Jon Lafferty:
In real estate transaction there are many reasons why you can encounter turbulence. Today we’re going to talk to Scott Hunter with Cruise & Travel Experts. And he’s going to talk about turbulence that they had in the travel industry and a bunch of other stuff. I’m excited to have him on the program today. Hey, Scott, welcome.

Scott Hunter:
Thank you, Jon.

Tony Abate:
Yeah. Good to have you, Scott.

Scott Hunter:
Good to be here.

Jon Lafferty:
I’m serious. Is that now official?

Tony Abate:
There’s no script. Everything’s fine.

Jon Lafferty:
Okay, Tony, we’re off book.

Tony Abate:
I will tell you, if I could jump in, the first time I met Scott I was pleasantly surprised that travel agents as individuals was still a thing. I was one of those people. And I don’t think I was alone, in thinking that everybody always made their travel arrangements through Expedia, or one of the other online things. I thought now I don’t travel a lot. So that’s probably one of the reasons why I concluded that, but when I hear that it’s still active and running and the cool things that happen. And the fact that it doesn’t cost extra. I thought that was all good stuff.

Jon Lafferty:
Well just speaking, I mean, before Scott jumps in. It was interesting back in 2000 I want to say 10 or 11. I had a friend of mine, who … He joined this company to become a travel agent. He’s like, “Hey, go through me to get discounts and do stuff.” I was like, “Did this guy just sign up with him? What the hell just happened? He’s saying he can do this stuff, but I have no idea, anything on what he do.” So, you and I have known each other for what, five, six years now. And one of the things that I’ve learned from you is that there’s a lot of different things that you can do to help and assist and offer advice. And there’s a lot of things that people don’t think about when they’re traveling. But before you jump into that, let’s back up, let’s take a snapshot of your industry.

Jon Lafferty:
So back in the ’90s, late ’90s, early 2000s everybody officially proclaimed the travel agent dead, right? Because of the computer and online stuff and going to the airlines directly. So just a quick snapshot of your career, you’re working for General Motors, the recession hits, and after 30 years there you say, “I got to get the hell out of here.” Pick it up from there.

Scott Hunter:
That’s pretty much. Well, a couple years prior to that you could start seeing the writing on the wall and want to have something to fall back on. And as I’ve told you before, Jon and Tony also, I was the go to person at work, because in my desk drawer, I had AAA tour books and maps and all these various brochures that I’d like to look at to plan my own trips and people knew I had these things, so they always came up to me and we’re asking for information and-

Jon Lafferty:
So I mean, did you also have female co-workers coming up, asking you for those books on hedonism? Just kidding.

Scott Hunter:
I’ve always wanted to get a fam trip. A fam trip is actually familiarization trip. Where the hotels bring you down there and let you experience the properties. And I mean, I get a lot of those, but I’ve never had an invite to hedonism. I need to get one of those. I would have to experience the property.

Jon Lafferty:
So your co-workers come to you. You’re the go-to guy with books and magazines on different places to travel and maybe trip ticks as well that you used in the past. And so, at what point do you decide, “I got to pull the parachute and jump out?”

Scott Hunter:
Well, I ended up purchasing a franchise at the time called Cruise Holidays. And I worked at part time while I was there at GM, and for a couple of years. And built up my clientele slowly. I got a Corvette club out of that and things went uphill from there. And finally, just before the bankruptcy, we … Basically it was a mutual agreement that I left, departed GM and I’ve been working this full time ever since. So this will be my 12th, 13th year. And-

Jon Lafferty:
Now how many of your fellow employees had to sign the NDA? Non Disclosure Agreement?

Scott Hunter:
Probably most of them. Yeah. Most.

Jon Lafferty:
Makes sense.

Scott Hunter:
Yeah. You couldn’t go back and work as a contract employee after that. Which is fine for me, because I could never imagine going back to that environment, at least the environment, the way it was the last few years. And I hear it’s pretty much the same now. Those that are still there.

