The 5 year plan of travel…

When planning a vacation, everybody gets excited. And why wouldn’t you? You work hard, you have many responsibilities at home and you hold out all year for those precious two weeks. So when the time finally comes, you want to make sure everything is just right. You should look at your vacation planning the same way you handle your financial planning.

First off, use a professional Travel Consultant (I don’t care if you use me – shameless plug here! – or one of my knowledgeable colleagues around the globe). Take an hour out of your schedule and have a real consultation. Discuss your dream travel bucket list, which ones are your priority and who would you like to travel with on which trip.

Now here is where the magic happens, a good travel consultant will tell which areas in the world are best to visit when. There is nothing worse than planning an amazing vacation in the Caribbean just to find out that you traveled during hurricane season and it’s raining cats and dogs for two weeks straight. It will allow your consultant to create a travel plan (for or) with you and keep an eye out for any specials coming up concerning your bucket list.

Your consultant can advise you how far in advance you want to book your next vacation to lock in best rates and availability. I cannot tell you how many people wait too long, hoping for a good deal, just to find out that the ship they wanted to cruise with has been sold out for the last 6 month.

For some destinations you might be better off if you combine them into one longer trip, rather than two separate trips. For example, doing a world cruise segment will give you better amenities, safe costs on an extra flight and usually combines 2-3 itineraries into one. Especially on long haul destinations, such as Australia or Asia will it earn you some nice savings in cost and time.

If you’re planning on traveling with family or friends, make sure to ask for group rates. Depending on the trip you’re planning might not need as many people in your party as you think. Now group rates don’t always mean a lower price, but rather secure extra amenities, like cocktail parties, ship board credits and more…

If you’re anything like me, your bucket list will never really shrink, but rather keep growing with every trip you take and every book you read. Having a strong partner by your side, that knows what interests you and works closely with you can make all the difference.

If you do a good job planning out these trips, you should end up with a nice 3-5 year plan. You’ll know how much money you’ll need to safe up for which trip, how many vacation days you need, which trips you need to do while you’re more active and which can wait until you can’t travel as far anymore. You can also easily see if the good deal you found advertised somewhere, is really a good deal.

So go ahead invest a little bit of time and find a consultant that clicks with you. Yes, most of us will charge an office fee for our services and we will take up a bit of your time getting to know you and find out what tickles your fancy… Just think of how long you’ve waited for your next vacation. After all your hard work, you deserve some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor with the people you love most.

So stay calm, make a plan and let your Travel Consultant handle the details.

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Using the i4M Strategy to Reach Current Clients, Potential Clients, and Clients Who Don’t Know They’re Clients (Part 2)

Here is awaited part 2!

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In the second part of the series we’ll look at the final two steps in the strategy; Innovate and Measure. These two steps are crucial in assuring your efforts continue to move forward. You’ll learn a lot about your strategy during these two steps. You’ll find out what’s working, what isn’t working, and which pieces can be improved. One thing you’ll want to do is practice patience. Some things you’re doing may not take off right away. Stick with it for a little while and check back on your measurements, they may teach you when you should be implementing each tool in your strategy.

Step 4: Innovate
There are a couple ways you can innovate. The first is to research what other people/companies are doing to market to their audience. You’ll then want to take that idea and make adjustments to be sure the approach fits within your company values…

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Tips and Tricks for Successful Networking

Check out my latest guest post for #STNYAC

Tips and Tricks for Successful Networking

  1. Business Cards

Bring PLENTY of business cards. If you don’t have enough, take a picture of your card (front and back) and email it to the people you meet when you take their information. It only takes a second and ensures you won’t forget or get overwhelmed later. There’s nothing worse than attending a networking event and being the person without cards. It also helps to have your picture on your card. It helps others to put a face to your name and they are more likely to remember you at future events.

  1. Dress professional

You’re not just representing yourself, but also the company you work for. The press attends most industry events and there is always a photographer. Shine your shoes and present your best smile.

 

  1. Know your 30 sec sizzle

Be short, clear and concise. You’ll be meeting many people and it will be hard to keep track of who is who if you make many new acquaintances. Think about what you want people to remember about you and drive that point home.

