For those who enjoy the marvels of the natural world, few locales compare with Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. Happily, for those who wish to have this experience on an ultra-luxury, truly all-inclusive ship, Silversea’s newest expedition ship, the destination-specific Silver Origin is just the ticket.
I was on board the Silver Origin in late February when it was officially christened by Bishop Patricio Bonillo, and esteemed conservationist and Galápagos Islands permanent resident Johanna Carrión named as the ship’s Godmother. (The Silver Origin first started welcoming guests in June 2021, but the Omicron variant had postponed the naming festivities. Since its first voyage last June there have been 36 weekly voyages with eastern or western itineraries and not a single case of COVID.)
Built in 2020, the 5,800 ton Read the rest of this entry »
Your prospect said YES! They are ready to work with you. You’ve successfully turned a lead into a prospect, and that prospect is now a new client. Woo-hoo!
So, what’s next? Now that the customer is excited to work with you and is ready to sign on the dotted line, how do you get them on board and well-positioned to become a loyal, long-term client?
Do you have in place a process to welcome him to your business? After you’ve booked his trip, do you have a way to manage how you communicate with him, to make the most of your time, and to get the most from this new relationship? If you don’t, or if you think your existing process could be improved, coming across this article is, indeed, a lucky find! Read the rest of this entry »
The best evidence that the cruise market is in flux and subject to wild changes is that Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships hasn’t been updated since 2020. The Berlitz Guide used to sit on most travel agents’ desks. For 35 years, it could be counted on to give clients a two-page summary of every vessel promoted to clients by American travel advisors. It was more than a mere directory. The 754-pages of the 2020 edition rated the accommodations, cuisine, and service on each ship. It was the final word on ship statistics, so that passenger space ratios, passenger crew ratios, and tonnage could be reliably compared.
In my 2019 Amazon book, How to Plan Your Next & BEST Cruise: Secrets of Selecting Cruises, Ships & Destinations, I used Douglas Ward’s data in every chapter to show readers how to move beyond the ads and hype, and to make viable comparisons among cruise ships they were considering. Read the rest of this entry »
I am not sure if this can be considered my “signature story,” but it’s true that I have been sharing this particular point for over 30-years in my public speaking business.
It involves a single PowerPoint slide where I ask the audience to count the number of times they spot a particular letter, clearly printed on the slide. It is not a trick. It calls for a single answer.
The result has been the same for over 30 years? I get four different answers to the question where there is just one correct one.
The message then addresses the necessary skill of spotting opportunities when they appear right in front of you. In fact, they are everywhere. In fact, very few spot them. As a result, very few people take advantage of them.
This leads me to today’s message Read the rest of this entry »
Unfortunately, every industry has some shady businesses practices. And believe me, travel is no exception. And one permeates all industries it seems. Yes, email. Are you above board and ethical? Or do your clients simply delete your emails? Or are they even being delivered? Do you know?
Believe it or not, you could be a spammer without even knowing it. Here is some food for thought. Read the rest of this entry »
Mask mandates are falling, but many travelers remain wary of international travel—making the timing perfect for a new kind of summer vacation. One that is unique, Instagrammable, domestic, safe—yet thrilling and lots of fun. Enter Viking Cruises’ newest product, an expedition ship chock full of motorized gadgets sailing the Great Lakes.
The brand-spanking-new expedition class Viking Octantis, custom-built to cut through the ice in Antarctica or slip through the locks of the St. Lawrence, launches in May. With prices starting at $5,995 per person plus air, the Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis holds just 378 guests in 189 staterooms and 256 crew. The focus, of course, is 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 Read the rest of this entry »
With interest in UK-bound travel gathering pace, I’ve put together a collection of commission-generating ideas for you to offer your clients.
As some of them might have been hoping to go to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, entice them with a tour that includes the Royal Horticultural Society’s Flower Show at Wisley along with Downton Abbey and the royal garden at Highgrove House.
I’ve created a programme based around the hugely popular Jane Austen Festival in Bath (think of all those clients who are riveted by the many costume dramas on the TV) and a Girls Getaway which brings together a major Antiques Fair with London’s Markets.
Meanwhile, in Scotland Read the rest of this entry »
As Spain and Portugal rise in popularity for travel, Petrabax has been showing the Iberian Peninsula to travelers for almost 40 years. With an array of ways to take care of the traveler, they have created tours from a unique point of view—one that originates from the owner and operators hailing from the northwestern region of Galicia. From life-changing paths to a future one-stop shop for agents, Petrabax has one foot firmly set in showing the past and another stepping into the future of travel.
Petrabax is family owned and operated. The founder, Jose Zuñiga, was from the region of Galicia in northwest of Spain; while its current director and nephew of Jose, Marcos Roel, is also Galician. This lends perfectly Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s reminder is coming directly to you via my golden-oldies archives. It was written eleven years ago but, for many of you, “the shoe will still fit.” You can be the judge.
