October 22, 2010
Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments: October 18-22
Sometimes, the Weekly Wrap is filled to the brim with a seemingly countless amount of comments made by readers and agents. The same can't be said for this week, as only four articles since last Friday have received comments. But I'm not complaining. After all, as the saying goes, it's all about quality and not quantity. So let's take a look.
Someone Sticks Up (Sort of) for Sheehan
Kevin Sheehan, the CEO for Norwegian Cruise Line, has come under fire at times here at TravelAgentCentral.com. In fact, as far back as July 2009, there have been four instances in which readers have posted comments either directed at the CEO or his company (see for yourself: July 2, 2009; May 21, 2010; July 9, 2010; October 1, 2010). But this week is different, as a reader named iimmie notes that how he/she handled her dilemma with the cruise line may have initiated a response others may have sought. Commenting on the announcement of Sheehan becoming the cruise line's CEO, hHe/she wrote:
I had an issue on a cruise and sent off a letter to everyone on the mission statement in January, By February I had a $200 credit for an upcoming cruise and a very nice apology. Use some ingenuity and you can reach people at the top.
Nice to see that nice words bring results. Hopefully, readers with similar problems with the line will take a lesson from this.
When it was announced that Rio de Janeiro would be the host city for the 2016 summer olympics, Travel Agent immediately profiled the destination for our readers. As interest in the city continues to rise among agents, some shared their praise of the location as others are seeking some feedback.
For starters, Thomas Johnson shared a resource to agents that has apparently been valuable to him. He posted:
Good, informative article! I just thought I would add that in addition to the hotel scene, a lot of clients have been interested in luxury apartment rentals.I've used www.HolidaysInRio.com many times because there is no other agency offering the level of luxury these guys can offer. Check out the Ipanema penthouse with private infinity pool, featured in AD magazine, for example. Perfect for entertaining in olympic porportions!
Meanwhile, Mae Young is ready to start selling the destination, but is looking for some help, writing:
good story. I am a travel agent interested in selling Brazil, who can I contact? I plan on visiting Brazil in January or February 2011.
Hopefully, some fellow agents will share their contacts with Mae by posting a comment below or at the original article. But until then, I suggest she visit Brazil's tourism portal at www.embratur.gov.br/site/en/home/index.php.
St. Kitts: Agent-Friendly?
A highly-read story at TravelAgentCentral.com as of late was Joe Pike's coverage of the island of St. Kitts seeking to get agents more involved in selling the destination. Sounds exciting, right? One agent thinks otherwise, as P Jones states:
Not seeing a travel agent friendly website when linked onto address referenced in article. No where on site did I find the words travel agent or travel partners. Possibly the reason for 80% of the booking being made online is that St. Kitts makes no reference to the travel agent community which has tried to promote travel to this island through CTO chapters, etc. Also, I saw no reference in Minister Skerritt's suggested outreach to travel agents on how the islands plans to make this happen.
Hopefully, there's no specific language or content about agents just yet because the island's push to engage agents is relatively new. But St. Kitts isn't alone when it comes to coming under fire for its lack-thereof leveraging of agents. In fact, back in the August 27, 2010 Weekly Wrap, one agent commented on how St. Lucia appears to be working more with online travel agencies instead of traditional agents (check out the original story here). Can anyone else share their take on whether either or both of these islands are making a significant effort to involve travel agents?
Agents Win with Awesome Websites
We're always keeping in touch with technology companies to learn about what agents can do to keep their business strong among the heavy competition brought on by online travel sites. So, when George Dooley penned an exclusive interview with Brian Tan, CEO and founder of Zicasso.com, we were happy to see so many readers chime in so quickly. Not only were agents excited, but so was Tan himself, commenting:
Stay tuned, folks...there'll be a Part 2 to this story in which I'll be sharing some practical steps and nuts and bolts on how to get a great travel agent website built, affordably.
Meanwhile, here's what fellow agents had to say about the article and its content:
Dora Theiss wrote:
Great article on website advice for travel consultants. Blogging and other social media are other elements to provide relevant information to your clients linked to your website. Consistency is the key when using twitter, blogging, and facebook.
James Wang shared:
This article is just fantastic! I have learned a lot from it. I am looking forward to read your second part of it. Thank you!
Janet Engel added:
thank you so much for this article-- Great information and agree 100%. There are no shortcuts anymore. Retail agents that want to remain viable and relevant MUST strengthen their online identity, starting with their website, and then expanding out and embracing all of the amazing social media tools that, yes their clients are already using! Agents must also demonstrate not only familiarity, but expertise in these arenas also!
You all have me highly anticipating part two now, as well. Let's just hope it doesn't follow the traditional Hollywood path of the sequels never matching the quality of the first film.
That's it for this week. Of course, I wish there was more to share but that depends on you, fellow readers. So keep the comments coming. Post one below or at any of the original articles. Don't forget to share your thoughts with us elsewhere, whether it's by writing us at our Facebook page or sending a tweet to our Twitter page. You can also join in real time discussions, and start your own, at AgentNation, the only social community online for all kinds of travel agents.
By: Kirk Cassels
October 03, 2008
Travel Agent Sits with Rosecita Jeffers
We profiled St. Kitt’s new CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Rosecita Jeffers earlier this year, and now we had the privilege to meet her at the CHTA Small Hotels Retreat. We asked her about the timing of the conference and, like St. Kitts Minister of State for Tourism, Sports and Culture Ricky Skerritt, she thought the economy shouldn’t swallow the attention of the conference. “I think this conference is important because hotels are the background of this industry,” she says, “and we can’t lose focus of that.”
The government of St. Kitts has provided some relief for small hotels of the country. Afterall, of all the hotels that need to worry about a decrease in business from the struggling U.S, it’s the small ones. Jeffers said the government, in fact, has allocated a fund for marketing and incentives to be split among the small hotels of St. Kitts. No figure was given on the fund. Jeffers says the fund with be contingent on whether the hotels agree to certain standards with training staff among the highest on that list.
By: Joe Pike
October 02, 2008
Ritz in St. Kitts?
For any tourist destination, the easiest way to deal with worries of a decrease in arrivals is to get a big name luxury brand in your destination. For St. Kitts, the savior is Ritz Carlton. Although we can’t get anyone on the record confirming this, several important tourism officials have told us that The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company could soon be inking a deal to set up shop in St. Kitts in the form of a 220-room resort. The deal is said to be finalized by the end of the year, but we’ll give you more details as soon as we get them at the CHTA Small Hotels Retreat.
By: Joe Pike