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Travel Agent Professional May 2011 Issue 7

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Guest Editorial – By Lee Rosen

Clients for Life By Mitchell J. Schlesinger


Chauffeur Drive and Transfer Services Product Summary: Chauffeur drive and transfer services in all major cities worldwide

Product Specifications: Service available in over 38 countries including US, Canada, Europe, South America and East Asia Experienced, professional multi-lingual speaking drivers knowledgeable of the local area Chauffeur transfers between airports, hotels, rail stations, ports of call and within same city or between cities

Product Benefits: Rates generally include local taxes, fuel, general insurance in accordance with local laws including fire and 3rd party liability, driver’s meal for services of four hours or less Rates generally exclude parking fees, tolls, entrance fees, car phone usage, driver’s meals for services of more than four hours, driver’s meals and accommodations for overnight services

Fleet consists of the latest model luxury sedans, 4 wheel drives and minivans

Vouchers are emailed to you immediately upon confirmation, however in most cases client does not need to carry one

Chauffeur drive services at disposal, hourly, half day, full day, overnight or longer

Client credit card is required in advance in the event of incidentals at completion of services.

Pricing

Reliable and trustworthy customer service from our agents

Transfer pricing from $147 from LaGuardia Airport to New York City, $156 Los Angeles Airport to Los Angeles, $197 from London Heathrow to central London, $136 From Nice Airport to downtown Nice

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24/7/365 Service - toll free numbers to contact us

1-800-223-5555


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Guest Editorial — Exploit Your (Technology) Advantages By Lee Rosen President, Leisure Pop

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Living the Dream

12

Clients for Life:

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By Sherry Laskin Travel Writer, Blogger & Social Media Advisor

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By Mitchell J. Schlesinger Vice President, Sales & Marketing Voyages to Antiquity

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We Are Like... A Fiddler on the Roof! By Scott Koepf Vice President of Sales Avoya Travel/America’s Vacation Center

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Host Listing Showcase

Ad Index

Auto Europe ................................................7 Luxury Travel Network ...............................15 UNIGLOBE Travel USA ..............................21

http://www.AutoEurope.com Auto Europe................................IFC

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/ Royal Caribbean Line ...................BC

http://www.joinavoya.com/default.cfm?ref=115 Avoya Travel/AVC.........................19

www.sabretravelinetwork.com/tmu Sabre ...........................................13

83http://www.azamaraclubcruises.com Azamara Club Cruises ....................9

http://www.myhosttravelagency.com Travel Planners Int’l......................11

http://www.leisurepops.com/ Leisure Pops .................................17

http://us.voyagestoantiquity.com/ Voyages to Antiquity ......................3

Travel Agent Professional

2011

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Travel Agent Professional May 2011 Issue 7

Joel M. Abels

Legend In the Travel Industry April 1927 to January 2007

Travel Agent Professional P.O. Box 120202 Staten Island, NY 10312 E-mail: info@travelagentprofessional.com Phone: 718.227.7541 Ann M. Hoek Publisher/Creative Design Bonnie Walling Editor

Meet Our Editorial Board Mitchell J. Schlesinger Vice President, Sales & Marketing Voyages to Antiquity www.voyagestoantiquity.com Mary Brutscher Former Host Agency Owner & Travel Educational Instructor cruisefacecruises@yahoo.com Rusty Pickett, ECC Shellback Cruises www.shellbackcruises.com Les-Lee Roland Owner of The Package Deal Scott Koepf Vice President of Sales Avoya Travel/ America’s Vacation Center www.joinavoya.com/default.cfm?ref=11583 Sherry Laskin, ACC Travel Writer, Blogger & Social Media Advisor www.sherrylaskin.com

Contributions Lee Rosen, CEO Leisure Pops www.leisurepops.com This online magazine is dedicated to the memory of Joel Abels, Travel Trade's editor and publisher. Joel and his life's work may be gone, but with your help it can live on.

Travel Agent Professional has its roots in Home Based Trade, the first magazine of its kind, started by Joel Abels in 2004. Joel and Lenore Abels ran Travel Trade for nearly half a century – it was started by her grandfather, John S. Lewis, and her father, Sidney Lewis, in 1929, and they took the publication over after her grandfather’s passing. Under Joel’s direction, the company grew to be one of the travel agent industry’s leading publications, reaching more than 45,000 agents throughout North America. It spawned a famous series of trade shows and three monthly magazines – Cruise Trade, Tour Trade and Home Based Trade. The Abels also garnered enormous respect – Joel received the Neal Award, called “the Pulitzer Prize of the business press,” for his hard-hitting editorials. On a personal note, after working with Joel for over a decade and staying with him until the end, I grew to truly care for and respect the man. He was like a second father to me. Joel was old school, he stood by his word and believed in his work. There will never be another. While nobody can replace this industry legend, we’re hoping that this new publication, which reunites the original Home Based Trade editorial board, will be able to carry on his passion for travel and those who sell it.

