What’s a travel advisor to do when a preferred supplier like Crystal cruises stops sailing? Communicate with your customers and be transparent. In the case of Crystal, you have to look at your booked customers in three buckets and reach out to each with targeted communications, says Alex Sharpe.
The CEO of Signature Travel Network, himself a former SVP of Regent Seven Seas, immediately reached out to legal counsel, who told him “you should cancel and dispute charges right away,” he told TRO. “With the ‘reserve accounts’ in place with the credit card colmpanies, I don’t know that disputing charges is critical, but at this point, it couldn’t hurt.”
Here’s an edited version of what Sharpe had to say in our 45-minute conversation last week: Read the rest of this entry »
Think no one’s river cruising? Think again. While river cruising in Europe generally takes a pause during the cold of January and February, as well as much of March, regions outside of Europe still see river cruises operating.
Earlier this week, we heard from Patty Moss and her husband Bill, who were in Jordan before traveling to Cairo to board AmaWaterways’ new 72-passenger AmaDahlia.
Patty and Bill are doing a pre-cruise extension before embarking on AmaWaterways’ Secrets of Egypt & The Nile 12-day cruise program. She and Bill were in Petra yesterday with 10 others who are also Read the rest of this entry »
With interest in travelling to the UK steadily growing, so are the number of ’email conversations’ I’m having with enterprising travel advisors who want to offer their customers some different aspects of their old friend Britain. Some of the customised travel experiences were hallmarked by a selection of the On Location visits highlighted a couple of weeks ago. If you missed them, you can see them again here.
One of the most recent email exchanges was for a family looking for an imaginative countryside and London tour. They didn’t want to travel far, and what has emerged is an action-packed programme that starts in Royal Windsor, travels to Oxford before heading for London, where with jetlag parked, they will be able to get the maximum out of their four nights in the capital.
If this sequence appeals to you, discuss it with your clients and let’s start our own email conversation. Read the rest of this entry »
AAT Kings has been a pioneer in the adventuring of Australia and New Zealand for over 100 years. They were one of the driving forces that opened the Australian outback to the eyes and excitement of travelers within the country, as well as international. Now, as Australia looks to open its borders to the world once again, AAT has set its sights on a new campaign to intrigue the traveler. The ‘Wild Awaits’ campaign seeks to jump right into the reinvigorated travel industry as COVID-19 wanes. Read the rest of this entry »
The picture isn’t bright for travel advisors selling small luxury cruises on brands such as Regent, Seabourn, Crystal, Silversea, Viking Ocean, Oceania, Ponant, and Windstar. Most haven’t seen a decent payday in the past two years. Many have gone into debt trying to keep the doors open by spending countless unpaid hours processing cancellations, rebooking, and trying to attract new clients when they have little to sell.
The cruise industry sages predicted that Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and Canada would open to cruise ships carrying fewer than 1300 guests long before now. Then, along came omicron and problems with the domestic airlines. Recent reports of hundreds of infected crew members from the resort ships in the Caribbean being warehoused on other cruise vessels refute the cruise lines’ contention that cruising is now safe. Read the rest of this entry »
This is another true story that comes attached to a very pertinent message. Almost everybody has somebody they would like to meet. This may be a movie star, a sports celebrity, an author, or a TV personality. It may be a politician, a famous physician, or even the guy or gal living down the street. People are quick to identify their “wish-lists” but, more often than not, they fail to do anything proactively to make a future introduction.
Not long ago, I asked my wife if there was anybody she would like to meet. Without hesitating, she replied by saying, “I would like to meet President George H. Bush… and his wife Barbara.” I would be candy-coating my reaction if I said this selection surprised me to no end. I was ready to hear the name of some heartthrob. But President George H. Bush?
Priding myself as somebody who practices what he preaches, I begin to go to work Read the rest of this entry »
Ricko Tindage is Elite Voyages’ Director of Sales and Marketing iso Chinatour.com’s DSM. His task besides sales and marketing to the travel agent community…is also creating new tour products.
Originally from Bali, Indonesia, Ricko has called Los Angeles home since 1981.
His academic background was in the hotel management. He has had hotel stints in Jakarta, Indonesia; Brussels, Belgium and in Los Angeles. Instead of a career in the hotel industry, tour and travel industry have shaped the majority of his professional career.
