gents can't sell what they don't know.
The following four Bermuda specialists typify how successful
agents come to bond with their destination.
When agent specialist Janet O'Leary, owner of OK Travel in
Boston, sells Bermuda to honeymooners, it brings back memories of
her own Bermuda honeymoon 50 years ago. Recently, she and her
husband returned to the island to celebrate their golden
"There's a natural charm to the island that makes you want to
return," O'Leary said.
And return she has, more than 10 times over the years,
witnessing first-hand the evolution of the islands from a spot
marketed mainly to honeymooners and other lovers, young and old,
into a destination with an eclectic appeal.
"In recent years, the tourist board has been appealing to all
kinds of clients -- families, golfers, the younger set, adventure
travelers and ecotourists," she said.
O'Leary said she decided to become a Bermuda specialist because
"it's an easy sell (she sends about 60 people there a year), it's
accessible, and it offers great packages."
Besides, she said, "I love it."
While O'Leary's personal relationship with Bermuda is evergreen,
Lucretia Lee's bond with the islands is fresh and new.
Lee, a Bermuda specialist with Business Travel International in
Beverly, Mass., visited the islands on a fam trip last July and
quickly fell in love -- struck, she said, by the friendliness of
the people and, on a practical level, by the number of
accommodations available for a range of budgets.
She said she recommends Bermuda to her upscale clients but
considers it an option for families who want to stay at affordable
inns or rent apartments and cook their own meals.
It isn't always fams that bring agents back to the islands, nor
even its history, culture, pastel cottages or pink-sand
For specialist Charles Koski, owner of GIT Travel in Leominster,
Mass., it's the laid-back atmosphere -- and a family tradition.
Since the mid-'70s, Bermuda has been the venue for the annual Koski
Thanksgiving family reunion.
Perhaps because of his own enthusiasm for the destination as a
quick getaway (he said he takes his nuclear family there at least
three times each year), Koski said he has had success selling
Bermuda as a long-weekend trip.
"The big factor for repeat travelers is that it is easy to get
to and keep coming back to."
For Gail Patriquin of Wolfeboro (N.H.) Travel, Bermuda isn't
just easy to get to, it's easy to get around. It's also safe and
accommodating to visitors, she said, "a place I wouldn't hesitate
sending any of my clients to."
This Bermuda specialist and her husband have visited the
destination 12 times since 1972, mainly for the golf, the beaches
and the food, she said. Like O'Leary, she has seen a change in the
way Bermuda is being marketed.
While she sells it mainly as a leisure destination, Patriquin
said she increasingly is recommending Bermuda for meetings and
incentive travel because the resorts have become equipped to
accommodate large groups.
Following are some of the sites the four specialists recommended
visiting:The 1846 Gibb's Hill Lighthouse, a 117-foot cast-iron structure
set on a 245-foot hill.The historical town of St. George on Bermuda's eastern end. The
town is home to one of Bermuda's oldest buildings, the state house,
built in 1620.The Royal Naval Dockyard in Sandy's Parish, home to the
Maritime Museum. Sandy's Parish is also the site of the Somerset
Bridge. At 22 inches wide, it is said to be the world's tiniest
hand-operated drawbridge, just wide enough to accommodate the mast
of a passing sailboat.
A client booked a trip
overseas in April so he could qualify for a two-month automatic
extension for paying his taxes. Can I do this myself next year?
A: Bad idea. I hope your client had a good
trip, but it probably did not help his status with the Internal
for the absentee two-month extension to file your return and pay
federal income tax, you must:Be living outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico and have your main
business place or post of duty outside the U.S. and Puerto
Rico.Be in the military or naval service and on duty outside the
U.S. and Puerto Rico.
So, unless your vacation becomes permanent, you should file
before you leave on vacation. Nice try, though!
Absenteeism is escalating
in my agency. How can I encourage my employees to come to work?
A: Other than for vacation, employees typically
take non-sick days off when they are stressed, burned out or just
Take a close look at your work schedule to see if you are
placing unnecessary burdens on your employees. If so, take action
to reduce the demands.
First of all, be more flexible. If employees feel they can ask
for personal time to attend to errands, such as taking a child to
the doctor, run-ning to the bank to make a deposit, or stopping in
at the car tag agency, they won't call in "sick" to attend to
Look for bottlenecks in productivity and ways to process work
Next, you can reward employees for meeting important goals,
completing a big project or taking on more job responsibilities by
giving them an afternoon off or a whole Friday or Monday off so
that they get a three-day weekend.
This will give them a break or "breather" between projects and
make them less likely to burn out.
Former agency owner Dan McManus is president of the McManus
Group, publishers of business management advice. Contact him at [email protected].