Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 5/30/09

Good morning, good morning! I apologize to any of you who may be regular readers out there for the long delay in posts. Last weekend I just couldn't motivate myself to sit down and do it. I figured most people were out of town for the holiday all the same. I am glad to be back in the chair with my coffee today, I guess I needed a blog vacation and it worked.
May has been a decent month for me business wise. It certainly could have been better but considering I am still only 6 months into this I am very thankful for what I do have. My problem is, and always has been, I have to be the best at whatever I do immediately. I know, I know, most of you are saying what is wrong with that? Well I will tell you. While it is good to strive to be the best, you also have to realize Bill Gates didn't become a billionaire in 6 months...a concept I can't wrap my brain around. My brain knows the slow, steady way a business should grow and knew it very well going in, but some other part of me(emotions I guess) drives me nuts about it. I sat down yesterday afternoon with my spreadsheets and kind of did my own "state of the union" for the first half of the year. Great news, I am exceeding my goals so far for the first year! I know break out the champagne right? Wrong, the last two months have fell short of what I feel I need to average for bookings and I can't stand it. It doesn't matter to me that Jan.-Mar. I absolutely blew the doors off, that just proves I can do more and set a higher standard for myself. It also doesn't matter that my home office calls me to tell me how amazed they are for a guy who knew nothing about the travel industry in November is # 70 out of over 900 agents for the entire company as of mid-April. Sure that made me feel really good at the time, but now two ho-hum months later and I am sitting here whining. Why has business slowed down so much? If I worked harder I bet I could be #1 by December. Then I tell myself "wake up you idiot, if you would have been told back in October where you would be today you would have been pure giddy."
When I woke up this morning I had something totally different I planned on blogging about(it's time to start planning winter travel). Most likely it would have been far more interesting. However, when I sat down my mind went WAY off into left field and you get what you get. The good news is there are three facts to take away from this blog. Fact #1 I told you in my very first blog I would sit down on Sat. mornings and post what ever was on my mind...well you got it today. Fact #2 It is almost like self therapy telling the world about your inner demons because you realize how silly they are and how blessed you are to have what you have. Fact #3 I absolutely love what I do, probably more so than I even thought I would, and will continue to do it for a very, very long time.
Thank you,
Jeremy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NYC Customer Review.

Jeremy,

I wanted to thank you for all of your help and your wonderful service! When we first decided to go to New York City I looked online to find a room. I discovered two things very quickly: 1. The city is absolutely huge and I had NO CLUE where to stay and 2. The rooms are not inexpensive. I needed help so I called you. Can I just say you made this the most pleasurable travel experience I have ever booked? The hotel you booked for us was so perfect!

From the time we got out of the car from the airport until the time we left, the staff at the hotel were wonderful. The hotel itself was extremely impressive. The d├ęcor was very modern and chic. We even spotted a celebrity staying there! The location couldn’t have been better. We were right in the heart of Times Square. There was a metro station right on the corner so transportation around the city was no problem at all. We were also literally right next to the place to buy tickets for all of the Broadway shows and we were located where most of the New York City tours originated. We just walked out the door and were ready to see many of the things New York has to offer.

This was the most effortless trip I have ever taken. Not only did you get us a room in the most perfect location for us based on what we like, you got a better deal than I could have ever gotten trying to book the room myself. Wiregrass Travel / Cruise Planners will be the first place I call for all of my future travel needs. I am also going to recommend your services to all of my friends.

Thank you again for all of your help in making this the perfect trip!

