Mara Hargather of Hargather, Thaler & Associates, a Dream Vacations franchise and winner of the Bobbye Haupt Franchise of the Year Award, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about starting with Cruises, Inc., graduating to CruiseOne, becoming a Dream Vacations franchise, and then growing that agency even during the pandemic. Hargather also talks about travel trends, passing her 2019 booking levels already and her advice to other travel advisors at this time. For more information, visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com and mhargarther.dreamvacations.com.
Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales for Celebrity Cruises, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the new Celebrity Apex, how it is different from Celebrity Edge, why cruise ships are the safest places on Earth, as well as selling strategies and promotions that every travel advisor should know. For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com.
Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean International’s senior vice president-sales, trade support and services, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the new Odyssey of the Seas, the last of the Quantum ships, which perfects the dining, entertainment and accommodations concepts that marks the class. Freed also provides updates on Perfect Day at Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. For more information, visit www.cruisingpower.com or www.royalcaribbean.com.
Michelle Fee, founder and CEO of Cruise Planners, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how her American Express representative host agency and franchisor is faring just weeks after its annual conference in Mexico. Fee details the multiple new programs, services and technologies Cruise Planners has developed to help its agency members and also provides the outlook for travel bookings for 2022 and beyond. For more information, visit www.cruiseplannersfranchise.com.
Why have luxury travel advisors become even more important to luxury travel buyers as we emerge from the pandemic? How can consumers select the right luxury travel advisors to meet their needs? This panel will examine the intrinsic value travel advisors offer today to their luxury customers. Annie Fitzsimmons, luxury travel editor & advisor at AFAR moderates a panel that includes Anne Scully, a partner at Embark Beyond; Angie Licea, president of Global Travel Collection; Michael Johnson of Travel Edge; and Valerie Wilson, chairman of Valerie Wilson Travel. This discussion was originally posted as part of our Virtual Vacation Events-New Age of Luxury virtual show.
Debbie Fiorino, chief operating officer of World Travel Holdings, parent company of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises, Inc., talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the national conference held aboard Celebrity Apex, how the group's membership made it through the pandemic, why Cruises, Inc. is being folded into the other two organizations, new programs including a “dating” service to help Cruises, Inc. associates find a host within the Dream Vacations/CruiseOne family, as well as her advice to travel advisors for the coming year. For more information, visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com.
For this special Thanksgiving edition of Insider Video, Rudi Sodamin, consultant master chef at Holland America Line, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about how a little Austrian boy helping his mother in the kitchen apprenticed his way across international restaurants until he found his way into the cruise business. He had his first culinary post aboard the Vistafjord and then on the Queen Elizabeth II for Cunard, before moving to Royal Caribbean and finally Holland America, where he formed the brand's Culinary Council. Chef Sodamin also talks about the opening of his third Rudi's Sel de Mer aboard the new Rotterdam and how he devised its menu. For more information, visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Disney representative Margorie, who helps oversees all things you and your clients can buy for Walt Disney World’s 50thanniversary, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about all the memorabilia available tied to the event. Discover how to buy merchandise that will provide memories of this significant park birthday. For more information, visit www.disneyworld.com/50.
Tom, a 27-year veteran cast member at Walt Disney World, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how he's seen the parks evolve over the time he’s worked for Disney as Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary. He began in merchandising at Disney Hollywood Studios and now holds a post with the Disney Institute. Tom describes how Disney’s ability to tell stories with technology has really evolved, but still recognizes the timeless elements of being a cast member who can connect with guests. For more information, visit www.disneyworld.com/50.
Michael Smith, senior vice president of guest experience and product development for Holland America Line, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report on Rotterdam’s inaugural voyage about the difficulties involved in preparing for a resumption of travel, where the guest experience has changed the most, the differences between previous and the new Pinnacle class ships, and what’s new on the cruise line’s private island, Half Moon Cay. For more information, visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Brad Tolkin, co-CEO of World Travel Holdings, parent company of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises, Inc., talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about what he sees as "a genie not going back in his bottle," the realization that people can work from anywhere and how that will affect travel for the long term. Tolkin also discusses why future cruise credits are a blessing, not a curse, and how important it is for travel advisors to express to their clients how safe travel has become. For more information, visit www.worldtravelholdings.com or www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com.
Ryan Spear, president of Spear Travel Group in South Orange, N.J., talks with James Shillinglaw about how business is coming back after the pandemic and where he sees growth. He also describes how he got through the pandemic with assistance from his host agency. Travel Experts. For more information, visit www.speartravelgroup.com or www.travel-experts.com.
Claudio Zemp, director-Americas for Switzerland Tourism, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the recently completed Swiss Travel Mart, which was held in Interlaken last month. Zemp also provides the outlook for the number of Americans visiting Switzerland, what they must do to enter the country, and the latest marketing campaigns for promoting Switzerland. For more information, visit www.myswitzerland.com.
Juan Carlos Avila, Lindblad Expeditions leader; Celso Montalvo, naturalist and certified photo instructor; and naturalists Salvador Cazar and Africa Berdonce talk with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the typical cruise-tour offered by Lindblad in the Galapagos, this one on National Geographic II. For more information, visit www.expeditions.com.