Tony Abate:
So this was … This would have been ’06-

Jon Lafferty:
2008, 2009?

Scott Hunter:
Yeah.

Tony Abate:
Okay. Yeah, I mean, that is right in the heart of when I think most people would not … The knee jerk reaction was, if I book a trip myself online, I’m automatically going to be saving money. And no way to validate that, but that’s the way it was presented. And so I think a lot of people went down that way, and it’s never been the case.

Scott Hunter:
Right. It was actually the right move, at least in my case and for many because the way we’re at right now, there’s just so much information out there, information overload and when you do a search for … I just put in Hawaii and you see what comes up. Hawaii vacations. People are getting tired of spending all their time going through all that information.

Tony Abate:
And probably wondering if they’re even making the right choices, you know what I mean? You’re coming at it from a standpoint of not only are you there advocate, but high probability you’ve probably been there and you can give real world experience as far as, “You got to check this out based on what you told me you like.” And so on and so forth.

Jon Lafferty:
So when did you see a change in your business? So travel industry, takes a crap, all the travel agencies that used to be all around, pretty much close up shop, everybody figures out different careers. You jump into this, you buy it, you go to work for this company or you buy a piece of it, franchise, right? So you buy a piece of it, and you start working in this, you retire from General Motors. When did you start to see things start to grab hold, that people actually started to consider using a travel agent again and get over the initial response of, “Why do I want to pay his commission? It’s going to cost me more.” Or, “I can do this on my own.” When did you start to see a change?

Scott Hunter:
Well, before I get into that, you mentioned the commission. A lot of people aren’t aware that my commission, our commission is already built into the price. Whether you use us or not. So if you call the hotel and you’ve just booked a room, or you book a cruise, our commission’s already built into that price. So why would you not use us? One reason to use us in that case would be, you see all these commercials for Carnival or Royal Caribbean, whatever. That may not be the best cruise line for you. So I’m going to direct you to the right cruise line or the right resort, things like that.

Tony Abate:
I think that’s so cool. I think so many people think the polar opposite. They think they’re going to pay a fee for your services, and it’s not necessarily going to be the cheapest choice. And the reality is they don’t pay a fee directly to you, and well it may not be the absolute cheapest choice, is probably the best choice as far as what they’ve told you, they’re looking for in the vacation. I mean that that is so critical. Again, we don’t travel tons but I think back when I took my family to Disney World and I winged it and it was disastrous because I winged it. And I so wish now that I would had somebody tell me, “You need to do this. Don’t go then. Make sure you do this and make sure you do that.” Instead, I felt like I just opened up my wallet while Mickey and Minnie just danced out around the falling bills and then we were done.

Scott Hunter:
Speaking of Disney, I’ve tips for people that are … Disney is expensive. And if you’re trying to save money-

Jon Lafferty:
Don’t go to Disney?

Scott Hunter:
Well, that’s the first thing.

Tony Abate:
[crosstalk 00:10:38]

Scott Hunter:
The second is, if you’re staying on site, for example, or even off site. And you’re going to be there two, three days, stop at the grocery store outside the park and buy a cheap Styrofoam cooler for $1 and the hotels have ice machines right? While you’re at the grocery store, buy a loaf of bread, buy things to make sandwiches for lunch. And do that in your room before you go into the park. The park has lockers. So you can just bring a little insulated six pack holder with you and take that into the locker and save a few dollars here and there. Now-

Jon Lafferty:
Will that work with airplane liquor bottles?

Scott Hunter:
It should.

Jon Lafferty:
But maybe tuck those in your shirts?

Tony Abate:
Make sure you call him before your next trip Jon, okay?

Scott Hunter:
Let me get back to your initial question about when did I start to see … Our industry started to notice there was a lot of articles written in the last … Probably in the last three years about using travel agents or travel advisors as they’re called now, for travel, and ever since we started seeing these articles in newspapers and magazines and so forth, that’s really when the turnaround happened. And it’s been good.

Jon Lafferty:
So it’s now a viable business?

