Once upon a time, a college friend of mine spent a few days with me. He was driving his son to his first job in Washington, DC from Massachusetts, and my house was directly in line. In a very few hours, it became apparent how people grow in different directions. My friend took the athletic route after graduating and is a very fine physical education teacher at his local high school in Massachusetts. He has spent the last 30 years of his life in the gymnasium—working with other people’s children. The morning after he arrived at my house, we no sooner poured our first cup of coffee when he asked if he could see the comics section of my morning newspaper. This section is always free, as I immediately grab the business section in order to get my daily “marketing fix.” My wife starts at the beginning and my son disappears with the sports section. Read the rest of this entry »
On the heels of AmaWaterways’ beautiful AmaDahlia celebrating the close of her first season on Egypt’s legendary Nile River last week, the company announced it will launch a second ship in Egypt. The second ship, named AmaLilia, after the sacred blue water lily flower of ancient Egypt, will set sail in 2024 to meet the growing demand for this exotic offering.
Like AmaDahlia, AmaLilia will sail the immersive Secrets of Egypt & Nile itinerary, offering an unparalleled 11-night cruise and land experience including a seven-night roundtrip river cruise from Luxor, paired with three nights pre- and one-night post-cruise stays in historic Cairo. Similar to her sister ship, AmaLilia will be thoughtfully designed with regionally inspired décor, spacious staterooms and suites, and a specialty restaurant included in the river cruise fare.
Check out the AmaDahlia photo gallery below. Photos courtesy of AmaWaterways. 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 »
I am currently experiencing a little mental discomfort. I thought I would share it with you to see if there was a message buried in my uneasiness that could benefit your immediate future.
The question is, at age 73, am I physically capable of swimming, biking, and running a total of 70.3 miles in less than 8.5 hours? (An Ironman Triathlon) Perhaps more to the point, do I really want to find out? It is not as if I have never accomplished this feat before. I have. In fact, I covered the full Ironman Triathlon distance of 140.6 miles back in 1997… and lived to talk about it.
The question remains. Do I want to prove to myself that the “old man” is not ready for the rocking chair just yet? As I am typing this the smell of Aleve X ointment on my sore shoulder Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re looking to fly to Paris on a brand-new airplane at a fair price, French bee might just have a seat for you. The little sister of Air Caraïbes has been flying a fleet of Airbus A350s since 2018; last month it added LA and this week it begin selling tickets to Miami, for flights beginning in December. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
Some good news for travel to Cuba came last Wednesday, June 8. About three weeks after the Biden announced that it was pulling back some of the Trump-era restrictions on travel to Cuba, the government has clarified what those policy changes will consist of. The good news is that People to People travel is back.
The details of the regulatory structure were released by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the part of the United States Treasury Department that regulates what money can be spent by Americans in Cuba under the terms of the United States embargo.
The May 16 press release from the Biden administration established that the United States would again allow some fights to airports other than Havana, and would reinstate educational travel, but did not yet reinstate the “People to People” program. Tour operators would have to watch for OFAC to release the memo to Read the rest of this entry »
If the pandemic had done nothing else in the past few years, it has convinced travel advisors and guests to buy travel insurance. The thought of being stranded in a foreign hospital, or quarantine facility, and possibly being prohibited from flying home on a scheduled airline has made nearly everyone a believer. It has convinced nearly everyone they need a travel insurance policy that treats COVID-19 as “any other illness or accident.”
Some guests are signing up for CFAR (Cancel for Any Reason) travel insurance that entitles guests to a refund for almost any reason. CFAR policies are often 30-40 percent more expensive than other policies offering the same benefits, and some only pay off in credits for a future trip. Also, some apply a percentage deduction against the refunds the guests claim. Read the rest of this entry »
I spotted the following in a popular e-zine I like to read.
Word count for this issue: 888
Approximate time to read: Just over 3 minutes
Why bother spelling out the length of an article you ask? There is a very good reason for doing this. It is a small courtesy that supports one of my sales lessons which implies that it is smart to let people know what they are in for.
In this case, 888 words tells me how much effort I need to invest if I decide to read this information Read the rest of this entry »
It has been a dream of mine to take my grandmother, GG, on a river cruise for quite some time. My dreams were put on hold as an array of scheduling issues and a little thing called COVID plagued the travel industry. After months of planning, I was able to deliver the most exciting news to my grandmother in March: “GG! We’re going to Germany.”
