THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE FOR ICs, OSRs & HOME-BASED TRAVEL AGENTS
The ART of
AN SMP TRAINING PUBLICATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS – IC DECEMBER 2013
EDITORIAL: Planning 2014
THE TRAVEL AGENT’S STORE
2014 BIZ PLAN: Getting Prepared
THE ONE-PAGER AT-A-GLANCE PLANNING SHEET
YOUR 2014 BIZ PLAN TABLE OF CONTENTS
TRAINING PAGE: Expecting the Unexpected
2014 REFERRAL PLAN
ADD TO YOUR AD
BIZ BLOGGING PLAN
YOU OUGHTA BE IN VIDEO!
MAKING THAT MOVIE
AUDIO CLIP MARKETING
NICHE: GREEN TRAVEL
E-BOOKS: YOUR STORY
SELLING WITH STEVE
START THE NEW YEAR WITH A GIFT TO YOURSELF
SELLING SPECIAL PLACES
IC MEETING PLANNER
THE TRAVEL INSTITUTE: Well Being Travel Course
LET’S TALK ABOUT TRAINING!
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TRUE SUPPORT FOR TRUE PROFESSIONALS
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Access to our exclusive point-and-click booking engine or through the Amadeus, Sabre or Galileo
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Contact us today to learn more about our growing family of travel professionals.
MENTION THAT YOU SAW US IN IC AGENT MAGAZINE
AND RECEIVE YOUR FIRST MONTH FREE!
10/29/13 2:18 PM
Steve Crowhurst, CTC, Publisher
I’ll refrain from using any of those old, tired, tried but true clichés about failing to plan and simply
advise that ya just gotta do it! I hear it all the time in my workshops: “I work from home… why
do I need a plan?” and “I’m a one-man / woman show… what’s to plan?” All true – however with
a short, sharp well written plan – you can enter 2014 knowing exactly what you’ll be doing on
any given day. Make that during any given week if you wish. The outcome will be a very relaxed
you, plus you will be ready for any unplanned opportunities.
Planning for 2014 means researching what the projected travel plans are of your clients, your
suppliers and adding to that information any research that has meaning to your niche market.
For instance you’ll want to know what destinations are trending with companies such as Lonely
Planet, Conde Naste, Travel & Lesiure and National Geographic. They lead the way in consumer
travel magazines and guide books and usually published a planning guide for the coming year.
Next, to help with your planning and more so your marketing we’ll explore using video as your
main marketing tool as in 2014 you’ll be seeing much more usage of this technology and you
should get your share. I have started to embed videos in the very pages of IC Travel Agent – you
can do the same for your own digital newsletters. Remember, whatever I create here for you,
you can create for yourself to attract your existing clients. Videos make for referrals and new
leads, too. Put yourself in the director’s chair and once your script (plan) is written start the
cameras. With you playing the lead role. Be the star you are and create those award winning
videos that will capture the hearts and minds of your clients, and make better use of your
supplier’s videos, too. See you inside…
Here’s to your continued success!
Steve Crowhurst, CTC
Peace to all.
Courtesy of www.designbolt.com
It’s that time of year once more when we celebrate our own religious events,
and delight at others being able to celebrate theirs.
May your 2014 be the best year ever for you personally and professionally.
Keep the faith – whichever one you follow.
Be sure to click on the above image and subscribe to the mailing list and that way you’ll be notified
when the store is open, when new arrivals are on the shelves and when special events are scheduled.
The majority of workbooks, manuals and PowerPoint presentations will be e-books and available for
instant download after purchase. Some eBooks will have hard-copy options and all e-books
will have a bulk purchase price subject to the number of downloads required.
If you have published an eBook that you would like to sell via The Travel Agent’s Store please contact
us here and let us know the title, review of the content and your pricing structure.
2014 BIZ PLAN
From a one-pager to a full blown 150 page tome every business needs a plan. If you’ve not
written a business plan before don’t worry, there’s plenty of local help at your host agency HQ,
government small business offices, plus you can select from many business plan planning
software programs – just Google that search term. A home-based business plan shouldn’t be
that dramatic, however it should contain enough information to keep you focused and driving
forward. To do that we start with your expenses. You need to earn at least that amount. Next
we add on what you need to profit by followed by planning how you intend to generate that
income. Are you ready? Let’s go.
events such as storms, political change to strikes
and so on. These are events you can plan for and
those you can’t as many are unforeseen. So in
essence, you are planning each year based on
what you want to earn, and the expenses you
have to pay. Your next step is to decide how you
will generate those sales.
How much does it cost to run your home based
travel agency? I’ll go with a figure of $5,000
which for this exercise will include the room you
use, office equipment, use of your car, gas,
parking, accounting systems, host agency fees,
other fees, FAMs, conference costs and so on.
Marketing is NOT included yet.
To generate the sales you need you’ll be thinking
hard about which destinations and suppliers to
sell and how to market yourself and your
How Much Do You Want To Earn?
Next you’ll need to decide how much you wish
to earn in 2014. A recent trade survey advised
that on average home based agents are selling
close to $350,000 a year. Using a figure of 10%
for easy calculation the earned commission
revenue would be $35,000 from which you
would pay your $5,000 expenses. If you are on a
commission split with your host then you’ll
factor in that percentage.
Recap: At this point we have $5,000 in annual
expenses to pay off and we have decided “we”
want to earn $50,000 before taxes. If we gross
up the $50,000 we have a sales figure of
$500,000. That’s your sales target and that’s the
figure your sales & marketing plan must
generate. Now you plot and plan your
marketing activity based on your niche market,
your client’s needs and other business
opportunities such as discounted airfares or
For the purpose of this article let’s go for $50,000
in your jeans before taxes.
Where Does This $50,000 Come From?
If you are new to selling travel there is one thing
you must come to understand and it is this: each
year you are starting out with a clean slate, with
zero sales. Last year’s business rarely repeats
which means it’s a brand new ball game each
year. You hope that the clients who travelled last
year travel this year – but that’s not how it
works. Each year there are many things that
effect the selling of travel and they range from
some of your clients just taking a rest, to world
Marketing Plan - First Things First
The first thing you do now is make a list of all the
scheduled dates in 2014 based on the marketing
activities planned by your host / head office. You
do this to make sure you participate and to
ensure your local promotions do not clash with
HQ promotions and vice-versa.
Next: List all the important dates related to your
private / family life. After that you’ll list dates
related to FAMs and vacations.
Finally: List all official government holidays.
When you have those key and core dates listed,
plot them on an Excel spreadsheet. Type both
the dates and your action items or tasks into
your CRM program or use MS Outlook:
(You can print the plan found in this article to save time.)
Other Calendar Planning Resources
Outlook Monthly Planner
Google Docs / Templates also offers a selection
of calendar templates as does Microsoft
Templates. There are online business calendars
available to you, also APPS for your smartphone
that can help with your one-page planning.
Recap: All the dates you need to record are
now listed and recorded into your chosen
calendar format. The next step is to plan around
these dates listing what it is you intend to sell.
Outlook Task Scheduler
Expecting The Unexpected
It’s not a topic many travel agents are trained in
yet the unexpected is a constant threat or
opportunity to anyone running a travel business.
From experience many travel agents will know
when something is amiss. They’ll stand back and
review what’s going on. Experience teaches you
to always call a supplier or go direct to a trusted
source and find out what the truth might be. As
you know mass media likes to exaggerate the
news – sometimes however they are correct.
The Page at a Glance
I tend to work from both an onscreen digital
calendar using Outlook – then to my immediate
left is a hard copy At a Glance One Pager for the
year with weekends, stat holidays shaded in.
Events you can expect and plan for would be
related to weather and there are plenty of
weather-based websites where you can open an
account or create a Google Alert so that you are
fed the news as it happens.
I use this one pager to make pencil and ink
changes. It’s very quick to do so and when you
have time you can update your digital version –
or if your schedule is onscreen, just make the
changes there and then. Your choice. Note: The
one-pager at-a-glance hard copy has been
reported faster to use than a smartphone!