Scott Hunter:
Yes. In fact, I just saw a recent article where 19, 20% of the consumers say they’re going to be using a travel agent within the next two years. And that’s up from 15%, from the prior year. So it’s gone up every year. It’s gone up every year since I’ve been in the business.

Tony Abate:
Wow. Okay.

Jon Lafferty:
So let’s talk about an example of when to call you as a travel agent and where your services would be beneficial, and when it wouldn’t be. So for instance, if I’m just booking a flight to LA and I’m going to stay in a friend’s house for three, four days and I just need the flight there and back-

Scott Hunter:
Don’t call me.

Jon Lafferty:
Don’t call you. Okay.

Scott Hunter:
Don’t waste my time. Unless you are … And no offense, unless you’re 85 years old, 90 years old, then you don’t have a computer, you don’t know how to go in and book a flight. Yes, then I can help you but I have to charge you a service fee to do that.

Jon Lafferty:
A convenience fee.

Scott Hunter:
A convenience fee. That was the downfall of the traditional travel agencies that you saw in every corner-

Jon Lafferty:
Used and abused and burned down their members.

Scott Hunter:
Well, the airline stopped paying commissions. And that was a big chunk of their revenue. So that started the downward trend. A lot of agencies now charge fees for flights, booking flights. Now, where you want to call me is if you are going to Europe, anywhere international. We can get you some really good rates on airfare bulk rates with our consolidators that we use and suppliers that we use.

Jon Lafferty:
Or Disneyland or Disney World, Universal … What is it called down there? Universal Studios?

Scott Hunter:
Universal Studios, Orlando.

Jon Lafferty:
Park. Okay. Universal Studios, Orlando.

Scott Hunter:
Well, Orlando in California.

Tony Abate:
So really if you’re looking to book a trip or a vacation that is more than just arriving at the destination. That’s when folks should reach out to you?

Scott Hunter:
Yes.

Tony Abate:
If they have things that they want to accomplish, if they have certain likes or dislikes and it’s more than just the flight, then yeah. This is where you excel. Is what it sounds like.

Scott Hunter:
Right. And I do go on these familiarization trips every year. Whether it’s a cruise or a ship inspection-

Jon Lafferty:
Based on the pictures you post we can tell you’re working really hard.

Scott Hunter:
… a new ship or-

Tony Abate:
Tough life.

Scott Hunter:
… all inclusive resorts. I take tours of those properties every year. So I can tell you what directs you in the right direction of what properties to go to, because a lot of the pictures online are not current.

Tony Abate:
Sure. And they’re not going to put the mediocre ones in the brochure. Right?

Scott Hunter:
Right.

Jon Lafferty:
So when you go to these all inclusive resorts, I mean, do they throw like, “Hey, if you have a couple that’s going to come here, we’ll set you guys up and you can get a massage and we’ll show you the whole spa that we have within our hotel and am you can go out and play 18 holes on the golf course around the hotel, just so you can try that out.” Do they go into that depth with you, so that you get the full experience?

Scott Hunter:
A lot of them do. Yes. And, for example, I was Jamaica last year. We toured some properties from Montego Bay to Negril. And in addition to that, they took us off site to a company that specializes in ATVs. So you could do ATV rides through the jungle, along the beach and things like that. So we get to experience these other excursions that you could go on.

Jon Lafferty:
Are we talking about hedonism again?

Scott Hunter:
Well, we stayed at a resort right next door. But the problem was when I walked the beach, the dividing line had all these big boulders so you couldn’t get around them.

Tony Abate:
So you tried?

Scott Hunter:
I tried.

Jon Lafferty:
[crosstalk 00:17:05] in South beach in Miami. Not that there’s boulders there, but there’s a marking where you go beyond that point. It’s a free for all.

