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Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your Digital Footprint: Blogging

For the past month, we have been discussing how to establish and expand your travel agency’s digital footprint. This week, The 365 Guide will explore establishing a blog for your travel agency that you can use to grow your practice. Many of the agencies that participate in TRO’s Community actively blog and do so successfully. A few considerations will assist you in developing a blog that meets your overall strategic objectives and will contribute substantially to projecting your brand in your community.

The decision to start a blog should not be taken lightly. To begin, your resources are limited and to do a good job with your blog will require much time and effort. Focusing on a few marketing tactics well is a better course of action than continual but unfocused effort spread between too many marketing tactics. It is highly likely that your blog’s success will come over a long period of time Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Lead Generation Through Blogging

For those of you willing to take the time to develop your writing skills, blogging can have a tremendous impact on your lead generation efforts. HubSpot recently indicated companies can double their lead volume with effective blogging. Here are a few tips to help ensure you are maximizing your opportunities when you blog: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Today’s installment brings the year to a close!  But all of the great content ideas we’ve provided the week are just the beginning. Now it’s your turn to write the articles.  When you do, keep SEO in mind, because with unique content, you have the ultimate control of the keywords and search phrases included in the article. Set up an editorial calendar you can live with and then devote a few hours each week to writing your article.  Use Google to assist with the research and pound out your original content.  You and your travel practice will be well served.

Remember to include some type of call to action with every article!  Request readers to sign up for your newsletter or to download a white paper.  Ask them to pass along the article to others or to Like it on Facebook.  If you look at the article you are now reading, you will see several banner ads, requests for comments and widgets for social media.  By the way, if you like what we have done for you this week, be sure to Like the article below. (See, I just did it again!). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

It’s Thursday and we are covering 10 more ideas for you to use as the basis for original content articles on your blog, website and newsletters.  However, don’t stop there!  You should use social media to further distribute your original content.  Tweet your articles, post them and share the content between your other in-house media.  Make the best and highest use of any content you generate to maximize the return from your hard-earned investment of time.

Be sure to also create an easily accessed and searchable archive of your content.  Once you have written an article, it is a shame to have it utilized for only a week.  Make good use of tags and other indexing features of your website or blog to ensure your content’s shelf life will be extended indefinitely. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Don’t be afraid to take any of the concepts in our list of 52 original content ideas and mix it up a bit.  Variety in your writing creates interest and holds the attention of your clients.  For example, you could insert the word “NOT” into the title of any of the “How To” articles and create a completely different frame of reference for your writing voice.

Likewise, not all of your original content ideas need to be in writing.  Many of the ideas in our list would work well as videos!  Pick up your iPhone, open a YouTube account, get to know Screenr  and become the star of your own travel tips channel.  Everyone will have a comfort zone for their method of  content delivery. Find your comfort zone and then step just a bit outside of it! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week, TRO’s 365 Guide is providing 52 article ideas for you to develop into original content for your newsletters, websites and blogs. Intimidated by the prospect of writing?  Enlist  a local copywriter to assist the effort. If you have a college in your home town, there is an English department filled with students eager to try their hand at travel writing. If you want a few short articles about writing as a travel agent, check out these articles.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Soundings

Travel Blogging for Dollars – the TBEX Conference

For one full weekend in June, the TBEX conference – held at the Keystone Resort Conference Center in Colorado – attracted over 600 travel writers, bloggers and sponsors.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week, The 365 Guide has looked at basic considerations for incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s marketing plan. Let’s wrap up with a few basic concepts and tips that can put you on the road to having a blogging program that can be one of your most important client acquisition and retention tactics. A bit of planning early on will generate big returns as your blog begins to grow and your approach becomes more demanding of your blogging system and setup.

Blogging requires much less knowledge of programming and HTML than building and maintaining a website. Nevertheless, the initial setup is greatly facilitated by a hosting company or technical assistant with experience in setting up a blog. Most blog programs offer a variety of templates Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

This week, The 365 Guide has looked at basic considerations for incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s marketing plan. With so many blogs vying for attention, you will want yours to stand out, to speak with an authority that captures the attention of your readership. As a professional travel consultant, you have a real expertise on a topic of interest to the public. The key to delivering blogging articles that truly engage readers and eliciting comments from them is to generate content that is lively, unexpected and fresh. Making sure that your blog is communicating on both an intellectual and an emotional level will keep your audience returning to your blog for new information. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Over the past couple of days, The 365 Guide has looked at basic considerations for incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s marketing plan. Like any communications tool, however, it is not enough simply to have a blog. You must properly promote your blog  to fully realize the potential it has for your agency. Building general community awareness of your blog requires a concerted effort and a continual attention to public relations and the other marketing tactics that you have learned as a business person.

Because a blog speaks for your company, and is by nature conversational rather than promotional, it has a much more “personal” impact on consumers than many other marketing tactics. Therefore, a blog is an excellent opportunity to humanize your company and to strongly Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Blogging for Travel Agencies – Topics and Policies

This week, The 365 Guide is discussing how to establish a blog for your travel agency that you can use to grow your practice. Just as with any content driven marketing tool, it is important to give appropriate time and consideration to the process by which you will select your topics and the tone of voice you will use to express yourself in the blog. One of the first and most important lessons to learn is that a blog is not a selling tool – it is a communications vehicle and the content should reflect the two-way nature of a conversation, not the single-direction model of a brochure.

Most good blogs are not overtly promotional, but rather focus on topics and the larger issues of importance to the blog’s readership. Thus, rather than talking directly about your agency and specials that are available, most travel agency blogs should delve into destinations, logistics, tips and ideas related to travel. You want the content you choose to be compelling and to be both interesting and valuable to the reader. Tailor your content Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Blogging for Travel Agencies – An Introduction

This week, The 365 Guide will introduce how to establish a blog for your travel agency that you can use to grow your practice. Many of the agencies that participate in TRO’s Community actively blog and do so successfully. A few considerations will assist you in developing a blog that meets your overall strategic objectives and will contribute substantially to projecting your brand in your community.

The decision to start a blog should not be taken lightly. To begin, your resources are limited and to do a good job with your blog will require much time and effort. Focusing on a few marketing tactics well is a better course of action than continual but unfocused effort spread between too many marketing tactics. It is highly likely that your blog’s success will come over a long period of time Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

So you have a blog. Now what?

In a previous column, I wrote about how to use WordPress’ blog software to power your website, effectively making it more interactive, dynamic, and easy to maintain.  This time, we will look at how to make your blog work for you by involving your clients and getting them to return.

A blog serves one main purpose: to facilitate (or enhance) communication between you and your clients.  Everything you do with the blog should work towards building and maintaining communication. Your blog should be a tool to convey your professionalism, knowledge, and ability to service your clients’ needs. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Get your blog on

Everyone knows that an online presence is vital to the serious travel professional’s business these days.  If nothing else, being online offers a place to highlight personal experience and qualifications, as well as detail preferred suppliers, travel specials, and much more.  A great way to develop this online presence cheaply and quickly is by use of one of the worlds most popular blogging platforms called WordPress.

By using WordPress, you create an easy-to-use, professional looking site that is highly tailored specifically to you and your agency.  While WordPress is primarily a blogging platform, it can be utilized as a more encompassing website if done with the right template and set-up.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Critical Thinking

“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

Windstar Cruise Ship

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 sign, at the train station. Ottawa, Canada. June 13, 2021

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.

About the Gustavson Brand Trust Index

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.

About VIA Rail

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
Twitter @VIA_rail
Facebook viarailcanada
Instagram @viarailcanada
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 »