Email templates for 27 of your toughest work tasks

2015 is expected to pose many a challenge to travel agencies and tour operators. Multiple trends in tourism, digitalization and hyper-connectivity will be some of them. OTAs will concentrate on more personalized travel services. Travel agents – along with suppliers, destinations and marketers are focusing on travel trends like “medical tourism”, “youth tourism”, “luxury tourism”, “creative tourism” etc.

2015 is expected to pose many a challenge to travel agencies and tour operators. Multiple trends in tourism, digitalization and hyper-connectivity will be some of them. OTAs will concentrate on more personalized travel services. Travel agents – along with suppliers, destinations and marketers are focusing on travel trends like “medical tourism”, “youth tourism”, “luxury tourism”, “creative tourism” etc.

Providing a mobile app and a wide range of services through your travel software will be the key for success in 2015.

Flight and hotel booking trends will move from “best basic buy” to “best smart buy “. Since a big chunk of booking will be carried out through mobile devices, rather than laptop and desktops, travel agencies will have to create their own mobile sites and mobile apps for their travel reservation system. Smartwatches will be used as boarding pass and room key. In short, smartwatches will plan, book, pay and carry out trips. Mobile device will play a significant role in travel. How can any travel agency or tour operator avoid making apps for smartphones and wearable devices?

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Author: The Muse.  Article Source

The Millennials Are Here To Save Your Business

At a conference recently, I was having an interesting conversation with someone who was talking about the challenges of bringing millennials into his organization. He was making the point that this group of employees need to have projects that are meaningful and have impact. They want to work on teams that get stuff done. As a group of workers, they are not interested in managing back-office processes or funneling approvals.

He was exaggerating and simplifying to make a point, but it’s a really good one. The interesting thing is, this worker profile that he’s describing lines up really well with a burning need that companies have today: agile teams that can work quickly, test ideas, learn from them, and iterate. While most organizations are wrestling with the challenge of integrating millennial talent into the workforce, the reality is that this group of people have exactly the kinds of skills that companies need … if they can just figure out how to empower them. These are people who are adept at using technology to connect with others to get information, who can come together in small teams to solve a problem quickly, and are comfortable with change. While I know I’m generalizing, it’s still true that you need networkers to work in networked environments, which is the reality of the modern working world.

This idea of networking extends beyond someone’s colleagues at work. The transparency that digital has brought to business – mistakes and gaffes as well as moments of delight are transmitted across the ether in seconds – has also eroded the walls between brands and customers. Those companies that can reach through the increasingly porous boundaries between brands and customers can actually make customers part of the marketing and selling process. That interaction can be active – customers review products, try them out, provide feedback. Or it can be passive – interactions between customers, social media chatter, web site visiting behavior, etc. Every interaction, in fact, is a data interaction of some kind. Consumers are part of the process when they provide data and they expect that data to be used to help them.

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Author: David Edelman.  Article Source

NCF White Paper

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), in an effort to help agency members understand the role Non-Commissionable Fares (NCFs) play in cruise sales and revenues, has published a white paper on the history and current state of NCFs.

“We know many of our leisure-focused agencies have great concerns about NCFs,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President and CEO. “Clearly, travel agents should be fairly compensated for creating demand for the cruise lines. At the same time, those companies have the right to price their product as they see fit. That’s why ASTA recommends that each agency take a close look at their revenue data to determine the right product mix and business model for them.”

ASTA, the only travel agency association actively representing the interests of agencies before legislators, regulators and industry organizations, conducted a series of interviews with agency members and cruise line executives to produce this document. The process included reviewing historical records on NCFs, including fare lawsuits in the late 1990’s that precipitated the change in how NCFs are presented. A large selection of cruise line invoices also were analyzed to look for patterns in how NCFs are applied to specific types of cruises. The paper describes changes travel agents are making to mitigate revenue losses, and also reviews average NCF/gross fare ratios.

“Ultimately, ASTA urges those agencies heavily dependent on selling cruise to take a few hours and look at their revenue data and make their own determination of whether the NCF is reasonable and if profitability is sustainable,” said Kerby, and if not, adjustments in product mix or agency business model should be considered. – See more at:

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Upcoming Webinar: ADE 2015 Morocco

For those YPS’ers unsure if they want to attend the ASTA Destination Expo in 2015 you may want to join this webinar! 

ASTA Destination Expo (ADE) Morocco 2015, Feb 26 – March 1, 2015, is your opportunity to become something new. Travelers are looking for something unique, special and exotic. At the ASTA ADE Morocco and become a Morocco specialist and help your clients plan the exotic and unique experience of their dreams. You, your clients and your business will be enriched.

Join us as we review everything you can expect at this wonderful and exciting event.



Title:  ASTA Destination Expo 2015 – Morocco

Date:  Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time:  3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

To reserve your Webinar seat now go to: to register

2014 Social Media Report

In May 2014, Social Media Examiner published the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. It’s pretty darn long, 52 pages to be exact. So we thought we’d review the report and give you the highlights. Below is what we found to be most important takeaways that you should be thinking about when approaching your social media efforts in order to stay ahead of the game.

This study surveyed over 2800 marketers with the goal of understanding how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses.

A significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 37% for 11 or more hours weekly. Personally, we don’t fall into either of these groups. If a great strategy is developed from the start, we believe that a company can spend less than 1 hour per day managing all of their social media efforts.

