With transatlantic flight restrictions between North American and the UK being lifted on 8th November, let’s talk about developing some itineraries that will really appeal to clients who, by next spring, won’t have been to the UK for over two years!
Culturally minded travellers will relish what I can offer them when using the internationally famous festivals in Brighton and Bath as the hubs for 3-4 nighters before reaching London. Murder Mystery fans will enjoy rubbing shoulders with top crime novelists and some pre- and post-Father Brown/Inspector Morse ‘On Location’ visits. Similarly, green-fingered clients will immediately want to know the dates of travel for the Chelsea Flower Show, especially when you share with them the video I’ve included from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, patron of the National Garden Scheme. There are four more you can use, which you can show to customers to promote your ideas.
Email me and let’s start developing some UK-bound ideas for next May Read the rest of this entry »
When I was in India I took an elephant ride. It’s an attraction that is offered tourists in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The elephants were decoratively adorned with colorful weavings. I sat over the shoulders and rocked with the movement as the elephant walked up a hillside toward a temple. It was a thrill to be on the back of such a big, wonderful animal that was generously allowing me to ride on his back. I felt gratitude and friendship for the gentle giant.
I admit, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. It was just a few moments of one day on a 10-day tour. I took the ride, enjoyed it, and then moved on to the next thing on my itinerary. Then one day I met Stephanie Shaw, the corporate liaison for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and I realized what should have been obvious to me in the first place. Of course. Why did I ever think that an elephant would work a day job carrying humans around on his back constantly of his own free will, hour after hour, day after day?
When I learned the story behind the elephant rides, I felt ashamed of myself for being so insensitive to the animal. I was sorry for having participated in it, for helping to perpetuate the practice of selling elephant rides, which requires a kind of captivity and treatment I can hardly bear to imagine.
I assume others who take the rides are like I was. They saw the elephant ride attraction and went on it, not thinking that much about how it came to be that the world’s largest land animal would be submitting itself to serving as a taxi at a tourist attraction Read the rest of this entry »
Remember that old song by Bob Seger from 1987?
When Facebook broke down recently, that’s the song that came into my head. It started playing louder when Frances Haugen testified before Congress!
Facebook has become a huge part of our work and personal lives. Yet, I wonder how many of us thought about the old adage about not putting all our eggs into one basket when this breakdown happened? Or the adage that one shouldn’t build their house on rented land?
Really? What are we as travel industry pros supposed to do… market by carrier pigeon? Pony Express? How about using a town crier?
These days, none of those are viable options; however, we may want pay attention to those old adages as breakdowns and takedowns may become more frequent in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
As sales and marketing advice goes, this may very well be up there with the best of it. I was reminded of this natural phenomenon this week, and I could not find my way to my computer keyboard fast enough to share it with whoever is out there listening. This is a BIGGIE. Tune in.
I ended a recent Zoom Meeting with what I consider to be some sage advice. To me, what I am about to suggest is both logical and extraordinarily simple. It is effective and incredibly apropos. It does not cost a red cent and the results are extremely powerful.
The truth is, however, that nobody can do what I am about to suggest without feeling uncomfortable to some degree. This last sentence, in and of itself, may explain why there are not more successful travel-related sales professionals in the United States today.
I challenged my audience on this particular day to pick up their telephones as soon as our meeting was over, and call a prospect, customer, or the first person who comes to mind to simply thank them for something. I reminded them not to get cute, fancy or eloquent. I urged them to Read the rest of this entry »
“I listen to my body, and my body says no to the vaccine.” I was standing at Amsterdam’s Rembrandt Square, dipping fries into a dab of mayonnaise (patat met) when a fellow standing next to me said, “Eet smakelijk,” which I understood to mean enjoy the fries. I thanked him and said that I hoped he enjoyed the apple that he was gnawing on. Thank you, he replied in English, before adding: “I’ve just finished a march and cannot find my car. Luckily, I know people here and someone is coming to help me.”
I learned that he was from Arnhem, about 90 minutes away, and that he had come to the Dutch capital to protest against the vaccines and the QR codes that restaurants and bars now require patrons to show before entering. The QR codes demonstrate proof of vaccination.
“It’s not fair,” he said. “I have grandchildren. I don’t want them to be vaccinated until we know the long-term effects of the vaccines.” He feels shackled by the QR codes, living in a stratified society where there are those who can now enjoy pre-pandemic life in the Netherlands, going to restaurants and bars, for example, and those who cannot. No QR code, no entry into the pre-Covid world.