Other than getting a heads-up on the weather
pretty much everything else happens by chance.
Think terrorism to sinkholes, to some poor
person tipped over the edge through personal
stress. You’ll never know when it will happen.
Expecting the unexpected then is to be fully
aware of what can and will happen and having a
Plan B in place. You may be called upon to
extract 20 of your on-tour clients. You may have
to contact someone in a consulate. You just have
to know how to put Plan B into action when
required. For now the assumption is that 2014
will work its magic, everyone in the world will
play nice and life will go on as it was intended.
intention is to use social media then costs are
almost zero – however you still require the hard
data related to consumer booking activity.
How’s this going for you? Does it make
sense? If you need to chat with me just
email and we can Skype about it.
Planning Quarter by Quarter
In real time and depending upon where you live
(I’ll use my own location) Q1 weather can be
rainy, windy and a dump of snow can come
anytime depending on which way the winds are
Your plan will also take into consideration the
seasonality of your products and destinations.
There will be highs and lows and shoulder
seasons and those seasons are usually directed
by the weather at the destination you are selling.
If it is winter where you are and summer where
you are selling, that’s prime season and
expensive. Your mission then is to know not only
the weather based seasonality, but also the
booking seasonality. When do people book to
that destination you want to sell? How far out
from the departure date do they plan? This is
information you MUST know. Your marketing
spend and ROI depend on it. You do not want to
be investing your marketing money at the wrong
time such as after the spike.
Q1 covers wintery months to the beginning of
Spring. My Q1 plan suggests I sell sun, sand and
sea destinations and be ready to promote Cherry
Blossom Tours to Japan. The local season is
driving the beach vacation promotion and the
season in Japan is driving the tour to view the
cherry blossoms. Seasonality here and
seasonality there – both need to be factored into
Planning in December means my push to market
beach vacations is probably late in the day –
although I could promote ‘Last Minute Bookings”
for those customers who live last minute.
Action: Your supplier BDMs have the booking
information you need. Call your preferred
suppliers and use this script: “Hi (name), I’m
putting together my 2014 marketing plan and
need an idea of when you normally start to take
bookings for (country/resort/tour)… also are
there any typical seasonal spikes I should know
about – I’d like to invest my marketing money
just before that spike in bookings.”
Better that I have more time between now and
then when I sell something, which makes Japan
an ideal sale. I can also promote spring time in
Europe and spring cruises too as well as any
destination throughout the year to come.
Q2 has its own seasonal destinations and
products. Cruising to Alaska for instance.
Marketing in December to sell those early
Alaskan cruises would again be short notice. You
may not get a return on your marketing dollar –
however, if you are using social media and email
then costs are low, and delivery speed instant.
Practice that script and change it / reword it to
suite your own style and personality. The
concept is there. What you want to know is
related to the bell curve for the destination or
product you intend to promote. When do the
Early Adopters usually book and when do
bookings surge? With this information you can
plot your marketing dates and how much to
invest if you are NOT using social media and
email to promote your products. If your
Your marketing plan should be created over time
and in effect never stop. Each promotion you
deliver should tail off as another takes off. Your
timing is important. Too many promotions can
confuse your clients therefore you must plan
who receives what promotion. By targeting your
clients based on their travel passions you can
work your plan to include many ongoing, same
If you video some WOW! footage, post it and ask
your clients to share it with their friends.
Encourage your clients to go viral with your
video. Ask them to share it. Plan your ‘go viral’
push in advance.
Each promotion you launch will have a booking
starting and end point. Bookings will peak and
then decline. As mentioned earlier, you’ll want
your promotions to start up as one fades out.
Some of your promotions will be short-lived and
others will be ongoing.
Planning By Fact and Intention
Always, and without fail, plan to conduct an
annual survey of your clients as to where they
want to go next year. If you have already
completed this survey you would be able to plot
those potential bookings on your 2014 plan. This
data helps you plan your commission budget.
Sample Script: “Hi Mr. Dawson… Steve here of
ABC Travel… a quick question for you as I am
preparing my product plan for 2014. Would you
have any idea at this time, if you intend to travel
in 2014, and if so where are you planning to go
Promo durations depend on how well the clients
take to your promotion and how well your
promotion encourages your clients to book. The
word ‘encouragement’ would be related to the
offer, the pricing, the features and the value for
money as perceived by the client.
Most clients are happy to help out and tell you
what you want to know. Others may probe
further and ask “Why do you need to know
now?” – your response is always related to
pricing and features and value.
Recap: At this stage your 2014 plan has all the
Your reply is: “Good question Mr. Dawson. The
information you give me will help me look for
the best dates and pricing related to the
vacation you might take and if there’s more
than one couple going in the same direction
then there are group rate opportunities…”
Once again you can play with the script to suit
your own style.
important dates listed. You have plotted dates
for when certain products or destinations start
to book, and now you plan your marketing &
promotional activities and record them on your
2014 at-a-glance one-pager. One thing to
remember is this: each marketing activity
requires advance planning which means
scheduling your creative time on your plan.
Post FAM & Vacation Promotions
You may need to invite in other people to help
you which means planning around their
accessibility. Your creative time might happen at
3 a.m. in morning, during lunch, when visiting
friends – only you know when your creative
happens. Best you plan your creative time, stick
to the schedule and factor in the creative surges
when they happen.
Turn you own travel experiences into consumer
presentations. You should promote the fact that
you are travelling and at the same time promote
a consumer event to be held upon return. You
can stoke this promotion using social media as
you travel. A post to your Facebook business
page can work wonders. Boosting that post by
paying $5 can add a thousand views.
you on your Facebook business page, or watch a
video on your YouTube channel? What are they
supposed to do? Lead the reader to you and
encourage the booking through the use of
slogans: “Book before the 25th to save…” That’s
good advice and not pushy. “Don’t be left in the
cold… call today and book your place in the
sun!” This call to action is a “just sayin’!” type of
push towards making the call. It nudges the
reader to think about the cold weather that’s
Building Your Image Bank
Open a folder and label it Image Bank or a name
of your choice. This folder is where you save your
own images, videos, audio clips, scripts and text
that you intend to use one day in your travel
promotions. Creating this folder saves time
when you are searching for a specific image,
audio track, layout and more.
Think, Act, Do, Check
This age old process still works. Think and create
your promotion, Act by sticking to your launch
date, Do means to click that mouse, or mail that
newsletter, Check means to follow up, check
your stats, check for viralization of your
promotion and be ready to take bookings,
referrals and general questions.
It’s important that your plan includes engaging
the reader and closing the reader. It’s important
you plan for both. In some cases you’ll need to
sell yourself, sell your services, sell the
destination and then at some point you’ll need
to start asking the hard questions and move your
reader towards buying travel from you. Study
the slogans that other companies use and also
study every promotion you receive online or in
your mail box.
Most plans tend to fail through lack of
implementation. Doing is critical to your
Marketing and Promotional Activities
You may have a challenge deciding which media,
medium, message, format, outlet, style and
colour to use, not to mention the eye-capturing
slogan. Whichever combination you use there is
only one focus and that is to generate a sale.
That sale might happen immediately, or it might
happen 18 months from now. The timing of a
booking is decided by the recipient of your
promotion and what’s happening in their life.
Using social media is one of the fastest avenues
to publishing your promotion. Once you click,
your promotion is out there. All social media
promotions need to be checked and double
checked for errors before you click and send.
Make sure your plan includes time to review
Your dates are listed
Your niche destination seasonality is known
Your creative is done
Your message is complete
Your call to action/s are done
Your follow up actions are decided
Your media / mediums are selected
Your promotions are scheduled
The question now is: how many bookings do
you need to generate to cover costs and profit?
How Many Bookings?
The Target: $50,000 in commission or $500,000
in sales. The number of bookings depends on the
product and per person price level you sell at.
