Monthly Archives: June 2022

Posted In: Press Releases

Britain Leeds Castle

Wholesale FIT travel specialist Avanti Destinations has launched an e-brochure for advisors describing the many reasons Great Britain appeals to independent travel clients, whatever their interests or demographics, and whether they are first-time or repeat travelers to the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Travel advisors are still faced with many challenges and opportunities in the aftermath of the pandemic. The challenges are readily solvable and will hopefully strengthen our industry, but some of the solutions may raise the hackles of those invested in the status quo. One of the most significant challenges is—despite months of complaints—communicating with travel providers on the phone or via the web.

Difficulties in communicating is not only the fault of the airlines, cruise lines, and hotel properties. Nearly all have done an excellent job posting the information online that their telephone reps provide over the phone. Still, most travel advisors are more comfortable speaking with the reps and buying travel over the phone.

Other industries have faced the same problems, and they usually solve them by:

  • Hiring more telephone reps, especially those with years of experience.
  • Providing digital callbacks.
  • Ensuring that online systems are easy to navigate.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Gatherings

Many hands putting together a puzzle

Those who have never participated in the production of an “event” would almost certainly be shocked at the enormous energy and coordination happening “behind the scenes.” The promoters of any given gathering share a goal with the attendees in wanting more than an “event” – they want an experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Conquering Rejection

Once upon a time, a college friend of mine spent a few days with me. He was driving his son to his first job in Washington, DC from Massachusetts, and my house was directly in line. In a very few hours, it became apparent how people grow in different directions. My friend took the athletic route after graduating and is a very fine physical education teacher at his local high school in Massachusetts. He has spent the last 30 years of his life in the gymnasium—working with other people’s children. The morning after he arrived at my house, we no sooner poured our first cup of coffee when he asked if he could see the comics section of my morning newspaper. This section is always free, as I immediately grab the business section in order to get my daily “marketing fix.” My wife starts at the beginning and my son disappears with the sports section. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

In my mind, there is nothing worse than running out of milk in the refrigerator. It is a staple for so many dishes and let’s be honest, nothing quenches that 3:00 am thirst quite like a swig from the carton of milk. Am I right?  But in the business world, there is an equivalency. In my mind, there is nothing worse than running out of this business staple. No, not toner. Not staples. Not cell phone battery life. Much more important. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

norwegian gem-aerial

At All Points Travel in Salt Lake City, Corina Johnson made an easy sale yesterday. A member of her Theater Lovers whom she books trips three or four times a year, saw a post about an interesting offering from Norwegian Cruise Line: “The Broadway Cruise” to Bermuda, launching in March 2023. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

AmaWaterways To Launch Second Nile Ship

On the heels of AmaWaterways’ beautiful AmaDahlia celebrating the close of her first season on Egypt’s legendary Nile River last week, the company announced it will launch a second ship in Egypt. The second ship, named AmaLilia, after the sacred blue water lily flower of ancient Egypt, will set sail in 2024 to meet the growing demand for this exotic offering.

Like AmaDahliaAmaLilia will sail the immersive Secrets of Egypt & Nile itinerary, offering an unparalleled 11-night cruise and land experience including a seven-night roundtrip river cruise from Luxor, paired with three nights pre- and one-night post-cruise stays in historic Cairo. Similar to her sister ship, AmaLilia will be thoughtfully designed with regionally inspired décor, spacious staterooms and suites, and a specialty restaurant included in the river cruise fare.

Check out the AmaDahlia photo gallery below. Photos courtesy of AmaWaterways. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

Part 2 of a two-part series on staffing issues at travel agencies. Read part 1.

It’s a tight job market all around—and travel agencies are no exception. So what’s an agency owner to do when they need to bump up staff ASAP?

“Many travel advisors are going independent, so that hurts the industry for those trying to hire, and many went and found other things to do and haven’t come back,” says Scott Caddow, owner and luxury travel advisor at Legendary World and vice chair of the board of Signature Travel Network.

In addition to about 10 ICs, Caddow employs 10 full-time W-2 employees. Before Covid, he tended to hire new-to-the-industry “smart sales-oriented people who wanted to build a career” and train them himself. But in the current rush, there’s just no time for that. Instead, he considered the many experienced independent contractors (ICs) out there—and ended up hiring a woman with 30 years of experience.

