To continue with my social media theme from last week, I wanted to harp a little more on Facebook. Last week I stressed that engagement was critical to the success of any Facebook page no matter the number of fans or likes you acquire.
And once you have the fans and are engaging them, the next step is to sell them something. There are several methods and I will list four of them here. Feel free to print this out, cut out the tips, and tape them on the side of your monitor along with all the other sticky notes. Read the rest of this entry »
If you have not heard of the term “social media” in the past three years, it is time to come out from the rock you have undoubtedly been living under. While social media is in a constant state of evolution, one thing is certain—it is here to stay. You can take that to the bank! Most travel professionals are using social media in some form; yet most are also misusing it. Over the next few weeks we will take a look at what works and what doesn’t. If you are in Boston for the Home Based Travel Agent Forum next week, be sure to catch my panel discussion for more ideas. But for now, I want to discuss the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to social media. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you been shouting at your computer in recent weeks, “Get off my Facebook feed!”? A recent trend on Facebook is for someone in your friends list to either set up or start posting in an open group. They have names such as “You are from…”, “You went to…”, “You grew up in…” etc. and your friends are posting in those groups…frequently.
I absolutely love brussel sprouts! I’m also a sci-fi nerd and mourn the day Battlestar Galactica ended. I have elevated the perfect espresso shot to nirvana status and I cannot stand any type of seafood. Like any other human being, I am a complicated mix of thoughts, ideas, opinions and more. Some people think I’m a freak, and others love me for my weirdness.
My quirky life was rarely discussed outside my circle of friends and family until something amazing happened: Facebook! Now, I can reach out to others just as mixed up and wacky as I am! I can connect with brussel sprout supporters and latte lovers the world over. The trouble is, everyone is watching, including clients.
How can I express my views without alienating friends, or offending clients that may not share my passions? By listening to what my grandmother told me when I was a kid: “If you can’t say it nicely, don’t say it at all.” I would add one more tip: find another place to say it. Read the rest of this entry »
I keep telling people, “I’m not a social media expert!” Don’t get me wrong; I speak about social media–a lot. It’s one of the most common topics I’m asked to address and lots of people say my approach to social media has worked wonders for them. Confused?
I have never considered myself a technology wizard, nor an Internet guru and definitely not a social media master. That doesn’t mean I can’t tell you how to get better results from all of them!
You see, I believe the secrets to succeeding with all this stuff, and whatever stuff may come along after it, are not hidden in bits, bytes or HTML gibberish. You already know the secrets and you learned them in Kindergarten: have fun and be creative, be nice, and share.
My real passion and my purpose are described in entertaining detail Read the rest of this entry »
I’m certainly no expert at marketing my travel practice. However, I have found that using Facebook and other social media networking sites are extremely beneficial to the success of my practice. I started working with facebook around the end of 2008 but didn’t begin to really use it until mid-2009. I started with about 20 friends in about 30 days. When I really thought about what I had, it clicked in 2009 and I “worked” it. Sixteen months, over 1,670 friends and over 300 fans later, I see the success! The trick is you must interact with your friends/fans about topics OTHER than travel on a regular basis. Doing that, they get to know YOU and that’s when you begin to build relationships and trust.
What is my success? Right now for 2011, I have 15 group cruises, 5 individual cruises and more vacation packages than I can handle alone. I also have 2 group cruises Read the rest of this entry »
In the world of social marketing platforms, Facebook holds the unique position of most visited, most utilized and most full featured. Next week, The 365 Guide will go into depth with the possibilities of marketing on Facebook as it promises to be the most significant social media for the small service business like travel agencies. Today, however, we are going to focus on a broad overview and some key aspects of getting started.
The mechanics of getting started are not as overwhelming as it might seem. Start slowly, spending time learning Facebook as a media. As a business person, you can not treat Facebook as a consumer might – you must have more than a passing acquaintence with Facebook as a media if you are going to use it professionally in your marketing efforts. From the outset, think continually about the tenor of your online personality. Facebook “helps you connect and share with the people in your life” as the company’s tagline simply states. Joining is very easy, just sign up with your name and email address. However, from that moment on, keep in mind that you are on a mission and there are some important considerations as you project your business persona Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
Flying business class on American Airlines has some new perks. But there’s an extra fee, of course. Read the rest of this entry »
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
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 email@example.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 »
On Zoom with Christine Duffy—In advance of Carnival Celebration’s November debut in Miami, Carnival president Christine Duffy on Wednesday hosted her first-ever virtual press conference to introduce the newest element of this newest ship: The Gateway.
