Big Idea for 2015: Spirit in Business Goes Mainstream

The concept of spirit in business is certainly not entirely new. Ideas like “work-life-balance” and “corporate wellness” are widespread in business discourse. What is new is the normalization of more explicitly spiritual verbiage like “spirit in business,” “conscious business,” and “wisdompreneur” — and especially in combination with the mainstream corporate status of the people leading such conversations.

You can even include LinkedIn’s own CEO, Jeff Weiner, on that list, who will be speaking at the February 2015 event alongside representatives from Starbucks, Google, and Facebook, as well as well-known spiritual leaders like Byron Katie and Jack Kornfield. What events like this show us is that the rules are changing in the game we have agreed to play where we walk through the doors of our workplaces and immediately begin pretending we are not complete human beings. You know the game, the one where you pretend not to have physical, emotional, and spiritual needs whenever you are at work. There is less and less agreement that anyone is willing to play this game, because the cost is too high.

Life is meant to include a sense of meaning and purpose. It is mean to include loving connection to the people we spend our days with and the people we work to serve. It is meant to leave room for hearing the voice of intuition and following the call of inspiration. And it is meant to include copious amounts of beauty.  Click here to read the entire article.

Author: Indigo Sutton.  Article Source

Travel Agents Pick Top 10 Ski Resorts in the U.S.

Alexandria, VA, December 1, 2014 – Vail, Colo., is the top ski resort in the U.S., according to members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), while Whistler in Canada is the best for skiing outside of the U.S.

Vail was chosen by 23 percent of those surveyed mainly because it is a large ski area with plenty of accommodations, has different skill levels and has the right ratio of social activities to skiing to keep clients happy. Several agents said their choice of Vail was based entirely on the feedback from their customers, with one saying “my opinion doesn’t matter; my clients ask for Vail and return to Vail more than any other ski resort.”

Following Vail were:  Aspen, Colo. (15%); Park City, Utah (10%); Breckenridge, Colo. (9%); Steamboat Springs, Colo. (6%); Beaver Creek, Colo. (3%); Snowmass in Aspen (2%); Telluride, Colo. (2%); Keystone, Colo. (2%); and Jackson Hole, Wyo. (2%).

Whistler, Canada, was chosen by 18% of respondents for its proximity to the U.S., beauty and good accommodations. Said one agent: “It is easy for Americans to reach and the village has lots of things for families to do.”

Rounding out the top 10 international ski resorts are: Zermatt, Switzerland (15%); St. Moritz, Switzerland (11%);  Innsbrook, Austria (8%); Chamonix, France (4%); Banff, Canada (3%); Davos, Switzerland (3%); Val d’Isere, France (3%); Kitzbuhel, Austria (3%); and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy (2%).
Survey Data was collected through the 2014 ASTA Research Family in October. The ASTA Research Family is comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers—299 agencies of the 450 total family members completed the survey.  Read this article here.

Younger Agents Follow Their Passion

A new breed of agent has been moving into travel: a younger veteran of other industries who brings fresh ideas and has a high level of comfort with technology. Ambitious, with an outsider’s perspective that allows them to see where ideas can be improved, these newbies are buying and transforming agencies with new models.

However, Indeed — a job website that attracts 140 million unique visitors monthly — lists the average travel agent salary as of October 2014 as $56,000, two percent lower than the overall average for jobs in the U.S. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimate is even lower: As of May 2013, a travel agent salary is listed $17.88 an hour or $37,200 a year.

So why are young people gravitating toward careers in travel?

MayLynn Klein, business development manager and new agent trainer for Ticket to Travel in San Jose, Calif., says the draw for many people coming from the corporate world is that they are tired of 9-to-5 jobs and of working where their creative ideas are neither welcomed nor fostered. In addition, these individuals have a passion for travel. Klein adds that social networking-savvy and communications know–how are attributes often found in young people that are assets in the travel industry.

Jason Olson, president of Cruise Holidays in Redding, Calif., exemplifies the new breed of agents. Olson grew up in the tech hub of Silicon Valley and found success launching businesses in technology. Though he felt satisfaction from his work, it was not the kind of happiness he gets from travel.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Author: Marilyn Green.  Article Source

Start the Giving Season With Good Data

As the end-of-year holidays approach, many of us consider making contributions to charitable causes. But what makes a good charity?