For the American visitor, however, all of Amsterdam seems to exist in a carefree world with little regard for Covid transmission. Though I had only been in Amsterdam for the afternoon, having arrived from Atlanta, what I observed was an ocean of differences in our responses to Covid-19. Read the rest of this entry »
Although there may not be any “do-overs” or mulligans in business these days,
there is certainly time and rationale for “Do-Agains.” Let me explain.
I recently sent out a blast email promoting one of my books. In this case, I was featuring my 52-Week Sales Planner. What better time to start planning for a brighter future than right now?
I wrote a sales letter and hit the button which sent my words out to internet land. Read the rest of this entry »
I do not see what all the fuss is all about. Who said that building a business had to be difficult? Certainly not me. Like everything worth pursuing, it is the fundamentals along with the basics that will get you to where you are trying to go.
In an attempt to simplify your journey, I’ve outlined five steps that will have you feeling like a pro in very short order. The work stems from the concept of “consistency,” and not from tedious and laborious “work.”
Let’s break this thing down to its component parts.
First, identify a market consisting of people who want what you have/do Read the rest of this entry »
Half the cruise ships are sailing, carrying half the passengers they once did. At each port, they are beset by differing and ever-changing protocols, negotiating life-and-death decisions with new players with whom they do not have the usual long-term relationships.
And yet, guest satisfaction is off the charts. The new-to-cruise customers that many expected to be frightened off are instead showing up. New ships and new partnerships, new terminals and new ports are on the horizon—and they promise to share the wealth with local communities and to promote a healthier environment for all.
“We built this industry over more than five decades; we deliver a phenomenal experience that our customers love, and the Caribbean is an unbelievably popular destination for our core markets,” said Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley at the Caribbean Spotlight: A Focus on the Future breakout session. “We need to just stay focused and trust each other and, in another year or so, we’ll be looking back trying not to remember any of this.”
In short, this week’s Seatrade Global conference was unlike any other Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I told you that I was preparing for my first trip to Europe since October of 2019. I promised to answer your questions about how I was gearing up for this trip, which is on Crystal Debussy, cruising the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Many of you wanted to know about Covid protocols and the like, but the majority of you were most interested in two things:
- How I got business class air for $600 each way on Air France,
- How I snagged a deal at the Waldorf-Astoria Amsterdam (paying the equivalent of a stay at a Hampton Inn).
Britton and I will address all of your questions about Covid protocols and what it’s like to cruise these days in our upcoming webinar on October 20. Please be sure to register for Our Experiences On Four Different Ships.
For now, though, let’s get right to the burning questions on our readers’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever true, tried and trusty, Longwoods International continues to monitor the changes in demand for travel with its latest survey, COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study – Wave 46, published last week. The snapshot, taken a year and a half into a grisly pandemic, indicated that consumers have now settled into a “new normal” in regard to travel.
The study was conducted Sept.15. Longwoods surveyed a national sample randomly drawn from a consumer panel of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and over. The sample was tailored to match Census targets for age, gender, and region to make the survey representative of the US population.
About the best thing you could say about the results is that “it could have been worse.” And it certainly could have been. Just recall how it was before the vaccines came on the scene.
But with the recovery we saw gaining strength at the beginning of summer stalled by a resurgence in Read the rest of this entry »
This week I am going to remind you of the well-known phrase, “What goes around, comes around.” Maybe it would be more accurate if I said, “What was old is new again.”
What I am trying to say is that you do not always have to come up with something new to (1) capture attention, (2) become more effective, or (3) to deliver a message worth delivering.
Today, I have decided to turn back the clock and repeat one of my messages from 2015. Here goes:
Regardless of the length, girth or the simplicity (or intricacy) of your business plan, your persistent adherence to the basics is essential if you want to continue to build a business you can be proud of. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past few months, I’ve written a great deal about some of the English regions you may be familiar with; but this week, I’m sharpening the focus on a destination you may not have come across before.
Welcome to the ancient county of Dorset, a less well-known area of stunning countryside and coastal scenery that can be traced back to the time of the dinosaurs and the Jurassic period. It has inspired great writers like Thomas Hardy and, among many other must-see attractions, is also home to no fewer than four former winners of the prestigious Historic Houses/Christies Garden Of The Year Award.
