Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Wrap Up

Everyone is tired and ready for a break. After a quick wrap up and a discussion of logistics, we'll call it a day! The word of wisdom from Sheri:
"The first bus arrives 15 minutes before the second bus. The bar opens when the first bus arrives. Need I say more?"
Goodbye and goodnight.

Individual Sessions: Innovative Websites

A quick overview of websites that you should know about:

Seat Guru (
Great resource to help you find the best seat for your client.
Comparison of pitch, etc. at

theAirDB (
Great resource about airlines and destinations, news and updates.
Allows search by country or search by airline

Kayak (
Great resource for research airfare particularly for agents who don't book air themselves.
"Chart View" lets you look at pricing trends on a timeline.
Somewhat similar to SideStep (

Weissmann Reports (
Select by Country then "Add Destinations" to add in specific cities or areas
To customize: bring it into word, take things out that you don't want, add in your own header
"Agents choice" (button) has some good information
Also "Tools" (button) has some great resources

Star Service (
Search can be tricky. Don't choose too many options. Start really general and then start adding more criteria to narrow it down. Completely independent reviewer. You can create a report and send directly to your client. Same as Weissmann, you can download and edit before sending.

Vacations-to-Go (
Great information about cruises. Includes pricing for your information. It shows quickly who is selling where and when and general pricing. for a nice grid about family cruises is an alternative for similar info about tours

Maps (
You can get custom walking maps, you can drag the route around, you can show "street level" view. Drag the "little man" around to see the view from where you walk. Can also see satellite view and do a "search nearby" to find restaurants, attractions, etc. You can save maps to send to clients and share them with others.

Virtuoso Life (
You can view the magazine, bookmark a page, add notes to pages.

Yapta (
Find and track prices for airline tickets. You can set up alerts so you know when prices change.

The "After Party": Karaoke Anyone?

Photo Source: Patrick William Studio (PWP)

Here's what they are looking at!!!

Photo Source: Patrick William Studio (PWP)

What are they looking at?

Photo Source: Patrick William Studio (PWP)

The Prize Winners....

A few photos from the winners from last night

Photo Source (All Photos): Patrick William Studio (PWP)

Individual Sessions: Say What with Tom LaVacarre

Tom LaVacarre with kicks off the afternoon sessions.

Quick review from last year. How have we done?

Response Time: Response time is better than last year
Accuracy of Response: Accuracy and detail is tremendous
Understanding the Problem: Room for improvement

Always seek to understand before you offer up a solution. Rework is the kiss of death for productivity. Stop. Slow down. Find the need.

7 Core Values of a supporting team (recap from presentation from last year):
  • Urgency
  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Personal Courage
Mirror the words, match the tone and rate of speech. "I'm in a rush. This is important!" In response say "Got it. I'll rush to get this important thing done."

Be aware of learning styles. Visual vs. Auditory vs. Kinesthetic. Also paper vs. computer. As an example, for a visual learner (show, show, show). For auditory" listen, listen, listen. They love the phone. Might even close their eyes to listen more carefully.

Be aware of "luxury language". Might bring back fond memories. Examples are "certainly', "it is my pleasure", "pardon me".

Be aware of being too quick to respond before understanding the problem. "Eat the sandwich one bite at a time". Use the words "please allow me to recap..." Listen. Start writing a few words as you think of solutions but don't speak. Keep listening.

Ritz uses W+S (warm & sincere greeting) then P (pain) and then Q (questions) and finally R (response/solution)

Set expectations! The "trial close" gives you the opportunity to discuss or negotiate response time. Do your best to beat the time -- even beating it slightly can make an impression.

It is OK to say "I don't know". If you know who CAN get the answer, that's just as good as knowing the answer yourself.

Communicate in the same "mode". If email is their first choice, use email. If it is face-to-face, go see them in person. Think about the mode before responding.

"Relevant stories" sell everything in life.

It's okay (as a last resort) to provide a partial solution. Address those things you can and postpone those that you can't. It's better to address 3 out of 4 things than to not address any.
The final word(s):
  • Be Proactive.
  • Communicate Clearly.
  • Use "Trial Close" liberally -- it allows you to avoid rework.