A native of Dresden, East Germany, Kristin has a degree in the Economics of Tourism & Business Management as well as a MBA from the University of Dresden. After working for American Express for eight years, she moved to the U.S. to work for a river cruise line. Three years later, she leapt at an opportunity to team up with Rudi Schreiner and Jimmy Murphy and establish AmaWaterways. Kristin’s extensive knowledge of Europe’s culture and traditions enable her to effectively promote river cruising with travel agents, group leaders, and diverse educational and business organizations.
Travel Research Online: Tell us about your role at AmaWaterways.
Kristen Karst: I oversee sales primarily but am intimately involved with every aspect of this company, from the décor of our ships to planning itineraries to implementing new ideas (like our wine cruise program, free bicycles for guest use, etc). I attend tradeshows to introduce our product and network one-on-one with our travel agent partners, present webinars, research new technology, meet with journalists, talk to passengers….basically, my job is to keep on top of what the industry wants, fine-tune the quality of our product, interact with agents on a daily basis, and ensure that all the ships are filled. I am also busy developing our international business, expanding our reach beyond the US and Canada and welcoming aboard guests from other countries. Read the rest of this entry »
Michele Saegesser, Vice President of Sales for Viking River Cruises, is a veteran of the travel industry with over 30 years of experience. A native of Ireland, Saegesser is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin where she received the Kell’ s Leadership Award and graduated with degrees in International Marketing and International Law. Her many years in travel include sales and marketing roles with Disney, Princess Cruises, Rocky Mountaineer, Hurtigruten, Luxury Trains of the World, and VIA Rail Canada. Michele has worked with Viking in sales management roles including National Accounts and VP of Sales for the Australia market. Her current role oversees the sales teams for the Americas.
Travel Research Online: What inspires you as a travel professional?
Michele Saegesser: Anyone who works for Viking naturally has to be inspired by how we are growing as a company and as an industry. The daily culture of Viking® focuses on how to always be our best; how to always improve and never get stuck in old ways. It is a thrilling opportunity to be on this ride. Read the rest of this entry »
Gifted Travel Network is a travel host agency specifically created to support YOU and YOUR individual brand.
Meredith Hill, Founder and President of the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE), teamed up with Vanessa McGovern and Jen Cochrane to launch GTN as a travel host agency unlike any other in the industry. Read the rest of this entry »
The charming European towns and cities that line the Baltic Sea are some of the most magnificent in Europe and include Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is said to be one of the most underrated cities in Europe; this relatively undiscovered gem has preserved much of its medieval architecture and offers rich, welcoming culture to travelers. Read the rest of this entry »
The Vienna Tourist Board is the official destination marketing agency for the tourism sector of the city. It provides many service offers, tips and much information for Viennese tourist businesses. Read the rest of this entry »
When you think history, you think Greece. The nation is full of it, with a long lineage of exuberant people and events that will continue to make history books for generations to come. From the mind-blowing architecture to white beaches kissed by azure blue waters, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Read the rest of this entry »
TRO: Tell us about your role at Hariworld.
KC: As President of the Company, I have oversight over all aspects of the business. However, key areas I work on are operations, technology initiatives, and business development in the mainstream markets.
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Founded in 1992, Seattle-based Down Under Answers is a multi-award-winning industry leader in travel to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, arranging customized vacations for independent travelers to groups. They have been repeatedly voted Best Travel Wholesaler by Tourism Australia and Tourism New Zealand specialists. Read the rest of this entry »
It has been said that you cannot be all things to all people. Perhaps that is not true about Italy. To some Italy means sunshine, music, food and romance. To others it is history, art, culture or religion. Italy has inspired generations of writers, painters and musicians. At one time, Italy was the focal point of the “Grand Tour” – the rite of passage for young, wealthy Europeans and Americans to experience the culture of Europe. Today, Italy is one of the top 5 destinations for North Americans.
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John T. Peters joined USA TODAY as President, Travel Media Group, in June 2012 and is responsible for strategy, product development, sales, and acquisitions including digital brands: 10Best.com and Tripology. His extensive travel industry career features executive roles at such acclaimed companies as Rand McNally and Endless Vacation Rentals® by Wyndham Worldwide and successful entrepreneurial ventures in tourism and technology.
