Disneyland beckons

n the past, travelers from the Midwest have overwhelmingly picked Walt Disney World over California's Disneyland because the air fare to Florida is lower, the travel time shorter and activities more abundant, said Crystal Lake (Ill.) Travel's owners Richard W. Doherty and his wife, Pam, president and vice president, respectively.

But the agents now recommend Disneyland when baby-boomer clients in their 50s walk into the office, especially if the customers already have visited the Florida theme park.

What changed their minds was a fam trip this year to Anaheim, Calif., where they evaluated several new Disneyland products: Disney's California Adventure park, the 751-room Disney's Grand Californian and the Downtown Disney dining-entertainment district.

Richard Doherty.Although baby-boomer clients tend to enjoy Florida, their feedback indicates they also would appreciate less physically taxing vacations, Richard Doherty said.

At sprawling Disney World, during a typical week, several hours a day can be spent taking buses, monorails and boats from park to park and hotel to park.

By contrast, Disneyland in California is pedestrian-friendly, and clients staying at any of Disney's three hotels easily can walk to either park or to Downtown Disney.

Pam Doherty.To appeal to these clients, Richard Doherty said, he and his wife film their own Disneyland videos, edit them down to one hour and always have a tape running in the office that clients can watch while waiting.

"We make six copies, so we can lend them out. We also do this for cruises," he said.

At this time, there are two copies of the new California video available, Pam Doherty noted.

Crystal Lake Travel, which is a member of Midwest Agents Selling Travel Vacation Partners, generated about $700,000 in Disney sales for 2000, including theme park and Disney Cruise Line trips, according to Richard Doherty.

With Disney's new California product, the agency expects to do better this year, he said; Disney volume grew last year by 20% vs. 1999, while the agency posted a 10% increase in all business.

In 2000, Disney sales were about 15% of the agency's $8 million volume, of which $2 million was corporate.

-- Henry Magenheim

An extreme specialist

iane Jedrzejewski, owner of Ticket to Ride in Riverside, Ill., and a participant on a fam trip to Disney's California Adventure, runs an agency that for the past 10 years has sold one product: Disney vacations.

This specialty, and a family following, has helped Jedrzejewski build a cache of tips for agents selling Disney. Some of her pointers follow:

  • For families going from the Midwest to Anaheim, Calif., she recommends a minimum three-night stay to assure them the opportunity to take in both Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland.
  • Another reason for her recommended length of stay is that children's schedules can be upset by the two-hour time change between Chicago and Anaheim.

    For a child, the day of arrival could be lost in terms of a park visit.

    Diane Jedrzejewski, center, president of Ticket-To-Ride, Riverside, Ill., sailed on the Disney Magic with her daughter, Lauren, a part-time agency employee, and husband, Richard, agency vice president and treasurer.

  • Suggest clients stay at a Disney hotel because of the easy entry to the parks.
  • Jedrzejewski said she was impressed by the refurbished Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel as well as the new Grand Californian.

    The view of California Adventure's Paradise Pier zone from both hotels is memorable for a child, she said. For Jedrzejewski, it brought to mind Tinkertoy images, especially the shapes of the Sun Wheel, a Ferris wheel-like ride; the Mali Boomer vertical launch ride, and the curved California Screamin' roller coaster.

    When Jedrzejewski sells Disney World in Florida to families, she asks for the ages of the children, finds out when the family was there last, how much time they have to spend at the park and if they plan to relax at the resort or just visit the theme parks.

    She recommends specific Disney character breakfasts based on the ages of attendees -- and staying at Disney hotels because of their early-entry courtesy (up to 90 minutes ahead of nonhotel guests of Disney).

  • Calling Disney at 7 a.m. Eastern Time or 6 a.m. Central Time is helpful for securing prime room space.
  • Her parent clients also appreciate it when she makes follow-up phone calls after 9:30 p.m., when children have already gone to sleep.

    Jedrzejewski added that if agents are invited on a seven-day Disney cruise, they should experience both the early- and late-dining options, so they can explain the difference between the two seatings to clients.

    Encouraging Words

    otivation: What floats your boat? Your future is up to you. You are, in essence, the captain of your own ship.

    Unfortunately, many people forget this message. As a result, they look to outside sources for the motivation they need.

    While outsiders can conjure up salient points designed to stimulate your thinking, it's your job to identify the triggers that compel you to action.

    When those on your team tell you what motivates them to action, be sure to listen, for this information will help your company succeed.

    For example, a man walked into his supervisor's office and said, "Hey boss, tell me what I have to do for you to buy me a spinnaker. (A spinnaker is the downwind sail used on a sailboat.) If you buy me a spinnaker," he added, "I'll embroider your company's logo on it."

    What do you say?

    Mike Marchev.The not-so-astute supervisor promptly told his employee to get back to work. The owner didn't understand how motivation worked.

    The employee just told his supervisor what gets his attention -- what "floats his boat" -- and then he put the ball in the other person's court.

    What could the supervisor have said? He could have told his employee to land the AT&T account or to sell 150 Seabourn cabins for an around-the-world sailing trip. Instead, he threw his employee out of his office.

    The bottom line is that no one else can motivate you. Only you can motivate you.

    For you, motivation might be a day off; for others, it is an office with a window.

    Hot buttons come in all shapes and sizes. Everybody gets jazzed about something.

    The challenge is to identify what works for you and then to dangle this carrot in front of yourself to keep you focused toward achieving your goal.

    Managers have double duty. They must also find out what puts the bounce in their employees' steps and then help them to launch their boat.

    As travel agents, being uncreative, negative or whining won't get you the business you need.

    What will propel you to success is your knowledge of how to ride the waves and your perception of what floats your own boat.

    Mike Marchev is a motivational speaker and author of the sales book "Become the Exception." To receive his free Monday Morning Marketing Messages, e-mail him at [email protected] and include the word "list."

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