Ann M. Hoek Joel was a friend to all travel agents. He really put cruises on the map for agents in terms of education, knowledge and motivation. His CRUISE-ATHONs are the best shows in the business and so much of it was because of his passion for cruise vacations and for agents — and that passion was contagious. Travel agents picked up on it immediately and the result was that they sold more cruises. Joel was first to get behind the Home Based agent and cruise-only agent and embrace them. He put them on the map as legitimate sellers of travel. He definitely will be missed. — Vicki Freed Reprinted from Jan. 29, 2007 TTN with writer permission

May 2011


VOYAGES TO ANTIQUITY From the wonders of ancient Greece to

the monumental splendor of the Roman Empire, Voyages to Antiquity brings to life the exciting and inspiring history of the Mediterranean aboard Aegean Odyssey. CRUISE-TOUR FARES INCLUDE:

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DALMATIA & ANCIENT GREECE

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2011 BROCHURE TODAY

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VOYAGES TO ANTIQUITY Call 1-877-398-1460 Visit www.voyagestoantiquity.com Prices are per person, double occupancy, cat N. Free to $199 Air (and transfers) applicable with cruise-tour purchase only and does not include government taxes, fees and airline fuel surcharges which may change at any time. Stateroom Savings based on double occupancy and vary by category and sailing.All offers are subject to availability, capacity controlled and may be withdrawn at any time. Ship’s Registry: Malta.


4 Guest Editorial —

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Exploit Your (Technology)

Advantages

Huh?

Lee Rosen President, Leisure Pops www.leisurepops.com

Intuition tells us that the larger the agency, the more resources and hence, the “better” technology. Yet your intuition is wrong on this one. Today’s “regular” leisure agent has better technology than the megas.

This last statement is counter-intuitive. EVERYONE knows that the big agencies have all the advantages including resources. EVERYONE knows that the poor, small agent today can hardly compete in today’s environment. Since big agencies can amortize costs over larger numbers (more agents, more sales transactions, more clients), their cost per whatever comes out to be much lower. Therefore, they can afford more “state-of-the-art or “whizbang” or “latest-greatest,” or whatever-else-youwant-to call-it technology. But my statement is true. The independent or small agent has the option and ability to have superior technology than even the biggest agencies, and to do so at very reasonable prices. Here is why: First, some of the big agencies automated parts of their business a long time ago. And once you get your business woven into a technology solution, it is really hard to unwind and move to a new (and better) solution. So many of these large businesses chug along with really old, dated technology simply because changing is so challenging for them. (Parallel story: World War II forced Japan to rebuild

May 2011


5 their steel manufacturing facilities. And they did so with newer, better technology. That led to a distinct advantage over the US. So we won the war, but fell behind in steel manufacturing abilities!) The even bigger reason small or independent agents can easily have better technology than the megas is the nature of technology today. Whether buying one PC or 100, the price is very close and the computer exactly the same. And fact is today we all have PCs so equipment is no longer a challenge. Internet connections? Today, they are fast and cheap — and again, we already use the Internet daily in our regular routines. Other costs, like long distance phone charges or office overhead, are also gone or minimized. And the Web sites we visit every day, reservation systems we use, content we research, and communications we send all have exactly the same potential for independent agents as they do for mega agencies. Web sites are not “Agent Bigots” — they do not look one way for mega agencies and another for smaller agents. They provide abilities for those that choose to use them. Even if you need some help with the PowerPoint or Word file, and getting pictures from your IPhone attached to an E-mail, there is always someone reasonably close by that you can just ask — especially if you have a kid under 15! Want real world examples? Web sites for agents are readily available for $25 per month. Sure glad I am not a mega agency that spent tens (or hun-

Travel Agent Professional

dreds) of thousands to have what is now outdated technology. Want a database or CRM tool? The industry standard costs agents $25 per month - complete with all the features, functions, and integration that megas get. Marketing content? Promotional pieces? E-mail sending technology? Industry standard promotional databases are available free of charge to agents — whether independent or mega. And most suppliers will gladly help you with their content — some even sending it for you on your behalf — regardless if you are part of a mega agencies or an independent agent. Want merchandising with your preferred suppliers’ promotions when you can best use it? That’s usually $10, and if you are part of any of a number of groups you can get it for free with Leisure Pops! Agents’ availability for the best reservation and information systems? Again, free of charge. Yes, in a way, things are upside down when it comes to technology and travel agents. The “little guys,” or independent agents, have the opportunity to benefit from their technology advantages. Now, you just need to take advantage of those opportunities. Use those Web sites, employ your merchandising system, use communication and marketing tools, communicate, and exploit your (technology) advantages! Thanks for reading. Lee


6 Living the Dream B y S h e r r y

I was a travel manager at the local branch of a national travel association. I brought with me sixteen years of agency ownership/sales experience plus first-hand cruise and destination product knowledge.

