ayle Naugler said about her Cacique
International Travel Agent 2001 award received Feb. 5 in Nassau,
Bahamas: "I had no idea I'd be the only winner."
The awards, divided by category, are given annually by the
Bahamas ministry of tourism to individuals and organizations deemed
to have made a positive impact on Bahamian tourism.
Categories, which number in the dozens, include everything from
hotelier and chef to airline and tour operator of the year.
Expecting the travel agent category to be broken up into
geographical segments, Naugler was stunned to find that she stood
alone representing her industry.
How did one travel agent from Travelfaire in Dunwoody, Ga.,
attract enough business to be so honored? Although hard work and
extra service played a role, she is the first to admit that her
career choices also paved the way for her success.
Naugler, who started out as a general, do-everything agent, has
narrowed her focus to weddings and honeymoons -- a niche she
describes as surprisingly lucrative.
"No matter how many times a person has been married, he or she
always wants to go on a honeymoon vacation," she said.
Noting that the key to selling honeymoons is matching the client
to the product, she said: "We work hard to find out what the bride
and groom are looking for, while recognizing that budget is a
"The average consumer has big ideas but doesn't have a clue
about price until he or she sees it on paper," Naugler said, adding
that many honeymooners are just starting out in their careers and
may have just bought homes.
Although cruises can be a good value, particularly as the couple
can visit several destinations for one price, Naugler said the
inclusives have the advantage of offering free alcohol, gratuities
and activities. "Our clients like knowing what everything is going
to cost them upfront before they leave home," she said.
But not every honeymooner is looking to save a buck, Naugler
said. "Some clients will pay $10,000 for a week in a luxury
category room with an ocean view and won't settle for less.
"It amazes us that they have probably taken every dime they can
get their hands on to do this, which means we might not hear from
them for several years," she said.
But although it may take a while for clients to recoup enough
financially from a honeymoon to purchase another vacation, Naugler
said it does happen eventually, leading to a healthy anniversary
Nor is her business restricted to locals, she said.
"I'm working with wedding parties from New York, Baltimore and
Philadelphia, all by word of mouth and referrals," she said.
When it comes down to it, Naugler added that service is all she
has to sell.
-- Felicity Long
Bahamas recognizes sales success
ayle Naugler may be good at
selling weddings and honeymoons, but how did she attract the
attention of the Bahamas ministry of tourism?
"Our top two destinations are the Bahamas and Jamaica, and we
also do a little Cancun," Naugler said.
"For 2001 so far, I have seven weddings planned in Nassau and
two in Jamaica between now and July," she said.
If seven weddings doesn't sound like a lot, keep in mind that
Naugler doesn't just handle travel for the bride and groom but for
the whole wedding party.
"These are large groups of people," she said, adding that the
guests pay for their own air and packages.
Acknowledging that some guests initially
balk at the idea of spending so much money to participate in
someone else's wedding, Naugler said the key is to get them to
realize that this is their vacation, too.
Also, because Naugler is working with group bookings, she is
able to negotiate better rates for her clients.
Naugler's success as a travel agent is especially gratifying
given it is not her first career.
An accountant for 22 years, she went on to attend travel school,
graduating in 1990. "They did an excellent job, teaching me not
just ticketing, but how to do packaging," she said.
Naugler began in an agency in which the employees handled both
leisure and corporate clients, then began to specialize in leisure,
joining Travelfaire in Dunwoody, Ga., six years ago.
"Basically, we handled whoever was on the phone," she said of
her initial experiences.
"If you can't do cars, hotels and air, you can't do the rest of
it," Naugler said.
Her evolution into a wedding and honeymoon specialist focusing
on the Bahamas came about gradually, picking up in the last two
years, she said, adding: "One thing just led to another."
A good pick
any of the self-help books I
have read over the years have one or two wonderful nuggets of
advice buried in their pages. But the common threads that made
these books so enjoyable were humor and situations applicable to
For example, Mike Marchev's "Become the Exception" is a book that will
inspire, instruct, motivate and occasionally make you laugh.
Mike is a
familiar face in the industry, and if you have heard him speak or
attended one of his seminars, you actually can hear his voice
throughout the book.
With 30-plus years of experience in today's business
environment, Mike presents extraordinary opportunities in his own
unique, and often humorous, style. He has the ability to instill
adventure and urgency while providing all the tools, systems and
attitudes that small-business owners need to achieve success.
In the beginning of the book, Mike presents "four threshold
myths" and then proceeds to shatter them one by one. My favorite,
No, 2, is that "you must like people." He goes on to say, "Many
people preach that a primary prerequisite to be successful in sales
is that you must like people. The implication is that you should
have the innate capacity and desire to cozy up to just about
anybody with a bankroll in their wallet. I am not a fan of that
He then goes on to tell you about the "nasty, insincere and
negative" people in the world and why you should have nothing to do
with them, but don't "prematurely cross them off simply because
they have a bad hair day."
Lucy Hirleman, CTC, MCC, owns Berkshire Travel in
Newfoundland, N.J. Contact her at [email protected]; fax: (973) 208-1204.