“I put it out to my friends in the industry who were ICs, or knew ICs—and when I mentioned it to one person because I hoped she’d put it out to her network of friends, she said, ‘I’ll do it myself!’” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Crossings

 

A&K Travel Group Ltd. has acquired the luxury cruise vessels Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. A&K Travel Group , is owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage (the industrial holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Top Headlines

American Airlines logo

Flying business class on American Airlines has some new perks. But there’s an extra fee, of course. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Press Releases

American Cruise Lines ship

American Cruise Lines explores the Mississippi River like no one else—offering unique cruise experiences along the length of the river, from St. Paul to New Orleans—also cruising the famous Mississippi tributaries, the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. This week, the company’s newest riverboat, American Melody, is headed north on the Mississippi, where it will begin seasonal Upper Mississippi River cruises between St. Louis and St. Paul. The company is also offering Complimentary domestic airfare for late July and August Upper Mississippi cruise departures aboard American Melody. Currently, the new riverboat is underway along the longest river cruise itinerary in the country, American’s 22-day Complete Mississippi River itinerary, from New Orleans, LA, to St. Paul, MN. 

With over 10 different Mississippi itineraries, American’s guests experience the rich history and classic American mystique embodied by the Mississippi, as they explore the charming towns, distinct cultures, 

and colorful characters that give life to the country’s most vital and storied waterway. Cruises include a range of cultural experiences, from literary inspired visits to Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, MO, to more active experiences, like a Cajun Pride Swamp Adventures in Baton Rouge, LA. Throughout the cruises, guests enjoy curated onboard entertainment and lectures, as well as small-group-guided adventures each day on shore. 

10 Different Carefully Curated Itineraries 

American offers several delightful 8-day cruises along both the Upper and Lower Mississippi, departing from many of its most famous port cities like Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville, St. Louis, St. Paul, and more. American offers unparalleled longer itineraries, including a 22-day Complete Mississippi cruise and a 15-day Grand Heartland cruise—both enable guests to cruise the entire Mississippi—exploring 10 states in a single journey. American also offers shorter 5-day Highlights cruises, seasonal Holiday cruises, and exceptional Theme cruises—carefully crafted both on board and on shore to celebrate iconic Mississippi themes, from Mark Twain cruises to Music cruises, to Culinary cruises featuring Cajun, Creole, and classic Memphis BBQ. 

Four new riverboats to choose from: 

American Cruise Lines is the only domestic line to offer 2 styles of riverboat for explorations along the Mississippi—classic paddlewheelers and new modern American riverboats. American’s modern riverboats are the newest in the country and the company’s beautiful classic paddlewheel fleet has just been completely renovated and redecorated for 2022. On all American’s riverboats, guests enjoy an all-inclusive experience, and relax in spacious 100% outward-facing staterooms, nearly all with private furnished balconies. In August 2022, the company will introduce a 5th new riverboat for the Mississippi, American Symphony. 

Special Pre-Cruise Packages: 

All American’s Mississippi River itineraries include Complimentary Pre-Cruise Hotel Stays, including concierge luggage and transportation services in every departure city. Also offered are longer pre-cruise packages like the Line’s exceptional Graceland Pre-Cruise Package, which includes 2 nights in Memphis at the Guest House Hotel (right next door to Graceland), Graceland ticket with special presentation, a Memphis City Tour, and transportation to the ship. 

Complimentary & Flat Rate Domestic Airfare: 

There has never been a better time to cruise close to home and fly free. American now offers Flat Rate Domestic Airfare for all its domestic cruises, and for a limited time, the company is also offering Complimentary Airfare on select Upper Mississippi River cruises between St. Louis, MO and St. Paul, MN; summer departures with Complimentary Air are aboard American Melody: 7/29/22, 8/5/22, 8/12/22, 8/19/22, & 8/26/22. 

Learn more at: www.AmericanCruiseLines.com 

Follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/americancruiselines 

Follow us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/American_Cruise 

Commitment Is Not a Four-Letter Word

I am currently experiencing a little mental discomfort. I thought I would share it with you to see if there was a message buried in my uneasiness that could benefit your immediate future.

The question is, at age 73, am I physically capable of swimming, biking, and running a total of 70.3 miles in less than 8.5 hours? (An Ironman Triathlon) Perhaps more to the point, do I really want to find out? It is not as if I have never accomplished this feat before. I have. In fact, I covered the full Ironman Triathlon distance of 140.6 miles back in 1997… and lived to talk about it.