A C C

This was a very busy travel agency and two of my four agents sold close to a million dollars in travel sales per year for many consecutive years. Cruise sales, of course, were a component of their production but not nearly as large as the FIT and escorted tours sales.

L a s k i n ,

A few years ago,

Sherry Laskin Travel Writer, Blogger & Social Media Advisor www.sherrylaskin.com

When a potential cruise passenger sat down at an agent’s desk, immediately the brochure took center stage. Questions were asked of the agent, who would flip through the brochure in hurried search of the right answer…or at least something close to right.

had they set foot aboard a cruise ship. All their cruise advice was based on hearsay, TV commercials and post-cruise comments from clients. They could offer neither accurate, objective nor even subjective information on a consistent basis. Cruise sales suffered.

Eventually the potential cruise passenger left the office clutching a stack of glossy brochures, probably headed to another travel agency to get answers. When I asked my agent why that person didn’t book their cruise, the reply was usually, “They need to look through the brochures.”

This ongoing situation echoed my own travel agent mantra: See it, Sail it, Sell it.

After observing this for several weeks, it suddenly dawned on me. These agents were trying to sell cruises and truly the entire cruise experience without ever having cruised! Okay, maybe once or twice many years ago. Not in the last few years

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every travel agent could experience a variety of cruise ships, hotels and resorts around the globe? Think of the overwhelming level of excitement that the potential cruise passenger would feel in just a few minutes of sitting with their agent. Without initially whipping out the overused brochure, the well-traveled agent could paint a picture of their client’s vacation with the expressiveness of Michelangelo. Yes, (continued on page 8)

May 2011


Showcase

Expanding Prestige Fleet Offers low CO2 Models and Hybrids

Auto Europe, a leader in worldwide car rental services, has expanded their prestige and sports car services in addition to offering a large selection of hybrids from Toyota and Honda, and low CO2 models from Volkswagen, Citroen, Mercedes and BMW. Auto Europe offers the largest selection of luxury vehicles including the latest models from Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari including the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, Jaguar, Lotus, Mercedes, Maserati, Porsche, Range Rover and others. New additions to their selection of models including the Porsche Panamera, Mercedes SLS AMG, Ferrari California, Rolls Royce Phantom, Mercedes Benz S Class hybrid and the Rolls Royce Ghost. Auto Europe’s dedicated team of specialists provide an unmatched level of quality service and can assist with customized arrangements including scheduled delivery and drop off to where you need whether it’s at the airport, hotel or port in all major cities in Europe. Auto Europe services over 8,000 car rental locations in over 130 countries worldwide. In addition, through their tour division, www.FlyInternational.com they offer scheduled airfare to Europe with over thirty carriers and service 3, 4 & 5 star worldwide hotels. For additional information contact your local sales representative or Auto Europe at (800) 223-5555. Visit their web site at http://www.autoeurope.com.

Auto Europe Expands Services for Worldwide Coverage Services Are Now Available in over 38 Countries Auto Europe has expanded their chauffeur services and now offers Transfers, Executive and Premium Chauffeur Drive services in over 38 Countries. In addition to servicing countries throughout Europe, Chauffeur Services are now available in South America including, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. East Asia is also covered in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Locations in the Caribbean include Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Bermuda and Jamaica. Services are also available in Australia and South Africa. Auto Europe offers chauffeured transfer services

between airports, hotels, rail stations, and piers and within the same city or between cities. Chauffeur drive services are also available at disposal for service based hourly, half day, full day, overnight or even longer. The drivers are experienced, multi-lingual professionals with an excellent knowledge of the local area. In addition to servicing over 6000 car rental locations in over 60 countries worldwide, Auto Europe also offers coach and business class airfare to Europe and services 3, 4 & 5 star hotels worldwide through their tour division Fly International.

For additional details and restrictions, please contact your local sales representative or visit http://www.autoeurope.com or call 1-800-223-5555.

1. 800. 223. 5555 • www. autoeurope. com 39 Commercial St., P.O. Box 7006, Portland, ME 04112


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it would still be a subjective point of view, but at least it is first-hand knowledge and advice. Unfortunately, not every Home Based agent can take the time away to hop on and off of ships or check into and out of resorts. We (yes I am one, too) work alone, often late into the night and usually have no backup support to help us out when we are on a trip. But with careful planning, skillful budgeting and the ability to “take the show on the road,” travel agents can experience nearly every cruise line, tour operator, hotel and resort around the world. It’s really a matter of priorities and needs. Your priority is to provide your current and potential clients with the best and most accurate replies to their travel inquiries. In order to do so, you need to get out and experience what you sell. Let’s tackle the first obstacle; finding the time. Of course, I’m not advocating that you should abandon your family and responsibilities and take to the wild beyond. Find the time, whether you have

