How Much Should You Customize Your Service?

TravelPulse - Opinion - 20 July 2017
Kimberly Wilson-Wetty, co-owner and co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel, experienced an “Aha” moment when one of the luxury agency’s advisors related a request from one client. The gentleman, who was booking a trip to French Polynesia for himself and, he hoped, his soon-to-be fiance, told the advisor he wanted to pop the question at sunset.

Agent to Agent: Get Ready to Sell Holiday Travel

TravelPulse - Opinion - 19 July 2017
Dear Tammy: It’s the middle of summertime, and I’m actively working to book more summer trips for families and college students. Things are going well, but I’m noticing that as active as I am, bookings for the summer are starting to slow down. Am I doing something wrong?

All Roads Really Do Lead Back to Rome

TravelPulse - Opinion - 18 July 2017
I’ve been to Rome three times in my life. The funny thing is, only once did I go on purpose. But it seems that the Eternal City’s seven hills have a magnetic pull for those who are drawn to Europe. And it also seems that it gets better every time—the more you visit, the more you find there is to discover.

Unpack Once and See the World

TravelPulse - Opinion - 14 July 2017
It has to be the single greatest argument to be made about the benefits of cruise travel: You can simply arrive to your cabin, unpack once and relax while the ship takes you to any number of international ports. The alternative as we know is to backpack it or hotel hop, neither of which are nearly as restful. Besides, nobody wants to fly between stops if they don't have to anymore, and land-based transportation is still a headache compared to a cruise.

Hurricane Season Shouldn't Scare You from Cruising

TravelPulse - Opinion - 13 July 2017
Between June 1 to November 30, hurricane season can affect the cruise industry in the Caribbean, though it should not be enough of a concern to warrant foregoing reservations during this time. Cruise ships specifically do their best to avoid bad weather, and any alternative routing can be perceived as part of the adventure.

When Politics Scuttle Tourism

TravelPulse - Opinion - 13 July 2017
Ah! Miles and miles of unfettered, unpopulated beach and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had it all for himself and his family on July 4 weekend—not in some remote island paradise, but right on the Jersey Shore, normally crawling with people on the biggest tourism weekend of the summer. The government shutdown, which came suddenly during the Friday night of July 4 weekend, was a surprise to tourists and the travel planning community who were planning to use any of the state parks, beaches or historical sites but sadly found all of the sites closed.

Agent to Agent: Staying Focused Through the Noise

TravelPulse - Opinion - 12 July 2017
Dear Tammy: I’m having one of those days where I’m questioning everything. You see, I’ve been reading your column since it started and been utilizing your tips. Business has improved a bit, of course, but overall, I keep reading social media posts or other articles about how people do not want to travel anymore, especially internationally. Travel is scary, or expensive, or they just don’t have the time. They think that we aren’t a necessity in someone’s life, like food or housing. At times, it’s becoming a bummer just to get on the internet. How do you feel about this?

High Tech Versus High Touch in Cruise Travel

TravelPulse - Opinion - 11 July 2017
Cruise line Facebook feeds might exhibit 360-degree onboard photos, or news might speak of virtual reality technology previewing ship experiences. However, the real deal can never be beat. As a child of the 1980s, I remember early virtual reality emerging from the video gaming world in the 90s, and I find it amusing that it’s making a comeback now. Why? Because it was super rudimentary then.

Causes of and Remedies for Cruise Ship Envy

TravelPulse - Opinion - 10 July 2017
Do you ever suffer from ship envy? Symptoms include feelings of jealousy upon sighting the latest and greatest cruise vessel docked or anchored in port next to yours. It can be a particularly common experience from a smaller ship looking up at a larger one with all the bells and whistles flaunted colorfully out on deck.

Medical Tourism's Looming Boom

TravelPulse - Opinion - 29 June 2017
It is not yet known if Trumpcare will become the law of the land. But if it does, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 15 million Americans will fall off the health insurance rolls next year. That number will rise to 22 million over 10 years, and insurance costs will skyrocket for older Americans—the ones who need healthcare most.

Agent to Agent: Helping Your Client Through Passport Perils

TravelPulse - Opinion - 21 June 2017
Dear Tammy: What do you do when your client leaves for his trip and has an expired passport? I can’t believe this happened to my client, but I’m not surprised because most people think that passports either don’t expire or don’t expire for a really long time.

Trump Shouldn't Play Politics with Cuban Travel

TravelPulse - Opinion - 15 June 2017
Restricting travel to Cuba hurts the American travel industry and robs American travelers of their freedom for no good

ATC Privatization Comes Down to Two Questions

TravelPulse - Opinion - 12 June 2017
There’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario to everything. Ups and downs, positives and negatives, good news and bad news, whatever you want to call it. Heck, country music writers make a fortune penning hit songs out of just a scenario.

Behind the Caribbean's Best Spas: BlueBay Hotels in the Spotlight

TravelPulse - Opinion - 12 June 2017
Imagine waking up, in one of the spectacular suites of a luxurious resort in the Riviera Maya, feeling great and ready to disconnect from your routine. Imagine you go out for a short stroll through the lush, leafy gardens until you reach the beach and feel the sea waves awakening your senses.

