trainer, and jockey could one day say that they were in The Kentucky Derby.
The horse was named Rich Strike and was listed at odds of 80-1. There was no way a horse in that position had a snowball’s chance in hell to win anything. Good luck, Rich Strike. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: TRO SMITH
In 2009, the comedian Eddie Izzard set the almost unbelievable goal of running all the way around the circumference of England and Scotland, the equivalent of 43 marathons in 50 days, for charity and again in 2016 for 27 days in honor of Nelson Mandela.
He had never run a marathon before that time. I think it may be possible to learn something from Mr. Izzard. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” ~ Winston Churchill
Even at its best, when presented with tact and grace, criticism can be hard to take. When phrased as a complaint, criticism can be even tougher to endure. There is no doubt we have fostered a culture of complaint in our economic, political, and social system. We have even trained people to complain as a way of getting windfalls in free services and goods. Complain loudly enough and you get your way, we seem to be saying.
You need a response to criticism, one that demonstrates your company’s no-nonsense ethic. Here is what I suggest. The next time you are criticized, say this:
“Thank you.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Crossings
Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has just announced its highest-grossing week of cruise sales since the start of the pandemic and one of the biggest in company history. The cruise line, focusing on smaller yacht-like ships visiting smaller more remote, and less heavily visited ports, waterways, and destinations that larger ships can’t access. Windstar ran a sale May 3-13 with itineraries to the Mediterranean, Tahiti, Northern Europe, Alaska, Asia, Greece, Australia & New Zealand, the Holy Lands among others. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: The Rosen Report
AmaWaterways extended its Portugal river cruise sailings through the Winter Holiday Season this week, for the first time, adding 14 new round-trip sailings in Portugal on the AmaDouro.
It’s a sign of how strong the interest in Europe river cruises is running this year, says chief marketing officer Janet Bava.
“We saw a huge influx in demand for Europe with the loosening of travel guidelines, and very quickly got a lot of demand for the western side of Europe. We were completely sold out for Portugal,” she told TRO at Seatrade Cruise Global last week. “But our travel partners were still calling us—so we said why not extend the season, especially since Portugal tends to have warmer weather, and go ahead and help travel advisors generate some extra commission for 2022.”
While Ama is the first river cruise line to extend Douro sailings through December Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Agent Perspectives
The start of my conversation with Doug Colon summed up the theme of the interview in its entirety. When asked about how things are going for him, he answered, “Trying to get this backyard done. My contractor didn’t show up, so I started on my own.” This being our first long-form conversation, I was going off what I’d researched online. He was there when break dancing took off in the early 70s, grooving with prolific DJs known for legendary innovation in hip hop—check. He’s currently the owner of Dancin Doug Travel—check. But now, right at the start, I knew that I was talking to a man who knew how to get up and get it done.
Mentioning the multiple positions Doug has held in different fields, “I kind of stumble and fall places. I’m a stumbler.” This was clearly evident in his path through life so far. Travel started as a break from his profession at the time, Special Agent in Charge Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
Riviera River Cruises is offering savings on two French itineraries in 2022. Choose between savings of US$1,000 per person or free economy airfare from most major U.S. gateways through the end of June. If you’re interested in either of these deals, please complete the form below for more information. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Press Releases
VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) is proud to remain the most trusted transportation company in Canada for the fourth consecutive year according to the 2022 Gustavson Brand Trust Index (GBTI), published by the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business.
In addition to having obtained a better ranking than last year, VIA Rail performed as one of the best employers for employee recognition ranking sixth out of 402 brands in the study.
“As we approach the almost complete resumption of our services planned in June 2022, we are very proud to have been awarded this title for a fourth consecutive year despite the circumstances that have affected the transportation industry for over two years now,” said Martin R Landry, Chief Commercial Affairs Officer. “Determined to always go further together and driven by our mission to put our passengers first, the results of this ranking show that VIA Rail stands out as a transportation provider. I would like to thank all of our passengers for their continued trust throughout the pandemic, as well as our employees for the outstanding service they offer every day from coast to coast to coast.”
Besides a brand’s functional performance (quality, reliability, value for money) and the experience it offers, this study reveals that consumers also have a keen interest in the social responsibility and values of a brand. VIA Rail has been working for several years to reimagine the travel experience of its passengers, for a more modern, accessible and sustainable passenger rail service. Whether through its modernization program or its recently unveiled accessibility and sustainability plans, it’s time for VIA Rail to embody a vehicle for change in Canada.
To establish the Gustavson Brand Trust Index, the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business completed a survey of close to 9,200 Canadians to learn about their perception of various brands in terms of their performance and social responsibility, among other things.
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional, and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. The Corporation has been awarded nine Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2005. Visit the “About VIA Rail” section at https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.
Follow VIA Rail
VIA: the blog
SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Posted In: Departures
Being a commonly visited country, Spain often brings up an image of grand churches that inspire faith in the eye of the beholder—perhaps pictures of flamenco dancers, as they seduce an audience into a story of love and passion. These are accurate portrayals of a country that charms the traveler. But, Spain is a diverse destination, one that brings the culture of surrounding nations together in harmony. In the northwest sits Galicia, an ideal look at this cultural harmony. Read the rest of this entry »