to use your family’s yearly vacation as your working holiday or take a long weekend by yourself. There is a way to allocate “away” time, if you really want to do it. Sometimes, finding the funds to take to the seas or soak up the luxury of an all-inclusive resort can be a challenge. Take advantage of fam trips either through your host agency, consortium or through travel agent organizations like NACTA. While not free, the prices can be so incredible that it’s more costly not to go, in terms of experience, knowledge gained and future sales. Save money by updating your mobile phone plans each time you leave on an international trip. Buy an unlocked phone in the U.S. ($59 at BestBuy.com.) Then simply buy a new SIM card for 10 Euro in each European country that you visit. Let your sales reps know that you are serious about selling their product. Sometimes they have their own travel agent fam opportunities at greatly reduced rates. Be sure to follow through on (continued on page 10)

May 2011


www.Cruisingpower.com


10

The best sales tools you can use are first-hand experiences.

your promise to actively promote their products upon your return. Let them know of the sales you create as a result going on their fam. Take online hotel classes or cruise classes and complete their requirements for “graduation.” Often this will enable you to stay at their properties or cruise aboard their ships for free or almost free. Now you’ve solved the problem to find the time and budget the costs. That leaves the obvious dilemma of how to take your office with you. Netbooks are nice, but difficult for much more than E-mail. Bring your laptop and spend a couple of days before your trip to make sure that the programs you regularly use on your desktop are also working on your laptop. Get a online Dropbox account (dropbox.com) and set up the same files on your two computers. Copy any frequently used Excel files or important documents into Dropbox so you can easily access them from the road. Skype and a good headset is, of course, a no-brainer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called a client while I’m on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Most times they don’t even know I’m away. That’s one reason why I don’t leave an away phone message (and for security

reasons, too.) I do, however, leave an absence alert on my email auto-responder, in case Wifi is not readily available. I also pack my current files for clients whose travel plans will need attention while I’m away. When I’m not in the room, I keep all client files locked in the safe. My pull-along bag is my mobile office, equipped with miniature office supplies, mobile phone equipment and my laptop. I’ve labeled small, clear plastic bags with office contents to try to keep all the accessories and components for electronics neat, organized and accounted for when packing up to head home. And take your camera, too. The best sales tools you can use are first-hand experiences, thoughtfully-taken travel photographs and a working knowledge of as many travel products as you can absorb. Now that you know it is possible and an absolute necessity to experience what you sell, go forth and prosper. Your clients will thank you for it. Your life will be greatly enriched as a result of traveling to all of the places that most people visit only in their dreams.

Sherry Laskin is a travel writer, blogger and social media addict as it relates to business awareness and sharing information. Founder of the Vacation Shoppe in 1992, she offers advice and creative ideas for marketing and promotion for travel agents. Sherry is the webinar moderator and a Chapter Director at NACTA.

May 2011


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Travel Agent Professional


12 Clients for Life: By

Managing Travel Over Time

Mitchell J. Schlesinger

The

Mitchell J. Schlesinger Vice President, Sales & Marketing Voyages to Antiquity m.schlesinger@voyagestoantiquity.com

nicest car in the world will not run without four (4) fully operating tires. Mastering the practice of “Clients for Life” requires mastering the four elements covered in this series: • A database with a complete profile (demographics and psychographics) of each client, their travel history and referrals; • Understanding consumer behavior and managing the customer relationship; • Implementing a customer service plan including the 3 Rs (recognition, referrals and rewards); • Managing travel over time.

In truth, you cannot manage travel over time, without fulfilling the necessities of the first three (3) elements above. For the purposes of completing the series, I will approach this final article with the notion that this is the case. At this stage, because presumably you have a robust database filled with personal and travel information for each client and have implemented an aggressive customer service plan, you are in a position to focus on literally directing where and how your clients travel. In this role you are part financial advisor and golf caddy. Why? • Personal finances are critical to consumers (especially now!) and with the right relationship, fully entrust the placement of these funds to financial advisors. Travel is the most frequent high ticket expenditure consumers make, meaning they put their trust in you. The trust factor is what enables clients to rationalize a sizable travel purchase, similar to a financial investment; • Golf caddies are very much like travel sellers. Those with strong, long term relationships make recommendations based on their player’s historical ability to hit specific shots with a club the player is most comfortable using. Their job is to ultimately make suggestions the player can select from. Sound at all familiar? (continued on page 14)

May 2011


sabre red

How do you stay ahead? It’s all about offering great value, great service, capturing more revenue and controlling costs. Sabre ® Red ™ is your total travel solution to drive customer loyalty and power business performance. www.sabretravelnetwork.com

powering progress


14

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Your oppor tunity is to guide your loyal clients through the maze of travel alternatives because you: • Have created a personal relationship with them over a lengthy period of time as their demographics and psychographics have changed; • Have learned to be a good listener; • Understand their travel goals and aspirations, at each “life stage”; • Know exactly where they have been, how much they have spent and…what’s next?; • Know their travel “hot buttons” and how they process them when making travel purchases; • Put yourself in a position whereby they seek your advice and counsel for travel alternatives before making a final decision.

