I started writing this article many months ago as my busy season started in May. We have now come to the end of November, finally having a chance to complete it, so perhaps this is a year in review with still a month to go. I have written many articles in the past for TRO about issues in the industry and how I feel they should be handled; and also about concerns of the challenges we all face in this volatile world in which we live. It has been a year like Grand Central Station – crazy busy where I thought I had reached a saturation point and not knowing what to do. I thought I had reached my limit and perhaps many of you have felt this way at times. Business has been excellent, as I have read from many this year, which is a good issue to have, especially when you are self-employed as I am. It can also be bad, as there has to be a balance. Read the rest of this entry »
Perception is not reality; and it is our responsibility to make sure that clients understand that what may be happening in one part of the world, although serious, most likely will not have an impact on where the client is considering traveling.
I recently returned from Morocco and found it to be an amazing place–friendly, safe and not near the issues of the region. And yet, when I told people I was going there, some asked if I was concerned about Ebola and the issues of the Middle East and I said with certainty, no. Read the rest of this entry »
I have been using Tripology since its infancy back in 2007 and with good success through its trials and tribulations as a small business in midtown Manhattan, to almost disappearing totally, to being bought by Rand McNally, to now as part of USA Today. I have had many colleagues in the industry that have also met with success using Tripology, but it is not for everyone. Tripology is a good lead service that works if you are willing to work it. It especially works for those who truly have a niche or true specialization. Is it perfect? Not at all! Read the rest of this entry »
I hear it all the time. Agents complaining about having to arrange experiences to enhance their client’s adventures that do not produce revenue–taxis, transfers, reservations, etc. Now while we are ultimately in this to make money and earn a living, and not a charity or an information service; we need to realize that to stand out above the OTAs and mega-sites that not all the services we are able to provide, will earn us money. It is just the way it is. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh the holidays and the deals out there. Even the travel vendors got into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy. We just got done with Thanksgiving and I easily had 200 emails from travel vendors sending me their specials. In fact, I was receiving Black Friday and Cyber Monday email specials from vendors, well before Thanksgiving; and like most of the traditional retailers, they are trying to get a head start. Read the rest of this entry »
I just read a post on an agent-only site where an agent was complaining about how tiring it was to have to beg to get an “agent” rate for the whole family and it frustrated me. There were some who replied with examples that with certain hotels, this is never a problem and someone else chimed in with “why should the whole family get an agent rate?” The more I thought about this, the more it annoyed me and how I wholeheartedly agreed with the comment about why should the family get a discount? Read the rest of this entry »
When you meet with a client to go over their upcoming travel adventure, what do you present to them?
In the 21st century, it seems everything is electronic from e-tickets for flights to e-docs for cruises, even some of the European trains have gone to e-tickets. A client pays thousands of dollars or more and they receive a thank you email along with a confirmation number. This is what many of the big tour operators and cruises have done in the name of saving money; and yes, it may save money. We try to reduce paper in the name of environment. Some suppliers still provide a nice packet so the clients have something in hand, but not all. Personally, if I use multiple suppliers, I create my own folder with personalized labels. Read the rest of this entry »
Travel insurance can bring out the negatives of this business. We have to be cognizant of it and we need to sell it to protect against the bummers of travel including the weather, delays, interruptions and cancellations, as well as lost luggage and so forth; not to mention, the unforeseen medical situation. You get the point.
As part of my sales information form and contract, I do include a piece about travel insurance and require them to formally accept or decline the insurance. I find this a must because as we all know, anything can happen. I recently had a client on an Italian vacation. They had a flight cancellation, a flight delay and lost luggage. Unfortunately, they opted out of insurance. Read the rest of this entry »
This weekend, I was working on some travel projects and getting documents together for clients leaving in a few weeks. I took a breather and decided to go into a forum I frequent, Travel Agency Best Practices. There was an interesting thread about a client who insisted on doing their own air arrangements while the agent handled the land arrangements. Throughout the process, the agent had confirmed and re-confirmed the dates and the client was adamant that the dates were indeed correct. Well, you guessed it. The client did not realize the departing flight arrived the following day and they lost a day of travel. And, I will give you one guess who the client wanted to blame! I chimed in and said that in those instances, I insist that the client provide us a copy of the airline or agency issued itinerary for verification. Others replied and the chatter went back and forth for a while. Read the rest of this entry »