Guide Your Audience to Their Next Step
Not every promotion is clear to the reader. Some
people need to know what to do next. Don’t
leave this to chance. Make sure your
promotional plan delivers the action your reader
should take once they have read your ad. Are
they to call, email, walk in, come to see you,
Skype with you, fill out a form, go online, LIKE
2 world cruises at $250,000 = $500,000
166 bookings valued at $3,000 = $500,000
83 wedding packages at $6,000 = $500,000
4 groups of 30 people at $4,500 = $500,000
Once you calculate how many bookings you
need to solve the profit problem, divide your
total by 52 weeks. Tracking your weekly sales
success will ensure you remain on plan.
166 bookings calculates as three bookings per
week. Your wedding sales equate to 1.5 bookings
per week. The four groups could be scheduled as
one group per quarter, and the 2 world cruise
bookings at some point within the year.
On Line Business Plan Planning
It’s worth exploring this website. As you look
around the products you will find dedicated
travel agency business plans, social media plans,
marketing plans and so on. You also have the
option of creating your own plan for a fee.
World Cruise Caution: Selling a world cruise
sounds wonderful doesn’t it? The fact is, you
could starve by the time such a sale concludes if
that’s all you focus on. World cruises tend to sell
out one to three years in advance, they tend to
sail in the winter months – which means you
could be investing in your world cruise
promotion for years before getting an inquiry.
The best way to sell into such high level travel is
to include a mention of a world cruise in every
promotion you send out. For instance your plan
calls for the promotion of mid-year European
tours. You can always add a one or two liner to
pitch the world cruise or a global land tour.
About The Competition
As a home-based travel agent you don’t really
need to worry about ‘the competition’. You
might if you were a multi-million dollar travel
company trying to win more market share from
another multi-million dollar travel firm. As your
business is all about YOU and YOUR experience
you actually have no competition and that holds
true for all ICs, OSRs and HBAs. You are a oneoff individual and you compete with other
individuals not brands.
Time to Plan the Plan
Follow the steps in this article. Ask your BDMs at
your host head office to work with you, and
check locally for assistance too.
You can always check in with me as and when
you need advice.
When you write your business plan you must
consider the competition however you should be
led by where you are going and not where they
are going. Let your head office work on the
competitive front. They will make the call, create
the right promotion and that’s what you support
by adding it into your marketing plan schedule.
In this way you get to focus on selling you and
your niche in your local community. Good luck
with your planning for 2014 – once again, if you
need help, let me know what you need.
Check locally for government assistance related
to business planning advice and also software.
You’ll be surprised what is available to you at no
charge. Services range from advice to actual
software to a small business consultant who will
sit with you and help you work your plan. Here’s
one such department in the USA. Canada,
Australia and the UK offer similar programs.
COPY AND PRINT THIS PAGE AS REQUIRED OR CREATE YOUR OWN ONE-PAGER
Your 2014 Biz Plan TOC
Listed below are the typical headings that relate to the construction of a travel agency business
plan. Some are redundant for a home-based agency however each is worth reviewing just in
case there is a place for this component in your specific plan. Nothing is written in stone and
that means you can, must and should write your plan to suit your own style of business, your
chosen niche and your marketing personality.
17. MARKET DESCRIPTION &
DESCRIPTION OF THE
18. TARGET CUSTOMERS
19. MARKET OPPORTUNITIES
37. FUNDING OPTIONS
38. BUSINESS CONTROLS
39. ACCOUNTING SYSTEM
YOUR MISSION, VISION,
20. BUSINESS STRATEGY
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
22. ADVERTISING AND
40. QUALITY CONTROL
21. CUSTOMER INCENTIVES
41. PREFERRED SUPPLIERS
42. YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS
43. GROWTH AND RISKS
23. SALES AND MARKETING
44. EXIT STRATEGY
MANAGEMENT TEAM AND
26. LOCATION AND PREMISES
27. HOURS OF OPERATION
11. GUARANTEES AND
28. COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
12. MARKET RESEARCH
30. FORECASTING TRENDS
13. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
Writing a business plan takes
time - at least a full week.
Write your plan to cover 18 24 months. Five year plans
are now obsolete. The world
of travel changes too fast and
you need to be able to react
instantly when required. The
current concept is to be:
focused but not blind.
31. SALES FORECAST
32. CASH FLOW PROJECTIONS
33. INCOME STATEMENT
34. BALANCE SHEET
16. GEOGRAPHIC AREA
35. PERFORMANCE RATIOS
This month’s Training Page discusses how you could and should Expect the Unexpected and
suggests that you complete the one pager at-a-glance planning sheet. First making note of all
the events that are known and expected and then plotting the dates and durations of those
known events. Having done that, you are now prepared for anything that arrives
The unexpected in life as in business is something you can train for and be ready for should it happen.
The only challenge to your surviving the event is that the unexpected has the element of surprise on its
side. Here’s the chart that goes with Expecting the Unexpected. The central explosion representing the
unexpected event that could happen at any time during the process.
In the world of selling travel, you’ll think about the events that could adversely affect your business,
decide how you would handle the situation if it arose and commit your response to paper, file it and
practice it. Too often people forget the protocol – so knowing where to find it is key to your survival as
is reminding yourself of the action to be taken. Think fire drill or life boat drill. To know is to overt.
2014 Referral Plan
Using social media to build referral traffic is one of the fastest routes to do that very thing. The
chart below from Shareaholic ( www.shareaholic.com ) clearly shows Facebook to be the leader
as a source of referrals. No matter how many friends or likes you have, now is the time to start
planning your referral plan for 2014. Shareaholic offers you free tools such as Share Buttons
that might just help you build those much needed referrals.
posting that same request on your website,
social media and in your ads.
The Fastest Route to Profits
It doesn’t take long for anyone selling travel to
realize that referrals are simply the best way to
grow your travel agency sales. Referrals are also
the cheapest and less time consuming route to
expanding your customer base. Years of trying to
capture one couple at a time teaches you to look
for the quickest route to more clients. Of course
you’ll need a decent client list in order to effect
a referral plan. That said, once you have a client,
even one client – if you service them well you’ll
have the opportunity to ask them to refer and
recommend your services.
To Be Referred You Must Be Referable
When you do a fantastic job for your clients they
will usually tell their friends. They will be your
ambassadors and enjoy doing it. You can help
this activity by promoting the fact that “We grow
through your referrals.” Statements such as
“Thank you for your referrals we appreciate
them very much.” help build rapport.
Ask yourself after each interaction with a client:
Did I deliver 100%? Did I do my best? If you can
answer yes to both then chances are you are
good to go when asking your clients to mention
your name, agency and services to their
Some travel agents do say they are shy of asking
for referrals when face-to-face with a client. If
that’s your situation you can use the less
stressed technique of emailing your request and
Add To Your Ad
It was mentioned in the Business Plan article that you should always be adding a luxury item
to your generic promotions. Here’s a sample ad with an added luxury push. Use it as a base
and make changes to suit your own style and personality. Note: BOV Travel is fictitious.
Choose a photograph, an
illustration or actual artwork that
represents your niche. If your
image is slightly different from the
norm’ then it will be noticed.
Promote what you do, what you
are good at – and here BOV Travel
is the BEST at finding their clients
the BEST OCEAN VIEW rooms
around the globe. That includes
ocean view staterooms, suites and
cabins on world cruises
Here’s where you add in your
world cruise push. BOV can tap
into their niche of Best Ocean
View Rooms. You don’t always
need a direct connect. Just add
the world cruise mention.
There are times when even a simple one liner like this - Ask us about World Cruises - is all you
need to generate a response. Trial and error is going to be the learning curve. Try it and try
something other than a world cruise. Any luxury trip can be mentioned. The idea is to boost
your commission income by selling upscale, luxury, expensive tours, cruises, adventures and
even hotel, resort and spa rooms.
Biz Blogging Plan
Some travel agents are doing very well turning their writing skills into blogging skills and adding
to their written word more than the usual candid photo. Depending on the blogging platform
you use or intend to use there are many more tools to explore such as video. First things first
though and one of the first things to ponder is time - how much can you devote to your blog?
the best tools. Google’s Blogger might be a quick
study whereas Wordpress requires more time.
