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 »
Earlier this week, I was helping my daughter with a project she is working on for PRSSA and we were discussing the recent resignation of, and subsequent extrication of John Schnatter from his company, Papa John’s Pizza. For those living in a hole, he used a racial slur during an internal sales call that was leaked. Within hours, he had resigned from the company. Within days, the decision was made to remove his iconic image from all marketing, donated monies were returned and his name was removed from the University of Louisville’s 65,000 seat football stadium formerly known as Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Read the rest of this entry »
How many brides mention Sandals when they contact you? How many first-time cruisers mention Carnival? Do you have anyone coming in looking for an Apple Vacations package trip someplace? Why do you think clients and prospects do this? I’ll tell you—it’s authority! And it does not need to be relegated to multi-national companies with 7-figure marketing budgets. You can become the authority too and earn that level of trust with your clients and prospects. Here are some tips gleaned from 20 years in the industry. Read the rest of this entry »
You want to stay in business? Once you figure out your business, keeping in business is pretty easy. We all know that finding a new client is much more expensive than keeping an existing one. So, to keep the doors of your agency open, just follow these 9 simple tips. Really…they are simple. Really! Read the rest of this entry »
Errors and Omissions Insurance. We have all heard the term. Hopefully we all have paid the premium. When I entered the industry in 1997, it was drilled into my head that right next to rent (I had a brick and mortar office) the E&O insurance was the most important bill I had. And for 21 years, I have been paying it—sometimes begrudgingly because I never had to use it. But I was recently talking to a former colleague and catching up and he shared a horribly sobering tale. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this year we talked about Virgin shaking up the cruise lines with an adults-only upscale cruising experience. I questioned then, if the age of mass-market cruising was coming to a close (or at least a consolidation of sorts) and now I question it again with the introduction of Ritz on a ship. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I was commenting on a Facebook post that an agent had made about group travel. Several agents were chiming in with some tips on how to best get group business and I realized that group travel, by its nature, is very exclusionary. Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that with more than 300 people living in the US, that The United over 27 million are entrepreneurs? And for the record, I really hate that word; but for this column, it is probably the most fitting. An entrepreneur runs most travel agencies. It might be a multi branch retail agency, or a very small home-based boutique one. While some of the challenges and nuances of both are different, the core concepts are held in common. There are three of them. And no matter if you are home-based selling $200,000 a year or own a corporate multi-branch agency with several hundred million in sales per year, you need to get these three right in order to succeed. And remember, 50% of businesses fail within the first 5 years!
As I have said, I am a huge fan of technology and embrace each new evolution as much as I can. Facebook—check. Podcasting—check. Blogging—check. Twitter—check. Snapchat—un-checked…sorry, just can’t wrap my head around it. And since the local newspaper is all but dead as far as advertising goes, I look online. Read the rest of this entry »
OK, I am not ready to admit defeat and abandon Facebook; but there is plenty of reason to be cautious. I know I have been an ardent advocate for Facebook (and other social media platforms) for years and still feel they are an integral and perhaps critical part of any marketing plan for any agency. However, we also need to remember that the sandbox we have been invited to play in DOES belong to Mark Zuckerberg and at any time, he is able to take his ball and go home. Or, in this case, change up the rules a bit. If you are relying solely on Facebook—you need to be concerned. If you rely on it heavily—then keep a watchful eye! Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I was in Florida for a funeral and ended up at a no-tell motel along Route 1 as it was a last minute booking and I was looking for convenience. I did not expect more than a clean bed, an alarm clock, and a functional lock on the door. I got that. And more. Read the rest of this entry »
And for $50 I can get you 2500. Have I piqued your interest? Are you at least interested in hearing more about this tried and true lead generation system? I promise it is not a multi-level marketing scheme or a “network marketing” program. In fact, it is so simple that with very little up-front cash, you can get your name and message in front of thousands of potential clients. There is no downside to this program; just an upside. Interested? Read on. Read the rest of this entry »