We get requests all the time regarding our interest and capability to handle groups---athletic teams, high school groups, musical groups, church groups, family travel, you name it. Generally speaking, we always answer with a big YES!!! In fact, that's where I cut my teeth in travel.
The Travel Factory Blog
Several professions are becoming extinct, and some have been predicting for many years that the travel agent is quickly becoming a relic. One group asked this question: with technology, online, mobile and user experience all firmly entrenched in travel, where does the store-front travel agent fit in to the buying cycle?
Back in 2002, this program started out with the title of Thursday Morning Travel Tips with Russell Berry from The Travel Factory. Well, we will often offer some tips, but mostly it's an opinion or state of the travel business, or a trip that we are promoting. But today, I have some real tips!! I'm more or less copying them from a “Smarter Travel” website titled “Things You Should Never Buy At The Airport”. For example:
Two of the most treasured World War II sites to visit are Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the Normandy beaches in France. In my opinion, the best way to see those sites are on cruise vacations. Why are those sites so important in our history?
Folks have been coming in this week interested in seeing if there is any real good deals available for the Christmas or New Years weeks. You gotta be kidding!!!! If there were any space available at all, it wouldn't be a “good deal”!!
Back in 1981, five years after I had been in the travel business, I finally was able to get on a cruise....with my wife. I had always wanted to, and had the opportunity to sell many in those previous years, but of course, I really didn't know what I was selling. Finally, I convinced my wife to go with me on a cruise I had earned, and we sailed out of New York on a Holland America ship to Bermuda. One of the clinches in getting her to go,(because she was afraid of getting motion sickness), we got one of the first prescriptions for what is now known as the “Transderm Patch”. That was the “ticket”....we've been on about 85 cruises since, and she has never had motion sickness. So..that's my solution to one objection we hear of going on a cruise vacation.
Can you believe that Las Vegas, in 2017, registered a visitors count at 42.2 million people, and that was considered a “down year”. They based the fallen numbers on the shooting that occurred in Oct. that killed 58 persons and injured 851.
We've been fortunate over the past 24 years to enjoy introducing groups to one of the most exciting destinations in the United States......our 49th state....ALASKA!!! If you've listened to our radio show every Thursday on KWKC Talk Radio at 8:07AM with David Bacon, you'll know a little about our excitement when we talk Alaska. We also put the show on our website: www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com under our weekly blog. In fact, you can go to our July 19 show and see a report of this years Alaska trip.
I'll occasionally tell folks, when they are talking about taking a cruise, if you didn't have to get there and get back, cruising would be wonderful. It's getting to the ports and returning that makes a lot of folks reluctant to take that great, relaxing vacation.
Back when I got in the travel business in the middle 70's, the hot spots to go to in Mexico were Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan.....even Mexico City received a lot of interest. I bet it's been 20 years since I sold a trip to Mexico City!! Back then, and even today, you have to be in possession of a United States passport to visit anywhere in Mexico, but that's ok...with a passport you can visit a lot of other countries too!!
As you can imagine, we have some real interesting encounters with potential clients. One recently came in and when asked if we could be of service, he said he would like to go somewhere. Well, for sure, he came to the right place for an answer!!!
Frequently we have folks who come in and want to talk about a trip to Hawaii. My eyes light up because it is one of the best trips we ever take. I've taken groups over there in years past where we just visited Oahu (Honolulu and surrounding area), and it was ok, fun and a lot of things to do, but I wanted to be able to visit the other islands too, but didn't have time. So, here's the best solution.
We could have probably had a shorter title, but I wanted to get your attention. According to the 10th annual Allianz Global Assistance Vacation Confidence Index, Americans who don't feel like they can take a vacation, despite wanting to, are nearly two times as likely to show signs of moderately severe to severe depression. So, the first thing to do is to realize that you do need to relax, then secondly, reach out to your travel advisor who will take the stress out of planning a vacation that will make you a more productive employee or owner. Taking time off is not a frivolous thing, it has real benefits to your mental well-being.
One of the travel websites that I visit quite often is posted by one of my favorite travel agent owners and writers, Richard Turen. The site is titled “Traveltruth.com”. He and his staff are very intentional in “telling it like it is”. They answer various and sundry questions sent to them by travelers, and one that I thought was interesting and wanted to share was the question about how to avoid getting sick while traveling on an airplane.
One of my favorite websites to visit regarding regulations in flying on airlines today is the Transportation Security Administration website: www.tsa.gov. There is a world of information on there especially regarding what you can and cannot bring, along with some valuable tips.
Over the past 42 years since I've been in the travel business, travel sellers have had a variety of titles. Probably the most favored over the years is 'travel agent'. But there have been other handles like travel counselor, travel consultant, travel adviser, travel advisor, or as one in our office mentioned, travel slave based on the amount of money I pay her. Interestingly enough, the American Society of Travel Agents, after going by that name for 75 years, made the decision last week to rename themselves. That organization that represents those of us who work in the travel business have decided to name themselves, American Society of Travel Advisors....that's AdvisOrs. Obviously, they didn't have to change the initials.....still ASTA.
Occasionally we have clients who come in and want to talk about taking a flight to a certain destination. In fact, we had some folks recently who were totally unfamiliar with the flight process.....at 75 years of age, they had never flown in a commercial airplane. In this day and time, that is really unusual.....but not so terribly. I remember when I got into the travel business over 40 years ago, my parents who at that time were in their late 60's had never flown, so I got to accompany them on their first airplane flight.....a neat memory.
Seldom do travel agents extol the virtues of a driving vacation; they can't make a living talking about places where they can't realize a commission for their efforts. But, here in the middle of August, I thought it was about time I praised the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Department of Transportation, and Convention and Visitors Bureaus of virtually every city in Texas to make our state a viable vacation destination.