It may seem strange to say I go to Africa to meet Americans, but it is one of the good things that happen when I attend Africa’s Travel Indaba, as I did in Durban, South Africa, May 3-5.
One of the many benefits of attending Indaba is being able to meet travel agents from the US who have been hosted by South African Tourism. Throughout the year, the tourism board works the trade show circuit in the US and singles out travel agents who are ripe for opening up business in Africa. Then, every year when Indaba rolls around in May, SAT brings a select few of them to South Africa. On one trip, SAT exposes them to the broad spectrum of the African travel industry at the one-stop trade show of Indaba, and then takes them around to give them a taste of South Africa.
I have gotten a window into the blossoming market based on African Americans traveling to Africa from meeting many travel agents hosted at Indaba Read the rest of this entry »
I recently needed to choose the best Australian cruises for next spring. Australia is opening now, but I will probably take the better part of the year before cruising gets back to normal. Also, there have been some things happening with cruise lines you have to watch out for—even if you’ve been booking Australian cruises for many years.
I was selecting cruises for two couples who were both well-traveled seniors. One couple had never cruised in Australia before, and the other had been on five or six Australian cruises in the past 20 years. Before the pandemic, both couples were booked on the Silversea Silver Muse on a cruise going from Bali to Sidney by way of Komodo Island—home of the endangered dragons whose bites are poisonous and can weigh 200 pounds. Read the rest of this entry »
It was 7 pm. As luck would have it, the race was just about to begin when I switched on my TV. I thought I’d missed it since I believed the race was at 5 pm.
There in front of me was a long cage filled with horses with numbers 1-21. I noticed stall #20 was empty and thought to myself that #21 was so far off the rail it was simply a futile attempt. At least the owner, trainer, and jockey could one day say that they were in The Kentucky Derby.
The horse was named Rich Strike and was listed at odds of 80-1. There was no way a horse in that position had a snowball’s chance in hell to win anything. Good luck, Rich Strike. Read the rest of this entry »
AmaWaterways extended its Portugal river cruise sailings through the Winter Holiday Season this week, for the first time, adding 14 new round-trip sailings in Portugal on the AmaDouro.
It’s a sign of how strong the interest in Europe river cruises is running this year, says chief marketing officer Janet Bava.
“We saw a huge influx in demand for Europe with the loosening of travel guidelines, and very quickly got a lot of demand for the western side of Europe. We were completely sold out for Portugal,” she told TRO at Seatrade Cruise Global last week. “But our travel partners were still calling us—so we said why not extend the season, especially since Portugal tends to have warmer weather, and go ahead and help travel advisors generate some extra commission for 2022.”
While Ama is the first river cruise line to extend Douro sailings through December Read the rest of this entry »
The start of my conversation with Doug Colon summed up the theme of the interview in its entirety. When asked about how things are going for him, he answered, “Trying to get this backyard done. My contractor didn’t show up, so I started on my own.” This being our first long-form conversation, I was going off what I’d researched online. He was there when break dancing took off in the early 70s, grooving with prolific DJs known for legendary innovation in hip hop—check. He’s currently the owner of Dancin Doug Travel—check. But now, right at the start, I knew that I was talking to a man who knew how to get up and get it done.
Mentioning the multiple positions Doug has held in different fields, “I kind of stumble and fall places. I’m a stumbler.” This was clearly evident in his path through life so far. Travel started as a break from his profession at the time, Special Agent in Charge Read the rest of this entry »
Riviera River Cruises is offering savings on two French itineraries in 2022. Choose between savings of US$1,000 per person or free economy airfare from most major U.S. gateways through the end of June. If you’re interested in either of these deals, please complete the form below for more information. Read the rest of this entry »
Being a commonly visited country, Spain often brings up an image of grand churches that inspire faith in the eye of the beholder—perhaps pictures of flamenco dancers, as they seduce an audience into a story of love and passion. These are accurate portrayals of a country that charms the traveler. But, Spain is a diverse destination, one that brings the culture of surrounding nations together in harmony. In the northwest sits Galicia, an ideal look at this cultural harmony. Read the rest of this entry »
From Wednesday to Monday I was in the northern, southern, eastern, and western hemispheres.
It’s nothing to brag about. There was nothing brilliant about it. On the contrary, it could be the worst-planned travel itinerary ever. The only accomplishment is that I survived it. But I did experience it, and that’s worth talking about. It was extraordinary.
I didn’t intentionally plan such a marathon. It only happened because there were two travel events that I absolutely could not miss. They happened to be very close together on the calendar, and very far apart on the globe.
I had already booked my flights to the Arctic Circle when it came time to book flights for the trip to Durban, South Africa Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever stopped to consider why multi-millionaire entertainers and business people take the time to appear on late-night talk shows for just a few minutes?
Their pay (if any) for doing so is probably less money than they paid for lunch that day.
So why does every celebrity you can think of try to get themselves booked on talk shows? The reason they want their faces blasted across the airwaves is simple.
They realize that regardless of who they are—and what they may have accomplished to date—if they are out of the public’s sight, they are out of the public’s mind. Read the rest of this entry »
Normally, promotions at a river cruise company wouldn’t be something we’d publish. But in this case, we’re pleased to see that Pam Hoffee has taken the helm of Avalon Waterways. We’re pleased because Pam’s passionate about river cruising. Under her leadership we expect even better things to happen for one of the world’s most popular river cruise companies.
Pam tells us that she will be 100 percent focused on Avalon, instead of dividing her time between Avalon and other duties. “I am so thrilled about it as the brand is growing so much and deserves this attention,” she says. “I am very excited for the future with Avalon.”
Yep, we agree. Avalon is doing some wonderful things. We’ll be reporting on what is setting Avalon apart in future posts here on River Cruise Advisor.