Tony Abate:
Oh my gosh! Well yeah, I think it’s a huge value and a huge benefit if you’re counseling somebody on putting together a vacation package to be able to say, “I’ve been on that ship or I’ve stayed at that hotel.” I would find that to be huge, because like I said before the pictures, they’re never going to post the mediocre pictures. But if you always, or I always, will look at a website for a destination, and think, “Yeah, you know what, they’re putting their best foot forward, and then some … Is this really the real McCoy?” But talking to somebody who’s been there, though, and knows what to look forward to. I mean, you’re not just going for the heck of it, to have fun. You’re looking to see, all right, what type of consumer would enjoy this location?

Scott Hunter:
Right. In fact, last January, we had a vacation. So we were in Punta Cana, staying at a resort and even when I’m on vacation, I can’t get away from work.

Jon Lafferty:
Sound like a realtor and a lender.

Scott Hunter:
We walked the beach every morning and I told my wife I said, “I want to check out these two other resorts that are further down the beach and see what they’re like.” Because I hadn’t experienced them firsthand. And then one day we walked up to the one, we walked right up there, we set at the lounge chairs by the pool, I had a few drinks delivered to us. They didn’t know … They assumed we were staying there. I shouldn’t probably say this but-

Tony Abate:
Should have to be going back I think.

Scott Hunter:
But we got to experience what the … somewhat what the resort was like. Didn’t see the rooms at that point. But, and the next day we went to another one, just for an hour or so.

Jon Lafferty:
Let’s talk for a second about, when that client calls you, they’re on site at the place that they’ve booked through you, and something goes wrong, something goes sideways. They’re not happy with the room they have, they had to wait a long time. Something’s gone wrong, and they’re calling you. Is that the right thing to do? You’re the guy that’s going to be able to fix it or make alternative arrangements for them?

Scott Hunter:
Yes. In fact, before they go on their trip, I give them their travel documents in a packet, with my business card and I say, “Take the card with you. If anything comes up, contact me.” The cheapest way normally is by text if you’re out of the country, but whatever way it works, email, or phone call. Yeah, I had a couple that was in London just recently. And I got a text saying they got to the hotel, and the hotel says the room wasn’t paid for. Well, it was paid for. One of our suppliers properties that they use all the time. And it was just a mix up with accounting. So I got that squared away, and I had a bottle of wine sent to their room, just to say, “We’re sorry, the supplier’s sorry. Things happen occasionally.”

Tony Abate:
That’s huge, though. I mean, especially if you’re out of the country or in an unfamiliar place. If that kind of thing happens, and they had not used to travel advisors such as yourself, you’re stuck with calling whatever at 1-800 number you might be given. And it’s not … I can’t imagine that the troubleshooting would be the same as if that resort or ship gets a call, and it’s like, “Look, I’m the travel advisor, that booked this. So, what’s going on? We need to take care of these folks.” I’m sure it’s handled entirely differently.

Scott Hunter:
Right. If you call 1-800 number, you’re going to have to go in and explain everything to this person. Whereas I know firsthand what’s going on and can get to the problem right away. A few years ago, five years ago, I had a family that was on a cruise, Mediterranean cruise and they were in Venice. And I had gotten a phone call from the husband saying his wife broke both of her ankles, getting offer on a water taxi in Venice.

Tony Abate:
Oh my gosh!

Scott Hunter:
So she was on her way to the hospital. The husband and daughter were on their way to the hospital too, the ship was leaving Venice in one hour, and their luggage was still on the ship. So luckily, they had taken out the travel insurance. So I got on the phone with the travel insurance company. Let them know, gave them the number they contacted the client and got things squared away. They got their luggage off the ship, they got them into a hotel, the husband and the daughter and make a long story short, this would have cost them 50, $60,000 if they didn’t have the travel insurance, because they had … For her to travel on a plane, they had to buy a whole row so she could lay flat.

Tony Abate:
Wow! And the travel insurance covered that-

Scott Hunter:
They covered that.

Tony Abate:
… because of the circumstance.

Scott Hunter:
Yes. So I always recommend travel insurance, especially if you’re leaving the country.

