The Travel Factory Blog

Travel Tips, Stories, Deals and Info...

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.

Here They Go Again....Changing The Rules

Here They Go Again....Changing The Rules

Just noticed last week that American Airlines is changing the way they award frequent flyer points. They are just following the lead of Delta and United in the manner in which they reward their frequent flyers.

They are basing the perks on how much the passenger spends on tickets, not how many miles they fly.

American started all this frequent flyer process back in the middle 70's, and they now enjoy the loyalty of over 100 million members, making it the biggest and oldest major airline loyalty program. It was easy figuring when they started; fly one mile, earn one mile.

Nowadays they are in heavy competition for the high-paying customers, so their strategy now is to cater to those elite, high-paying travelers. Most members will earn five miles for every dollar they spend on base fares and carrier-imposed fees. That multiple rises to 7, 8, or 11 for the very elite. Starting January 1, miles alone will not make you elite....you have to spend an annual minimum of $12,000 for air travel to reach the executive platinum level.

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Tooting Your Own Horn

Tooting Your Own Horn

Travel agents are notorious for not “tooting their own horn”. Seldom do we go around telling everybody how good we are.....unlike Muhammad Ali!! By the way, I met him one time at the airport in Chicago......it was just him and me and Veronica (his squeeze at the time and eventually one of his wives). We had the whole concourse to ourselves.....unbelievable moment. It was while I was still coaching and we talked about basketball, boxing, and before I left them to be alone for a while, he graciously offered his autograph. Very nice man....but boy, could he “toot his own horn”......and could back it up too.

Travel agents can easily back up their boasts in regard to providing our clients with sincere, experienced, concerned travel advice. Typically though we don't do it enough, especially in this day and time. We do so much behind the scenes in taking care of flight schedule changes, delayed circumstances, and other situations that we have no control over, but we get involved because they are our clients, and we want to be of service. Back in the 70's and 80's when the airlines were paying us for our services, we had the money to promote our travel products and ourselves, but since 2000, that promotion budget dried up.

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Traveling Safely

Traveling Safely

We continue to get questions about the safety of traveling in Mexico and Europe. We have just recently returned from a few days in Cancun, Mexico and I can safely say that of the entire 3 days we were there, there was never a safety concern. We were in downtown Cancun area, a very busy street, and I did a little shopping by myself, but never felt nervous about my safety. The airport was very busy both going in and departing, but the transfer agents who were helping us with our luggage were very professional and accommodating, and interestingly, we did not see any policemen in the area.

One of the concerns that some folks have is safety in Europe, especially since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. Speaking from personal experience, we had just landed in Budapest on Thursday before the Paris attacks, but in that large city, we did not have any moment of insecurity. We even went on a walking tour with a local guide for about an hour in the inner city and saw no evidence of overt security measures being enacted. In all of the cities we visited in those seven days down the Danube we didn't feel overly concerned about our safety.

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Traveling Disney World

Traveling Disney World

Last week we talked briefly about the financial success the Disney brands were experiencing, and why not? It's the happiest place on earth!!!

It has become so massive that to see it all takes several days to do it right, and still get to do a little relaxing. You'll pay a little more to stay on the property at a Disney hotel, but you'll love the perks, especially if you are driving because the parking is free. They have great swimming pools too.

They have Disney FastPass service where you'll be able to reserve a time to visit some of the attractions, entertainment experiences like the fireworks shows and parades, and it is included with your Parkhopper pass which provides admission to all the attractions. They also have the MagicBand that everyone wears that provides admission to your room, attractions, and shows; you can even purchase food and merchandise with the MagicBand. Of course it is synced to your room, so the charges go to the room. Oh yes, they have the Memory Maker...a photo package that will not only provide you with great professional pictures of your experience but also save you money.

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We Want To Be Your Travel Agent!!!

We Want To Be Your Travel Agent!!!

Way back the first of March we tooted the travel agents horn, especially when talking about shopping in the Big Country.  A couple of weeks ago one of the travel magazines I subscribe to, TravelAgent, had a column on a similar theme….”reasons to use a travel agent”.  I thought that using some of the editors suggestions would be a good tip for my Travel Factory listeners and readers today.

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