Time may continue to pass us by, but the major (business) lesson from this time of year reigns supreme for another twelve months. Everyone, regardless of the color and size of their Easter Basket, is familiar with the good ole Easter Egg Hunt. (Now that I think of it, I did not hear news of the Annual White House Hunt.) Find those little colored babies or not, there is one GIANT reminder we can all benefit from when it comes to this annual free-for-all. Read the rest of this entry »
My sailing onboard Viking Radgrid was beyond my wildest dreams. From wonderful meals and service to comfortable and stylish accommodations, Viking continued to surpass my expectations throughout the week I spent with them on the Seine.
Viking is the most well-known river cruise company in the world – so much so that its name has become almost synonymous with river cruising. Sometimes, because of this, the company isn’t taken as seriously as some of its competitors. Read the rest of this entry »
Onboard Viking Octantis in the Caribbean Sea—There’s nothing quite like sailing a ship’s maiden voyage. Viking’s gorgeous new expedition ship still has that new car leather smell, with an overlay of wood.
On the sold-out repositioning voyage heading from winter in Antarctica to summer in the Great Lakes, I joined a cadre of Viking fanatics and a couple dozen press this week as we checked her out. And while there may have been a glitch or two, everyone seemed to agree she is beautiful and roomy—and the toys on board are just out of this world.
In the Viking definition of all-inclusive, guests do not pay extra for at least one shore excursion a day or for the use of the zodiacs, the submarine, or the Special Operations vehicle used by the Norwegian navy—all of which Read the rest of this entry »
I had been eagerly looking forward to interviewing Robert Drumm, CEO of Alexander + Roberts, to hear his views on current events from his perspective as head of the company that has done more than any other to promote American tourism to Russia since the 1950s.
As explained elsewhere, Alexander + Roberts, under its previous name General Tours, was the first American tour operator to offer tours into Soviet Russia in the 1950s. It began in the early years of the Cold War, while there was a Red Scare blazing in the United States. Popular figures at the time were being blacklisted, prevented from earning a living, for even the suspicion of sympathies with the Communist Party at any time in their lives. It took a lot of courage for Alex Harris, the founder of General Tours, to launch tours to Russia in that climate.
Bob Drumm started working with Alex Harris in the ‘80s, and in the 1990s Harris passed the baton to him to head General Tours. Drumm continues to head the company today Read the rest of this entry »
Despite protests from airlines and travel industry associations, the CDC has extended the transportation mask mandate for an additional 15 days, citing the ongoing risk of infection from recent surges of Covid-19 in the United States.
“CDC continues to monitor the spread of the Omicron variant, especially the BA.2 subvariant that now makes up more than 85% of U.S. cases,” said CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund. “Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the U.S. In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decided to extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022.”
The mask mandate was scheduled to end next week after April 18th. The CDC has repeatedly extended the requirement to wear masks over the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the current 15-day extension is the shortest yet mandate extension.
With travel restrictions still in place for many international destinations, along with a desire to avoid or escape dense populations in cities, outdoor itineraries within the U.S. are holding greater appeal as pandemic fears start to fade.
A recent study by ValuePenguin looked at national park and monument visitation to see which parks saw the most and least visitors, and which ones are on the road to recovery.
- National parks in 2021 reclaimed 91% of their 2019 pre-pandemic visitation. Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida was the big winner with a 154% increase in visits: nearly 2.6 million in 2021, versus roughly 1 million in 2019.
- As pandemic fears faded, national park visitors stayed longer. While visitorship in 2021 was down 9% from 2019, the number of hours spent at national parks was down only 5%.
- But not all parks fared the same during the early portion of the pandemic. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska saw a drop in visitors from more than 1.1 million in 2019 to only 297 — yes, 297 — in 2020.
- Urban parks, monuments and memorials typically have seen the slowest recoveries. Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Boston National Historic Park and the Statue of Liberty National Park in New York all ranked in the bottom five for percentage change in visitors between 2019 and 2021.
View full report: https://www.valuepenguin.com/national-parks-study
Southwest Airlines Co. has added additional service to its flight schedule beginning in early June, including more options for California travel; new service for Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean also announced.
“For a gamut of travelers seeking a business opportunity, faraway fun, or family time, these new routes and additional flights put the hospitality and value of Southwest Airlines in front of more of our customers,” said Andrew Watterson, Executive Vice President, and Chief Commercial Officer. “We recently extended our flight schedule to early November, and we’re making available new service sooner for planning early summertime journeys.”
Additional access between the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley grows with new Southwest service between San Jose, Calif. and Eugene, Ore., once-daily beginning June 5, and with additional flights on some existing routes.