He started in the travel industry in 1990, Ricko has always been in the hospitality industry, even his spouse was a former director of sales of a major U.S. hotel chain. Prior to working for Chinatour.com he has served in several major U.S. tour operators namely UNIWORLD River Cruises and SITA World Tours. In between, he has developed and created small boutique-style tour operators specialized in incentive travels, honeymoons, destination weddings, luxury travels and leasing private jets. One of these tour companies was Romance Travel Concierge, a luxury boutique outfit based in Pasadena, CA, and he was president of the company. Read the rest of this entry »
Crystal is suspending operations for its ocean and expedition ships through April 29, 2022, with river cruises suspended through the end of May 2022.
The company announced in a letter to guests today that “Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Crystal’s parent, Genting Hong Kong says that it will run out of cash by the end of this month, putting the fate of Crystal in question. That’s not to say that Crystal is dead in the water. Read the rest of this entry »
Every time American society suffers a severe trauma, people re-evaluate their lives and re-prioritize. “Spending time with family” always rises in the list of priorities.
As it relates to the travel industry, every big shock causes an increased demand for family travel. In 2000, when the Wall Street tech bubble burst, the stock market lost a third of its value, causing stock portfolios to plunge in value and some retirement funds to evaporate entirely. It was a devastating blow to many families.
YPB&R’s National Leisure Travel Monitor marketing survey showed that people’s main priority had shifted from making money to travel.
The lesson of the crash was painfully clear. You can work years building up your assets only to see them slip through your hands like water. Your travel experiences with your family, on the other hand, will always Read the rest of this entry »
I was a senior in high school in 1967. It was a Friday afternoon when Mr. Zuckerman, my guidance counselor, informed me it was time to present my credentials to a number of colleges in the hope one would grant me admission. At the time, high school graduates had two choices: Attend college or get fitted for army fatigues before being shipped out to Vietnam. In most cases, this choice was considered a “no-brainer.”
The problem was, I had not given it any thought up until that Friday afternoon. Mr. Z suggested I go home and discuss my options with my parents before reporting back to him on Monday with my plan of attack.
I told my mother that it was time to identify a few college choices. She asked, “So where do you want to go?” I remember thinking of a reputable place where they played pretty good football. The name of the school shot into my head, and I said, “I think I’ll apply to Read the rest of this entry »
Just hang in there for two or three more weeks, travel advisors, and things will be better.
That’s the biggest take-away from a press conference yesterday featuring Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO Frank del Rio and the head of its Health and Safety Committee, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who sits on the board of Pfizer.
Here’s my transcript of what they said, slightly edited for brevity. I took notes in shorthand, which I am pretty good at but a word or two may be off, and I apologize for that. Read the rest of this entry »
Although your anglophile clients have been unable to fly to the UK since the end of March 2020 (!), aspects of Britain have been appearing frequently on their/your TV screens with reruns of Endeavour, Morse, Lewis, Poldark, Doc Martin, Father Brown, Keeping up Appearances, Grantchester, Downton Abbey, The Vicar of Dibley, All Creatures Great and Small—along with a whole host of irresistible movies, dramas, and sitcoms.
They’ve done a huge job of waving the GB flag, and I think you’re missing a trick if you’re not talking to some of your frequent UK travellers about how you can customise a tour that blends together leisurely On Location visits for their favourite TV shows with other must-see visits to castles, stately homes, cathedrals, literary shrines all washed down with some memorable meet the locals, pub lunches and suppers.
Here’s a handful of travel-less, see-more suggestions for you to consider. Read the rest of this entry »
In last week’s post, Our New Year’s Eve Wish For You, we told you about Dolf Dunn’s Christmas Markets cruise. Dolf and his wife Lannie shared photos of Christmas trees at various ports of call (as well as Christmas trees on AmaSiena). The Dunns praised AmaWaterways for not missing a single Christmas Market. “If a city closed a market, AmaWaterways found an alternative one to take us to,” Dolf wrote.
