Did you know that in 2018, corporations are estimated to give more than $17 billion to non-profits? Have you written a check for your portion of that? Hold the door. Put the checkbook away. There is a better way to give back and it will likely cost you a LOT less. Read the rest of this entry »
OK, I am not sure of the origin of the axiom “penny wise and pound-foolish” but lets suffice to say it is British and I am too lazy to head to Wikipedia and look it up. But, the phrase is an important one that is all too apropos in the travel industry. Read the rest of this entry »
I read an article earlier this month about the EU implementing lie detectors using Artificial Intelligence (AI) on certain borders with non-EU nations. Apparently, travelers will be grouped into categories and subjected to interviews by a video terminal that will analyze their speech, facial movements, and mannerisms to determine if additional security is needed. Wow, how frightening. And I hope the TSA doesn’t get any more bright ideas and think about bringing this to America. Read the rest of this entry »
Where did the year go? It seems like yesterday it was spring and we were ramping up for a busy summer travel season. I looked at the calendar and realized it was November. NOVEMBER!! And more to the point, I realized that Thanksgiving is this week! Every year, I like to look back and reflect on things for which I am thankful. Call them blessings if you will; but here is my list for 2018! Read the rest of this entry »
A week ago, USA Today ran a story with an alarming headline, “ Jamaica resorts facing a “historic” sexual assault problem.” Wow! That is not the type of headline one wants to see in a local paper, much less a national one with 726,908 daily printed papers and a total daily audience of more than 3 million. That is a story that will have legs and be something that we, as travel professionals, will need to address with our clients who are looking to travel to one of out top (for most) destinations. So, how do you keep your clients safe? Read the rest of this entry »
Running a successful travel agency is hard. Success never comes easy. And it is always uncertain. It involves risk, money, long hours, learning new things, and operating way out of your comfort zone. Success is not comfortable. You want comfort…get a new mattress.
Running an unsuccessful travel agency is much easier. And trust me, we will have a lot more unsuccessful agencies in our future. Look at what the Bureau of Labor Statistics has to say. Read the rest of this entry »
“Put yourself into the mind of your customer.” We have heard that phrase forever. I am not sure who originated it; but those 8 words have become the salesperson’s mantra. But there is more to it. Much more! Read on.
So, how do we get into the mind of our clients? What info do we need? How do we balance thinking like a sales consultant with thinking like a client? What are the questions and objections that the customers present? Put it simply—they have a problem, and we are here to help them solve it. Read the rest of this entry »
For anyone that had read my column for any length of time knows, I am a HUGE proponent of email marketing. I have often said that email is an invite into your neighbor’s living room. Other types tend to be more of a “swing by if you are in the neighborhood” offer. With email, you have a captive audience and they are reading your email because they are interested in what you have to say… or to sell. But are you engaging them? Read the rest of this entry »
Managing a travel practice is tough work. You’re in charge of all the details, from sales to marketing to hiring to firing to budgeting to supplier selection. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re keeping tabs on a million different details. The good news is that there are ways to simplify and make managing your business easier no matter how big or small you may be. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy New Year! We will be saying that before you know it as we move from 2018 into 2019. And for me, Fall tends to be a slow season. People are getting back into the hang of school, beginning to worry about the holidays, etc. Personally, I don’t worry until December 24th, but I digress! But from a business aspect now is the time to get your marketing and financial plans in order. How do you expect to make money if you don’t have them? Now is the time to clean house. Is there a drawer full of junk that needs to go? Do you still have one of Apple’s brochures from 2004 just because you never know when you might need it? Take advantage of some of the slower times to work on these plans and cleaning house. And when you are cleaning, don’t forget to toss some of those clients as well. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I listed 10 tasks/items/points/thoughts I felt were needed to survive and thrive in 2018 and beyond. By point 10, I was running up against a word-maximum and had to stop. For those that know me, it is nearly impossible to get me to stop talking….and I guess it is the same for writing. So, here is my continuation (I promise not as long) from last week of some skills I think you need to master!
Face it. Owning a travel agency is not a walk in the park. We have had more re-do’s than a Rocky sequel…and by the way the 8th sequel (Creed II) is due to hit theaters on November 21st. But long gone are the days of heading home with red fingers and being a clearinghouse for all things travel. The role of a travel agent has evolved from a true “agent of the supplier” to a trusted travel advisor—hence the rebranding of ASTA recently. But what do you need to do to survive in 2018 and beyond? I have some thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »
Most of us are solo (or close to it) agencies. We work from home or a small office and sales, marketing, planning, accounting, education, customer service, and janitorial all tend to fall under our umbrella title of “travel professional.” And, if we are honest with ourselves, some of these slip through the cracks. Sometimes all it takes is a little note to remind ourselves that from time to time we need to rejuvenate our business. And here are some easily implemented marketing reminders. Read the rest of this entry »
Most (not all) of us work from home. It is the direction the industry has moved. Others still work in a conventional office or a co-working space (which I recently moved to and I highly recommend it). But as entrepreneurs it is difficult to leave work at work. It’s even more difficult when all of your tools are right downstairs in the spare room. If you work at a 7-Eleven it’s easy—there are no cash registers or Slurpee machines at home. Running a travel practice…not so much. But leaving work at work is critical for your health and well-being. Remember Jack Torrance in The Shining? Here are some ideas to help you leave the office behind when your day is done. Read the rest of this entry »
The world would be a much better place if we all were honest with one another. Think about that for a minute. Clients come in all types. Wealthy and poor, nice and mean, reasonable and unreasonable. But there are four generic clients that I can’t stand and at times, I think they gravitate to me intentionally. Here are my four pet peeve clients. Read the rest of this entry »
For those that have read this column for years, this will come as no surprise. I am a huge fan of email marketing. I believe, that if done right, it can be the most effective weapon in your arsenal.
Email marketing is a great tool for customer acquisition and retention. However, many email newsletters get a bad rap because they’re often seen as spam, are sent too frequently or never reach the intended audience. All things that you need to think about. Consider this: Read the rest of this entry »
With apologies to Shakespeare and Romeo, what’s in a name? As it turns out a lot. I read in Travel Weekly last week that ASTA and NACTA are in the midst of a re-branding that will include a name change for both organizations. This is a small step for ASTA, but a huge one for NACTA. Hear me out. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever since the inception of the Department of Homeland Security, I have been a skeptic. As I watched the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) evolve since the attacks in 2001 it always seemed to be a reactionary organization and one run with a decided absence of logic. Read the rest of this entry »
My girlfriend uses Sprint for her mobile plans (don’t judge). Her agreement was up and it was time to renew the four lines. She asked me to come along for moral support—you know that renewing a cell phone contract has now become about as pleasant as buying a car or selecting a cable and Internet provider. And the abhorrent experience at Sprint did not disappoint and offered a great reinforcing lesson for the travel industry. Read the rest of this entry »
I love gadgets. I love technology. I love change. So I keep my ears to the ground and eyes open for new and exciting things. I am an early adopter. When LinkedIn came out, I jumped on board and have been told I am one of the first few million users. Admittedly, I am horrible at LinkedIn and only check in quarterly.
But last week, I got an email. It was high tech. I was intrigued. I read it and became enthused. Read the rest of this entry »
If you regularly attend networking events, you likely have a drawer in your desk filled with stacks of business cards.
Last week, several local business owners and I were talking about business cards. Are they dead? Do they still hold a place in the business world? Read the rest of this entry »