The two-story promenade will offer food, fun, and a dozen 10-foot-high virtual windows that can show anything from the ocean waves outside to Santa’s reindeer passing by in the midnight sky.
Located on Celebration’s decks six and seven, in the space occupied by the French Quarter on sister ship Mardi Gras, The Gateway will also feature a new Latitudes bar and a new Emeril Lagasse restaurant.
Emeril’s Bistro 1397, named for the Celebration’s hull number in the shipyard in Finland where it was built, will be home to a new vision Read the rest of this entry »
Concerned about Covid quarantines on cruise ships, Jeff Farschman has fallen behind his usual schedule on Holland America, which so far includes 12 World Cruises and 6 Grand Asians. But he is sailing once again, with 246 days booked in the near term, then a Grand Africa and a World Cruise in 2024. Read the rest of this entry »
As the Internet has evolved and with it, online marketing, I have often changed my tune as to what I think works and what I think doesn’t. Forever, including today, I cringe at an email, Facebook post, Tweet, or text message loaded with emojis. You know what I mean right? Read the rest of this entry »
Off Hawaii’s Naapali Coast, onboard Pride of America—Concerns over having to quarantine abroad are pushing travelers to domestic destinations and first among them is Hawaii, with the highest prices in the nation. But price is no object this year, and bucket list trips are all the rage. So you’d think Norwegian Cruise Lines wouldn’t need much help from travel advisors to sell its Pride of America itineraries in Hawaii.
Indeed, since returning to service last month at 40% capacity, the newly refurbished POA is sold out through October. Still, though, I’d argue that Norwegian needs travel advisors to help sell it more than most ships—and that it offers a great opportunity in return.
Pride of America is a unique and expensive product, commanding the highest daily rates in the NCL fleet but sailing under the most unusual conditions. The key to success, as she returns to service Read the rest of this entry »
Full-Service Luxury Villa Company Helps Travel Advisors Earn Up to $2,500 on Every Booking All Month Long
Rental Escapes, a full-service luxury villa company specializing in providing unparalleled private villa rentals worldwide, today announced the launch of a new bonus commission program. In celebration of the company’s valued travel advisor partners, thanking them for their hard work, continued support and incredible dedication as travel continues to bounce back, Rental Escapes will offer a bonus commission of up to $2,500 on every booking made this June.
Rental Escapes’ bonus commission offer is valid on bookings made June 1-30, 2022 for stays between July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023. In addition to outstanding earning potential on luxury vacations, travel advisors working with Rental Escapes have access to various tools to grow their business including training videos, a dedicated villa specialist, and a concierge team to assist with providing around the clock care for guests. Banding together with a villa specialist and concierge team helps advisors offer the personalization and elevated, unique experiences that travelers are increasingly seeking for the most unforgettable vacations.
With a rapidly expanding portfolio of premium vacation properties around the world, Rental Escapes’ villa specialists and concierge team are trained to assist travel advisors searching for the ultimate luxury villa rental for their clients. Their team of experts are able to combine extensive product knowledge with personal service, hand-picking from a highly curated selection of more than 5,000 luxury villas globally and organizing personalized experiences for travel advisors and their clients, including private charter boats and yachts, personal chefs, helicopter tours, cultural excursions, in-villa spa services and more.
“Travel advisors have been essential to our business and valued partners since our inception ten years ago,” says Willie Fernandez, chief marketing officer of Rental Escapes. “As the travel industry rebounds, luxury villas continue to welcome travelers in increasing numbers, given the premium space, comfort and service they provide. We are committed to offering travel advisors the very best tools they need to feel equipped for success. And, with special offers like this, we are excited to celebrate the valuable role they play in our industry with the ability to increase their earning potential.”
About Rental Escapes
Rental Escapes is a full-service luxury villa company that prides itself in providing top-notch personalized service and unforgettable villa experiences. The company offers a hand-picked selection of more than 5,000 carefully vetted and curated luxury villa rentals in 70 destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, the United States and beyond. Its team of highly trained villa specialists assist guests and travel advisors in planning and booking the ideal villa stay. In addition, every reservation is provided with a concierge service to take care of arranging everything from private chefs to boat charters.
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 »
“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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.