Heather and Bo Manry
Locust Grove, Georgia

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 5/16/09

Good morning. Boy I didn't sleep very much last night at all. Linds and I kept my nephew Tanner, who always sleeps perfectly. Well, that didn't exactly happen . To give you the short version at 2 A.M. he was in here with me playing on the computer. That was the 3rd time he had been up since 9 P.M. He is one of the funniest kids you will ever meet and has a way like I have never seen to "work" his Aunt Lindsey. She came searching for him a few minutes later since he had not returned to the bed from the bathroom...he gave her that mischievous smile and told her we were playing and he wanted to continue to play. He accomplished something that I have never been able to in the 3 years we have been married...a smile at 2 in the morning. Those two have a special bond and even tough I know he loves Uncle Germy I will always be second in this household. That's OK I guess, our oldest niece Jaylee is her Uncle Germy's. Ask anyone in the family and there is no doubt who belongs to who in the special category. For those of you who do not know my family there is also another baby niece named Jenna Kate that will be 1 next month...I have really got to work hard to make sure I secure her love and not her Aunt Lindsey's :) Right now she acts a lot like her daddy and doesn't care if the sun comes up tomorrow, so as of yet she has no favorites. I do know one thing that scares me to death. I am scared to have children of my on because I know how much I love these 3 and can't even imagine what it must feel like when they are your own flesh and blood. I am very much a worrier when it come to the people I love. It drives me nuts if someone in my family is on a road trip and I do not hear from them within the time I think it should have taken to get there.
Anyway, this has had nothing to do with travel, I know. Simple fact is I couldn't think of anything travel related that I felt like getting into today so I went with what was fresh on my mind. What the heck, it's my blog anyway. If nothing else you will know a little more about your travel agent than you did before. As always thank you.
Jeremy

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From Someone Else's Prospective

Hello everyone,
A good friend/associate in Texas found this article and I think it is too good not to post the link. It says alot of what I have tried to say in some of my posts, but a whole lot better. I hope you enjoy and as always thank you for reading.
Jeremy

http://www.smartertravel.com/travel-advice/how-to-find-good-cruise-travel-agent.html?id=3164303

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 5/9/9

Good morning, good morning! First of all let me say happy Mother's Day to every mom out there reading. I know my mother is extremely special to me and I bet you are to your children as well. Today I am kind of cheating by copying some information from my home office. The reason I am doing this is because it is a great break-down of all the cruise lines available and what style cruise each offers. It is a great follow-up to my last post so here you go, and thank you for reading! Jeremy



CRUISE LINE MARKET SEGMENTATION

The cruise industry is segmented into four types of cruises based on certain characteristics that define the on-board lifestyle and overall vacation experience.

The First-Class cruise lines and the Premium cruise lines are resort-style vacations offering a broad base of services, destinations and amenities that are affordable to most travelers.

Over the past few years these lines have mimicked one another’s successes so much that the two segments have merged in their “mass-clusivity” to create a large contemporary segment of the cruise market.

But there are still some definite differences as outlined below.

First Class Cruise Lines:

Carnival Cruise Line
Costa Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean International

General Characteristics:

Large ships
Pax capacity 2000-3500 people
Small cabins
Good food
Family friendly
Fitness/Sports-oriented
3-7 night itineraries
3-4 star service
Price point $-$$$
Key Word: Quantity

Premium Cruise Lines:

Celebrity Cruises
Holland America Line
Oceania Cruises
Princess Cruises

General Characteristics:

Medium-sized Ships
Pax capacity 1500-2000 people
Large cabins
Fine dining
Family friendly, but more adult-oriented
Spa-oriented
7-14 night itineraries
4-5 star service
Price point $$-$$$
Key Word: Quality



CRUISE LINE MARKET SEGMENTATION

All cruise lines provide a level of luxury, but a true luxury cruise is defined by the highest levels of quality and personalized service. Luxury cruisers are discerning travelers who desire the best of everything. Expensive when compared to the rest of the industry, luxury lines deliver great value by offering more inclusive pricing than other cruise lines and opportunities to travel to exotic destinations. They are also often surprisingly informal.

Each of the Speciality cruise lines focus on a destination niche or a special style of cruising including expedition-style cruises, sailing ships and a growing number of river cruises. The Speciality lines all offer a unique experience that guests find educational and adventurous, and may take them to some of the world’s most remote and unspoiled places.


Luxury Cruise Lines:

Crystal Cruises
Cunard Line
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Seabourn (The Yachts of)
Sea Dream Yacht Club
Silversea Cruises

General Characteristics:

Small Ships
Pax capacity 300-800 people
Huge cabins or all suites
Gourmet cuisine
Not family-friendly
Spa-oriented
10+ night itineraries
5-6 star service
Price point $$$$$
Key Word: Exclusivity

Speciality Cruise Lines:

Amadeus Waterways
Cruise West
Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
Discovery World Cruises
Norwegian Coastal Voyages
Orient Line
Peter Deilmann
Star Clippers
Uniworld
Viking River Cruises
Windjammer Barefoot Cruises
Windstar Cruises


General Characteristics:

Very Small ships
Passenger capacity 100-300 people
Mixed cabin accommodations
Mixed dining options
Not suitable for most families
Few fitness or spa options
3-20 night itineraries
3-5 star service
Price point $$$$-$$$$$
Key Word: Adventure