Chances are you’ve watched many movies
where the main character or their buddy is a
blogger. What do you remember? It might be the
scene where writer’s block has struck and the
creative well is dry. Could be the sleepy eyes with
dark circles that suggest no blog, no sleep.
Finding and setting aside time to write is very
important and that’s quite easy to arrange. Just
hang out a shingle that says “Go Away… Blogger
at Work!” Tell family and friends you need space
and time. Set your time and keep the ritual.
So you’ve blocked your time to write. Excellent.
Now you need sources of information and
content unless you are the source. Having a flow
of information that supports what you sell is
mandatory, not to mention questioning the
content before using it. There are still plenty of
hoaxes going around.
Two more links for you to explore. Female travel
bloggers should find the Adventurous Kate link
of interest. Be sure to read her About info.
You’ll need to decide on the publishing schedule
for your blog. Can you manage a daily dose of
travel information? Too much? How about a
weekly or monthly blog? One that works for me
is what I call the As & When which means you
write only as and when you have something
worthwhile to share. In this way your clients will
look forward to reading your blog as and when it
arrives, versus being inundated with content
that becomes boring.
On The Clock Once More
When you have the time (pun intended) get back
to your at-a-glance one page planner and block
off your blogging time. Select a time period that
you know you can have all to yourself or when
you are with family, friends, kids, pets and others
that inspire you to write. Now it’s all down to
generating bookings! Try a blog layout like the
one here on the next page. Change to suit.
Choosing Your Blogging Platform
Here are two images with links to information on
what bloggers would say are platforms offering
header image to
suit your post.
Your header image should be enticing and good enough to eat, which in this case works
just fine. If you have a sunset pictured there, make sure it’s a winner and one that you
shot. This adds credibility to your blog and says simply, “this blogger was actually there!”
Now, if you have it, how about adding in a short 60-second clip to support your blog post
and the tour you want to sell? Again, something you videoed is preferable.
A video or another
image can work here.
Also an audio clip or a
bold heading / slogan.
YOUR CALL TO ACTION GOES RIGHT ABOUT HERE!
Many of the blogs you’ll research will present what is known as a wall of text. Line after
line of text with no break for an image, a video, an audio clip or even a call to action
(CTA). Your CTA could be as simple as: Call me soon and let’s talk about the treats you
enjoy when travelling. Here’s my contact information. You’ve set a topic, you’ve
instructed the reader what to do, made it easy for them to contact you and intimated
you’ll be talking to them soon about joining your tour.
“Don’t be eating humble pie when your
friends are treating themselves to
Verden Besta Kake!”
How much more can you take about the right way to market travel to a younger generation
versus the good old Baby Boomers? Let me add to your folder on marketing to this fantastic
group of young and younger people that society has labeled Millennials.
One thing you must be very careful of is the
lumping of younger generations into one box
and assume they all react the same, want the
same travel experience and use social media the
same way. It’s just not true and remember we’re
not talking kids here – these are people in their
mid-20’s and 30’s who hold down responsible
jobs and earn more than what Baby Boomers did
at the same age.
sense except for the anti-selling statements and
rhetoric. Statements such as “they don’t want to
be sold…” well the truth is - yes they do. They do
want to be sold, only they want to be sold and
they want to buy on their terms – just like
everyone else regardless of age. The key then is
to know per individual client, how they want you
to interact with them from both the sales and
marketing aspect of selling travel.
We use these marketing labels to pinpoint a
client profile and that can become dangerous at
some point in time. Better to identify your clients
by their travel passions and desires. There you
have it. Every client regardless of age is unique
and we are ALL swayed by what our friends do.
It’s not a millennial thing, it’s just the way we as
human beings are wired at this point in our
If you do have a younger client base which
means an age range of 20 to 40 years old then
simply ask them how they prefer to buy their
travel and how they prefer to receive your
Reasons For Travelling Remain The Same
The world is still where it was so many years ago.
New countries have been born. Mountains still
there, rivers too. Ancient temples still there. The
sun still rises over the Himalayas and sets across
a small pond somewhere in the flatlands. The
average person young or old still gasps at scenes
they are looking on for the first time and that
hasn’t changed since mankind looked over one
more horizon to witness something new and
Be careful how much validity you give the
various trade surveys that are conducted and
shared. The truth of most surveys is this: total
number of people surveyed is roughly 1,000 or
less. Personally I’m not sure if 1,000 people can
speak for or represent 350,000,000 North
Americans. The numbers just don’t add up.
Travel and exploration is in our genes although
not everyone triggers the emotion and that’s
okay – someone has to stay home and run the
farm. For the rest of us, we just have to travel
and we do so for our own reasons as well as
those inherited survival instincts to explore.
Survey results are important to review however
it is always best to survey your own 50 – 500
clients for a 100% return and gather that
information which should allow you to make the
right business decisions for your agency and your
The thrill of travelling and seeing new sites is not
lost on any generation. The real change, as you
well know, is in the use of technology to share
what you are looking at in real time.
The Anti-Selling Approach
Much of what is being written about marketing
to the 20 and 30 something aged client makes
Everybody says it. No matter age, race, creed, or
marketing label… WOW! Sell the WOW!
(Meisha aged 23)
(Freddy age 9)
(Rev. Smith age 79)
(Fingal age 45)
You oughta be in
It’s time to focus! Time to get on camera, or
behind the camera and shoot the footage that
can help you sell more travel. Start here and
find the various video options and how to use
them to grow more sales.
you never know. You might find a viewership
that just loves the short and sharp.
No need to look too far… what you need is right
there in your hand, your purse, laptop case, or
pocket. One but to add, and it’s this – you should
be able to shoot 1080 HD video with your smart
phone if that’s the preferred video capture tool.
The basic editing tools are found in your
computer whether you are using a PC or MAC. As
I use a PC I’ll focus on the tools within – and using
Windows 7 on one PC and Windows 8 on another
I have access to Windows Live Movie Maker.
Moving up a notch: look for a DSLR digital
camera that shoots video as so many now do. A
well-priced dedicated video camera works if you
intend to go pro. There are so many brands on
the market it’s impossible to make a
recommendation. At a certain price range 99% of
the cameras are very good to excellent for the
purpose of videoing the level of content you
Like all such programs to get the best out of
WLMM you need to invest a few hours to find
out how it works and what each click here or
there will do or create. Keep in mind we’re not
striving for a full length Hollywood epic here. All
we want is a 1 to 3 minute video clip that will
grab your client’s attention and prompt them to
Keypoint: Small cameras are light and hard to
control when videoing exciting moments. Your
reaction to the event will transfer through your
body to your arms, hands and the camera. Which
translates into a shaky video. Counter this by
purchasing a small tripod.
How They Work
Let’s say you have videoed some decent footage.
Next step is to edit that footage, add a title and
a credit that includes your Contact Us
information. You’ll edit your video footage using
your hand held device or you’ll download it to
your computer of choice and edit it on your big
You will be familiar with YouTube, perhaps
Vimeo and a dozen other video outlets that the
general public can access. You may also want to
us a private link accessible by your clients only.
Once downloaded you can right click on the file
to see your options and the one you are looking
for is Open With.
You can post your video on your own website
and as you well know you can post your video to
your social media accounts too. In fact many of
the video conversion software programs offer
you a one-click upload to YouTube for instance.
If you have opened your own YouTube account –
that’s where it will be saved and displayed.
New Video Outlets
You can set your default program and or flip
between the programs listed and select the one
that’s best for the project you have in mind.
As the months and years roll along you can only
imagine the technology to come. At the moment
there is Vine – an outlet for short 6-second video
clips. Not sure it works for marketing travel, but
Editing Your Projects
MY VIDEO MARKETING PLAN
There are, as we continually state, so many
options when it comes to technology and
software that you may already have your own
preferences. If not, let me suggest you look at
the AVS4YOU suite. With one payment of $59
when on sale you can have unlimited access to
some sixteen different tools. Shown below is the
AVS4YOU Convertor interface where you can
convert your video format to Flash, WMV, AVI
and more plus you can post it to Facebook,
Twitter and YouTube with one click. In a nutshell
it’s easy to use, quick and efficient. It works.