The length and cost are comparable to the Alaska trip and allow them to rationalize the purchase. • As their psychographics change, specific destinations will draw interest. For some destinations, travel can be done in a sequence based on whether desired sights are inland or along the shore. Italy, for example, is a destination best experienced by both a land tour and a cruise. • In their senior years, trips are longer as they have more time. Recommending suppliers they will feel comfortable with is very important. Whether it is a national park tour or cruise to an exotic destination, some suppliers simply cater better to older guests than others.

The critical aspect is to use all of what you have learned above to literally manage what they buy over the length of your relationship with them. And it is a combination of what you can and should recommend to them and what they tell you they are interested in and ask for your opinion. In those cases, it is clearly up to you (as the golf caddy) to present the right assessments of the travel alternatives compared to previous purchases so that they can make a choice that they are comfortable with and can logically rationalize after the purchase is made. And recommendations should reflect their life stages: • For couples traveling with their children, interactive travel experiences that the kids will talk about for weeks after they return and only want to know when they can go again. • If they have a few extra days, an Alaska cruise/tour is a more complete way to fully experience the wildlife along with scenic beauty. • Based on spending 10-14 days in Alaska, a 1014 day cruise in the Med, Europe or Baltic.

The most important motivation for you to master managing travel over time is the “Annuity Factor.” It is a fact that as clients age, (especially over the age of 55), the majority will have more time to travel, more disposable income, all of which results in higher priced transactions yielding substantially greater commissions. And a stronger the base of longtime loyal clientele enables you to more efficiently generate new clients from referrals. There is a significant opportunity for professional sellers of travel who come to fully understand how financially valuable their clients are in terms of repeat travel and referrals. And it almost impossible to underscore just how important how the service provided by all of the agency’s team members impacts client loyalty. Those aggressively embracing this philosophy will be rewarded with a dramatically stronger business and Clients for Life.

May 2011


Showcase

Luxury Travel Network Reveals Details for Annual Fall Conference The luxury host agency announces their conference cruise program for Fall 2011 Coral Gables, FL — Luxury travel consultants within the Luxury Travel Network will be making waves with their business strategies this fall by attending the network’s third annual conference held onboard a fivenight fall cruise on the Celebrity Millennium. The conference themed “Oceans of Opportunity” taking place on October 22, 2011 is the network’s premier educational and networking event of the year for their home-based luxury agents and will focus on exploring opportunities to help them streamline and grow their businesses. “Our annual conference arms our agents with the tools and information they need to stay on top of the luxury travel industry as well as provides training on everything from mastering our internal technology to learning the latest tools and techniques to sell travel through social media,” explained Jody Ryland, vice president of the Luxury Travel Network. “Every luxury agent that attends the conference is making a valuable investment in their business and they often return to work feeling rejuvenated and motivated to further increase their sales knowing our team is by their side every step of the way.” During the conference, the luxury travel consultants will have the opportunity to learn, network and socialize with other luxury travel agents, industry experts, preferred vendors and the Luxury Travel Network management and support team. Seminars and workshops offered at the conference include: • Getting the most out of the network’s powerful software tools — TravelConnect and Sabre Cruises • Turning shared interests into group cruises through social media • Building your business through Virtuoso’s marketing tools • Hearing the latest product updates and pertinent sales information from the 20+ luxury cruise and tour suppliers in attendance Tom Baumann, president of Travel Leaders Leisure Group, reiterates the importance for their Luxury Travel Network specialists to attend the annual conference. “It’s crucial for our agents to attend this conference each year to gain as much knowledge as they possibly can from everyone around them and then put that knowledge to work for themselves and their businesses. Travel agents need to be ‘all in’ to invest in their future and success.”

Travel Agent Professional

About Luxury Travel Network: The Luxury Travel Network host agency program offers experienced luxury agents an opportunity to sell high-end cruises and tours while enjoying the benefits of belonging to a premium luxury agency. The Luxury Travel Network program is affiliated with Cruise Specialists, and offers agents a Virtuoso connection, high commissions, preferred rates and exclusive amenities for their clients.

About Travel Leaders Leisure Group: Travel Leaders Leisure Group serves worldwide travelers through distinct company-owned leisure travel brands. The Travel Leaders Leisure Group division includes All Aboard Travel, Cruise Specialists®, CruiseDeals.com®, Cruise Holidays®, Elite Journeys, Luxury Travel Network, SinglesCruise.com® and company-owned Travel Leaders leisure travel operations. Travel Leaders Leisure Group is part of Travel Leaders Group LLC (formerly Carlson Leisure Group). Travel Leaders Group LLC is transforming travel with a new name that boldly embodies our commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. For more information on joining the Luxury Travel Network or learning more about their upcoming conference, call 866-703-5244 or visit www.luxurytravelnetwork.com


16

We Are Like...