Apparently age matters. There’s a direct relationship between a marketer’s age and the time spent marketing with social media. The younger the marketer, the more time he or she spends on social media. There are probably arguments to be had here whether the younger group is giving social media more importance, or simply not as efficient as the older group.

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Author: Nicole Reisberg.  Article Source

What the comeback of travel agents means

When discussing the future of real estate, it is curious how often real estate agents are compared with travel agents.

“Is it just a matter of time before real estate agents go the way of travel agents?” Looking back over the last few years, the answer to this question, surprisingly, is yes. Travel agents are experiencing a rebound, and the reason why offers some insight into why real estate agents are here to stay.

Despite (or maybe because of) online tools such as Expedia and Orbitz, travel agents are back, at least according to recent stories in The New York Times, USA Today and Time magazine, among others.

Why? Because travel agents know more about travel than you do. They have more connections than you; they know about special deals that you don’t; and they have the experience to help you plan your trip. And according to U.S. News, even with their 10-12 percent commission, the overall cost of going with a travel agent often comes out lower than it would if you booked it yourself.

It seems the growing proliferation of electronic information has affected travel agents in two opposing ways. Now that we all have direct access to the airlines, we no longer need travel agents as intermediaries. But having an expert who knows how to dig through all that information to get you the best trip, at the best price, is more valuable than ever.

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Author: Max Galka.  Article Source

3 Tips for Building a Team that Leads to your Success

If you want to learn how to build a team that builds success, you will want to take a look at the big picture. Take any successful entrepreneur, and behind him or her, you will find a well-suited team of supportive, knowledgeable, and energetic members all dedicated to increasing the success of the business.

Tip #1 for building a team that builds success. If you’re trying to understand how to build a team that builds success, you should first pinpoint the mission of the business. Only when you have a clear understanding, as a leader, of the mission of the business, can you build the right team. When you can clearly identify and emotionally connect with the mission, you are able to identify the right people who are best-suited to support the success of the business.

Depending on the mission statement of the business, you may need to focus on building a team of creatives, analytics, intellectuals, or spiritualists. For example, a PR (public relations) firm wouldn’t necessarily build a team of spiritualists; that personality would be better suited for a business that is motivational or inspirationally based. A PR firm would more likely hire creatives and intellectuals.Another example of personality matching would be an accounting firm; they would look to building a team of analytical members, not necessarily creatives or spirituals.

Always start with the mission of the business, and then build your team. Let’s say you need an assistant to travel with you to help you with live events such as seminars and guest appearances. An important personality factor would be to ensure the team member has the following qualities: Read entire article by clicking here.

Author: Anne Bachrach.  Article Source

Professional Development Scholarships Still Up For Grabs

There is still time to receive funding for your professional development, but you have to act fast! Tourism Cares will be awarding up to 22 professional development scholarships ranging from $1000 to $3,000 each and totaling up to $22,850. These scholarships are either for individuals looking to become travel agents, or who are already in the travel industry and want to further their careers through travel certificate programsor industry conferences. Applicants must be attending certificate courses or industry conferences in 2015.

But time is very short. Applications need to be submitted with all required items by Monday, November 3, 2014. You can access the application here. If you have any questions regarding the application or eligibility, email

Managing the Customer Experience

Using Pre-calls, Updates, and Follow-up Techniques

One of the key elements of every employee’s success in any employment environment is their ability to communicate effectively. As a manager, our role is to both model and teach those techniques so they can be utilized by our employees in both internal and external customer interactions.

Unfortunately, in many interactions the focus is on the task, or process and not the person. This minimizes the opportunity to maximize the interaction and it often becomes a sterile transaction. While that transaction may create a momentary satisfaction on the part of the customer, it will rarely lead to a relationship that creates an exceptional experience or fosters a loyal customer.

Quality communication is not a one-time thing; it is an on-going process that moves with the individual throughout the entire experience.

Poor or lack of communication is one of the major causes of customer confusion, complaints, and conflict. It reduces workplace productivity, and diminishes customer loyalty. Ongoing communication between a manager and staff, and then staff and customer will improve productivity, satisfaction and loyalty for all involved. Model and teach these skills to your staff and you will enjoy a more productive workplace, and create a loyal customer.  Read entire article by clicking here.

Author: Steven Tulman.  Article Source

Unsolicited Corporate Account Scheme Targeting Agents in the Midwest

A fraudster is calling travel agents and independent contractors, particularly in Iowa and Minnesota, stating that he represents an auto repair, contracting company or building company (or engineering/moving company, etc.) in need of a travel agent to fulfill their travel needs. The first tickets are often for domestic travel, followed by international departures. Once you become suspicious of the number of tickets and credit cards being used as well as the international departures, it may be too late. Credit cards may already be compromised. Even though you have obtained a credit card authorization code, your agency can be held responsible if the real cardholder rejects the sales as fraudulent.

What to consider as high risk:

New corporate account approaching you to do international tickets for immediate departure
Third-party transactions (passenger and cardholder are not the same)
The so-called company website domain may look legitimate, but additional pages are not developed or under construction
The website/domain is only a few months old
International departures (mostly to/from South American airports, i.e., BOG, LIM, EZE, GRU)
Use of multiple credit cards

Consider using ARC’s Red Flags list to determine the risk before you issue tickets. To find the Red Flags list, click the Best Practice tab on the Fraud Prevention space on the My ARC homepage. Provide a copy of the Red Flags document to each of your front line staff, including full/part-time employees and independent contractors.

If you suspect such a scheme and want assistance to assess the risk, contact ARC’s fraud prevention team to at 855-358-0393 or

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