This plan should dovetail with all your other
marketing activities including the engagement
programs your host head office is enabling
throughout the year.
You Video Marketing Plan (VMP) can be created
using your own content, content from your
suppliers and also from your clients. The main
thing to keep in mind is this: you are not meant
to be investing time into editing your client’s
videos. Make sure when you put a call out for
UGC – User Generated Content that you set the
rules regarding a ‘finished product’. The video
your suppliers can offer you would be the type of
finished product you can post with full
FAMs and Vacation Video Footage
Here is your opportunity to video excellent
footage and then edit to suit. There will be two
types of video you film, the one you can show
your clients and post on line and the video
footage you should keep as personal. Editing
does the job. Just make sure you come across as
the business person you are and the travel agent
of record for your community that promotes you
as the travel guru of choice.
Editing The Upside Down iPhone Video
When you shoot video using an iPhone and then
download it and then click to play it, it might be
playing upside down. You can prevent this by
choosing QUICKTIME player which will play your
video right side up. After that, it will play right
side up on Windows Media Player etc.
Planning The Plan
Let’s move ahead and assume you have your
collection of video content now it’s time to
decide how and where and when to showcase it.
Windows Live Movie Maker offers you a Rotate
button when you are editing – so if your iPhone
video uploads to WLMM upside down, just
rotate it to the correct view.
Your choices for showcasing would be:
1. Your regular agency website
2. Email marketing campaigns
3. Social media accounts
4. Your travel blog and vlog
5. Video sharing sites – YouTube etc.,
6. Digital newsletters
7. Digital e-Magazines
9. Mobile websites
Recap: You have the right video camera for the
type of video you intend to shoot. You have
opened an account with YouTube or Vimeo or
both. You have reviewed and selected the best
editing tool for your use.
Time to create your
VIDEO MARKETING PLAN…
The next step is to decide on the video outlet/s,
date to upload and the content to run.
The One Pager Plan
Animoto – Make it a Favourite
If you printed off the One Pager At-a-Glance plan
and added in your host head office’s marketing
plan and projects, you can now work around that
schedule to include your video promotions.
This is truly one of the best marketing tools for
travel agents. I use it all the time. Once you learn
how to use it and that’s not difficult, you can
create and wrap up a video in less than 30
minutes. After that you can edit it, save and view
time and time again. The video clips can only be
10 seconds long per clip. So you learn to get your
message out in that time span. Here’s a test run
using Animoto that has been converted to a
YouTube format. The 7-second clip of me would
be YOU telling your story.
Your video can tell your travel story in full multimedia. So what’s coming up on the marketing
horizon that you can support with a video of your
The Face-To-Face Video
If no travel footage is available you may have to
video yourself chatting to your viewership and
encouraging them to book the trip that’s being
promoted. This is where you must live up to the
title of this article – YOU OUGHTA BE IN VIDEO!
If you have a blank wall that is well lit, and or a
place where you can sit and chat without too
much background noise then that’s the spot.
You’ll need to be comfortable, surrounded by
travel things, books etc., so probably at your
desk where you can use your webcam.
When it comes to your VMP you must plan
around your video time, your editing time and
your uploading time. After that, you may detect
something that needs updating right now, so it’s
back to editing the video and tweaking it here
and there. Generally this would mean a
complete revision and a new video. Minimum
planning time then, to be safe, would be two
weeks prior to the promotional launch.
Practice makes perfect: This is the art of video.
Just like the movies, you’ll be doing a number of
“takes” before you are happy with the video.
Stick with it. Do not give up. With time comes the
right way to video yourself easily and quickly.
Dress code: Make sure your on-camera attire
suits the video, the story, the destination, the
supplier and so on.
This recording and editing program offers you a
green screen tool which amounts to removing
the background of your video and then placing
‘you’ in front of another video or scene. It’s using
the green screen effect that Hollywood films use
so much these days. There you are filmed sitting
in your office and suddenly now you are sitting
and talking with the Taj Mahal behind you.
Worthwhile purchasing this program if the
above excites you.
Scripted or not: Always script yourself and then
practice it many, many times. Try it on-camera,
make corrections and video once again. Finally,
when you are confident – just switch on the
camera and go for it. When you make a mistake…
keep going after a short pause. The pause is
where you will clip and edit the footage.
Hold that SMILE: As you get to the end of your
planned recording, hold a great smile, facial
expression for a few seconds. The reason you do
this is so prevent the last image of you being a
blurry looking person with mouth open and eyes
closed. Not the best LAST impression to leave.
Making That Movie
You’re in luck! You are working in an industry that now thrives on video as a promotional tool.
If you cannot manage to create your own video content, or produce your own movie then you
can always ask your suppliers if you can use their videos. Let’s not go there just yet. Let’s see if
you can create your own movie using some of the tools explained below and also explore what
other travel firms are doing with their video content. Are you ready? Action!
If you are shooting video using your smartphone
then chances are you can access an app (Vine,
Instagram, iMovie, ReelDirector, Cute CUT,
Montaj, Magisto, HighlightCam, Lapse It,
YouTubeCapture) that will edit your video
without the need for any other software.
Setting Up Your Video Outlets
If you did shoot excellent video footage where
would you show it? Yes for your website and yes
for YouTube and or Vimeo and any of your social
sites, too. Sure enough, today’s technology and
marketing channels are begging you to use them
and showcase your travels to the world.
Other Conversion / Editing Tools
Step one: set up your video outlets and you can
do this very easily by opening a YouTube
account. YouTube is owned by Google which
means you can use your Google ID and password
to create a YouTube account.
My favourite is AVS4YOU and for the simple fact
that for a low fee of $99 or $59 when on sale you
can have access to over 16 programs that range
from video conversion, to audio editing, to
ringtone creation and more.
Step two: check how you can upload and embed
your videos into your website. If your website
does not allow for this you may wish to upgrade
your site or look for add-ons and options. They
might be free or they might cost a few dollars.
It’s a worthwhile upgrade if you intend to use
more video in your marketing.
The editing of your video is as important as the
content you’ve taken. Your video should have
titles, captions and credits. You may wish to add
an introduction which would be a separate video
that you splice into the main footage and you can
do this with most video editing software.
The last impression, the last image, frame and
message is what will stay with your client, so it’s
important to create a fantastic ending or simply
advise your viewership what to do next. Book
NOW! comes to mind. You might even appear on
screen and ask your audience to call you.
Converting Your Video Content
How would you convert your videos to play on
your website, YouTube or Facebook? Not all
video formats are the same and not all formats
instantly upload without being converted first.
Video With The End in Mind
Your camera may be advanced enough to upload
your video with one click. The challenge in doing
this is your video would be posted without being
edited. That’s never a good thing to do, so you’ll
need to edit your footage first and that means
downloading your video to your desktop
computer and opening your video with a
It’s always a good thing to get into the habit of
planning your video and deciding on how you
would like to sign off. You can do this as you
video the last sunset for instance and just using
your voice behind the camera, ask your clients to
call you, email you or to turn up at a certain
venue to attend your presentation.
Learn From Your Suppliers
Keeping It Energized
Chances are your supplier’s have deeper pockets
than you do and if you pay attention to their new
video productions you’ll quickly pick up on their
ideas and techniques. They may be using high
quality video cameras which means the quality
of their imagery will be better than your
Here’s a video from Air New Zealand. It’s been
around for a short while now, and still one of the
best ever with over 2,267,538 views. I’ll let the
video do the talking. Your take away is to think
about how you too could create something
similar to this snappy, clever and humourous
video based on your own personality and travel
The Recent British Airways Video
In this most recent video from BA, they have
employed the split-screen editing technique. We
can’t go into the how-to here on this page
however search the HELP files of your editing
software and you’ll find the instructions. The
split screen technique allows you to play two
videos at the same time. Click on the video below
after you read this intro from Tnooz:
The style of video is in first-person, emphasizing the
“Yourope” so the viewer feels more connected to the
experience at hand. The videos are also done in bursts,
bringing in short clips in a montage of travel
experience. This delves into the Vine-style short video
clip experience, while also reflecting the indelible,
episodic memories that travel delivers. After selecting
the destination, viewers are brought to the
destination via plane and taxi. After arriving at the
destination, viewers must then choose an experience.