By Scott

A Fiddler on the Roof!

Koepf Scott Koepf Vice President of Sales Avoya Travel/America’s Vacation Center www.JoinAvoya.com

Of

all of the characters I have had the opportunity to play or for that matter even seen on stage, my favorite remains Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. His personality is seemingly simple, yet complex and in the scope of a short musical, he grapples with intense emotions, from the greatest joy to wrenching sadness. The beloved musical itself is in many ways completely different than standard musical fare. It is not the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again and lives happily ever after formula. The genius of the script is that it actually is a sad ending, yet because of the strength of the characters, the audience is left with positive feelings and an uplifted spirit. While I could write a dissertation on Tevye and the depth of his character, I want to instead draw a parallel to the analogy that he uses and that is the title of the show. He compares his life and everyone in his village to being “fiddlers on the roof, trying to scratch out a tune while keeping our balance.” That description seems to me to be the definition of travel agents today. No one can question that a good travel agent makes fabulous music! The dreams you help fulfill, the service you provide, the counsel you give, all result in a beautiful tune! But our job is not easy — and that is why the analogy is (continued on page 18)

May 2011


Leisure Pops: A New Application from an Old Friend Lee Rosen President, Leisure Pops

What is Leisure Pops?

L

eisure Pops is a point-of-

sale, merchandizing software application that runs on an agent’s desktop and helps travel agents to sell more preferred suppliers, more add-on products and more upgrades. Leisure Pops runs in the background on an Agent's

The Power of Pops

• Sell more preferred suppliers. • Sell more add-on products. • Earn more commissions. • Better service your clients.

desktop and then “Pops” or reminds an agent via a pop up message of opportunities to better serve their client — as well as make more commissions. For more information go to www.leisurepops.com


18

Traditions are in many ways foundations or habits that you carry out on a regular basis that keep you steady.

so perfect! It is not just that you are trying to scratch out a tune, but that you are up on roof! Now remember, in Tevye’s village the roofs were not well made, were very uneven and treacherous. Staying alive up there was challenging enough, but trying to make music?

Does this sound familiar? You are trying to make beautiful music, but with the rapid changes in our industry, the challenges of the economy and increased competition, you have to ask the same question Tevye posed: “So how do we keep our balance?”

“Tradition!” While I cannot say that word now without raising my arms above my head, it is the meaning, not the visual, that we need to learn from. Traditions are in many ways foundations or habits that you carry out on a regular basis that keep you steady. In the retail travel business, we have become so enamored with all the new things like social media, product enhancements and such that we may have forgotten our traditions. I am not saying social media or anything else new should not be

embraced as it should. However, when we chase anything new, I challenge you to not forget about your traditions. Traditions can be very high level concepts like good customer service, strong product knowledge and the power of one to one relationships. But like the traditions that Tevye describes they need to get the level of specific things you do and say that you do not compromise. Things like:

Answering the phone with enthusiasm; Making each email personal and compelling; Having a written list of questions about the customer to ask; Scheduling your weekly training program; Having a written follow up plan for all stages of the sales cycle. The list goes on and on, but the problem is that most agents don’t have a list at all! Take the time and document your traditions so that no matter what new and exciting things come our way in this business, you won’t lose your balance because of your

Tradition!

May 2011


Live Leads™ Program

Our home-based Independent Affiliates earn income levels that are often double, even triple, the industry average. With our Live Leads program, the grass really is greener!

We are committed to helping independent travel agencies live a lifestyle of success and are looking for passionate experts that sell cruises, tours, and vacation packages, and who run their businesses with Integrity and ProfessionalismTM.

• Offered 24/7, Live Leads enable travel professionals to focus on selling to new and repeat customers, earning top tier commissions, and living a lifestyle of success.

• Live Leads are sent via the phone, Internet, and now text message to only one Independent Affiliate per lead based on their expertise and performance.

• Choose what you want your agency to sell, specialize in what you’re good at selling, and have the freedom to focus on your clients – we’ll take care of the rest.

Ready to Grow Your Travel Business?

888-426-6184 www.JoinAvoya.com CST# 2016664-10 | Fla. Seller of Travel Ref. No ST36781


20 H o s t

All Aboard Travel

12530 World Plaza Lane #1 Ft. Myers, FL 33907 (800) 741-1770 • (239) 274-9999 Fax: (239) 274-9988 E-mail: cparker@allaboardtravel.com www.allaboardtravel.com Amadeus North America, Inc.