Tony Abate:
Wow! Yeah. And the people are not going to hear those scenarios when they’re clicking online to book a trip. And the knee jerk reaction for anything that might be deemed an extra is just to check no, because you don’t want to increase your costs. But hearing your older examples, probably makes somebody completely rethink their choice-

Scott Hunter:
That’s why I always say I answer the questions you don’t know to ask.

Tony Abate:
That’s, well put.

Scott Hunter:
And speaking of that, our friend Wayne mentioned that he was going to Vietnam. And his wife works for the airlines. So he gets free airfare. So I said, “When are you going?” He says, “I’m going in a couple weeks.” I go, “Do you have your visa?” He goes, “I need a visa?” I go, “Yes, you need a visa to travel to Vietnam.” He goes “Oh!” He says, “Can you send me the info on where I can get one?” So I emailed him-

Tony Abate:
He’s too excited for this trip.

Scott Hunter:
Yeah. So I emailed it for him, he got in time but people don’t know.

Jon Lafferty:
I think I shared this story with you. When we were talking about this at the time, there was a woman that used to be in accounting with a different broker agent at a different time, when I was living out in Los Angeles area, and her son went to either Cambodia or Thailand. Thailand, and then decided when he was in Thailand, “Hey, I’m just going to hop on a puddle jumper and go over to Vietnam and go there.” So he called her up and said, “Hey, Mom, I’m going to Vietnam for a week. I’ll be back.” Well, so he goes to Vietnam, he lands, immediately pull him into customs, arrest him for traveling there without a visa and send him back to Thailand after holding him for like 48 or 72 hours and softening them up a little bit.

Tony Abate:
Probably not ideal accommodations, I wouldn’t imagine.

Jon Lafferty:
No. So, but that just goes to the point that, one of the things that you offer is the knowledge of things like that. The details that the people can overlook, and on top of that, if something goes wrong, they’re going to get a free bottle of chips or two and special reserved wine from you.

Tony Abate:
Nothing but the finest.

Jon Lafferty:
Nothing but the finest from the coast of Liverpool, England.

Tony Abate:
Known for their fine wine, right?

Scott Hunter:
Maybe I don’t know, another grown wine there.

Tony Abate:
But, you nailed it, though. Just you answer the questions that people don’t think to ask. I absolutely fall into that category. If I had to book an experienced type of vacation, I wouldn’t even know where to start. Yeah.

Scott Hunter:
I don’t know everything. But things I don’t know. I have suppliers that can answer the questions for me.

Jon Lafferty:
And, well, especially when there’s a there’s a trip to somebody’s going to plan that, you haven’t necessarily done before and they don’t know what they want. I mean, that’s stuff that you can dig into and find out and say, “Okay, here, I’ve got an itinerary for you. Here’s what I’ve got put together. These are all recommended.” I mean, that’s what you do. You do your research just like Tony and I do our research when we need to find out information and we don’t have the answers. We do the same thing.

Scott Hunter:
Yeah, I give people I give people options. I had a group, four couples, they went to Italy this past summer. And they stayed in a villa. We set them up in a villa. I have context for villas, in addition to a few days in Rome, and-

Jon Lafferty:
Did you warn them about the Gypsies?

Scott Hunter:
Yes. So then I got a call on last month, they want to go to Ireland, the four couples, for next year. So I got them set up and gave them a couple options. I said, “Here’s an option, the motor coach tour. Where you’re on a motor coach with 40 other people. And now you got a set schedule every day or we can set you up with a private driver with a Mercedes high top van. And they can take you … You have the driver all day. You can go wherever you want. And yeah, it’s a little bit more money. But you have your own schedule. You can do things the driver can suggest places to go.” And that’s what they ended up choosing. There was a little kickback from a couple of the couples because of the price but they finally came around and-

Jon Lafferty:
I bet they had a great time. Or going to have a great time.

Scott Hunter:
They are going to have a good time. So yeah, I’ve experienced those small group tours. In fact, I was in England in March, and it was a similar experience. And that’s the way to go if you have a group of people.