The street is split down the middle, and a wipe clears
out the other side of the street once the selection has
For Something Completely Different
The My MUVEE software might be right there in
your list of computer programs. Check to see if it
is. If so then you have another fantastic video
tool to use. Here’s a quick test video with Muvee
using their old style format. Imaging using this
style to promote train travel adventures.
I’m using the Dylanesque format with cue cards.
What could you do different to tell your story, or
push market your niche products and niche
Tourism Offices Video Content
Make sure you carry your video device with you
at all times and don’t be shy to put yourself on
camera and have a conversation with the lens.
After a few attempts you’ll love being on camera
and that’s a plus.
Almost every office of tourism has its own
professionally shot collection of videos that you
are allowed to use subject to certain rules and
regulations requested by the Tourism HQ. If you
sell into a niche destination, ask for their videos.
Audio Clip Marketing
Do you like the sound of your own voice? Well if you do, here’s a way to chat and sell. You can
use the Sound Recorder tool which is found under Programs, Accessories. Once you locate
Sound Recorder, click on it and the recorder will pop up. Arrange your microphone a few inches
from your mouth, click the Start Recording button and start chatting. Stop chatting and stop
the recording. When you have stopped the recording the Save As box will appear. Save your
test files to your desktop – then when you are well scripted and confident, go for it and save
your professional audio clips to a specific folder.
Here’s one of the better audio recorders. It is called Audacity and just happens to be a free download.
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ As you can tell comparing the interfaces of Sound Recorder and
Audacity, you’ll have more of a learning curve using Audacity. It is more for professional recordings and
that means you can use it for blog posting and podcasts.
Types of Audio Clips
The more you investigate sound, travel sounds
and the various things you can do with an audio
clip the more your creative juices will excite!
You are allowed to use the sounds on our website free
of charge and royalty free in your projects but you are
NOT allowed to post the sounds on any web site for
others to download, link directly to individual audio
files, or sell the sounds to anyone else. Remember to
sound effects or music tracks.
Audio clips can be embedded in emails,
websites, blogs and used as ringtones too. You’ll
be wanting to factor audio clips into your 2014
Business Plan / Marketing Plan to decide how
and when to use them.
Typical audio clips in the travel industry are a
ships horn and the sound of a train. Then there’s
you and your voice. The human voice telling a
short story of delivering a simple call to action
can work wonders. Mind you, the voice cannot
be too loud, too sharp, too low… it has to be
natural, clear and if you have an accent of any
kind you’ll need to have someone else listen to it
and decide whether or not your accent helps or
hinders the listener to understand. If your audio
clip is being sent to clients who share your accent
then you’ll be fine.
This bundle sells
for $37 USD and
you can find it on
the Sound Jay
If Rick Steves Can Do It…
Well known TV traveller Rick Steves has his own
set of travel podcasts and that means you can
too. You’ll not be competing with Rick Steves
because you’ll target your existing clients and
using your social network/s to promote your
podcasts, audio books and your snappy, short
and sharp and highly creative promo clips.
Remember the ships horn, the lion’s roar –
here’s where they fit in so nicely.
It’s ALL in the Mic’
That honkin’ great microphone is called the Yeti
(!) from Blue Microphones. Wonderful!
Once you know what you are marketing – let’s
go for an African Safari – you can select your
sound bytes and if you’re thinking the Big 5 and
out of that five you narrow it down to the roar of
a lion… I’d say you are focused and good to go.
That clip of the lion’s roar is then played or
embedded into your audio recording. CHECK
OUT the Sound Jay clips by clicking on the logo.
You can purchase it at one of the big brand
computer stores and online. Your audio should
be crystal clear. Some webcam mic’s can do the
job too. All it takes now is practice.
Niche: Green Travel
Green has become the colour of tourism throughout the world and it’s also the colour of money
– which makes for a terrific selling combination. Most of what you sell day-to-day is already
green which means the supplier or hotel chain have responded to areas in the running of their
business that were in some way causing damage to the local / global atmosphere. By studying
green travel opportunities you can develop a niche that most travellers support, especially the
younger generation of travellers.
Our planet needs all the help it can get and that’s
nothing new – most travellers know it, have
heard about it, read about it and in their heartof-hearts would like to help. The challenge for
many travellers however is the hype that comes
with political grandstanding and the use of
green, eco, sustainable wording in their vote for
Here then is the green niche opportunity for you
and it doesn’t include ramming carbon offsets
down the throats of your clients. Better to stay
clear of such offers. Let your clients decide on
that issue for themselves. Your role in keeping
the green machine rolling is to advise and assist
your clients to purchase the best travel plan for
them and their planet.
As you know the majority of green sensitive
suppliers – from hotels and resorts to cruise lines
– have made efforts towards greening their
premises, products and modes of transport.
Chances are, we are as green as we can get at the
moment. More work to be done as always.
Until another form of transport is invented, your
clients will generally be flying to their green
vacation. Once they land, greener transportation
can take over. We can take comfort however
that airlines are flying as green as they can be.
This just in! My cousin Jo’ back in the UK just
returned from Kanana Camp, located in
Okavango Delta, Botswana. Up close and
personal with the wildlife and what a marvellous
time she had. Here’s three images of her green
lodgings – one of which had an elephant come
Travelling by rail is a green way to go. This form
of transport is one of the oldest and most used
worldwide and as long as it’s not burning coal or
wood for instance, it’s travelling green. If you
have a love of the clackety-clack then don’t look
back – investigate this rail journey niche for
yourself. Below is a selection of railway books
found on the Barnes & Noble website and also at
your local bookstore.
Many of these books offer you the one thing you
need most - the route. Your next step is to search
online for the company that books the trip you
wish to promote.
Person power is another green way to travel and
cycling, like train travel, is a world favourite, too.
There are numerous opportunities for you
explore and more so if you happen to ride a bike.
Green travel comes in all shapes and sizes and as
many words such as green, eco, sustainable,
environmentally friendly and these are words to
be used in your promotional activity. There are
green images available now like the ones below
that you can find in Microsoft Clip Art.
Investigate the green side of your suppliers and
ask to use and mention their green initiatives in
your advertising and promotion. Here’s a sample
layout you can change to suit. Use your own
You know how to package travel, but how are you doing packaging YOU! Are you making good
use of everything about YOU? For sure you can fill in the About-Us tab on your website and
even create a webpage on About.Me. Your social media sites will have a special page for you
to edit your profile. So what’s missing?
The Missing Ingredient
Taking YOU to Market:
The missing ingredient is usually the paper
version of all things digital. At some point in time
all that’s mentioned about you online has to
make it into print. Not all the time, but
sometimes. Hard copy printed business cards are
still required just as much as your digital
signature. And then there’s what we call Old
Style Marketing that has come from what used
to be limited options to turning Old Style
Marketing elements into glorious pieces of
design using digital tools.
Take a hard look at all those paper-based
promotional elements you use and determine
where your face, name, agency name and logo
could be printed along with your email address
and phone number. Here’s the thing: people like
your clients still pass things along to their pals.
One of those ‘things’ would be brochures. Every
brochure you hand out should have a sticker on
it featuring your agency logo, contact
information and an image of YOU.
Show The Company You Keep:
You could and should also picture the logos of
your preferred suppliers. They can be printed on
the ticket jacket alongside your information. It’s
good marketing to identify yourself with major
travel firms. You can have the tour guide’s
picture printed on the ticket jacket too – then
the tour group can spot their guide quickly in a
crowd (says Scott barker of Big Bark Graphics).
We’re talking your best side here. Where is it
featured? On your business card? On your
letterhead? Envelopes? Website? Ticket jackets?