The question remains. Do I want to prove to myself that the “old man” is not ready for the rocking chair just yet? As I am typing this the smell of Aleve X ointment on my sore shoulder Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

On this Father’s Day weekend, I kind of felt like a kid again having discovered my father’s stash of Playboy magazines. A friend of mine had dug up some vintage issues and we spent some time laughing about the articles (that’s why we all read them…right?), the photos and how the definition of “risqué” has changed, and notably the advertisements—chock full of booze and cigarettes, and one notable ad for the Jamaica Playboy Club Hotel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Find Your Niche

One way top travel agents stand out from the crowd is to develop a niche area of practice. Though we hear the advice to specialize,  the concept of niche marketing is often misunderstood. Niche marketing is a way of helping you focus on locating new clients, not a set of restrictions on your business offerings. Niche marketing is not necessarily about gearing your entire business to a particular type of travel, but rather about segmenting your marketing efforts to focus on particular groups of people.  Many travel consultants avoid it as a concept out of fear of having to turn away business outside the chosen niche or being too closely identified with the niche. Properly executed, however, niche marketing is a terrific way of locating and marketing to a group of potential clients in a highly effective and cost-efficient manner. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Crossings

Seven Sea Mariner

(Photo credit: Regent Seven Seas Cruises)

For the fourth year running, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® has sold out its world cruise in record time, with the sailing being completely reserved prior to officially opening for bookings on June 15, 2022. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Spotlight

A350-900_RR_FBU_V03

If you’re looking to fly to Paris on a brand-new airplane at a fair price, French bee might just have a seat for you. The little sister of Air Caraïbes has been flying a fleet of Airbus A350s since 2018; last month it added LA and this week it begin selling tickets to Miami, for flights beginning in December. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

AmaDahlia_Exterior_New_Rendering

AmaWaterways announced it will launch a second Nile cruise ship in Egypt. The new ship, a sister to AmaWaterways’ AmaDalia, is scheduled to set sail in 2024. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Deck Plans

Postcards From The Rhone

Britton and her grandmother are cruising the Rhone on Emerald Liberte. They are guests of Emerald Cruisers for the purposes of this review. Britton has been sending updates of her trip as they cruise along. She’ll have a more detailed report when she returns home.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

WELCOME ABOARD

Day one of the journey. How exciting! I have to admit, the airport was not easy. This is a busy time of year, and it is normal to expect delays and cancelations. In fact, some of our fellow passengers didn’t make it to the boat until late in the evening, and some even arrived the following day. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The Rosen Report

Part 1 of a 2-part series on staffing. If you have a tale to share for Part 2 about where and how you have found new staffers, email Cheryl at crosentravel@gmail.com.

From Cheesecake Factory to Starbucks, across cruise lines and hotel chains, every US business suddenly seems to be overbooked and looking everywhere for potential new hires. And travel agencies are no exception.

The phones are ringing and the long wait times on hold with suppliers eat up precious hours of travel advisors’ days. On top of that, many are calling in sick as Covid takes one more swipe at the travel industry, and many more are out of the office on their own long-postponed vacations, at training sessions they have put off for months or years, or on one of the abundant number of fam trips offered up when things were slow.

“Staffing is the number-one issue everywhere,” says Alex Sharpe, and the biggest concern of the attendees at Signature Travel Network’s quarterly Owners Meeting in New Jersey last month. “And hiring is the #1 opportunity Read the rest of this entry »

Cuba Policy Changes: It’s All About Perception

Some good news for travel to Cuba came last Wednesday, June 8. About three weeks after the Biden announced that it was pulling back some of the Trump-era restrictions on travel to Cuba, the government has clarified what those policy changes will consist of. The good news is that People to People travel is back.

The details of the regulatory structure were released by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the part of the United States Treasury Department that regulates what money can be spent by Americans in Cuba under the terms of the United States embargo.

The May 16 press release from the Biden administration established that the United States would again allow some fights to airports other than Havana, and would reinstate educational travel, but did not yet reinstate the “People to People” program. Tour operators would have to watch for OFAC to release the memo to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Departures

Just a few days after the United States dropped its testing requirement for inbound travelers, Mandee Migliaccio at Stepping Out Travel Services in New Jersey already has booked a client who called to say, “finally I feel like I can travel freely”—and is off to Italy. Read the rest of this entry »