Jon Lafferty:
Those big group tours just seemed to me that, you never get a chance to experience anything. You’re constantly moving. This morning we’re going to be here, this afternoon, we’re going to be here, and we’re sleeping here. The next day we’re on the road first thing in the morning after breakfast, and we’re going to stop here and we get 45 minutes here. And I mean, I did one of those and for Normandy. I did one of those bus trips from Paris to Normandy. And we were in the bus for so long-

Scott Hunter:
That’s an all day trip.

Jon Lafferty:
It was an all day trip. We left at seven o’clock in the morning, and we got back at 9:30 at night. We spent the whole day in Normandy and we would get off the bus and they say, “Okay, so you have an hour and a half to walk around the cemetery for the American soldiers. And the monument is there, go down to the beach. You got an hour and a half to do all that. We’ll see you back at the bus in 90 minutes.” I mean, you’ve been there. That’s a hell of an undertaking to do in 90 minutes.

Scott Hunter:
I mean, those tours are not good for some people. Some people like those. Older people like those.

Jon Lafferty:
I don’t know why, it’s a little harder for them to get around in that short amount of time. Well, to do all that stuff. You think it’d be the opposite?

Scott Hunter:
The majority of the people on those type of tours are over 60. I just had three couples that did a national parks tour, they just got back a week ago. And they had a great … It was a two week trip. Round trip from Vegas. It was on a motor coach. They had a great time. I guess that’s probably the way to experience the national parks all at once, if you have two weeks.

Tony Abate:
Yeah. Little tricky to be the driver and try to experience it when you’re-

Scott Hunter:
And they did go to Wall Drug. And I remember seeing those bumper stickers. Where the heck is Wall Drug?

Tony Abate:
Right. Wall Drug store.

Scott Hunter:
Wall Drug, South Dakota. It’s the largest drug store or something of that order in the US.

Jon Lafferty:
Is that just about 50 miles south of the largest ball of mud?

Scott Hunter:
It’s in the general vicinity.

Jon Lafferty:
In the general vicinity, and the largest ball of twine is somewhere outside of St. Louis.

Tony Abate:
Man! Well, I’m inspired to take a trip. It’s just that I think a lot of people have reluctance or just choose not to plan vacations because of that fear of the unknown, don’t know where to start, and then that you lose out on the experience, because you just don’t go and I would fall into that category. I don’t travel a ton. And so unless it was presented to me in a nice wrapped up package, here’s how it’s going to work. I would have reluctance on planning that kind of thing. So it’s a cool thing that you bring to the table.

Scott Hunter:
Yeah, there’s people that like you. I’ve got somebody leaving today actually, or tomorrow. Today or tomorrow to Antwerp, Belgium for a diamond buying-

Jon Lafferty:
Same guy we know?

Scott Hunter:
Yes. You know who I’m talking about.

Jon Lafferty:
Yeah. I know who you’re talking about.

Scott Hunter:
And he doesn’t do a lot of traveling. But he’s been over there but it’s been a number of years and he said, “I don’t want to be stuck in the middle section of the plane. Because last time I did that I got stuck next to somebody and they stunk so bad and you’re sitting next to them for nine hours.” So, when he booked it, all that was left were two seats. The middle section has four seats. So there was two seats open there, that was it. In the Premium Economy section, so I had to put him there. But I’ve been checking every day to see if anything has opened up. And normally the airline hold seats back. People aren’t aware of that. But they hold seats back. So when you go online and you see that all the seats are taken, they’re not really taken. They leave so many for the gate agents to assign. So he still has another option if it doesn’t open up at handling check in, to move around then he can always check with the agent at the gate.

Jon Lafferty:
As a travel agent, have you ever had the opportunity to fly in the jump seat?

Scott Hunter:
No.

Jon Lafferty:
Because you’re in it today, buddy.

Tony Abate:
You’re in the jump seat.

Jon Lafferty:
You’re in the jump seat today. All our guests have been able to sit on this … And our turbulence … real estate turbulence podcast. Have you ever had the fun opportunity to book a Griswold like trip across the United States?

