“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” -Dalai Lama
In many ways, Thanksgiving is the greatest of holidays, a reminder of the debt of gratitude we owe to everyone and everything around us. It is always tempting to magnify our losses and minimize the ordinary, daily miracle. We long for big, outrageous fortunes and forget the small, mundane but truly astonishing gifts. One day of the year, however, is a reminder to contemplate the undeniably interdependent nature of our existence. How amazingly special is it when a client takes the time and effort to say “Thanks”? Being on the receiving or giving end of gratitude is a pretty special thing. Especially now.
Everything is connected. We don’t have to look far to find people and institutions deserving of our thanks. Every success we enjoy, every small achievement, is the result of an interplay of grace and circumstance.
There is not a day gone by that I do not stop to think how lucky I am to have “stumbled” into a career that has allowed me to stay at five-star hotels, get paid to visit over 19 countries, meet many hundreds of nice people, take numerous cruises on both sea and river, and do it all by verbally sharing my experiences along the way.
Of course, there were more than a few downsides along the way. I remember one night in particular, sitting in my hotel room in Kansas City thinking to myself, “It is 7pm on a Tuesday and I am about to take the elevator down to the ballroom to talk to a room full of strangers. I’d rather be home with my wife. What am I doing here?”Read the rest of this entry »
A new proposed rule from the US Department of Labor is taking another look at the status of independent contractors—and making some in the travel agency channel nervous.
It’s the second time in two years the Department of Labor has revisited the way companies define “independent contractor.” Their goal, they say, is to put an end to the misclassification of workers—”a serious issue that denies workers’ rights and protections under federal labor standards, promotes wage theft, allows certain employers to gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding businesses, and hurts the economy at-large. Misclassification denies basic worker protections such as minimum wage and overtime pay and affects a wide range of workers in the home care, janitorial services, trucking, delivery, construction, personal services, and hospitality and restaurant industries, among others.”Read the rest of this entry »
What’s a reporter to do when she’s sailing Norwegian Prima with 3,000 travel-industry insiders, including iconic travel companies like American Express and Expedia? Why, ask a couple of them to sit down and chat about what’s new in 2023, of course.
Making headlines while we were cruising, Signature Travel Network announced the addition of Cruise Planners, which has been looking for a home since American Express announced it will be ending its representative network at the end of 2022.
And while I was I was on the subject of franchisees, I couldn’t resist reaching out to Expedia Cruises, whose CEO sat with me in Prima’s beautiful Haven area to share some thoughts on the state of the industry.Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of 2 on what travel advisors say is the biggest issue in the industry. Follow us next week for Part 2, as suppliers respond.
Angela Hughes is feeling lucky that her $2 million in personal annual sales allows her to hire a team of assistants. She uses them to hold the phone for her—often for hours at a clip—when she needs to call a supplier.
“Right now I’m trying to close a group of 50 for 2023—but I can’t get any space, and we have four-hour wait times to boot,” she says. “So I pay an assistant to sit on hold all day every day. It helps me earn a lot more revenue. But I can’t get over the inefficiency of the tour companies that makes it necessary.”
Hughes is passionate on the subject these days, she says. “I’m only using suppliers who help us—and if that means I have to move away from preferred suppliers, so be it. I’m moving all my tour clients over to Globus because they answer quickly. I dread that I ever booked a group to Club Med—I waited six hours on the phone one day, and then my client Read the rest of this entry »
If there is any truth to the belief that a good story is both entertaining and memorable, you are about to enjoy the information in my columns for the next few months. I am about to share with you my personal experiences that come equipped with some valuable lessons.
The first of these lessons come to you from 2500 feet above sea level. It was during my check ride, which requires a passing grade while flying alongside an FAA flight inspector. I was in the left seat of a Cessna 152 and I felt I was prepared for the “exam.” I read the books, practiced my landings, and Read the rest of this entry »
Sheila Folk is an experienced travel business owner with an impressive history of working in the leisure, travel, and tourism industry. She grew her travel agency to $8M in two years by creating and implementing a broad range of solutions she needed (but that were not available in the marketplace) to make her business a success. Sheila’s new company, Travel Industry Solutions, has now brought her contracts, tools, guides, and scripts to the entire industry.
Throughout her career, Sheila has demonstrated strong professional skills and expertise in management, strategic planning, and business development; new program and product development, branding, budgeting, and positioning; and negotiation, sales, and corporate communications. She has extensive, hands-on experience in all phases of B2B management, from marketing to establishing protocols for start-up firms. Her big-picture vision to establish and achieve corporate goals has led to triple digit growth, year after year. Before starting her own companies, she held such positions as director of business operations at a global branding company and assistant vice president of marketing at an international professional association.
“All Indications Point Toward a Banner Year For Travel Professionals According to James T. Bigelow”
How do you feel after reading this good news? How do you feel after reading any favorable forecast depicting a promising future?
You don’t know the writer, and he or she doesn’t know you. Yet, I am quite certain that you are feeling better about your travel business knowing a bright light at the end of the tunnel is being forecasted.
Things are looking up, according to some person known as an “authority.” In this case, his name is James T. Bigelow. Read the rest of this entry »
The travel industry has long been a leader in environmental protection, because it’s an industry that has a major stake in preserving the environment. As the environment is degraded, the tourism product is destroyed. Every year that terrible disaster called climate change gets more in your face.
The acceleration of extreme weather events in recent years has made believers out of many who previously stood on the sidelines. Climate change is real, and very serious. It’s not an exaggeration to talk of it as an “existential crisis” for life on earth, at least for the kinds of life human beings care for.
So, what are we supposed to do? Read the rest of this entry »