John is a frequent speaker and moderator at domestic and international conferences including World Travel Market, EyeforTravel, The Los Angeles Times Travel Show, The New York Times Travel Show and others.
TRO: Tell us a little bit about your role at Tripology.
JTP: As President of the USA TODAY Travel Media Group I am responsible for developing and implementing the new strategy of the Travel vertical. We acquired Tripology in April of last year and it has been integrated into the company’s portfolio as a division of USA TODAY’s Travel Media Group. Since the acquisition, we have continued expanding the Tripology network via USA TODAY Travel Media Group sites with the ultimate goal of driving even more high-intent online leads to travel agents by offering the referral service across Gannett media outlets, which include a network of more than 100 local and national websites. Gannett, the parent company of USA TODAY, is a leading media and marketing solutions company that reaches millions of people every day through our digital, mobile, broadcast and print media. Read the rest of this entry »
Our goal is always to provide the ultimate cruising experience and our 25 years of creating, hosting and delivering incredible holidays is underpinned by the strength of our people, product, knowledge and service. We are unified by the love of travel and we come to work every day to make that an exceptional reality for our valued guests through continued innovation and first-class service.
It’s no surprise travelers from around the world flock to Mexico each year for vacation. With two large coasts boasting some of the most magnificent beaches in the world, Mexico is an ideal location for families, honeymooners and solo travelers alike to experience a relaxing and exciting vacation on the beach, or to get a glimpse at some of the unique, rich culture and history Mexico has to offer. Read the rest of this entry »
Brian Schwimmer is the CEO and co-owner of Rental Escapes and Travel Rental Network, the world’s largest travel agent resource for vacation rentals. Brian has worked in the travel industry and in international real estate for the past 15 years, experience that he brings to the vacation rental industry. Travel Rental Network places travel agents in direct contact with property owners, each of whom pay commissions on their vacation rental properties. Travel Rental Network also has a full reservations department that are happy to assist Travel Agents in finding the perfect properties for their clients.
TRO: What aspect of travel inspired you to work in the travel industry?
BS: Growing up in Montreal, travel is a way of life. It’s the only way to escape the cold, especially when you have winters like this one that stretch into the end of April.
As you can imagine then, I’m a big fan of the Caribbean, and it was the first time I booked a private villa in Jamaica that really changed how I looked at travel. I loved the unique look of the place, the extra space, the private pool, the private chef… I haven’t been back to a hotel for a vacation since. When I got home, I did some research and saw that the vacation rental industry was growing in all price ranges, and I decided to become a part of it. Read the rest of this entry »
Saying “river cruising” and “younger demographic” may seem like an oxymoron. Perhaps you associate river cruising with retirees or folk nearing that age. I recently had the opportunity to cruise with AmaWaterways aboard the AmaCerto for their “Melodies of the Danube” wine-themed cruise. Our journey began in Budapest, through Austria and then into Germany. Although my travel companion (lucky friend!) and I were certainly the youngest passengers aboard the AmaCerto, we were entirely comfortable with the other guests. Age, it turns out, is no impediment to enjoying a great river cruise. Read the rest of this entry »
Loreto DeRubeis joins Central Holidays as the Manager of Group Operations, bringing with him 35 years of expertise in the travel industry. This expertise comes from positions in international sales, luxury hotels, airlines, but mostly from travel companies where his accomplishments have been in product development, marketing, and as group and FIT specialist in destinations throughout the world.
DeRubeis is passionate about travel, and has firsthand knowledge of destinations in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Throughout his career, DeRubeis has been dedicated to making the clients’ dream a reality, and looks forward to providing unrivaled service to clients who travel with Central Holidays.
TRO: Tell us about your role at Central Holidays.
Loreto DeRubeis: My primary role at Central Holidays is to manage the group department; in addition I oversee the “World on Skis” and assist in developing new products such as a new high end FIT division “Journeys” and “Outdoor Journeys” focusing on outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
When you think history, you think Greece. The nation is full of it, with a long lineage of exuberant people and events that will continue to make history books for generations to come. From the mind-blowing architecture to white beaches kissed by azure blue waters, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
The 1,400 islands all hold something remarkable to be discovered and a trip to the magical European country of Greece will leave a lasting impression years.