The plan was simple. GG and I would fly to Frankfurt to experience one of Emerald Cruises’ Moselle river cruises. I was excited to cruise the Moselle, as it has been dubbed Europe’s most beautiful river by my father. Unfortunately, the trip wasn’t as easy to execute as I had initially thought…
Not minutes after I hung up the phone inviting GG to join me in Germany, she started packing her bags. My grandmother is a very prepared woman. Some joke that I was born with a clipboard in my hand. If that’s the case, then GG was born with a daily planner, calendar, checklists (yes, more than one), a rolodex, an Excel Spreadsheet, and a filing cabinet in hers 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 »
I had the good fortune of traveling to the Arctic Circle with Lindblad Expeditions in April aboard the operator’s newest ship, the National Geographic Resolution. The trip was entitled “Spring in Svalbard,” and it was mind-blowing on many levels. Sven Lindblad, founder and chairman of the company, was on board as a special guest.
The National Geographic Resolution is Lindblad’s 10th ship. Because the company had the opportunity to build it from scratch, the company could bring its decades of experience operating expedition cruises to the design. The process actually took place with Lindblad’s ninth ship, the National Geographic Endurance. The Resolution is its identical sister.
The Resolution was christened last October and sailed the Antarctic during the austral summer of ’20-21. At the end of the Antarctic season, it was moved to the Arctic. 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 »
I recently arrived at (and passed) another milestone in my life. To put it in a way I still have trouble comprehending, I have taken another full lap around the sun. I won’t go into specifics, but I will say I do remember when a five-dollar bill was enough to take a date to the movies and share a coke afterwards. I also remember when a gallon of gas cost around 31 cents.
Recently I find myself reflecting over my accumulated years like two clenched fists… where my entangled fingers represent both successes and failures intermingled and synced exactly like they are supposed to be. But that is not the point of today’s reminder.
I woke today like I usually do. But today was noticeably different. Like always, before swinging my legs off the bed searching for the floor, I ask myself how my back felt Read the rest of this entry »
Riviera River Cruises is offering a $1,000 per person discount on the majority of its departures in Europe through October 2022.
“We launched our marketing in North America just five years ago and gained a lot of momentum with our travel advisor partners before COVID-19 arrived, with their clients returning from cruises very satisfied,” said Marilyn Conroy, RivieraRiver Cruises’ Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing North America. “Now that cruising has resumed and we look to build on that momentum, we’ve decided to offer a discount that’s more generous than any we’ve offered before – about 30 percent off, on average – so as many travelers as possible can try us this year. We firmly believe they’ll return again and again, and spread the word among family and friends 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 »
Good things are often hiding in plain sight. Sometimes it only takes a slight shift in the way we are looking at things to see benefits that were previously invisible to us. And sometimes ideas that were previously left by the wayside are shown to be worthy of reconsideration in a new context.
Decades ago I read a book called Design for the Real World by an industrial designer named Victor Papanek, the dean of the California Institute of the Arts. Papanek saw through standard conventions and came up with radically new ways to do things. He was also one of the early advocates of what we now call sustainability. He was always looking for ways to do things that were less wasteful, less polluting, and more benign for people and the environment. One of the ideas that struck me in his book was the idea of reviving the use of airships for transportation.
Airships, blimps, dirigibles, and zeppelins are like giant balloons. A huge aluminum chamber is filled with a gas that is lighter than air, so it pulls the craft up into the sky with no propulsion required. It flies the way a carnival balloon flies Read the rest of this entry »
The St. Regis Amman brings the sophistication of the St. Regis brand to the capital city of Jordan through bespoke service, eloquent units, and established rituals designed with sensory details in mind. The 258 hotel rooms, suites, and residences offer comfortable accommodations with refined decor. All units come with the infamous St. Regis butler service.
One of the top-selling suites for leisure and business travelers is the Governors suite. It is sized at 1469 sq feet and offers two marble bathrooms, a living room, dining room (or converted meeting room – board room style) a fully equipped kitchen, contemporary fixtures, and high-end amenities. The unit sleeps 1 to 2 people and is the perfect base when visiting Amman. The hotel is located by the 5th circle, in the heart of the city.
For guests seeking Read the rest of this entry »
I love to visit early morning coffee shops when I am away from home. I listen to the locals meet and greet their friends during their daily ritual on their way to work.
It truly is better entertainment for me than today’s TV selections.
A recent visit was to The White Castle on Central Avenue in Clark, N.J. This could very well have been the birthplace of the famous New Jersey “Death Ball”—a greasy hamburger about the size of a quarter. (The coffee is a notch above okay.)
I was nestled in the corner hiding behind my open laptop when a policeman walked in and greeted the grill master. He then started chatting with another regular stool patron as they both propped themselves up against the counter.
I tuned in Read the rest of this entry »
Avalon Waterways is dedicated to preserving the precious environments surrounding the world’s riverbanks with the Lighthouse Project, an initiative created to help travelers come together to reduce their footprint and give generously for the globe’s greater good.
With a mission of nurturing a culture of care and sustainability that extends to guests, the Lighthouse Project is focused on three, give-back categories:
Planet: Conserve and preserve each destination visited. To protect waterways and wildlife and shine a light on organizations that do the same. 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 »