Here’s the official press release … Read the rest of this entry »
After months of isolation that have made people long to reconnect, a number of industry players are launching new services designed to bring travel advisors—from top sellers to brand new entrants—together in new and unique ways.
The biggest is The 1000, an ambitious effort to find, honor, and support 1,000 of the nation’s top-producing travel advisors (think $1.5 million minimum in annual sales).
Founder Jeff Sirota—whom many know from his past life on both sides of the industry, at Protravel and at Small Luxury Hotels of the World, now a partner at hospitality representation company J.MAK—says leisure salespeople have such a broad customer base that it’s “really difficult to drill down in a sea of advisors to find the top producers.”
Often salespeople “blindly comp or do favors for” advisors who win awards from their consortia, Sirota said—“but when Read the rest of this entry »
Untouched wilds have always been a draw in Canada’s north. With glass-like lakes surrounded by thick forests of coniferous trees and the snow-covered landscapes of mountains and the arctic tundras, northern Canada is an adventure of scenery. The addition of watching polar bears in their natural habitat, or hanging out with beluga whales, and northern lights that illuminate the skies make for a one-of-kind trip. This is particularly true on VIA Rail Canada’s adventure route, which provides a panoramic dome for maximum viewing pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve ever used a Kodak Retina folding camera or a Rolleiflex twin-reflex, you’ve been obsessed with photography for a long time.
Retinas were to Eastman Kodak what Cadillac was to General Motors. For 55 years, from 1934 to 1969, these German-made 35mm folding bellows cameras were at the top of the camera food chain. They had f2.8 or f3.5 50mm lenses—just like many cameras made today—and were the ultimate choice for vacationers seeking a camera they could take to Europe or the family cottage. Retinas could fold up to fit in a jacket pocket or purse. Models in good condition can take great photos today with 35mm film. Read the rest of this entry »
Although nearly two decades ago, I remember like it was yesterday hearing the following words at the home of two Russian immigrants in Chicago. The husband was now an emergency room surgeon, and his wife was a successful travel consultant. Their home was modest, yet beautifully furnished.
After hearing their saga of eventually fleeing to America, arriving in New York City not speaking the language, the good doctor added after passing the rolls at the dinner table, “If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it. “Those eleven words have stuck with me ever since.
That was over 20 years ago Read the rest of this entry »
Island vacations are a true escape, one that feels the furthest from our everyday lives. Nothing but you, the beach, and long stretches of ocean to create distance from the daily grind and worries of life. About 870mi west of Lisbon, Portugal is the opportunity to visit just that place—the Azores Islands. A place that not only provides a remote getaway, but prides itself on sustainable tourism.
Officially named the Autonomous Region of the Azores, the Azores is an archipelago of 9 islands. Being volcanic in nature, the fertile earth of the islands sprang up a paradise. Lush green fields, forests, and mountains cover the terrain. Particularly São Miguel, the largest island in Read the rest of this entry »
Part 2 of 2 in a series on how to cope with long telephone hold times. Read Part 1.
Gilligan might have regretted booking his three-hour tour on the S.S. Minnow that turned into a 60s TV show, but today’s travel advisors have come to rue their own travel nightmare: the four-hour telephone hold times involved in trying to reach some suppliers.
At AmaWaterways, chief marketing officer Janet Bava noted that call volumes skyrocketed when Europe loosened its travel guidelines in March. “We saw a huge influx in demand, and we had to staff up very quickly across the board. It was an issue, but we’ve been able to solve it.”
It took about two weeks to respond, she acknowledges; but now Read the rest of this entry »
In last week’s survey asking What, If Anything, Is Holding You Back From River Cruising In Europe, more than half of respondents (52 percent) said that it was war in the Ukraine that made them hesitant to river cruise this year. We did not ask readers to elaborate, something we may do in a future post.
War in the Ukraine was followed closely by the Covid surge in Europe. Nearly 30 percent of you expressed concerns about the variant tearing its way through Europe. I am on barges traveling in France now with a group of 20+. On the last morning of our first barge trip, two people tested positive. Both were mild cases. When I checked in with the two this morning to ask how they were feeling, they replied, ”Generally okay, symptoms similar to a cold, some coughing, sinus draining, slight elevated body temps.” Read the rest of this entry »
Trains have been an iconic part of modern history since 1804. They have carried important goods to well-known cities and remote areas. Trains gave a vitality to the journey of travel, shortening trips— letting the traveler enjoy the scenery of vast forests of green and mountains that dominate the landscape. Today, the experience of these journeys are no less relevant. Which is where VIA Rail Canada steps in to keep everything on track.
VIA Rail (or VIA Rail Canada) started up operations on January 12, 1977, in Montreal. Soon after, they introduced a new way of uniting Canadians with many firsts, one being the transcontinental train. They were established as a Crown Corporation, merging the passenger networks of the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways. Later, in 1981 Read the rest of this entry »
Science tells us that water boils at 212 degrees farenheit. This is not an opinion. The boiling point doesn’t change depending on the day of the week or the economy.
Your political persuasion does not affect the exact time that water boils, nor does the price of gas on any particular day. Water boils as expected: 212 degrees. 211 degrees… no boiling. At 212 degrees you can watch the bubbles begin.
Art, on the other hand, shows us details and then allows us to interpret it as we see it. The exact same picture can be interpreted hundreds of ways, depending on hundreds of different variables. With art there are no set answers. There is not one interpretation. Read the rest of this entry »
We all need and want new clients, right? And unfortunately, clients are one of the only things that are not for sale on Amazon, so we need to find them the old-fashioned way, with traditional marketing. Of course, we use the most up-to-date tools and technology, but in the end, it is words that will draw a client to do business with you—spoken or written. Make sure you get them right! 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 »