Where would a client or prospect find your lovely
face? If the answer is nowhere – then you need
to rethink how you are packaging YOU.
Special Vidvertorial from Big Bark Graphics serving travel agents across North America
Marketing YOU is a specialty of Big
Bark Graphics and a personal mission
for the big barker ‘imself, the chief
woofer of the company, Scott Barker.
Take six minutes of your time to watch
and listen to Scott’s take on his
eStores and how you can benefit from
taking YOU to market.
E-Books: Your Story
As I’m about to launch my new eStore (www.thetravelagentsstore.com) I can’t help thinking
that you probably have a book or two in you and that means you need to know how to create
your own eBook, use it as a marketing tool and sell it online. If that’s something you would like
to do, then let me share the following with you.
E-Books are an excellent promotional tool and
once published you are in fact an author and
with that illustrious title, life can change for you
in so many ways. Not promising large yachts and
invitations to gala events – however, you can
build a joint career alongside selling travel.
got to support your writing. And that’s one book
done and dusted. Now you need an outlet to sell
Your Own Online Book Store
You can follow my lead and open an online store
and you can do this though many website
offerings and perhaps your own website host has
such an option for you. I am using Weebly and
they have just upgraded their store functionality
to include digital downloads and that’s the key
feature you are looking for as you review other
online selling tools and sites.
Writing Your eBook
E-Books cover all topics. The most purchased are
in the how-to category. To you as a travel agent
that means you would write content related to
How To Cruise, How To Travel South America
and titles like that. You don’t need the words
“how to” in the title – however you could add
something exciting at the end such as: “How To
Travel South America on Zero Dollars!” Not sure
if that’s possible, but if you’ve done it on the
cheap then you know how to do it.
You write, you save to PDF, you combine the
pages into one – and hey presto your eBook is
almost done. You need what is known as an
eCover and that means using an eCover software
to create what looks like a 3D image of a
hardcover book. You upload your images, price
it, and publish the page. You are now selling
online. You’ll need a PayPal account to collect
and process the shopping cart. Amazon offers
you a place to post and sell your eBook too.
You need content. That content is either all
about you, your travels or something you have a
passion for and have investigated.
You can write as many eBooks as you can pump
out. It’s your call and no editor to tell you
otherwise. You are the author, editor and the
publisher all in one. Each title can target a
specific audience and this is where and how you
use your eBook to boost your sales.
Writing For All Devices
The most favoured format for an eBook is PDF.
There are eBook readers that are purpose built
to read only in their specific format. So you’ll
need to think about the outlet that’s best for
Think about what it is you want to sell, or
promote and make that a topic. Luxury cruising
might be a topic. Adventure also. Perhaps a list
of specialty coffee shops around the world or a
specific country, or city. Add in a couple of
recipes from the area. Use your own
photography and add in the best images you’ve
Sell off your own website. Use your social media
connections to boost the viral word. Promote
like you want to sell a million copies and
generate ten grand in travel commissions.
Here’s two more e-cover angles and concepts
with one showing a CD if you were planning to
offer that medium.
Here’s an e-cover that I created for my new
eBook that’s due out as soon as I finish it! Yes
time is always the challenge. You have to set a
time to write say one or two pages a day and
then you’ll finish on time. Almost. Back to the ecover: the first step is to design the front cover,
then the back cover and finally the spine.
For Something Different
something that could use an
unusual image such as this
canned idea. From flat to
round to angled, to 3D and
various layouts like this pop
can – your e-cover program
can do it all for you.
Shown below are the two elements you’ll need
to create the typical e-cover: the front cover
image and the spine. Both can be created in MS
Word or PPT and then using Print-Screen, SnipIt
or SnagIt – capture the image and crop to suit.
The Photographic EBook
Nothing sells travel like glorious images and
chances are you have just what you need sitting
in an image file in your computer. Now you have
a few choices. You can create a photo eBook on
one country, one city, one type of travel, or you
can go wild and include everything. As we are
focused on sales here – best to focus on your
niche destination and use that collection of
WOW photos. Call it a ‘collection’ or a ‘suite’ or
simply ‘My Album…’ – add in your captions that
help to sell the viewer / reader to book with you.
Also be sure to have the opening image featuring
you doing what you are selling. Add in a sidebar
of text that profiles your travels. Sign off with a
contact me now to book statement.
Once you have those three elements created you
can open your e-cover software and upload each
image as directed. The e-cover software does
what it does and creates a 3D image like the one
you see here. Once all the images are in place
you have the tools to add a shadow, or reflection
and produce a JPEG or transparent PNG file.
Once you become an author your clients will look
upon you somewhat differently. Prestige seems
to happen. Referrals too. Then sales. It’s good. It
works. So start writing and go for it.
Click on the text below for information
about publishing your eBook to Kindle.
You may wish to change the colours, change the
title and this you can do by make your changes
to your imagery and then repeat the uploading
to the e-cover software. And that’s how it’s
done. Not too difficult – just needs time.
Start the New Year
If you have ever considered the idea of running your own company, of being
your own boss, then maybe the best gift that you can give yourself at the start
of a new year is a new business. Your own business; one in which you can reach
your full potential.
While there can be no disputing that
there are pros and co ns in running your
own business, if you go into this with
your eyes wide open and w ith realistic
expectations, you too can join the
hundreds of travel consultants that
make up the gro wing ranks of
independent co ntractors.
based on your skill set, experience, and
passio n. You are also free to decide if
consultants, and on what terms. That
may mean aligning with like-minded
consultants, or perhaps hiring your own
staff to help you reach your goals. You
will also learn that there are no shortcuts to building a successful business,
but take comfort in knowing that it is,
in the end, up to you.
With a solid business plan, and the
stamina for dealing w ith the inevitable
challenges – anyone who has an
entrepreneurial spirit can build a
successful business, no matter how you
describe “success”. It isn’t easy. It can
sometimes be stressful, but the rewards
to those who make the leap can be many
and satisfy ing enough to make any
bumps in the road worth the ride!
2. For Bal ance and Flexi bility:
Take control of your time: One of the
greatest benefits of owning your own
business is the flexibility that comes
with it. Work from wherever you want,
setting your own hours, wearing a
nightgown or even sitting next to your
pet while you work. Perhaps just as
important, you are free to set priorities;
set your own schedule, and allow for
time to spend with the most important
people in your life. While there are no
short-cuts to success in building a
business, as the business owner, you
can better manage the time you put into
How Do You Define Success?
Goal-setting is a v ery powerful in
business, and it begins at the outset.
Know what you are looking for from
There are as many
reasons for getting into business for
yourself as there are people, but they
generally fall into a combinatio n of a
handful of categories:
3. To Sell What You Want To Sell:
No matter how hard you try, it is simply
not possible to be all things to all
people. In fact, by being a generalist,
you are less likely to be as good as you
need to be in any one area of the
industry . Become an expert, focus your
attention and your sales will have far
1. For Independence:
Control Your Own Destiny: One of the
greatest benefits to starting your own
business is the simple fact that you are
in charge. You decide what you will sell,
to whom, and how. Decide on the
suppliers you wish to work with, the
mark-up and margins on the work you
do. Free to choose your own niche(s)
Guest article by Mike Foster
with a gift to yourself - Your Own Business!
To find your ideal niche, you must
consider the following: Is the niche
something that you enjoy and would be
good at? Is it unique and not served by
too many? Is it a marketable niche? Is
it a profitable niche?
When spending your working time doing
something that you are passionate
about, and for yourself – it won’t feel
To Get Things Done Faster:
Have you ever found that your ideas and
energy were stifled or ignored?
Businesses – particularly large ones –
can have processes, policies and
procedures that can slow down business
effectiveness and innovation. By being
your own boss, you make the decisions
– good or bad – in a timely way, and for
4. For More Ear ning Potenti al:
Tie your income to your efforts: Not
every travel consultant is looking to
strike it rich, but as an entrepreneur,
you have far more control over your
personal income. There may be longer
hours, or even fewer hours, but the
effort you put into yo ur business is up
to you as are the rewards. It is also true
that owning your own business is a risky
But, with risk comes
reward, and the better you are at
managing risk, the m ore rewards you
7. To Connect With Your Clients:
As an entrepreneur, there are few
things more satisfying and exciting as
when you interact w ith your clients.