AmaWaterways’ Kristin Karst saw our story and reached out to us. If you don’t know who she is, let me tell you about Kristin. Originally from the region of Dresden, Germany, Kristin is the high-spirited, always smiling Read the rest of this entry »
This week, I was able to go into a local pharmacy in West Los Angeles and walk out with a half-dozen Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Tests for $98.00. The staff in the pharmacy had stacked the tests near the register in plain sight, and the pharmacists asked people to buy no more than six tests at a time. There were no lines to purchase the kits, and the staff had not taken special precautions to prevent them from being stolen.
Yesterday, as another indicator of a better future, a healthcare executive we know walked into a pharmacy and got a fourth vaccine shot. He’s well informed about COVID-19 and is following the Israeli regimen that was implemented this week of providing a second booster four months after the first one. The Israelis make the second booster available for anyone who is over 60 or immune-compromised 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 »
It took a village to survive in the travel industry in 2021, and I am amazed by the smart and generous travel advisors who shared their stories with me throughout the year. In the final weeks of the year, I came across some amazing stories of teamwork and perseverance during the Dream Vacations/Cruise One conference.
Julie Vowell, Jodi Denney, Lisa Merutka and Barbara Linebarger, for example, have been pooling their resources since they met in 2016. They were brought together in their pj’s as a fire alarm went off in the hotel where they were staying during a training program, and have supported one another ever since. Read the rest of this entry »
The headlines surrounding cruises of late have been anything but cheery. The latest gut punch: This week, the CDC advised that we should all avoid cruises, no matter if we’re vaccinated, boosted or masked up.
We’ll discuss the CDC’s advice in a post next week, including counter comments from one organization presenting a compelling argument that cruising is safer than almost any collective leisure activity you can do on land. We’ll also hear from two of our loyal subscribers who continue to cruise and suggest that we should no longer put our dreams on hold.
One is Dolf Dunn who, along with his wife Lannie, experienced something we had thought was not possible: the Christmas Markets on the Rhine. Read the rest of this entry »
Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, visited New York last week in preparation of Uganda’s rolling out of a rebranding campaign.
The slogan for the country will change from “Uganda, the Pearl of Africa” to “Exploring Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.”
It’s only one word changed, but as Mark Twain said, the difference of one word can be like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
More important than the change of slogan, the tourism department is changing its idea of how to market itself and to whom.
“We’ve been able to define who our audience is,” Lilly Ajarova told me. “We are looking for travelers, not just tourists, people who are more responsible, more mindful, and travel in a responsible way, as opposed to Read the rest of this entry »
Fasten your seatbelts travel professionals. You are about to play a major role in a New Year consisting of successes, failures, challenges, wins, losses, good ideas, bad ideas, and a whole bunch of “head-scratching” scenarios that are sure to upset your stomach. You can also get ready to do a lot of smiling. And I will be back to help you along the way in an attempt to keep you focused, motivated, and refining your own personal “happy dance.”
Similar to past articles I have been sharing, the next twelve months will consist of thought-provoking reminders you can identify with, and use to your benefit.
In the interest of time (your time), each week’s Read the rest of this entry »
The travel industry is rolling with the punches again, as 2021 rolls to a close and every day brings a new news cycle. Again.
Just two weeks ago at the US Tour Operators Association, the speakers were bullish about what 2022 would bring and travel advisors were looking forward to a great year. But this week, there’s a slight hesitation in everyone’s step, as omicron spreads on land, air and sea.
“This is going to be a tough week,” says Zena Beaver in Selinsgrove PA. “Three days ago all was good—but after the six o’ clock news last night, I received three emails and two texts about postponing trips from January to later in the year.”
“Those take-home Covid test kits are the new toilet paper,” joked Jennifer Trinin at ProTravel in Westbury, NY. “Maybe we can get ones with logos on them to Read the rest of this entry »
These four words popped into my head recently and, in addition to recalling a little tune sung by Bobby McFerrin, I found myself thinking of retirement. Yes, I have not been confused for a spring chicken for many years now; and I often have to stop and think how I managed to get out of bed yesterday. Some call it age, while I prefer to consider it as experience. But I digress.
Due to age, experience or whatever you want to call it, my days of actively pursuing new business have slowly gone the way of Seinfeld reruns. But here comes today’s million dollar thought of the day: Read the rest of this entry »