L i s t i n g

9250 NW 36th Street

Selected Host Agencies Corporate Travel Planners & Rennert Travel (An American Express Affiliate) 1919 NW Loop 410; Suite 200: San Antonio, TX 78213 ( 830) 964-2464 E-mail: pketchum@ctptravelservices.com Corporate Site: www.ctptravelservices.com Leisure site: www.rennerttravel.com

Miami, Florida 33178 (888) AMADEUS E-mail: salesinquiries@amadeus.com www.amadeus.com Amadeus North America’s Canadian 14 Duncan Street, Suite 301 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 3G8 (888) 611-5554 AuthorizedAgents

Corporate Travel/The Travel Center West Coast: 1102 N. Brand Blvd. #50 Glendale, CA 91202 (818) 241-6746 • Fax: (201) 994-0652 East Coast: 5 Jefferson Place Moonachie, NJ 07074 (800) 870-9345 • Fax: (201) 994-0652 E-mail: travelcenter@juno.com www.thetravelcenterusa.com

30230 Rancho Viejo Rd., Suite 110 San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (800) 684-3260 E-mail: info@authorizedagents.com www.AuthorizedAgents.com Avoya Travel/

CruiseBrothers.com 950 Wellington Ave Cranston, RI 02910 (401) 941-3999 x 721 (800) 827-7779 x 721 E-mail: steve@cruisebrothers.com www.cruisebrothers.com

America's Vacation Center 5201 Blue Lagoon Drive, Suite 900 Miami, FL 33126 (888) 426-6184 E-mail: Contact@JoinAvoya.com Agents: www.JoinAvoya.com Consumers: www.AvoyaTravel.com

Cruises-N-More 610 Crescent Executive Court, Suite 220 Lake Mary, FL 32746 (407) 771-4454 • Fax: (407) 771-00077 (800) 733-2048 E-mail: info@cruises-n-more.com www.cruises-n-more.com

Brentwood Travel Service 1022 Executive Parkway St. Louis, MO 63141 (800) 527-1059 • Fax: (314) 439-5757 E-mail: sturner@brentwoodtravel.com www.brentwoodtravel.com Coral Sands Travel "America's Host Agency" 1975 SR 29 N, Suite 3814 LaBelle, FL 33935 (866) 481-4678 • Fax: (407) 479-3461 E-mail: host@coralsandstravel.com www.coralsandstravel.com

Cruise Planners 3300 University Drive, Suite 602 Coral Springs, FL 33065 (888) 582-2150 • Fax: (954) 344-0875 E-mail: franchising@cruiseplanners.com www.betterthanahost.com CruiseShipCenters Int'l Inc./ Just Cruises & Vacations 400-1055 West Hastings St. Vancouver, BC V6E 2E9 Canada (604) 685-1221 • Fax: (604) 685-1245 (866) 822-1000 E-mail: careers@cruiseship.com www.cruiseshipcenters.com

Design Travel Inc. 2168 Lake Shore Circle Arlington Heights, IL 60004 Satellite Location: Sheraton Chicago Northwest Hotel (847) 577 7930 • Fax: (847) 577 7917 E-mail: travel@dtmgi.com www.dtmgi.com

Stevens Travel Management 119 West 40th Street, 14th Floor New York, NY 10018 (800) 275-7400 • Fax: (212) 696-0591 E-mail: hostagency@stevenstravel.com www.stevenstravel.com Travel Planners International

2500 Maitland Center Parkway, Incentive Connection Travel Suite 230 13029 North Cave Creek Road Maitland, FL 32751-4174 Phoenix, AZ 85022 (800) 730-6392 • (321) 422-7738 (602) 867-9606 • Fax: (602) 867-9216 E-mail: sales@tpionline.com E-mail: harvey@ictravel.com www.TravelAgentFromHome.com www.ictravel.com Travel Quest Luxury Travel Network 6597 Laketowne Place, Ste. A Albertville, MN 55301 2151 LeJeune Road Ste. 300 (800) 392-6484 • Fax: (815) 572-0113 Coral Gables, FL 33134 E-mail: bonnie@travelquestonline.com (866) 703-5244 www.tqagents.com E-mail: info@luxurytravelnetwork.com www.luxurytravelnetwork.com Trip Professionals Montrose Travel 400 N.Commerce Parkway, Suite 105 Weston, FL 33326 2349 Honolulu Ave. (877) TRIP-PRO • (954) 714-3260 Montrose, CA 91020 (800) MONTROSE • (818) 553-3200 Fax: (954) 733-5424 E-mail: info@rrtrippro.com Fax: (626) 294-9109 www.tripprofessionals.com E-mail: andi@montrosetravel.com Home Based Agent Program UNIGLOBE www.join.mtravel.com Company Web site www.MontroseTravel.com Nexion® 6225 N. State Hwy 161, Suite 450 Irving, TX 75038 (800) 747-6813 E-mail: sales@nexion.com www.nexion.com OASIS 4800 Federal Hwy Boca Raton, FL 33431 800-613-8380 PH 561-393-7622 Fax E-mail: kelly@oasisagent.com www.OASISAgent.com OutsideAgents.com 8030 Phillips Highway, Suite 13 Jacksonville, FL 32256 (904) 739-2224 • (866) 208-5604 E-mail: chad@outsideagents.com www.outsideagents.com

