The Best Kind of Clients

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

If you ask me where the best place to spend your money to attract the best kind of clients is, I will always answer:

1. in specializing your company in something you are good at

2. investing in attracting repeat clients and getting referrals.

By now, you have seen how I like to compare Travel Agents/Advisors with doctors. If you think I am stretching the truth too much, maybe you are not thinking about it carefully enough, or maybe you are not valuing your services enough. People coming back from a bad vacation are in a horrible mood –  even on the airplane coming home.

Travelers, like everyone else, prefer to be referred to a specialist, just as they would for a doctor. A travel advisor who sells everything could miss important information that may be very specific to some destinations. A travel advisor who specializes in the Caribbean for example, knows more about the possible direct flights to each island than someone who doesn’t specialize in that destination. They would know better which island caters to families and which ones are wedding destinations and so forth.

The same happens with client satisfaction. Like with doctors, clients will remember the name of their favorite Travel Agent. They love to brag and will make recommendations about how they got the best vacation. Repeat customer are essential to any business. They create the strong base of your business and their recommendations are your success –  the reason the business’ worth keeps growing. New clients coming to you from other venues are the icing on the cake (and now we’ll need to compare travel agencies with bakeries!)

Cheers!

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Travel Agent Concierge

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

OK, call me crazy or perhaps a visionary – but I believe that like a great, special and brave doctors, Travel Agents/Advisors with great experience, specialization, and an impeccable reputation will end up charging a yearly fee for providing concierge services.

Travel Agents are basically on call 24/7 and travelers now know how important a Travel Agent/Advisor is to making or breaking a great vacation. Unfortunately, we have had to go through a horrible pandemic in order for travelers to truly understand how important a travel advisor is to their well-deserved vacation. Now, who can “afford” to make ANY mistakes booking a vacation? It could be “deadly” if a traveler gets stuck in the wrong place. Booking travel themselves or through the internet is the same as using Google as their doctor.

But how do you, a travel advisor, build your business to a higher level like that? First, think about specializing. Secondly, your time is money. Don’t work for free – even if you just charge a consultation fee that will be deducted once the traveler purchases the tour. Third, recommendations from previous clients and repeat clients are your goal. Fourth, keep updated and learning, no one knows it all.

Remember always – we create our destiny! Don’t daydream about what could, should, would have been, if only…. You can do it. If you need to, reach out to others who can help. There are always good people ready to help hard workers.

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Good Bye 2020

Dear All,

We have all seen the memes depicting the year 2020 in a big, smelly trash bag being dumped into the garbage by avatars. I wish it was that easy to get rid of a bad year.

I want to focus on the personal growth we have all gone through, intentional or not, during 2020. Smart were the people who took that growth and did something with it. Most of the time, learning is a difficult experience, and growing takes us to another level – but many times leaves us with painful bruises.

Oh my, so many bruises! Sometimes the pain that comes with learning and growing is so deep that we cry in front of others because we can’t hide it anymore. I know I have! But afterwards, once we look around and know we’ve survived and grown, we can even smile again.

I love to read mystery books, especially whodunnits. I truly enjoy them. Most of the time I read the reviews of the book after I have read it to see how many people agree with my opinion. Sometimes, I do the opposite and I read the reviews first. But, once in a while, I’ll even read the spoiler alerts first, and will then read the book only IF I like who did it.

Honestly, I like that foresight. I wish we could live like that. I wish I could somehow read the spoilers about my life, not too often, but especially when the pain of growing is so intense. I would like to know how the following years will end up. The bruises will probably still be there, but my heart will feel stronger and I would know to take care of myself during those harder steps.

Wishing you all a safe 2021 full of safe travels and celebrations.

Cheers!

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Preview of 2021

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

This blog is a small preview of what will happen in 2021, and no, I don’t have a crystal ball to see the future. I am basing my opinion on my experience, common sense, and a lot of what we all experienced in 2020.

Let’s start:

  • For all of those who did not use 2020 to promote yourself as a Travel Expert, now is time to use all your tools, and no excuses. Make yourself and travel talking points EVERYWHERE you go. Nickname yourself as Travel, Trip, Caribbean, Europe, Safari Expert – or an expert in whatever you specialize in.  Everyone who can afford to, and also those who can’t, will be wanting to book tours with REAL TRAVEL AGENTS/ADVISORS and you cannot miss this party!
  • Learn as much as you can about Travel Insurance (the good and more inclusive policies) because of 3 major possible issues:

