By KarryOn @karryontravel15 Mar 2017Skill up on all you need to know with bite sized travel news designed specifically to help you, the Travel Agent, be your best today and tomorrow. 1. Is Facebook taking on TripAdvisor with its new City Guides? Tag colleagues in memes, watch funny videos, comment on your friend’s holiday pics, catch up on the latest news and now Facebook users can scroll through ‘City Guides’. The social networking platform continues to diversify its product and the latest move sees the e-giant take on the ever-so-popular travel industry, but more particularly TripAdvisor. ‘City Guides’ was added to the Facebook app in the US this month to give holidaymakers a new avenue for researching and even booking their holidays, Skift reported. Read on 2. Thousands of flights cancelled as US snowstorm rages A massive blizzard in the Northeast of the USA has affected the country’s aviation industry, with some 7,800 flights cancelled over the last two days leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded. Winter Storm Stella has been described as the ‘worst storm of the season’, causing parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York to issue ‘blizzard warnings’ due to its ferocious wind and heavy snow. According to The National Weather Service, some 13-inches of powder was dumped over some of the region, while New York City was spared with only around eight inches. Read on 3. italktravel Townsville expands QLD footprint Ahead of its third birthday, italktravel has expanded into Queensland with the opening of the new italktravel Townsville store. Headed by young entrepreneur, Rane Reguson, the move will introduce Townsville residents to a “fresh, new, emerging Australian travel brand that intends to lead the way in innovation, product and client value long into the future”. italktravel’s General Manager of Sales Jonathan Nelson, reiterated saying the company has a “very deliberate” growth strategy, which involves partnering with owners of like mind, forethought and those who look long term, seek to reinvent as pioneers and to move away from traditional retail franchise models”. 4. Tasmania has just been pushed to the top of the bucketlist & it’s all thanks to this one picture Are you noticing a sudden increase in interest for Tasmania? And by sudden, we mean literally overnight. Australia’s little state down under has just been put on the map for people across the country and it’s all thanks to one incredible picture that went viral this week. The image was snapped and posted by Instagram user (and likely photographer, her images are amazing) Leanne Marshall when she encountered one of Tasmania’s beaches shining bright like a neon light. Read on 5. INCENTIVE: WIN a spot on a European famil A spot on a European famil is up for grabs and all you have to do to be in the running is complete the ‘Rail Expert’ training program, which is supported by all of Rail Europe’s Australian distribution partners – Rail Plus, Infinity Rail and Rail Tickets. Consultants must complete the program before 28 April 2017. Those who achieve a 60 percent pass rate will receive a certificate and ‘I’m a Rail Expert’ banner. The top two graduates from each of four regions across Australia – VIC/TAS, NSW/ACT, QLD/NT, SA/WA – will win a spot on a European famil. In addition, Rail Plus is incentivising the 10 individual training modules with a top scorer for each instalment receiving a $100 VISA gift card. Click here to take part in this year’s European Rail Expert program and then enter the following subscriber key: 0b9606-qifz8. Or for futher information email: [email protected]. 6. INCENTIVE: WIN a red carpet trip to the Logies Travel Agents, here’s your chance to mix with Australia’s biggest celebrities at this year’s Logies thanks to Travelmarvel, which is sponsoring this year’s entertainment event. Travelmarvel has secured four exclusive tickets to the Melbourne gathering and will ensure winning Agents arrive on the red carpet in style with flights and accommodation also included in the prize. Agents who book a Travelmarvel cruise or tour of eight days or more between 13 March and 13 April can enter the competition to win. Tickets will be awarded to Agents in three different competition categories: Most Outstanding Talent will go to the agent who achieves the highest dollar value of deposited bookings; Most Popular Presenter for agents who simply need to book a cruise or tour of eight days or more in the competition period to enter the random draw (two winners from this category); and Best New Talent for any agent who makes a Travelmarvel booking for eight days or more for the first time during the competition period. Click here for more information. 