Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments: October 12 -16

For those of you have been wondering where the Weekly Wrap went over the past half-month, I'm sorry it took me so long to let you know that I was actually on my honeymoon in St. Johns and St. Thomas for two weeks. It was a pleasant time to shut down myself as I turned off the computer, the Blackberry and the television. I returned on Monday to a plethora of comments, some of which I'd like to share with you this week, so let's get to it.

Phrases with Praises

Sometimes, I'm so used to picking through bickering arguments and agressive comments that I am astounded when I come across more than one posted comment that showers some praise. So here are three happier notes I think are fitting for the beginning of this week's wrap.

After reading up on some alternative cruise options for agents to sell to their clients, reader Brian Neubauer wanted to put the spotlight on one option in particular, noting:

Great service from ewaterways, we had the most wonderful cruise experience on the River Kwai, we saw a side of Thailand which we wouldn't have experienced otherwise. A big thank you to Tamara and her team

Considering the rough ride in tourism that Thailand experienced in 2008, it's great to see some excitement coming out of the truly exotic region.

Apparently, cruising in Asia is as big a deal as dining in Asia, at least according to Lyn Dyles, MCC, who was impressed with a feature on Tokyo dining, saying:

It is refreshing to see such detailed and informative culinary updates on your pages. For many of our clients, fine dining is a top priority. Thank you for such an excellent article outlining some of the new happenings on the Tokyo restaurant scene.

Indeed, an insider's tip on where to dine when traveling is always an added bonus. With that in mind, after my recent experience in St. Thomas, I would like to recommend Havana Blue. The restaurant has the best ceviche I've ever tasted and the manor in which they fuse the best of Pacific and Caribbean cuisine certainly tantalizes the taste buds.

Albeit a very, very short comment of praise, I must bring up one posted recently on a report that CruiseOne and Cruises Inc are launching a land division. It was made my Peter Stilphen, who wrote:

Great move Guys!

Why is this comment so important to me? Because, if you've been a dedicated reader of, you may have noticed that this Peter Stilphen has not had shared a lot of postive comments before. It's not that he dislikes us here in the office, but more that he sees plenty in the industry to raise an alarm on (and we'll get to that in a moment). So to see Stilphen happy about something is a big first for me.

Speaking of Stilphen

So for those of you who are not sure of what I am writing, take a look at George Dooley's recent piece on how the economic downturn may influence multilevel marketing companies. You will notice it involves industry insight from none other than Stilphen himself, who has been rather hawkish on such companies as YTB and especially JoyStar. It appears that Stilphen is creating quite the buzz, once again.

Some comments are direct to Stilphen. DB is clearly pleased with the update, stating:

Peter doesn't mince words does he? Seems to be right on. Good job George and Peter and I hope you are right-they are done in a few months!

Meanwhile, Barbara Brinkmeyer concurs with Stilphen's message but has a suggestion in regard to delivery, saying:

You will carry greater weight by giving consumers and advocates solution-based information (in the form of reviews, trends and updates). Offering a happy suggestion because I like what you're basically saying about MLM's needing to change what they're doing.

Then there's P. Marie who appears to have teetered off the YTB bandwagon after reading Stilphen's opinoin and sharing:

Very well written article and I just pray that YTB hangs in there until January when my very last commission check from a group cruise comes in. I have moved on to bigger and better in the way of a Host Agency and love selling and booking travel the way a true Travel Agent does.

Oh and Peter, I think Joyce here could use some help on another potential industry problem. She writes:


Do Stilphen, or others, have anything to share about Global Travel or other companies?

Safe, Sound and Solo

It's been a nice return this week not only because of the not-so-angry language found in users' comments as of late, but also because I enjoy seeing our readers extend the topic of discussion in a story by sharing their feedback. Such is the case this week with those commenting on an ASTA report on how female travelers can travel safely when traveling alone. See for yourself as what's read in the article is then taken to another level by our readers.

Kathy Ameche comments
I wouldn't recommend staying near an elevator -- it's loud and too easy for people to slip on and off the floor. Another good tip is to text someone your hotel name & room # when you arrive.

patricia blea writes:
I strongly disagree with the advice to carry only one credit card. Suspected or real fraud could render the card useless. I always carry a back-up card

Tom Lombardi shares:
Always make a guaranteed reservation at an off airport parking lot. The bus driver is with you at all times - to and from the airport. Either Valet or the bus will pick up at your car and drop off at your car - will not leave until you are safely in your car. If you park in a large on airport parking lot, you walk unattended to your car. Try offering over 250 off airport parking facilities at more than 65 US and Canadian airports - also links to the UK. offers commissions to ASTA agents.

Umar Bature states:
This advisory is kind of generic to me. It is applicable to both men and women. Why not ask women to attend self defence classes and environment awareness programs to detect potential trouble spots and defend themeslves?

My tip, use a sport-sack/fanny-pack to carry your goods instead of a purse. I know a few females who, when traveling in Europe, had their pockets picked or purses snatched while they go through a public transportation turnstile or are on a crowded escalator or elevator. I know it may be hard to commit such a fashion faux pas, but you'll still have the money to spend on something to make up for it.

As always, make sure to log in to AgentNation to continue such conversations or start your own in real time. The only social community online for all travel agents is an ideal spot to network with your peers so sign up now.