First and foremost, it should serve a worthy cause. What’s “worthy”? That’s a deeply personal decision. For some, it’s a charity that works on behalf of the poor, such as a food pantry, or provides humanitarian relief following a disaster. For others, it’s an organization that works to cure or treat a particular illness, or cares for animals or endangered habitats. Promoting literacy, honor flights for U.S. veterans, granting wishes to terminally ill individuals, even teaching computer coding at schools — the list of worthwhile causes in need of sup

port is nearly endless. Look up your favorite cause, and you’re likely to find several organizations dedicated to it. So which one should you trust with your contribution? When determining where to make your donation, one of the most important bench marks to use is an organization’s track record regarding use of funds.

A key performance indicator to consider: the ratio of dollars spent on administration and fundraising versus dollars spent on the charity’s cause. Every legitimate charity publishes financial reports that show these ratios, as well as where donations come from and how the program dollars are spent.

Slogging through these would be more work than many of us can dedicate to the task. Fortunately, Charity Navigator compiles this information about virtually every charity and ranks them based on their finances, accountability and transparency.

The site gives an annual report-like view of a charity’s most recent fiscal year, and ranks the charity’s performance on a 100-point scale, with 100 being a perfect score. Rankings for charities supporting similar causes give you a sense of how the charity you’re considering stacks up against others in the same field.

As the holiday season kicks off, I wish you prosperity and happiness, and encourage you to support a cause that’s important to you. I’ll share some favorite causes in upcoming posts.

Author: Doug Pastrich.  Article Source

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving is time for friends and family to spend together. Many of us love Thanksgiving as it’s a weekend, turkey dinner and most important of all it marks the start of Christmas holiday season. Above all, thanksgiving is about expressing our gratitude towards the people that have helped you in any way, expressing thank you to all of you!

- Your YPS Family

How To Improve Your Mailing List Before Everyone Unsubscribes

They’re so ubiquitous, even, that the bad manners of reply-all offenders overshadow the bad manners of those who make and distribute mailing lists in the first place. While the listservs that dominated the 2000s may not be as common anymore, mailing lists are still central to the operation and social functioning of companies, universities and other associations. (For the record, “listserv” refers to a software used to send mass emails; “mailing list” is the colloquial term.)

We’ve compiled 11 tips that will help you improve your mailing list etiquette — and maximize effectiveness, while you’re at it.

 

1. Repeat to yourself: Listservs are public.

Think about what you’re sending before you send it — if it belongs in a private email or makes more sense to send to an individual, you shouldn’t send it through a mailing list.

Also check the recipient of the email before you send it. This year, the University of Virginia’s top-ranked law school sent admissions stats of more than 100 people who applied for clerkships to a listserv of all those applicants, and then sent another email with subject line “PLEAE DELETE IMMEDIATELY.”

But we all know email doesn’t work like that.

2. Don’t add unwilling recipients.

Nobody wants to be on a mailing list you didn’t request, so just don’t do it. If you do add someone accidentally, or if recipients eventually want to be removed, don’t make it difficult for them. If you can do it yourself, do it immediately. If you use a mailing list client, give clear instructions on how recipients can remove themselves (or include those instructions in an email signature for specific lists).

People already receive enough emails willingly. Unless they slashed your tires, or something — then a mailing list sounds like a great punishment.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Author: Jilian Kumagai.  Article Source

Webinar: TSA PreCheck

Join ASTA for a Webinar on December 3, 2pm eastern
Due to the high demand for this presentation, they are only offering this webinar to ASTA members.

Members will receive a link to register in ASTA Dateline Weekly or members may email askasta@asta.org.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, ASTA has been heavily involved in the debate over how to strike the right balance between aviation security and facilitating travel. A critical development in the evolution of airport security has been the creation of “trusted traveler” initiatives such as the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck program. After enrolling in PreCheck, travelers enjoy access to a dedicated security lane where they can keep their shoes, light jacket and belt on, while keeping your laptop and small liquids in your bag.  

PreCheck is being dramatically expanded – it is already at 120 airports, with more to follow – and your clients will be looking to you for guidance on how to enjoy their benefits.

Join Jerry Koehler of TSA’s Risk-Based Security Office to learn about the various ways your clients can enroll in these programs; where it’s being implemented and when; common reasons why a traveler who should get PreCheck doesn’t; and the steps you have to take through your GDS and online booking tools to guarantee your clients a hassle-free flying experience.
Title:    Back by Popular Demand! – TSA PreCheck: The Ins and Outs of Ensuring Hassle-Free Airport Screening for Your Clients

Date:    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Time:    2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

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?

Read entire article by clicking here.

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.

Read entire article by clicking here.

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: http://www.traveldailynews.com/news/article/62872/asta-issues-white-paper-on#sthash.8JT1Wjou.dpuf

Read entire article by clicking here.


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