Quite often we get the question of “where can our family go here in the United States instead of DisneyWorld and DisneyLand?”. So our mind goes whirring and we suggest maybe a beach vacation in Destin, Florida, or a visit to the nation’s capital, or maybe a visit to some of the National Parks in the western United States. One place though that I had never even thought about until around 3-4 years ago was Nashville, Tennessee.
The Travel Factory Blog
The Travel Factory employs 4 full time agents with 100 years total experience in the travel industry. Our agents specialize in cruise, tour and resort vacations as well as corporate incentive and school groups. Our mission is to provide the best, most courteous, most detailed, most informative service. Our slogan, "Building vacations to your specifications" says it all.
If you’ve done much traveling in the past couple of years, you no doubt have noticed that just about every aspect of the travel industry has a base rate, but oftentimes by the time you total up the final bill, you’ve paid almost as much in fees and taxes as the base rate. I’m thinking this started with the airlines, but then the car rental companies joined in the fee business, and now, the hotel and resort industry is quickly falling into the same pattern.
There was some interesting dialog going on recently at the Cruise Line’s International Association’s Cruise360 show. The general consensus among the CEOs was that “to keep up with ship growth and attract new passengers, the cruise industry had to focus on destinations and innovation.”
Just today I heard another announcement about the Academy of Country Music Awards show taking place today through Monday. . . talk about a rocking place getting more rocking. . .that’ll be this weekend in Vegas!!! There will be performances all over the Strip and more, as well as the live broadcast of the awards show on CBS from the MGM Grand on Sunday.
Oh my goodness, we have just returned from escorting a small group of Abilene travelers to Ireland, and it was a fantastic experience!! It was an escorted tour, presented by Collette Vacations, and they certainly showed us a great time.
Beginning next fall, Southwest has announced that they will have 15 new non-stop flights from Dallas Love Field. Among those favored cities is Las Vegas, Denver, Nashville, Orange County California, Tampa, San Diego, and Washington Reagan. This is great news for travelers because on many of these locations, they will be competing with American, Delta, United, Spirit, and Frontier. American offers many non-stops to these locations, even though they are out of DFW.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has made the decision to put a ship in the Galveston market on a year-round basis. In years past, they have had a presence, but only on a seasonal basis from December to April. But NOW. . . . the Navigator of the Seas has been designated to be the ship based out of Texas, and she is quite a show!!! “WOW”!!!
Since we returned from our Viking River cruise last November, we have had the opportunity to sell several folks on a river cruise of their own. . .all with great success.
One effort that has not been successful is bookings on our group tour on the elegant Elbe River this coming November. It was a 10-night cruise, and I think that might be one of the negatives of folks signing up as well having to cruise on an older ship. If those were the objections, then we have re-imagined and have booked some group space on one of the new longships for only 7 nights. Also, we’ve changed rivers. This one will be on the Danube River, cruising from Budapest to Passau.
A recent article in the Travel Market Report by Marilee Crocker caught my eye the other day. She noted that economists at the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics who study labor productivity noted a significant and steady increase in the productivity of the travel agency industry between 1997 and 2011.
We’ve had to field considerable questions the past few weeks about the sickness that seems rampant on cruise ships. In fact, we had some passengers who were on the Caribbean Princess that came in early a couple weeks ago, some said because several were exhibiting signs of the norovirus, but the ship’s captain said they were also trying to beat a possible fog that might have kept them out of port for several days.
At the invitation of a resort hotel on the Mayan Riviera, we enjoyed a 3-night fantastic vacation experience at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso last week.
One of the best advantages of living in Texas is that it is only 2 hours 15 minutes, and you are in Cancun, then a short 20-25 minute drive, and you are ready to go to the beach!!! We purchased round-trip private transfers for only $115 for four of us from the best transfer and tour operator in Mexico, Lomas Travel. They were Johnny-on-the-spot with quick service as usual, both in picking us up at the airport and at the hotel.
It is hard to believe, but baggage fees have now been around for almost six years, and they are certainly not going away. Airlines are expected to make up to $8 billion this year from all the different fees combined, with baggage fees making up the majority of that amount.
Every year for the past eight years, a local radio station, KEAN, and radio personality, Rudy Fernandez have promoted a cruise out of Galveston on Carnival Cruise Line. They have been very successful with their listening public in getting some Big Country listeners to experience, many for the first time, a cruise vacation.
My wife and I have had the pleasant and exciting experience over the past 19 years of taking groups to the frontier 49th state of Alaska. Our 20th group will do some more exploring on July 7-19, 2014. Travel prognosticators are predicting that 2014 will be a banner year for visits and cruises to Alaska, and we can certainly agree with that assessment because we already have 48 persons signed up to go with us this year.
The results of a survey of over 1000 respondents by the U. S. Travel Insurance Association show that the majority of Americans are planning to take more than two trips in 2014. A trip was defined as travel 100 miles or more from home.
Sixty-one percent said they will travel on average 2.4 trips this year, another 30% said they planned to travel 3 or more trips in 2014.
Over the holidays I read an interesting column by financial guru, Scott Burns, often published in the Abilene Reporter News and Dallas Morning News. He was writing about the value of a cruise vacation, having experienced a couple with his children and grandchildren.
He said that for decades he had thought he and his wife preferred the independent, all-inclusive resort properties in Mexico and the Caribbean, and that being cooped up with a bunch of strangers on a ship did not hold any appeal. . .all that until he tried cruising!! Kids love the experience of personal freedom, the special places for kids, pools, miniature golf, outdoor movies, and the seemingly unlimited supply of pizza, ice cream, hamburgers, and soft drinks. Plus there were many venues for adults to chill out.
This will be our last entry in 2013; it’s been a full first year of radio show programs that morphed into a blog on our new web site, and it has been an exciting and interesting experiment. Of course the behind-the-scenes person making it happen is my webmaster, Peter Beare from Nashville, TN. Being technologically challenged as I am, he made the process a simple task; I just have to come up with something to say each week. . . and that is pretty easy to do in this business. Something is always happening in the travel business!!!
Can you believe another year has come and almost gone!!! Here lately it seems like these years are flying by. .. and looking back on this year in the travel business, it has been another wild and crazy experience. . . but really, what else is new?!!
What’s up??!!. . . . a popular greeting nowadays. I get it quite often from friends who ask “what’s up in the travel business lately?” In this business, there is something new to talk about just about every day.