    1. People giving a down payment on a trip and realizing they cannot afford to go and wanting their money back.
    2. Countries that decide to welcome ONLY people who’ve had a COVID vaccine, and certain people may be against the vaccination and have already partially or fully paid for a trip.
    3. In case someone gets COVID and needs treatment in a foreign country, learn what the travel insurance covers.
    Get all the information from the best Travel Insurance policy money can buy and explain to your clients that is better to laugh at the end of the trip than to cry before, during or after!
  • Spend New Year’s Day reviewing your company’s Terms and Conditions (if you haven’t done that yet). After Covid, many things should be reviewed. If your Terms and Conditions do not include the word “Covid” in relation to a major unseen catastrophe in certain paragraphs, it is for sure in need of update.
  • Another piece of advice I give to those who want to have a great 2021 but feel like they need a guiding hand, find a mentor who can give you some guidance for a successful year.

God bless you and cheers!

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Vaccine and Cruises

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

As you know, through all of 2020 I dreamed of being on a cruise. The three cruises we had booked were all cancelled.

The Biden administration, which will begin on January 20, 2021, has set a goal of providing 100 million vaccines to Americans within the first 100 days of its presidency.

Travel agents and travelers alike wonder if the cruise industry is going to make vaccination mandatory to sail. There has been no official word about this, and a few weeks ago, one cruise line executive said that he did not foresee vaccination becoming a requirement to sail.

However, the vaccine has now been approved, and distribution will likely begin as soon as this week.  Every industry that relies on international travel is now having the same discussion and making the decision whether or not to require vaccination as a condition of travel.

Qantas Airline has decided to make vaccination mandatory to fly once the vaccines become widely available. As a country, Australia is also considering making it mandatory to have the vaccine to enter.

Several travel organizations and companies are considering the creation of a “vaccine passport.”  Vaccination is sure to be a big discussion, and what happens in the cruise industry will be a very interesting debate.  The result will more than likely depend on what happens in other countries and businesses in the travel industry.

If vaccination is required by destinations and airlines for travel, more people are likely to get vaccinated. At that point, the cruise industry may be better able to require it. It is surely going to be quite a topic of interest and discussion in the very near future!

What is your opinion?

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Transparency

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

There is a lot to be said about transparency. And no, I am not going to talk about politics. I will be talking about travel and the business of a travel agent/advisor.

Let’s start by talking specifically about this year, 2020.

In my opinion, the fact that you might post on social media or somehow share with your clients that you are feeling vulnerable about COVID, feeling sad about so many deaths, or that you are not comfortable traveling right now  doesn’t make you a bad professional, it makes you a real person. It makes you transparent. It doesn’t mean that you cannot put together the best trip for someone who is ready to travel now (when you personally, for your own reasons, are not).

Honestly, I felt the same way when I was putting together a trip to a country I had no interest in going to, or beach vacations when I don’t enjoy bathing in the sun.

What makes you a great travel agent/advisor is your capability in putting together a safe trip for a person, within their budget, and fulfilling their priorities, not your own.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation of your reasons not to travel during COVID. You don’t have to justify why you might feel anxious, depressed or sad during this time. It doesn’t make you less professional, or a bad travel agent.

It makes you human. It makes you honest and transparent. It does not take away any knowledge you have as a good professional. By being yourself and being transparent, it shows how cautiously you work and how much you care!

To a great 2021 full of new bookings and more transparency.

Cheers!

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Imagine…

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

It is December! How many of you have not traveled since the pandemic began? I missed my cruises, the excitement of being on the ship, the excursions, the shows, the elegant dinners, walking around and meeting new and fun people, the pool, the gym, going dancing, taking some interesting “classes,” waking up in a new port, shopping, breakfast in the room, (I avoided the buffet, so I wouldn’t overeat 😜). I even miss the casino, the massages and mani-pedis, why not?

I can see myself getting onboard again and enjoying every bit of the cruise once we get the vaccine. I have so many more countries on my bucket list to explore. Thirty-four at least to be exact! My goal is to get to 120 – so you do the math of how many countries I have already been to. I couldn’t add any on my list this year from the 3 cruises we missed. Right now, exactly now, we were supposed to be taking one starting in Singapore and ending in Dubai.

Hopefully next year!

Travel will come back even better and stronger than before. People need to get away so badly. I hope all Travel Agents/Advisors are ready to take care of all those bookings. Smart travelers will not make the arrangements themselves. They need a good and experienced advisor to hold their hand. There will also be so many first-time travelers going places, especially to Mexico and The Caribbean. Watch my prediction!

This is the reaction of a human being, to celebrate life after a pandemic, after a difficult year. The world is a big party and we all need to celebrate by embracing new cultures, old cultures, speaking HELLO in other languages, and feeling alive again!

Cheers!

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Can you hear me?

