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Posted In: Publishers Corner

Where is Your Community?

Like most technology geeks with a marketing background, I am fascinated by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  I get the social media stuff; I believe in it and I think there is a place in almost every travel agency’s marketing plan for these online tools.  However, I also believe the marketing that really counts is rooted in the local, physical community of each travel professional.  My concern is far too many agents hide behind their computer screens when they should be out speaking locally, writing articles, developing word of mouth tactics, and practicing public relations instead.  I know, I sound like a parent fussing at the kids to get away from the computer and get outside and play.

Actually, I suppose that is exactly what I am doing. Read the rest of this entry »

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Never known to mince words or to endorse the practice of political correctness to excess, I have some bad news for many of my readers working the travel industry. If not “bad news,” it certainly falls under the category of “less-than-motivating facts.”

The truth is… the undisputable truth is… the undeniable truth is… many of you in the travel business DO NOT want to become successful. That is the unfortunate truth.

Say what? It seems many travel industry practitioners would rather offer excuses, appear overworked, be misunderstood, and be victimized than recognize the truth. I don’t mean to insult anybody. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

As a small business owner you wear many hats. If you are a single person travel agency, you wear all the hats—from CEO to the janitor that mops the bathroom floors! No one ever said it was easy. But there are steps you can take to ease some of the burden. I am sure you know of some, but here are five big steps that come to the top of my mind! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Building relationships in 2020

2020 will be here before I know it. Once I get over the fact that I am actually still alive heading into 2020, I will sit down and get serious about growing my business for the next year. I cannot rest on my laurels and as Mike Batt has always said—if you’re not growing, you’re dying!

While the Chinese may be celebrating the Year of the Rat in 2020, I am going to be celebrating the Year of the Relationship.

“Would you mind giving me a ride to the airport?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

When is enough enough?

I tend to be a fan of technology. I embraced blogging and social media early on. I jumped on the smartphone bandwagon pretty early. Podcasting? Check. Social media? As Sarah Palin might say…you betcha. But are we approaching a saturation point where too much tech is too much? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Can you believe Tupi? Just who the heck IS Tupi?

There used to be an old adage, “Trust, but verify.” Seemed logical enough. In fact, I raised my kids by giving them implicit trust…until they screwed up. And then they needed to earn it back again. If I was starting over with babies today, I am not so sure I’d take that route. It seems that it is becoming more and more difficult to discern truth from lies (it’s okay, I am not going political here), fact from fantasy, and reality from fabrication. Even in travel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

“Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.”
― Peter Drucker

But how do you market to people you don’t know? How do you know what innovations to provide if you don’t know your audience?

Understanding your unique audience (or even an avatar of your perfect audience) is key to growing your business. Did you know you can use the secrets of social media to uncover all kinds of details about your fans and followers? Let’s look at the amazing level of info you can tease out of your social analytics to help you know your audience so you can create what they’ll LOVE. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

National Transaction Corporation (NTC) has been proudly serving the travel industry with offering professional and customized payment services for over 25 years and has just renewed its 15 year partnership with ASTA. We are a full service merchant account provider with extensive experience in the travel arena and related markets, servicing thousands of travel-related merchant accounts by specializing in non-cash electronic transactions. Traditionally, travel-related merchants have a difficult time obtaining merchant accounts. Travel environments are unique in that your transactions are usually keyed; there is almost always a delayed delivery period Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Listen to this Advice: Trust Yourself

I’ve met a large number of new entrants into our industry lately. Certainly the economy has vastly improved and the time seems right to take on some new challenges. Training, study and good working relationships make better business people of us all and recently there is a proliferation of organizations and coaches offering their services.  We periodically need to be reminded to operate leaner, smarter, to market harder, to take more seriously every minute we have allocated to us. In both good times and bad we face obstacles, but I do agree with the adage “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Sky Bird Travel & Tours

Sky Bird Travel & Tours has been an industry leader in airline consolidation for over 40 years. Starting in a small office building in downtown Detroit, Sky Bird rooted its mission in providing exceptional customer service to travel agents by connecting them with low net fares that weren’t available to the public. Today, Sky Bird has 11 offices throughout the United States along with offices in Canada, India and the Philippines in order to serve their clients on a broader scale. For the last four years, Sky Bird has taken home the Travvy Award for Best Airline Consolidator (silver in 2016 and 2019, gold in 2017 and 2018). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Pushing the Conversation with Clients

It sometimes seems difficult  to elicit good feedback, to get a conversation going with your clients. Too often we only hear from clients when things go wrong. Or worse, we don’t hear from them at all. The smart travel professional pushes the conversation and makes it happen. Without that initiative, the client is soon distracted elsewhere and the next booking can happen without our input. Read the rest of this entry »

Same Old, Same Old: 1987 Revisited

The newsletter I picked up while cleaning a box I found in my basement read The Marketing Communications. It was dated 1987 and was written by a man named Pete Silver.

