Richard Turen
Richard Turen

I like to think of myself as a social kind of guy. My guess is that you see yourself in much the same way. But the truth is that those of us in the travel business tend to have one primary friend, and this friend occupies most of our waking hours.

We spend more hours in front of our computer screens -- 6.5 hours per 24-hour cycle -- than the average teenager spends in front of all media sources. We know our desktop really well, and we consider it a friend. It rarely talks back to us, and it tries to show us what we need to know.

But it also holds many secrets. It is our working "vault," but do we really know what is inside this vault?

Today, I thought it might be useful to talk about our desktops and perhaps suggest some ways we can make them better "friends."

Here are some personal tips for using your desktop or laptop that I hope might be beneficial:

Set an icon limit. No more than 20 allowed. You can set up more than one subject file within a folder. That is helpful. It is best to declutter your desktop at the same time once a week. The Fences application works well to organize your desktop. Try the free trial.

Use Google personalization to get a report "first thing in the morning" on worldwide danger. Be prepared to contact and warn clients about any pertinent travel advisories, such as potentially violent demonstrations near their hotel. This global hot spots briefing must come ahead of all other business.

Maintain an email gift section. This is a collection of articles that any client would feel are worth keeping. Try to always attach an email gift with every email to a client. I include reports on the world's top-rated restaurants, insider airline contact numbers, current airline ratings worldwide and tip sheets on a wide variety of topics, such as maximizing miles and an antibacterial approach to travel.

I think every travel consultant and advisor must realize that they are only as good as their little black book. Keep yours on your desktop and call it your "destination library." Always arrange it by country and then city or area. Copy the best articles from magazines, anything you see online that is worth saving.

Subscribe to the New York Times online and keep its frequent city profiles.

Whenever a client has deposited any trip, you ought to be able to go to your destination files to generate really valuable reports.

Keep a hotels file with the properties you are most likely to recommend. To save time, include an independent professional review of each property of the kind unavailable on the internet. Also maintain a list of things about each property you need to know such as the name and email address of the head concierge.

Finally, keep a stack of personalized note cards and envelopes next to your desktop. An email is essentially an example of rude, quick typing. Far too often it is avoidance of real communication. Make up your mind that you will start writing personal notes to clients who matter. Your desktop can only do so much.

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