You control your accessibility, and even
who you deal with - yo u have the luxury
to “fire” those clients you never want to
5. To Enjoy Your Career:
Enjoy it to the fullest and challenge
yourself! Some people excel in routine,
finding comfort in having a scheduled
job description to follow each day. But
as an entrepreneur, y ou will be able to
challenge yourself, to be creative and
learn something new. There will be
challenges from time to time, but there
is nothing more satisfying than meeting
each challenge head-o n and handling it
8. Building Your Own Business
There is nothing quite like the pride you
establish in building something of your
own; nothing like feeling the success
through your own effort, abilities and
Are You Sold On The Idea Yet?
6. For Focus – Follow Your Passion:
The typical day of a travel agency
employee is filled with interruptions
and distractions, and not all of them are
productive ones. Focus your attention
and energy on doing the things you want
to do, like building your business.
Give yourself the gift of travel in 2014 and start your ow n home -based
travel agency. Sell the w orld the w ay you w ant to sell it.
For more advice contact: Steve Crow hurst
Selling Special Places
So many places so little time. How can you get to visit all the special places there are and return
home safely to sell them? Not an easy task, however the places that are special to you could
be money makers if you start to use the Special Places theme.
We all have our list of places special to us. I know
some people who physically change when they
get ‘there’ to their special place.
Here’s one way to generate response – simply
showcase the special place and offer to help your
clients relive those memories.
You will know from your own experiences that at
times you feel this place is “talking to you” it’s
connecting to you and you to it. You might not
even speak the language, but you feel ‘at home’.
When these feelings happen to you then this is
indeed a special place.
LET US SEND YOU BACK THERE
TO YOUR SPECIAL PLACE
These same feelings and insight happen to your
clients and knowing this, you can tap into their
special places, too. Once you know the places
and locations special to your clients you can start
to merge the list and promote a series of group
departures to the places that top that list.
Relive those special moments with
new friends and tour companions…
A special place is not the same as a dream trip.
The dream trip has yet to be done, the special
place is usually a place to return to.
Social media can play a role here too. By
engaging your clients through a special places
Facebook page you can initiate a viral campaign
so that your Special Place clients invite their
friends along on the tour you are planning.
You could start by inviting your clients to journey
with you to your own Special Places. So where
would that be? Which would be the first place on
your list to take your clients to? Do you sense the
makings of niche called Special Places Yours and
Mine? I think so.
Some years ago I was contracted by USAid to train travel &
tourism managers in Cairo. Part of the program included
visiting several sites, many of which became special places
to me that I plan to return to as and when.
Start your list now and also gather, from your
clients, their list too. Count the top three places
your clients believe are special and plan your
plan for Selling Special Places in 2014.
Your clients experience the same feelings as
travel trade people do – so how could you tap
into those feelings?
IC Meeting Planner
Not every travel agent is cut out to be selling sun, sand and sea vacations. There are plenty of
other options that many times come under the heading of niche, other segments of the trade
are standalone business options and one of those would be to plan meetings. If you have a
mind for detail and process and perhaps have worked as an engineer, project manager,
accountant or just have a history of planning one helluva party… this niche could work for you.
One thing to know and understand if you feel
this could be a business you would like to get
into: there would be a certain level of proven
expertise required as and when you go for the big
time. That would translate as moving 300 people
to 3,000 people from 99 gateways to a
destination such as Las Vegas. Certification will
help you win the business you intend to chase.
Your role as an independent meeting planner is
to add your own take on the business of location,
theme and activities. You could build a name for
yourself if you chose to go with a niche within
the meeting planning segment.
Perhaps you only handle adventure meetings. Or
outdoor meetings. Spa meetings. There are so
many options. Like the generic world of selling
travel it might be tough to be a generalist and try
to handle every possible meeting.
On a smaller scale of let’s say planning for 20 to
100 people to meet somewhere in the world you
may come up against the certified competition
however if your prospects are local then you
should have an edge.
Review the business of meeting planning by
reading such magazines as Smart Meetings and
also explore Meeting Professionals International
(MPI) – there should be a local chapter near you.
One of the keys to planning meetings is to be
able to generate excitement. In many cases
there’s plenty of leeway for the creative to take
hold and generally the client would be looking
for your input related to destination, the
meeting place itself, the theme of the meeting
and pre and post meeting activities.
Today the planning
of meetings includes
virtual meetings so
that those who
cannot attend the
physical event – can
still join in and
Most clients have an idea of what they want to
achieve from their meeting and these same
clients are well versed in dealing with a meeting
planner. There is also the chance that they have
stuck to the tried and true and just might be
looking for something new and exciting in the
One more option would be that you set yourself
up to handle the meeting business of your
colleagues hosted by the same host agency as
you. If you have 500 fellow home based agents
under the same brand as you, they could
become your sales team and you their meeting
planning department. You can split commissions
as you see fit so that everyone profits.
Today, we can meet pretty much anywhere. On
a train, on a cruise ship, in the jungle, close to the
North Pole, at a resort, at an adventure course in
the forest and even at a world renowned wonder
or place of spirituality.
Good ole Google, Bing, Yahoo and other translator programs such as imTranslator shown
below. What would we do without them? What can we do with them? Now there’s the
question that needs answering and if you have not yet found a use for these online translators
other than for your own use, here’s how you can turn these wonderful tools into a niche.
First things first, it’s best you do your own due diligence and test out all available translators and the
additional tools that come with them. For instance, if you look at the Google Translate image below you
can see that it’s very easy to use – you type in your sentence on the left, select the language you want
your sentence to be translated to on the right and click the blue Translate button. To hear the audio clip
on how this sentence is pronounced in French you click on the speaker icon at Arrow #1. To save the
translation into a Google Phrasebook, click on Arrow #2 and follow the steps.
How to Make Use of Instant Translation
There’s a belief and an assumption that everyone is aware of
certain things in life and one of those is how to search and surf
the Internet. With this assumption it might be the case that you
miss certain opportunities to WOW your client with YOUR
You can always do “it”, whatever “it” is, for your clients, or show
them how. It’s your choice as is whether or not to charge a fee
for the information / training. The real value of translators can
be found when you use them to support your travel niche. One
specific use would be to support the niche of Ancestry Travel.
The Ancestry – Genealogy niche is catching on thanks to all the
TV shows and the average 60 year old wondering about their
ancestors and where they came from. Many clients seeking
their ancestors will be travelling overseas and to foreign lands and areas where English is not 100% spoken
or understood. Working with your clients, you can uncover what they would be searching for when they
visit. You create the sentence in English, translate the sentence to the language of choice and print. Or,
you can help your client save their translated questions to their Google Phrasebook.
The Travel Institute’s Well-Being Travel Course
Enroll in The Travel Institute's Well-Being Travel Specialist course and receive a
complimentary, one-year membership in Well-Being Travel.
The online course is designed to show you how to boost sales by
selling health, wellness and medical travel.
By enrolling in this course, you'll:
Gain an understanding of the health and wellness travel market.
Discover the different types of spas and wellness products.
Learn key health and wellness terminology.
Discover what procedures are most common with patient travelers.
Understand related insurance issues.
Learn how to find and market to health and wellness and medical travel clients.
The course includes interactive exercises, images, audio and graphics. A final test is available
allowing you to earn the Well-Being Travel Specialist designation.
CTAs, CTCs and CTIEs who complete this course will also earn 10 CEUs.
Thanks to our course sponsors: Well-Being Travel, Companion Global Healthcare, the Tourism
Authority of Thailand, Healing Hotels of the World, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council,
the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Greater Fort Lauderdale.
Enroll today to receive your complimentary, one-year membership in Well-Being Travel.
LET’S TALK ABOUT
Steve Crowhurst, CTC
Speaker & Trainer to the Global Travel & Tourism Industry