Dear All,

It’s almost Thanksgiving, can you believe it? We’re supposed to go around our smaller tables and say something we are thankful for – and I would add, something we’ve learned to cope with during such a difficult year.

In my case I am thankful for my family’s health (so far 🙏) and I am learning to be patient. I truly thought that patience was a gene I was born without.

I have had to learn to let so many things go this year. Sure, I cried when almost no one was watching, but I would wear a happy face and tell everyone that only God knew why He was doing certain things. Inside, I sometimes felt as though my heart was smashed into little pieces.

As I am writing this blog, I am sitting outside in my car. We don’t have electricity in the house today or tomorrow because they are changing the electrical power on our block. I am currently waiting for the results from a COVID test I had yesterday. Results are supposed to come in 24 hours, but who is counting, right? Almost 25 hours and the clock is ticking, but I have gotten no email or text message.

I got my iPhone upgraded from 8 to the new 12! Awesome right? NOPE! WhatsApp doesn’t work well, and I have friends, family and “partners in the travel business” all over the world, and that is the best way to communicate with them. The way WhatsApp is behaving is very strange. It seems to pick and choose certain messages, senders, and receivers. Otherwise it says: “Waiting for this message. This may take a while.” That means NEVER!

Rosana, take a deep breath, pretend to enjoy the gene you were born without.  Pretend you have PATIENCE- and remember that 2021 is coming soon. And no, don’t let your depression and anxiety tell you that next year could be the same or worse! Be your own best friend, be kind to yourself, and think that the worst is almost over.

If you needed to hear that, good! If you didn’t, thank you for your kindness to me!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Reacting to Changes

Dear All,

Have you thought how about how flexible your mind is and about your attitude towards change?  I was talking to my personal trainer and discussing how many people have gained weight during this year.

I am not judging anyone, we all know that eating more or less has to do with how we deal with our feelings. Some, I believe fewer than average, eat less during a stressful time. It is a matter of control, they can’t control their environment so they control their food intake.

On the other hand, most people eat more to avoid dealing with their real feelings, trying to “fill up” the emptiness of what they feel inside. Unfortunately, food intake is not going to fulfill their feeling of emptiness.

The real winners are the ones who can express how sad, unhappy, frustrated they feel, and name their feelings (hopefully without “hurting” others physically or emotionally) and deal with their real feelings and use food only for nutrition. Easier said than done!

Food is one easy way to see how people deal with change. Another sign is withdrawal. Suddenly a friend disappears,with no calls, no texts, no nothing. That can indicate serious depression, or another mental illness. PLEASE REACH OUT! If you can’t, reach another common friend. Some people may need help and mental health is very important especially in these hard times. Don’t judge, don’t think about the differences you may have had in the past, just be kind and reach out, for them and for yourself!

Today I went to have breakfast at the same restaurant I have been going to for a while, with the same awesome waiter. The restaurant had the same number of patrons, but because it was windy at the beach, they changed the serving area slightly. I noticed the waiter seemed a little lost. Not the same smile or regular charm. Well, this small change of venue really did a trick on him. At the end, when we went to pay our tab he seemed a little embarrassed and told us that he hoped that next week we would be in the same place as we’d been every week before. This little change was overwhelming for him. Be sensitive! Not everyone experience changes the same way.  Try to step into other’s shoes and ask yourself how would you feel.

Empathy and kindness go a long way.

Thank you for “listening.”

Cheers!

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Get Inspired

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

No matter what your life is about, when you love what you do you don’t need to “work” a day in your life. Just get inspired and become more and more creative. The excitement comes so naturally that ideas flow easily and you can feel your adrenaline pumping.

Does this sound familiar?

Yes? Great! I am so happy for you! You are on the right path and you know that no matter what, the light is at the end of the tunnel (some have longer tunnels than others!)

No? No problem! While there is a will, there is a way. I believe that – not only because it has happened to me but also because I have had the pleasure of guiding many people to their success, especially in the travel business which is my true passion.

If you are passionate about travel and you believe 110% that to travel well a person needs an advisor, then you can be a successful travel agent/advisor.

I have never met a successful person that can sell something he/she would never buy.

I have heard that some incredible salespeople can sell ice to the Eskimos but those are the ones who truly believe that their ice is much better than the ice that is available for free.

My point is that if you are passionate about something (in our case, travel) and believe in the power of the knowledge of an expert, and know you can be that person, it is only a matter of time that you will succeed.

Like doing anything else, don’t rush, don’t cut corners, and don’t overdo. Build your business with a solid base and enjoy each and every step!

Good luck and remember I am a message or an email away, rooting for your success and ready to answer your questions!

Cheers!

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