If you are a host agencies and not on this list please E-mail tap.com@verizon.net

1199 West Pender Street, Suite 900 Vancouver, BC, V6E 2R1 CANADA (604) 718-2600 E-mail: info@uniglobetravel.com www.uniglobetravel.com Wyllys Professional Travel 132 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables, Fl 33134 (305) 442-2008 • (800) 3WYLLYS Fax: (305) 441-0945 E-mail: wyllyst@wyllys.webmail.com www.wyllystravel.com YourNameTravel.com (ToGoAway Travel Network) 825 West Jackson Plaza Morton, IL 61550 (800) 207-8383 • (309) 266-8000 Fax: (309) 266-8384 E-mail: mail@togoaway.com www.YourNameTravel.com

May 2011


S H O W C A S E

Home-Based Travel Agents Benefit From Personal Networking “Networking” was the theme at the UNIGLOBE Travel Center Above and Beyond Conference held from April 7-9 in Newport Beach, California. UTC, the host agency division of UNIGLOBE Travel USA, brought together 160 delegates, including home-based and independent agencies and supplier partners, to discuss challenges and opportunities for independent travel professionals and offer networking support to a growing number of independent agencies across America. ASTA’s 2010 NACTA Independent Agents Report found that 57 percent of independent travel professionals saw increased business in 2010 despite the lingering effects of the recession. “Home-based travel agents face unique business challenges, such as achieving work-life balance, sourcing affordable marketing and database tools and tapping into preferred supplier relationships,” says UTC Vice President Betsy Geiser. UTC invited leading industry suppliers to talk about products with delegates in depth during roundtable sessions and a trade show, including Norwegian Cruise Lines, Globus Family of Brands, Amadeus, RBC U.S. Insurance Services, Carnival Cruise Lines and www.Vacation.com Top-tier suppliers enjoyed the chance to interact with independent agents. “What a great group of people,” says Drew Santiago, Carnival Cruise Lines business development manager. “Agents were very focused, eager to learn, proud to be a part of Uniglobe and very supportive of the suppliers that attended the event,”

Travel Agent Professional

adds Jared Braunstein, vice president of strategic accounts and initiatives for www.Vacation.com UTC honored agents with achievement awards for productivity and support for preferred suppliers, as well as recognized million dollar plus producers. UTC Preferred Supplier of the Year award went to Travel Impressions for its service and support. Blanca Aguilar is a travel industry veteran and owner of independent agency Aviva Travel in Chula Vista, California. She recently joined the UTC host agency program. “Talking to long time members, they shared their experiences and gave us tons of advice. I was amazed at the success of many, working more efficiently and enjoying travel opportunities. We are not young anymore, but we sure felt a return to the glamour of our industry that has given us so many opportunities to travel the world.”

About UNIGLOBE Travel Center Uniglobe Travel Center (UTC), the host agency division of Uniglobe Travel (USA) LLC, is a fully appointed ARC/CLIA/IATA hosting facility, based in Irvine, California. UTC provides marketing, networking and technology support to home-based leisure and business travel professionals and independent agencies nationwide. Parent company Uniglobe Travel International Limited Partnership is an international travel franchise brand with independently owned and operated locations and Global Partners in more than 50 countries. For more information on Uniglobe Travel Center's Hosting Programs please contact: Betsy Geiser 800-863-1606 E-mail utcinfo@uniglobetravel.com or visit our website at www.uniglobetravelcenter.com


JUST IN CASE YOU NEED MORE GOOD REASONS

TO RECOMMEND US TO

YOUR CLIENTS. #

1

BEST CRUISE LINE OVERALL for eight consecutive years Travel Weekly 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards

#

1

BEST CRUISE LINE for seven consecutive years Canadian Travel Press 2010 Agent’s Choice Award

#

1

BEST CRUISE SHIPS OF 2011: ALLURE OF THE SEAS® Frommers Best Ships 2011

#

1

BEST FOR FAMILIES Cruise Critic 2010 Editors’ Picks Awards Winner

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1

BEST NEW SHIP: OASIS OF THE SEAS® Cruise Critic 2010 Editors’ Picks Awards Winner

How did we arrive here? By consistently pushing the limits of what’s possible at sea to deliver the vacation of a lifetime. We call this commitment the Royal Advantage – our drive to provide the best, most innovative ships, features, destinations and personalized service to our guests. So when a client wants to know why you’re recommending Royal Caribbean, you’ll never be at a loss for words. To learn more, visit www.CruisingPower.com/MoreSuccess g y y g or www.RoyalCaribbean.com/RoyalAdvantage ©2011 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Ships registry: The Bahamas. 11023664 • 4/28/2011


Travel Agent Professional May 2011