Located just to the west of Southampton, creative tour planners can bookend a few nights here with a couple in the cathedral city of Salisbury and two more in Winchester, the capital of England in Anglo-Saxon times.
Read on, check out the three videos and begin to experience what the region has to offer. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised.
The fifth largest city in Hungary sits at the slope of the Mecsek Mountains. A city settled before the spread of the Roman empire, its cultural history runs almost 2000 years. Though, the city is not alone in this distinguished position. The region around it, spanning 240 sq mi, is appropriately named the Pécs Region. Here, the traveler will find what Hungary is known for and more. 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.
I once attended a Home Trade Show and was introduced to a number of entrepreneurs in booths manned by good, hard-working individuals trying to make a living.
Some booth sitters came on stronger than others. Some caught my attention as I passed by. Others actually repelled me away from their booth.
“What was the difference?”, I asked myself as I sauntered down each aisle.
I think you have to refer to it as “chemistry,” or could it be “packaging.” I don’t know how else to explain it—except maybe for the obvious. I recognized the fact that the products I had an interest in had a better chance of capturing my attention.
This brings me to a truth I have always tried to share Read the rest of this entry »
Bekah Eaton came home from ASTA’s annual conference with new ideas, new relationships, and a case of Covid. She believes she caught it from the woman who sat next to her for two hours. “I felt betrayed and almost angry that she would put me in harms way, and expose me without warning or anything.”
Another travel advisor, who asked to remain anonymous, was on a fam trip to Italy when she thanked the woman sitting next to her, whom she knew was opposed to vaccines, for getting vaccinated before the trip. “She went off on me about how she felt forced to get the vaccine—and that was very alienating in a small group atmosphere.”
Then she saw someone attending a FAM in Europe after being at an ASTA event where there were positive cases. “And I’m thinking, weren’t you in that room at ASTA with people who tested positive? Shouldn’t you be quarantining and not on this AMA cruise in Europe?”
Those experiences changed the way she sees those people. Read the rest of this entry »
I now know what it’s like to be a ping pong ball. Trips booked, then postponed, on again, off again, vaccine freedom, then Delta dread, governments imposing mandatory quarantines, then …
We were all set for our October 4, 2021 Crystal Debussy cruise on the Rhine. Flights booked, hotels booked. Ready. Set. Go. Not so fast. A month before our departure, in early September, the government of the Netherlands imposed new rules that required both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans to quarantine for 10 days. Crystal and other river cruise operators were left scratching their heads, along with those of us who had booked cruises departing from Amsterdam.
What to do? A 12-hour transit loophole provided a solution, a not-so-great one. The idea was that we would cancel our hotel rooms, reschedule our flights to arrive the day we were to step on Debussy and get the herring out of the Netherlands as quickly as possible – well, at least within 12 hours so as not to violate the quarantine requirement. Read the rest of this entry »
There are many ways to look at Cuba. From a strictly-business point of view, it’s a sad story. There’s never been any question that there has been huge pent-up demand by Americans to travel to Cuba. After more than half a century of being prohibited by their own government from traveling to what used to be considered one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world, of course there is demand. It’s 90 miles from Florida, a heavenly tropical Caribbean destination. But for practical purposes it’s blackened off the tourist map.
There’s never been any situation that compares to it. Americans can travel pretty much anywhere. Americans are not dictated to by their government as to where they can travel. They can travel to America’s Cold War nemeses, Russia and China, even to Vietnam. But not Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »
Listen up! We’ve all heard the phrase “What’s old is new again.”
- Bell bottom = flares
- Midriff tops = crop tops
- Telephone party line = live audio rooms
Live audio is all the rage now. It’s the mash-up of old school and new school. First off the block was Clubhouse, now comes Live Audio Rooms from Facebook.
Tune in for a quick low-down on these 2 popular platforms. Read the rest of this entry »
“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 »
Today I want you to think about the word “useful.”
I believe that by just thinking about this word, your contribution to your prospects and clients is bound to improve. By following your thoughts and becoming “more” useful your life will immediately change for the good.
Question: Are you useful? Are there opportunities for you to become more useful?
Think about it. I am certain your performance, and the way you approach prospects and clients, will begin to change once you start addressing these two questions.
How you become more useful is something only you can determine. I can’t possibly know what value you are providing now, so I can’t intelligently recommend Read the rest of this entry »