Travel Agent's Top 10 Most Popular Travel Stories of 2013

From our annual look at the top 25 travel agents in the industry to a series of setbacks for the cruise sector, 2013 was a year filled with ups and downs for travel. As year's end approaches, here are the top travel stories of 2013, ranked in order of popularity by our readers.

top 25 travel agents 2013 logoThe Top 25 Travel Agents of 2013

This year we had a strong class of Top 25 Travel Agents. Out of a stellar applicant pool we spotlighted 25 agents who showed outstanding sales volume, dedication to their clients and compelling stories of what makes the travel industry great. 

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royal princess

Power Outage Hits Royal Princess; Ship Heads Slowly to Naples, Cruise Cancelled

The new Royal Princess suffered a power outage shortly after its debut, leading to the subsequent cancellation of its cruise. After undergoing repairs, the ship resumed operations in Barcelona on October 27. 

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storm cloudsEurope Flooding Update: Some River Cruises Cancelled or Adjusted

2013 continued to be a huge year for river cruises in Europe and elsewhere, but severe flooding in early June posed a challenge to European river lines. Devastating floods hit Austria, Germany, Slovakia and other areas of Eastern Europe, leading to cancellations on the Rhine and Danube rivers. Particularly hard-hit ports were Budapest in Hungary, Bratislava in Slovakia and Passau in southern Germany.

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ruthanne terreroTop 10 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips for Travel Agents

The ever-evolving world of digital marketing was another important area of interest this year. In May we attended Ataway Exchange, where top thinkers in online marketing shared their expertise with marketers from travel supplier companies and destinations. (Ataway Exchange is owned by Questex Media, which owns Travel Agent magazine.)

Our look at the top ten highlights of the conference included tips on branding, avoiding the hard sell and audience engagement. 

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baleria maverickBimini or Bust! New High Speed Ferry Service Beckons Travelers

In Florida news, travel to Bimini in the Bahamas got much easier this year with the launch of a new high-speed ferry service. The Baleariea Bahamas Express completed its maiden voyage on The Maverick from Miami to Bimini. The new route operates each day from Miami – 2.5 hours each way to and from Bimini. Travel Agent got a chance to speak with Pablo Aviles, the ferry’s commercial representative in the U.S., for everything travel agents need to know about the new service. 

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business manWoman's Day Walks Back on Travel Agent Article; Travel Leaders Respond

The magazine Woman's Day sparked controversy in the travel industry when its website,, published an article attacking the value of travel agents. Industry leaders rose to the defense of agents, noting inaccuracies in the article - such as its mention of airline commissions - and offering a vigorous defense of the value agents can bring to their clients.

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Update on Carnival Triumph - Ship Now Headed for Mobile, AL

The cruise industry faced a major challenge this year in the form of a fire on the Carnival Triumph that left the ship drifting without power off the coast of Mexico and garnered negative attention in consumer media. Carnival Cruise Lines had to tow the ship to the port in Mobile, Alabama, to offload passengers and conduct repairs. 

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austin abramTravel Agent’s 30 Under 30

Inspiring the next generation of travel agents continued to be a running theme in 2013. Our annual look at the class of 30Under30 travel agents continued to make waves in the industry. Additionally, at this year's Luxury Travel Exchange International, Travel Agent announced the launch of the Young Travel Leaders Alliance, a community for under-40 travel professionals that showcases industry talent, and fosters peer-to-peer networking and education, career development and information sharing opportunities.

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robert tolsterTop Supplier Sales Reps of 2013

Top travel agents weren't the only ones gaining recognition this year. We also brought back our look at the top supplier sales reps, who are always there to help agents and their clients when things go wrong or when agents need a little something extra to give a trip that "wow" factor. 

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caribbean beachAmerican Express Sells Travel Impressions to Apple Leisure Group

2013 was also a year of consolidation in the travel industry as American Express sold Travel Impressions to Apple Leisure Group. Travel Impressions continued to operate its business under the existing brand including selling its services beyond those provided to American Express. 

“Our plan is that everything agents liked about Apple and enjoyed with Travel Impressions will be combined and offered in the future by both companies, thus agents get the best of what both companies have to offer,” Tim Mullen, co-president of Apple Vacations, told Travel Agent in a follow-up interview. “Incentives, commissions, procedures and policies all remain in place. They have been a part of Travel Impressions' success and will continue to be integral to their success.”

Mullen later assumed the role of president and CEO of Travel Impressions. Former president and CEO Steve Gorga chose to remain with American Express in an advisory position. 

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Keep visiting in 2014 for the latest travel industry news, trends and updates. 

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