Up Front With Martin B. Deutsch for 1998
December 21: NO THANKS GIVING HERE
I’ve been an optimist when it comes to the viability and survivability of travel agents. Always an endangered species, agents have endured a succession of threats and outright attacks that would have sent a champion prizefighter down for the count many times. You name it: through charters, 800 members, automation, computers, even Cap I and Cap II, the travel agency community has defied the odds and bounced back. But now comes Cap III, and I’m no longer so sure.
November 16: PLAYING THE GAME PARKS
“Our generation will be the last to enjoy an abundance of African wildlife in its natural surroundings,” says David Herbert, president of African Travel, the leading U.S. wholesaler to southern Africa. But his cautionary words are tempered by hopeful ones: “While I’m concerned about the encroachment on wildlife areas, I’m not worried about South Africa, which has a great conservation record. In fact, the government will expand Kruger National Park.”
October 26: INTRODUCING TOUR/CRUISEEXPO '99
In an ongoing sea of uncertainty, the savvy travel agent seeks new anchors of stability and new avenues for boosting sales and earnings. The only clear-cut answer to today’s challenges lies in leisure travel — the underpinnings of which narrow down to two possibilities: tours and cruises. But so far, no one, at least to my knowledge, has packed these elements into a simple, logical forum, a platform that will enable agents and suppliers to commingle tours and cruises under one roof, in one large, logical showcase. Until now.
October 1: DRIVING HIGHER COMMISSIONS
“We keep it simple, smooth and inclusive for travel agents,” says Clive Jacobs, co-founder and CEO of Holiday Autos, a global company in a hurry that’s based in Surrey, 35 miles from London. He’s describing a commission concept that not only embraces the rental car booking, but also mileage, taxes and insurance. “The agent earns 10 to 15 percent on everything,” he stressed during a recent interview in New York.
September 21: A NEW YORK AIRPORT REBORN
JFK is one of those airports that everyone loves to hate. But I may be an exception — at least in part. While there’s some truth to at least some of the persistent gripes, I think that JFK functions pretty well, especially when you consider the incredible eruption of air travel in recent decades. On the other hand, I do agree that JFK's International Arrivals Building has been an Achilles Heel. Since May 1997, however, a $1.2 billion project has been under way to transform the IAB into Terminal 4, a brand-new and enhanced facility that opens coincidentally with the arrival of the millennium.
September 14: MYTHS OF THE ALL-INCLUSIVE
All-inclusive resorts, those uniquely Caribbean miracles of travel, continue to thrive, prosper and expand. There are occasional hotels and chains, such as Club Med, that have taken root in other corners of the world, but it’s the Caribbean that has a stranglehold on the all-inclusive phenomenon as we know it today.
August 10: MORE MEMOS FROM FRANCE
This week a tour of Versailles, the rambling chateau built by Louis XIV in the 17th century, which provides an instructive and entertaining voyage into history. Just 15 miles from Paris, Versailles is probably the most meaningful example of extravagances that brought on the social convulsions culminating in the French Revolution.
August 4: PARIS: THE WORLD CUP AND MORE
We were in Paris during the early stages of soccer’s World Cup. Except for the traffic and overcrowded hotel lobbies, Paris and the Parisians handled the crowds with élan and equanimity; my wife was able to navigate the aisles of Galleries Lafayette and Printemps without undue stress.
July 27: A FRENCH BARGE ADVENTURE
I remember an ardent cruiser telling me the finest vacation his wife Christa and he ever took was a barge cruise through the Burgundy countryside of France. He and his wife and five other couples, all friends, chartered a barge for a week out of Dijon and, however trite, proceeded to have the time of their lives. Fortunately, I can now share the unbridled enthusiasm for the navigable rivers and canals of France, which crisscross the countryside for 5,500 mostly scenic miles.
June 15: TAKING A LEAF FROM TAUCK
The mythologists talk about our society’s crying need for heroes and role models, for leaders and innovators — not the tarnished and tawdry so-called celebrities from the worlds of politics, big businesses, sports and entertainment. In fact, what we are looking for are the scarce-but-durable characteristics that Arthur Tauck Jr. embodies: decency and honesty. Our industry could well take a leaf from his book.
May 4: THE CAPTAIN AT CLIA’S HELM
James Godsman, president of Cruise Lines International Association, is a dedicated family man and a passionate weekend sailor. Beyond that, Jim Godsman is also a true-blue booster of the travel agency community.
April 10: DOWN UNDER UP HERE
Just a dozen years ago, Ian Swain was running a profitable insurance company on Australia’s Gold Coast, 50 miles south of Brisbane. Today, whether you fly East or West, you can’t get much further from Down Under than Ardmore, the Philadelphia suburb where Swain now domiciles the headquarters for his current business, Swain Australia Tours.
March 30: WEST MEETS EAST
The Pan Pacific Hotel in San Francisco fills a whopping 65 percent of its 330 guestrooms through travel agents. What are the other reasons for the Pan Pacific’s popularity? Ulrich says female business travelers like the hotel’s open corridors and the security that’s provided, especially at night. Not surprisingly, he also cites his property’s location at the top of fashionable Post Street, just a bock from Union Square.
March 9: CASEY AT THE BAT
Paul Casey’s entire professional and private life has centered on the Pacific; these days he presides as president and CEO of Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines. Prior to taking the helm at Hawaiian, he spent two years stabilizing the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). Early on Casey was posted in the Pacific, for Pan Am, before joining Continental in Honolulu as vice president-Pacific and Asia. He eventually added the title of CEO for Continental-Air Micronesia.
February 9: HAWAIIAN NOTEBOOK
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, an AAA Five-Diamond recipient, celebrated its fifth anniversary last October. General Manager John Toner, who opened the hotel, says it is “positioned for a great future.” Bob Solomon, senior vice president-sales and marketing for Outrigger Hotels, the largest hospitality group in Hawaii, says that “the travel agent is extremely critical for Hawaii as a destination."
January 26: HAWAII HOTELS FOCUS
Here are capsule reports on a pair of fine Hawaiian resort hotels — and the men who run them. At the 350-room the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows on the sunny Kohala coast, I once again met with General Manager Don Dickhens, who celebrated his fourth anniversary at the hotel on New Year’s Day. Peter Schall is managing director of the 2,545-room Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hawaii’s single largest resort property. He told us that the 26-story Kalia Tower project will add another 400 rooms before the millennium.
January 19: ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Gerald L.Gitner last year took the reins at TWA, a downsized company seeking new directions and opportunities, an airline in need of hard-nosed and innovative leadership. “When you join a troubled company, you have to set your priorities,” Gitner says. “What is it the customer wants? A great product, on-time performance…and everything at the best value.”
Copyright © 1992-2007 by Martin B. Deutsch. All rights reserved.