Recently commemorating three years of serving the Hawaiian Islands, Southwest is increasing the number of flights within the Aloha State to offer interisland service at more times of day to connect people in the islands with business, family, and fun. New, once-daily service nonstop between Kahului (Maui) and Lihue (Kauai) begins June 5, with additional flights, offered on existing inter-island routes.
The carrier’s authorized travel between the U.S. and Cuba is available to more Southwest customers with a tripling of service from South Florida beginning May 4, roundtrip three times daily on the carrier’s Fort Lauderdale—Havana route. That same week, an additional roundtrip on Saturdays begins May 7 on the Tampa, Fla.—Havana route, to complement daily roundtrip service.
Visitors to Las Vegas in 2021 were younger and spent more than in previous years, and devoted more of their time to gambling according to the Las Vegas Visitor Profile study 2021.
A study conducted by GLS Research for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority indicates some positive trends in an uncertain time for Vegas. The amount visitors spent on gambling jumped to 39% despite monetary difficulties among the general public caused by the pandemic.
At the same time, the amount of time tourists spent on gambling per day has shot up as well. An estimated 21% said they spent an average of 5 to 6 hours, while one quarter (26%) said they gambled an average of three to four hours. Both figures are higher compared to numbers recorded from 2016 to 2019.
However, only 75% of 3,917 visitors said they gambled, down from 2019’s 81%. The downtrend is likely due to the travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, which hampered international travelers, particularly from Asia, where the biggest gamblers are, from traveling to Las Vegas. Per the data, only 3% are from other countries, while 97% of visitors came from the U.S.
Expenditures on other recreational and leisure activities also increased compared to pre-pandemic figures. For food and drink, for example, the average amount people spent was $462.37 compared to 2019 at $410.74. Money spent on shopping and local transport also climbed to $284.55 and $159.73, respectively.
While all basic expenditures have seen an increase, a notable exception was money spent on shows and entertainment which hit its lowest figure since 2016, with an average of $32.55.
In terms of demographic figures, the study revealed changing trends as well.
- More than one-half or 54% of visitors are 40 years old and older, with an average visitor age of 43.2. An estimated 21% of the visitors are ages 21 to 29;
- The number of visitors identifying as caucasian visiting Las Vegas dropped to 56% from 2019’s 77%. The number of African-American and Black visitors rose to 17% from the 9% recorded in 2019, followed by Hispanic/Latino visitors with 19%, up from 11%.
- One out of four visitors (26%) came from Southern California followed by Arizona with 11%
If you want to spend much of your life cruising on small ships (less than 1500 passengers), it helps to be very old or wealthy. At least, this is common wisdom, but some investment syndicates are trying to level the playing field by making frequent cruises available to many of us.
Right now, the residential cruise ship called The World seems to be the only proven model for people making their homes at sea on a small ship. The World was commissioned about 20 years ago by Canadian hotel investors. The original idea was to combine high-end condos and luxurious hotel suites onboard a vessel that would circle the globe. The hotel revenues would offset the ship’s operating costs, making the residences more affordable.
According to stories written at the time, the project failed. Some say it was because the expectations of the condo owners weren’t Read the rest of this entry »
In our last article, we discussed how many consumers perceive advertising as manipulative and less than authentic. Another common complaint is that advertising imposes itself on the individual in an unwanted manner – it interrupts the flow of information or entertainment to gain mindshare. Thus, a commercial appears at the climax of the television show, or the banner ad covers up what you are trying to read. Indeed, much of the advertising to which we are exposed each day is unsolicited and unwanted. Read the rest of this entry »
In a statement sent to travel agents on Monday, Celebrity Cruises canceled the 2022-2023 Asia season of the Celebrity Solstice with a total of 19 cruises affected.
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel our Asia season due to the ongoing uncertainty around when international operations might fully restart in this region,” the cruise line said in the statement. “We thank our guests for their patience and understanding as the world continues to reopen and we continue to work through unique circumstances.”
Celebrity is offering passengers booked on the cruises the option of applying their current booking to select Asia sailings in the 2023-2024 season or a full refund.
Celebrity is redeploying the Solstice to the Mexican Riviera, replacing the seven-night sailings of the Celebrity Millennium. The Celebrity Millennium will be redeployed to the Caribbean.
As the European country with the oldest consistent borders, Portugal is a multivariate experience. The cultural influences brought on by this 900 years of existence have added to the flavor of Portugal. And, though a smaller nation, it is busting at the seams with a lively culture and sublime scenery for the traveler to explore.
They say the stomach is the window to happiness, and Portugal is well on its way to being the perfect portal. The cafes and restaurants that line the streets are well known around the world for their culinary treats. These are often simple and delicious dishes: fresh baked bread with olive oil or cheese, or both smooth red wines and crisp, green wines (vinho verde). But, far more often, Portuguese dishes feature Read the rest of this entry »