Agents attending Nexion’s annual conference in Miami got strong support and sage advice from those on the Travel Industry Executive panel late last month. Robbi Hamida, who moderated the panel, asked each to share a piece of advice they’d received early on in their careers. Joni Rein, vice president of worldwide sales for Carnival Cruise Lines, said agents “should have a passion for whatever you want to do and you will thrive,” while Randall Soy, senior vice president of sales for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, said he was told early on “to be a sponge, absorb everything. You can always squeeze out the information you don’t need.”
With this response drawing more than a few laughs, Andy Stuart, executive vice president of global sales and passenger services for Norwegian Cruise Line, said he was told, “When you stop loving what you do, stop doing it!”
“Learn the art of marketing yourself” is how Ken Muskat, vice president of sales for Royal Caribbean International, put it while Keith Lane, field sales vice president for Celebrity Cruise Lines, suggested agents “keep it simple, be willing to learn, and realize you can’t be all things to all people.”
Of note was input from Paula Hayes, vice president of sales for the Globus Family of Brands: “Start at the end. Start with your goal, then set your vision and determine your plan.”
“Be the best you can be,” was Steve Gorga’s advice; he’s the president and CEO of Travel Impressions. Mike Going, president of Funjet Vacations, had the inspiring last words: “Don’t embrace change, be a catalyst for it. Don’t be lagging it, be leading it!”
Welcome to our “Pink Issue,” which was launched to spread awareness about breast cancer.
Speaking of supporting the travel industry, I hope you will read the cover story on Kathy Sudeikis, vice president of corporate relations for All About Travel in Mission, Kansas. Kathy is a former ASTA national president and CEO, and even prior to assuming the helm, she worked tirelessly for ASTA on behalf of all travel agents. In this candid profile, Kathy shares her struggle with breast cancer as well as the details on her newest cause, Gilda’s Club Kansas City, which provides a support system for all individuals impacted by cancer. To contribute to Gilda’s Club, visit www.GildasClubKC.org, where you’ll see it’s easy to donate. Additionally, part of the proceeds from each of the ads with a little pink bow you see in this issue will be contributed to Gilda’s Club Kansas City.
On behalf of everyone at Travel Agent magazine, I’d like to thank Kathy for all she has done for the industry and for sharing her personal story with us and all of our readers. I have no doubt this will help others going through a similar plight. Once again, travel agents will benefit from Kathy’s extreme generosity and support.