TRO: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in the travel industry.
JC: I have nearly 17 years of experience in the trade show industry and 11 years of experience in the travel show industry. At Travel Show Marketing Group, my business partner, Eric Cooper and I work exclusively in the travel agent arena, strictly with the Home Based Travel Agent Forum; one in the Spring in Las Vegas at the Venetian and one in the Fall at the Chicago Hilton from November 10-12 later this year. We’ve been exclusively producing these shows as Travel Show Marketing Group for 5 years. We recently started a new brand, Specialty Travel Forums focusing mainly on niche markets. Our first event under this brand is the Romance Travel Forum which educates travel agents on the how to increase their sales and network within the destination wedding, honeymoon and romantic vacation markets. That event is taking place this May 12-15 at the Paradisus Cancun in Mexico, allowing travel agents to experience one destination they’re selling to romance clients. This will be part of the Specialty Travel Forums model moving forward. Read the rest of this entry »
At over 650,000 square miles, Alaska is by far the most sweeping land in the United States. With all this land – most of it wild and untamed – Alaska presents a perfect experience for those who want to appreciate the serenity and awe-inspiring beauty of nature, as well as those who want to engage the outdoors head-on with thrilling adventures! Come explore Juneau, Alaska – brought to you by ShoreTrips.
Bill Gardiner has worked in the travel industry since the early 70’s. During his career, he was President of National Trade Shows which was the longest running series of Travel Agent promotions in the industry. During this same period he owned and operated a call center for a hotel rep company as well as multi-lined for a range of travel companies throughout the world.
At the same time, he was also a meeting planner for various tourist boards, tour operators, and other major companies in the industry. He has been an active member of ASTA , SKAL, Travel Agents of Tennessee and various other travel industry organizations. In October of 2013, he came on board as the Vice President of Costa Rica Dream Adventures. His primary duties include the expansion of all sales and marketing efforts, with special emphasis on expanding our national presence and reach.
TRO: Tell us a little bit about your role at Costa Rica Dream Adventures.
BG: Costa Rica Dream Adventures is in the midst of a major expansion program. Our sales team has been tasked with bringing us to the forefront of the expanding Costa Rican travel market. Through a series of promotions and an intense one to one effort we hope to make the majority of our travel agent partners aware of the amazing range of product we have to offer. My primary job is to enlist our agency partner’s support and give them the tools to utilize CRDA to the fullest. In addition, I hope to be the contact point for many of the agents who are working with us now and the ever increasing number of agents who find us each day. Since we only serve the Costa Rican market, we offer the unique ability to offer full customization. This, combined with our expertise, is causing more and more agents to think CRDA when they think Costa Rica. Read the rest of this entry »
Founded in 1980, Trans Am Travel is the preferred supplier for travel professionals. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, our mission is to offer competitive pricing combined with excellent service. Trans Am Travel has been in operation for 34 years and is one of the best, as well as one of the largest airline ticket wholesalers in the United States. Our highly trained representatives average 15 years of experience in the industry and are committed to providing our customers with high quality service. Read the rest of this entry »
Planning to visit to Colombia? First of all, leave the prejudices at home. If something should be said about Colombians and Colombia, it is that everything here is done passionately–living, partying and arguing. “Intense” might be a word that describes not only the 44 million warm hearted people but equally applies to the whole of experience of Colombia: the lavish green of the Amazon, the deep blue of both oceans and one of the most exuberant and diverse flora and fauna on the planet.
Colombia is a country for “travelers” more than tourists; if you are willing to spend some days immersed in Spanish, dealing with a different perception of time and marveling yourself at a country full of contradictions, this is your place. In spite of being considered a tropical country, Colombia’s weather is not the same across the territory: don’t be fooled by a map and be prepared to visit a chilly capital city in the mountains, or the extensive warm valley of the Magdalena river just a few feet above the sea level—less than two hours apart. This geographical variety also brings a cultural richness, which added to its colonial history results in a society where racial, ideological and cultural ends meet.