  1. Set goals for the event

If you’re purely looking for new connections, set a goal to meet 5-10 new people each day. Maybe you’re trying to meet the press or meet a specific supplier. Make sure you follow through on that first and then mingle with your friends. If you’re a little on the shy side, ask your friends or suppliers you know to introduce you.

  1. Do some research on the event itself

Who is attending, who organized it, what is the event all about and what can you hope to take away from it. You want to make sure it’s worth your time and that you walk away with something new you learned.

  1. Follow up afterwards

Thank the organizers for all their hard work – you should always do this!

Send an email to your new contacts, thanking them for meeting you and ask to stay in touch.

Connect with your new friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc…

  1. If it’s sit down situation…

Take notes on what’s being discussed and who is talking. Much easier to follow up this way if you have questions and allows you to scan through your meeting if there is a Q&A at the end.

  1. With important new contacts take a picture of them and their business card. It will help you to remember them for future events and when you program their contact into your phone you already have a picture you can associate.

 

  1. Most importantly, don’t be shy

You’re attending a networking event to meet new people. Yes, that requires you to step out of your shell and be brave. It takes guts to walk through a room of strangers and forming a conversation out of thin air. Just remember, everybody is there for the same reason. People are excited to meet you and want to get to know you. So take a deep breath and go for it…!

Daniela Harrison
Daniela@avenuesoftheworld.com

 
 

Avenues of the World Travel
http://www.avenuesoftheworld.com

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1. Business Cards

Bring PLENTY of business cards. If you don’t have enough, take a picture of your card (front and back) and email it to the people you meet when you take their information. It only takes a second and ensures you won’t forget or get overwhelmed later. There’s nothing worse than attending a networking event and being the person without cards. It also helps to have your picture on your card. It helps others to put a face to your name and they are more likely to remember you at future events.

2. Dress Professionally

You’re not just representing yourself, but also the company you work for. The press attends most industry events and there is always a photographer. Shine your shoes and present your best smile.

3. Know Your 30 Sec Sizzle

Be short, clear and concise. You’ll be meeting many people and it will be hard…

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Using Facebook To Curate Content In 3 Easy Steps

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When it comes to social media, it is important to have great content. However, it can be time consuming to continuously seek out additional articles when it comes time to post something. One easy way to curate more travel content for your social media account is by using Facebook’s “save this link” option. If you’re anything like me your Facebook feed is bombarded with tons of travel related articles. These articles can be extremely useful when it comes to social media marketing and all it takes is three quick and easy steps.

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Top 5 Things to Consider When Planning a Caribbean Vacation

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1. All-Inclusive Resorts Dominate
Unlike anywhere else in the world, the Caribbean is home to hundreds of all-inclusive resorts. It would take me all day to go through the resorts, so here are some of the well-known brands that cater to specific groups of travelers. Sandals, Secrets, Couples and Excellence resorts all cater towards adults-only, especially Honeymooners. Dreams, Beaches and Azul properties specialize in Family vacations, while Zoëtry resorts cater to the Health and Wellness crowd. Make sure to check SigNet for any additional perks you can get for the clients – there are a ton out there!

2. Traveling without a Passport is Possible
Clients that are looking for a getaway but do not have a passport should consider a cruise! Royal Caribbean and plenty of our other favorite suppliers have ports in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida that will take clients through the Caribbean. The Western cruises will feature…

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Christmas River Cruises

My co-worker finally did her first river cruise. Read about her experience during Christmas here…

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I just returned from a wonderful river cruise that was themed for the Christmas markets. It was on the Danube starting in Budapest and ending in Nuremberg. AmaWaterways did a wonderful job of incorporating the Christmas theme into their normal cruise. Each of the city tours ended in one of the local markets and many of the guides pointed out others during the tour, and would help with directions on how to get back to it before they left. On the ship, there were different Christmas themed events, such as decorating the Christmas tree that was on the ship and caroling with the other passengers as well as the crew members. They even focused on a more local holiday tradition where children would put their shoes outside their bedroom door in hopes of getting a treat, by asking us to put one shoe outside our cabin. In the morning was…

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