7. Trafalgar appoints news Sales Manager to strengthen its force in Queensland Trafalgar has strengthened its Queensland sales team with the appointment of Lauren Stuchbury, to the role of Queensland Sales Manager. Commencing earlier this month, Lauren brings with her over 15 years of experience within the tourism industry, which Trafalgar believes will surely be a valuable asset to the business. Lauren has a wealth of knowledge and sales expertise from her previous roles as Business Development Executive with Qantas Holidays, as well as her other reservations and sales consultant roles with Talpacific Holidays and Harvey World Travel. 8. Sue Graham appointed Head of Air Contracting at Helloworld Helloworld Limited has announced the appointment of Sue Graham as Head of Air Contracting. Sue joins Helloworld on 18th April and will bring the benefit of more than 35 years’ experience in the travel industry, most recently as General Manager, Supplier Partnerships at CT Partners. Prior to that, Sue worked at Stella / JTG for six years in senior contracting roles and has also held senior positions with Travelocity and Flight Centre. Sue is replacing Paul Hollingshead, who finished with Helloworld last week and will report directly in to Stan Scott, Head of Commercial. 9. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Personal Travel Managers have a blast in Houston Houston may be famous for being home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, but as TravelManagers’ personal travel managers (PTMs) recently discovered there is so much more to the city of Houston, than just Mission Control. While they enjoyed the Space Centre, the group agreed that the city’s hidden gem is Galveston Island where John Lengacher representative for Windsor said there’s “historic charm, beautiful houses, antique shops, great pubs and restaurants”. Other highlights of the trip included seeing Houston’s many green spaces, visiting the Topgolf golf range, shopping and experiencing Air New Zealand’s service from Auckland to Houston, which Lengacher described as “unfaltering”. 10. Want to be a sales super star? Here’s how Qantas can help It can take years to master the skills needed to be a successful Travel Agent. Over at Qantas, they’re making your job easier. Qantas has released their new digital learning platform packed with interactive and engaging learning bites that you can access from anywhere, any time. We’ve already written about why the Qantas Learning Hub totally rocks, but here are some more reasons why so many agents are registering. Read on 11. Don your explorer hat & discover Bangkok’s hidden gems Bangkok is an intoxicating jumble of serenity and chaos woven into a tightly knit society populated with some of the most friendliest folk on the planet. And it’s never boring – ever. But it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed with just how much there is to do in this South East Asian metropolis – that is, unless you happen to stumble upon a handy little guide that points you towards all its hidden gems, such as this one! Did you know that in Bangkok you can… Read on 12. Switzerland for the urban adventurer Switzerland doesn’t need to try hard to grab the attention of the international traveller. Naturally, this central European country flaunts the kind of dreamy scenery that makes you swoon. But Switzerland is much more than just a pretty face. Its urban centres burst with culture and art at nearly every turn, which is reflective of the happy-go-lucky (sometimes quirky) nature of the Swiss themselves. So put on your urban adventurer hat and dive into Switzerland’s compact and clean cities, and discover cultural and cosmopolitan communities that are equally smitten over getting out amongst the Alps and the great outdoors as they are in celebrating their unique heritage and being creative. Read on 13. The art of fine dining at 30,000-feet with ANA Airplane food usually cops a bad wrap amongst flyers. However ANA is completely revolutionising what it means to dine at 30,000 feet, and it’s incredibly exciting! Neon-lit, dynamic and reflecting the best of eastern charm and western modernity, Tokyo stimulates all the senses. But it’s the taste buds that the city perfectly caters for, and this is reflected in Tokyo’s 226 Michelin starred restaurants, making it the city with the most-est. Yet the Japanese commitment to exquisite dining isn’t just confined to the ground. Indeed, ANA (All Nippon Airways) is taking these high culinary standards to the sky and changing what it means to dine at 30,000 feet in the sky. Read on 14. Agents, this is how you can have your cake & eat it too Be your own boss, achieve your financial goals and spend more time with your family – is that even possible? It is indeed, and all it requires is a little entrepreneurial spirit. And the right support behind you, of course. TravelManagers (TMA) has been supporting Travel Agents to become the master of their destinies for years, helping them take the reins of their travel businesses and achieving a better work/life balance. Read on What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? Other stories you may like ARE AUTHENTIC TRAVEL EXPERIENCES NOW MORE ACCESSIBLE THAN EVER? CANNON BALL! CONTIKI HAS SAVINGS OF $700 ON FLIGHTS TO EUROPE TRAVEL AGENTS, WANT $1,000? APT IS GIVING IT TO YOU!