Tourism Shares the Free World's Questions

TravelPulse - Opinion - 6 June 2017
Seemingly every week, (and sometimes, every day), there’s a new attack on freedom by tyranny: London, Manchester, Paris, Istanbul, Brussels, Orlando and ever onward We mostly admit that we’re turning numb to the headlines, just as we are also probably dulling to the “We will not be defeated by terror!” replies that immediately follow.

US Tourism Needs a New Tone at the Top

TravelPulse - Opinion - 25 May 2017
People from all over the world are hitting the road, air and sea; Travel is up and everything is great. Except in the United States. Domestic tourism is down despite the overall warm and fuzzy feelings people seem to have about the prospect globally. Business Insider notes that tourism from International visitors into the United States is suffering at the moment. It claims the reason is that guy in the White House.

Agent to Agent: Above All, Sell Yourself

TravelPulse - Opinion - 10 May 2017
I’m trying to increase the sales of my business, so I do what I need to do. I go on FAM trips and I travel all the time. The truth is, though, while I’m learning about all these destinations, it doesn’t seem to be translating into sales. I know what I’m worth to my clients, but I can’t seem to convert my knowledge into sales. Can you help?

Bad Customer Service Bites Everyone Back

TravelPulse - Opinion - 5 May 2017
"It's not my fault. He started it!" Just about any parent—or anyone young enough to remember their own childhood—has heard that tried-and-untrue excuse. It essentially boils down to: "Don't pay attention to that thing I just got (deservedly) caught for when you should be punishing so-and-so for their screw up instead!" As most of us (hopefully) learn: Both offending parties wind up getting consequences in the end.

Agent to Agent: Dealing with Bad Reviews

TravelPulse - Opinion - 3 May 2017
While many travel agents are aching to get publicity, I’ve received a lot of it. That’s been great, but with it has come with some negative publicity too. I had one client who posted a scathing review of me on Facebook and Twitter. I remember her, and she was a difficult client who I just couldn’t please. She complained about everything—including the five-star resort, who also said that she couldn’t be pleased. We did what we could to even compensate her but to no avail.

Happy Travel Agent Appreciation Day from Playa Hotels & Resorts

TravelPulse - Opinion - 3 May 2017
You know the saying, “without your travel agent, you’re on your own.” We couldn’t agree more at Playa Hotels & Resorts. As Travel Agent Appreciation Day approaches I thought about how much we love our fabulous partners, the travel agents.

Never Lose Sight of What Defines Cruising

TravelPulse - Opinion - 1 May 2017
The cruise industry is a bit of an oddity in that it’s exhibiting rapid growth while simultaneously showing relatively small market penetration. Lots more people are cruising than before, but that percentage of the population is still relatively small overall.

Loyalty Has Its Advantages

TravelPulse - Opinion - 29 April 2017
No one loves an adventure more than the folks at Exodus Travel. As a leading tour operator for adventure travel, for more than 43 years Exodus Travel has been attracting people who want to see the world on their own terms. Whether it’s a walking tour along the Amalfi Coast, cycling through Sri Lanka, a cultural journey to Cambodia or an exploration of the wildlife inhabiting Australia’s reefs and rainforests, Exodus offers up more than 600 adventure-packed itineraries to more than 100 countries.

Overbooked Flights Are Not the Real Problem

TravelPulse - Opinion - 28 April 2017
Following the violent removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight earlier this month, it seems that everyone in America has an opinion on the airline industry policy of overselling flights. Lawmakers are jumping into the conversation and asking the Department of Transportation to start a formal investigation with an eye on banning the practice of overbooking flights altogether.

Eight Legendary Welsh Castle Stays

TravelPulse - Opinion - 25 April 2017
2017 is the “Year of Legends" in Wales. The country that boasts as many tales of King Arthur and Merlin as it has towns and villages also has more castles per square mile than any other country in Europe, and plenty of legends to go with them. With Guy Ritchie’s new movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, on the May blockbuster list (parts of the movie were filmed in Wales), fans of legend and lore are sure to be inspired to take a trip to Wales this year.

Why France?

TravelPulse - Opinion - 24 April 2017
Terrorism is a world-wide issue to be sure, but in the last two years, it seems as though France in general, and Paris in particular, are central targets. Of the 10 major terrorist attacks in Europe since 2015—starting with the killings at Charlie Hebdo magazine and running through Wednesday’s shootings at the Champs-Elysées—Paris has been the site of tragedies four times, with fellow French cities Normandy and Nice also the victim of terrorists during that time span.

Agent to Agent: Working With (and In) the Media

TravelPulse - Opinion - 19 April 2017
My travel agency business is going really well and my marketing and public relations campaign is starting to pay off. I’m getting clients and booking trips. So, what’s the problem? I’ve attracted the attention of the media and while that sounds great, it terrifies me. I’m nervous about being misquoted and I feel like I stumble in interviews. I see that you do a lot of interviews for print and you’re on television, so I’d like to know if you have any tips for me.


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