The title of this particular edition was 99 Ways To Out-Market Your Competition. It was written over thirty years ago. I read each numbered entry with great interest. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

The value of client testimonials

I happened upon a travel agency website this weekend with an exceptional feature.  It wasn’t the site’s use of technology or a booking engine, or the wide array of content it provided.  What most impressed me was the extensive number of client testimonials the owners had gathered together from their existing client base.  There were a total of 42 client testimonials, and maybe a few others I didn’t see.  I’m pretty sure the web site had more glowing recommendations from former clients than any site I had ever seen. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Contrary to popular opinion, I suggest that you do sweat the small stuff. Well, at least the small stuff that you can control. Weather? Don’t sweat it! Flight delays? No worries. That horrible typo in your latest email? Start sweating!

Look, we only get one shot to make a good first impression. You never know where your next client may be coming from, so you need to keep on your toes. Read the rest of this entry »

A Thought About America’s Past Time

Knowing a little bit about the game myself (my college team made it to the College World Series in Omaha back in ’68), I find myself cringing when a “million dollar baby” one-hands a fly ball out in left field. On more than one occasion, the dude drops the pill. I remember watching one game and witnessed two of these drops. (Incredible! Or should I say “pathetic.” It is another textbook example of why God gave us two hands…to catch fly balls. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Content Marketing

Every few years or so the phrase “Content is King” enjoys new popularity. What most surprises me is that content has ever lost its royal positioning in marketing. Why does it come as a surprise when we re-discover the importance of well-written, engaging content? That aside, what role does content play in your own efforts to market your travel practice? Read the rest of this entry »

Consider Yourself Whacked!

I am referring to the infamous and much often needed “Whack-in-the-Head”.

We all need one now and then. Some refer to them as a “wake-up call.” Some call them a “blinding flash of the obvious.” Some are a tad more painful than others. Some make us laugh. Others simply make us think. The good ones actually change our behavior for the better. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: TRO SMITH

How to be a Star in your Niche Marketing

We all know the saying, ‘you can’t be everything to everyone’.

Successful niche marketing and specialization in travel are everywhere these days.

There are destination specialists, romance specialists, cruise specialist…the list is as endless as one’s imagination. The most successful of these specialists are doing an amazing job of targeting the right audiences and giving themselves the power to turn away business that doesn’t fit their niche. What an awesome way to focus on clients that matter! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Supplier Profile

Sky Bird Travel & Tours

Sky Bird Travel & Tours has been an industry leader in airline consolidation for over 40 years. Starting in a small office building in downtown Detroit, Sky Bird rooted its mission in providing exceptional customer service to travel agents by connecting them with low net fares that weren’t available to the public. Today, Sky Bird has 11 offices throughout the United States along with offices in Canada, India and the Philippines in order to serve their clients on a broader scale. For the last three years, Sky Bird has been nominated for and taken home the Travvy Award for Best Airline Consolidator (silver in 2016, and gold in 2017 and 2018). Read the rest of this entry »

Can You Handle The Truth?

Never known for my political correctness, I have some bad news for many of my readers working in the travel industry. If not “bad news,” it certainly falls under the category of “less-than-motivating facts.”

The truth is…the undisputable truth is…the undeniable truth is…many of you in the travel business DO NOT want to become successful. From what I see on a daily basis that is the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

5 Tips on Using Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business

You have a fantastic idea for starting a Travel business, or shifting your business to focus on a specific travel niche. You imagine hundreds, maybe even thousands of highly satisfied customers working with you!

You begin to write your marketing “to do” list – social media, newsletters, flyers, website etc., and suddenly you feel overwhelmed. There is so much to do! You wish you knew more about, well everything!

Help is here! Here are 5 steps to get you on your way! Read the rest of this entry »