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cruise Options

I want to make this post short and sweet as well as informative. Something I hear every day from customers when inquiring about a cruise is "I don't want to have to go very far to get on." I completely understand where they are coming from because I hate to drive or fly myself. There is a problem with this school of thought, you are severely limiting yourselves to choices. We are spoiled here in S.E. Alabama by having 5 ports within 5-6 hr drives. The rest of the country that wants to cruise pretty much has to fly or make an extremely long road trip if they want to cruise period. For us here in "L.A." we have a choice of three (four in the winter) cruise lines for ports we are willing to travel to. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney, all of which are great cruises but until you experience what the others have to offer you may be selling yourself short of an even greater cruise experience. Even within these lines only 2 ships, as of today, are what you would call a modern cruise ships in the ports we love. As I continue to blog I will go into each cruise line and what their particular niche is. For today I will list the ports and what they have to offer.

Mobile: Carnival-1 ship
New Orleans: Carnival-1 ship (Norwegian 1 ship in winter)
Jacksonville: Carnival- 1 ship
Tampa: Carnival-2 ships; Royal Caribbean-1 ship
Pt. Canaveral: Carnival-2 ships; Royal Caribbean-2 ships; Disney-2 ships.

Ft. Lauderdale/Miami: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Crystal, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Cunard, and depending on the time of year more! I am not going to attempt to sit here and count the # of ships to choose from in south Florida.

I think you get the idea here, the further you are willing to travel the more choices you have. This doesn't even take into consideration all the other destinations cruises travel all over the world, just the Caribbean.
Thank you as always for reading,
Jeremy

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee-Sunday Edition

Good morning again, I first of all would like to apologize to my readers for the lack of posts this week. It has been a little bit of a strange week for me. I must say I am glad April is over and Friday brought a clean, new booking month. The reason I didn't post yesterday morning was because Lindsey and her mother get some sort of great thrill out of having yard sales at our house. We have only been married for almost 3 years now but I am pretty sure this is at least yard sale #3 or 4. In addition to the yard sale I am also on the rec. committee at out church and yesterday was our annual 5K. Long story short, I got up at 5AM and didn't sit down until about 1PM and blogging was far from the brain. One quick plug for my church, Lindsey and I are members of First Baptist Dothan. If you are in the area and do not have a church home we would love to have you. Much to our surprise after getting married, moving to Dothan, and beginning to "church shop" we fell in love with FBC. The funny part is we were kind of dreading visiting there, thinking we were not "FBC material"...we are from Geneva county and poor as gully dirt. We were dead wrong. The people at FBC were by far the nicest, most down to earth people we had met and we have been going ever since!
Now for my thoughts for the week. I can't believe I am even going here...swine flu, swine flu, swine flu! I said it, now I am just like every other media outlet in the country. Personally I am sick of hearing it. Yes I know this is a very serious potential problem but I think it is being blown WAY out of proportion. I sat through a webinar on Thursday afternoon that was put on by my home office and our insurance provider, Access America. The whole gist of the thing was to show us actual information from both the World Health Organization(WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I am not going too far into detail because it is a lot of boring information. The one thing that really stood out to me is the fact that the defense for the swine flu is Tami flu! The exact same thing used to treat the regular flu. I know it probably has a great name but I don't know it. The way I see it is people die every year from the flu. That is very sad and I do not wish it on anyone but it is a fact. I also found out in the webinar that the child that died from the swine flu in TX had been sick for several weeks in Mexico before going to visit his family and being hospitalized in Texas. Obviously I'm no doctor but I am guessing that there are many illnesses out there, if left untreated that long, that will kill you. I said all that to say this, there are dangers of all kinds associated with travel all over the world. I think we, the travelers, just have to use common sense and be aware of our surroundings when traveling, not lock ourselves inside our houses and panic.
To finish this up and keeping with the Sunday theme this is what I believe: God already has the time set when he will call you home, but he also gave you enough sense not to run down to Mexico and kiss a pig! My Uncle Frank told me one time when I was about 15 years old, playing golf, and a storm blew up. He said "yep, when I was a young man I would have played right through this lightning, I believed and still believe that when the good Lord is ready for you he will get you.....but I figure at my age and all the things I have done wrong in my life, there is no need to temp him". All I can say to that is amen!
Thank you,
Jeremy