June Chin-Ramsey, CEO of Context Travel, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about her tour company's unique tours hosted by scholars who provide an in-depth learning experience in top cities in countries around the world, including Italy, France, the U.K., the U.S. and beyond. Chin-Ramsey also provided an in-depth architectural tour of Midtown Manhattan as a sample of Context can do. For more information, visit www.contexttravel.com.
What can luxury travelers expect when arriving at a high-end hotel in the current situation and how has service delivery changed? How do hotels communicate what is open or what is not available at a hotel or resort at the moment? What are hotel policies on testing and local restrictions? We find out all that and more from this panel of luxury hotel experts. Moderated by Peter Bates, president of Strategic Vision Inc., the panel includes Chris Gabaldon, senior vice president-luxury brands for Marriott International; Anna Nash, chief marketing officer for Aman; Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide; and Helen Smith, chief customer experience officer for the Dorchester Collection. This discussion was originally posted as part of our Virtual Vacation Events-New Age of Luxury virtual show.
Caroline and Tony Labbé, owners of Labbé Travel in Jackson Hole, Wyo., talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report at the Travel Experts Summit about how they have gotten through the pandemic so far, how their host agency Travel Experts has helped them through this period, what bookings look like for next year, and how they successfully work together as a couple operating their agency. For more information, visit www.labbetravel.com and www.travel-xperts.com.
Brian Abel, Celebrity Cruises' senior vice president of hotel operations, gives Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report a tour of the new Celebrity Apex stateroom and suite categories while explaining the perks of those suites, including use of the Retreat Lounge, the Retreat Pool and the Retreat's private restaurant, Luminae. For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com.
Leslie Horn and Jennifer Martin, co-owners of Nashville Luxury Travel in Brentwood, Tenn., talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report, about how they have dealt with pandemic to remain top producers in host agency Travel Experts with very high-end clients. Horn and Martin talk about what the future holds for their luxury travel agency and what bookings look like for 2022, and how Travel Experts' recent Summit helped them. For more information, visit www.nashvilleluxurytravel.com and www.travel-experts.com.
Ann Chamberlin, vice president of sales for Scenic USA, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the restart of the company’s river cruises and expedition sailings. With two brands, the luxury Scenic and the premium Emerald, Scenic has all the bases cover to offer great experiences on rivers and oceans—and there are more ships to come. Chamberlin was interviewed during host agency Travel Experts’ Summit aboard Scenic Jasper and Scenic Opal, sailing on the Rhine and the rivers of Holland and Belgium. For more information, visit www.scenicusa.com.
Susan Farrell, owner of Travel Experts, and Heather McIntyre, manager-technology and finance, talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about their luxury host agency, one of the first hosts in the business, during its in-person conference aboard two Scenic Cruises river ships in Amsterdam. They talk about how the agency, a Virtuoso member, got through the pandemic and how it helped its travel advisor members survive. They also talk about what’s booking well right now and what business looks like heading into 2022. For more information, visit www.travel-xperts.com.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about how Celebrity has set out to prove that luxury doesn't have to be pretentious or small, it just has to be comfortable, sustainable and inclusive. Lutoff-Perlo also talks about the sweet spot Celebrity now occupies between premium and ultra-luxury cruise products for a broader market that is beginning to skew younger. For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com.
Mark Conroy, managing director-the Americas for Silversea Cruises, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the luxury cruise line’s fleet, plans for future ships, how to sell luxury versus luxury expedition, new World Cruises, new videos promoting the line, and a lot more. Conroy offers a comprehensive look at one of the world’s top luxury lines as part of an Insider Travel Report webinar, which was held Nov. 15. This interview summarizes his presentation. For more information, visit www.silversea.com.
Richard Faim, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about how ships in his company's fleet are returning to normal, specifically Celebrity Apex during its recent inaugural voyage from Fort Lauderdale. Fain discusses how current bookings are outpacing 2019, how 2022 will be a transitional year and why 2023 should be unbelievable.Fain also names a few of his favorite upgrades from Celebrity Edge to Apex. This interview took place before Royal Caribbean announced that Fain would step down as CEO but remain as chairman effective Jan. 3, 2022. For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com and www.royalcaribbean.com.
Amanda Kelly, owner of Live Well Travel, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel about how she sells Australia today. Kelly is not just an Aussie Specialist, she's an Aussie Ambassador, having visited the country a number of times and taking the Aussie Specialist course. She also talks about new Aussie Specialist course and how it can help you sell Australia. For more information, visit www.lwtravel.org or www.aussiespecialist.com.
Michael Gigl, region manager for U.S.A. and Australia for the Austrian Tourist Board, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report during the recent Virtuoso Symposium in Vienna. Gigl talks about how Vienna finally hosted Virtuoso after the event was postponed twice because of the pandemic and how Americans can travel to the country today. For more information, visit www.austria.info.
Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about how his cruise line plans to deploy its fleet, putting all 11 ships back in service by April 2022. Antorcha also reveals what's new and special about the seventh Rotterdam, as well as the new "Kids Cruise Free" promotion and how travel advisors can get involved. For more information, visit www.goHAL.com.
Yi Ding, business and growth manager for Eurail, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about Eurail's desire to support travel advisors who already sell Europe, and would like to also sell what she calls the "low hanging fruit" of a single mobile pass, good for rail and ferry travel in 33 European countries. Eurail also offers a dedicated boarding team to assist advisors who would like to integrate their websites with Eurail for realtime inventory and selling. For more information, visit www.eurail.com/en/about-us/become-our-partner.
Cate Caruso, owner of True Places Travels, a Virtuoso affiliate in Vancouver, Wash., talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about how she found her way into a life of travel, as well as her new appreciation of expedition cruising with Lindblad Expeditions and its generational family learning programs. She also explains the differences between Lindblad other expedition cruise lines. For more information, visit www.expeditions.com.
Maria Elena Rossi, director of marketing and promotion for ENIT (the Italian National Tourist Board), talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the requirements for visiting Italy right now, what’s open and what’s not around the country, and specifically how such top cities as Florence and Rome are welcoming visitors. She also discusses how to use those cities as hubs to explore the regions nearby. For more information, visit www.italiantourism.com.
Gina Gabbard, chief sales officer, and Lesa Bain, vice president of sales for North America for Lindblad Expeditions, talk with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about new destinations, new itineraries, new ships, new partnerships, family programs, pre-booking advantages, back-to-back trip discounts, and the new Expedition 360 online training platform. For more information, visit www.expeditions.com.
James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report talks with Jen of Disney’s Contemporary Resort about how the first hotel built at Walt Disney World is getting a major update in its rooms, public areas and restaurants as Disney World and the Contemporary itself celebrate 50 years. For more information, visit www.disneyworld.com/50.
Matthew Upchurch, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his luxury travel network celebrated the anniversary of its rebranding in 2000 in Vienna last week, how Virtuoso has worked to help its members through the pandemic, and what the future holds for luxury travel. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.
Luxury keeps getting redefined—and now we have the new age of post-pandemic cruising that will redefine it again. We examine the new features, amenities and health and safety standards of true luxury cruising and what luxury travelers can book today. How can they make the right choice when selecting a cruise vacation? Moderated by James Shillinglaw, editor-In-chief of Insider Travel Report and including Steve Smotrys, senior vice president-sales & sarketing, Seabourn; Randall Soy, former executive vice president, sales & marketing, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Barbara Muckerman, chief marketing officer, Silversea Cruises; Bob Lepisto, president of SeaDream Yacht Club; and Carmen Roig, senior vice president, marketing & sales, Crystal Cruises. This discussion was originally posted as part of our Virtual Vacation Events-New Age of Luxury virtual show.
Emerson Hankamer, president of Vacations To Go, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report at last month’s Travel Leaders Network EDGE conference about how his mega-agency, a top seller of cruises, got through the last 20 months with help from Travel Leaders and major cruise lines. Vacations To Go also switched its focus to sell more all-inclusive resorts and other travel products. For more information, visit www.vacationstogo.com, www.travelleaders.com or www.travelleadersnetwork.com.
Ian Cambata, president of Travel Leaders 365, part of Greaves Travel, talks with James Shillinglaw about how his company just won Travel Leaders Network’s Golden Legacy Award. Greaves includes a travel management company focusing on corporate travel, a 24-hour travel support unit and an upscale destination management company specializing in travel to India. For more information, visit www.travelleaders365.com or www.greavestravel.com.
Mark Spillane, director-sales and marketing for Crystal Expedition Cruises, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the new Crystal Endeavor, including what it features in terms of accommodations, public areas and dining, and where it’s going this year and into 2022 and how you can book it for your clients. For more information, visit www.crystalcruises.com.
Disney entertainment director Rowan (and a very special) guest give James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report the lowdown on all the incredible entertainment, shows and parades being rolled out for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. For more information, visit www.disneyworld.com/50.
Dave Hershberger, owner of Prestige Travel in Cincinnati, and immediate past chair of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his agency has dealt with the business downturn due to pandemic, turning to resources developed by ASTA and his consortium Travel Leaders Network (TLN). Hershberger even won an award at TLN’s recent EDGE conference for how he used the group’s resources to get through the COVID-19 period. For more information, visit www.travelleaders.com, www.travelleadersnetwork.com or www.prestige-travel.com.
Jack Anderson, who has now moved from interim president to permanent president of Crystal Cruises in order to keep his promises to travel advisors and guests, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report on the new expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, about the reasons for the sale of Crystal Esprit and parent company Genting’s successful debt restructuring. Anderson also reveals Genting’s commitment to Crystal by keeping the order in place for another oceangoing ship, as well as a sister expedition ship for Endeavor. For more information, visit www.crystalcruises.com.
Disney Imagineer Ben talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom has been transformed for Disney World’s 50th anniversary. From new lighting to new colors, the castle has been completely reimagined to celebrate this major milestone for Disney’s theme park. For more information, visit www.disneyworld.com/50.