Scott Hunter:
No, I actually had somebody asked me to plan something like that in-

Tony Abate:
Really?

Scott Hunter:
… in the past. Years ago, that’s when you call AAA and they put together a triptych for you and, which you flip through the pages. And I still have the one from, when I went to Cooperstown baseball fan was my dad. I still have that one. And I was the driver. He was flipping through the triptych.

Tony Abate:
Nice highlighted mark right? You know where to go.

Scott Hunter:
I don’t do those.

Jon Lafferty:
Do you do destination trips, that people are driving to. If they’re going to drive to Cooperstown? If they’re going to go to Mount Rushmore and drive from here, I mean, do you do stuff like that?

Scott Hunter:
Not a lot. Not really. I mean, I’ve another friend that we know, his name is John. He calls me occasionally when he’s on a road trip with his wife and says, “We’re an hour outside of Toronto, can you find me a hotel?

Jon Lafferty:
And I’ve done those things for him. But we don’t do a lot of those type of …

Tony Abate:
So your sweet spot is the full package, the transportation, the lodging, and then the things to do-

Scott Hunter:
Right.

Tony Abate:
… while you’re there. Okay.

Scott Hunter:
Or river cruises.

Jon Lafferty:
You did those as well?

Scott Hunter:
Yes.

Jon Lafferty:
Both in stateside and then overseas.

Scott Hunter:
Yes, in Europe and Asia. Those are big areas too.

Jon Lafferty:
Have you booked anybody on these Great Lakes cruises. These-

Scott Hunter:
No, but I’ve actually toured one of the ships that was docked in Detroit. And these are small ships. They only hold … I think that one holds maybe 120 people. It’s not like an Ocean Cruise Liner. But it’s a nice experience. But it’s not cheap.

Tony Abate:
I’ve heard that.

Scott Hunter:
It’s mostly a lot of Europeans, that are booking those. But I’ve been reading in some of the trade magazines where they’re these companies are starting to … More companies are starting to come into this area. And they’re going to be putting ships there.

Jon Lafferty:
You’re starting to see the opportunities for travel on the lakes.

Scott Hunter:
Yes. Why not? I mean, travel in the lakes was huge back in the 1900s. I mean, that was a big industry back then.

Tony Abate:
Well, clearly those have been in.

Scott Hunter:
I mean, I’d love to do it.

Tony Abate:
Yeah, well, and people are paying the price, right? I mean, like you said, it’s expensive, but they’re doing it and there’s a demand for it, so.

Scott Hunter:
And you start getting more ships out, there’s more competition. That’s going to drop the price.

Jon Lafferty:
Yeah. That makes sense.

Scott Hunter:
River cruises like in Europe, or you could do the Mississippi too, the main ones. When you look at the price, they’re more than an ocean cruise. But what’s included, all your excursions everyday are included in the price. Along with depending on the cruise, most every cruise line has beer and wine, lunch and dinner. Some are totally all inclusive, where it’s an open bar 24/7. But when you start adding all these things up, the price isn’t that much more than in ocean cruise?

Tony Abate:
Yeah, I’m surprised to hear that. So side by side, a river cruise is going to cost more. A river cruise here in the States is going to cost more than a similar amount of time on a cruise ship in the ocean.

Scott Hunter:
Yeah.

Tony Abate:
Wow! And what drives that? Would you say what makes that more expensive?

Scott Hunter:
Well, the ships only hold on average 150.

Tony Abate:
Okay. Compared-

Scott Hunter:
150 and 200.

Tony Abate:
Yeah, compared to the typical cruise liners-

Scott Hunter:
Cruise liner that holds 4000.

Tony Abate:
Okay. Yeah, well, economies of scale going on now.

Scott Hunter:
What’s nice about the river cruises, I’m speaking more for Europe right now. The kitchens don’t have the storage facilities for the food like they have on an Ocean Cruise Line. Ocean Cruise, if you’re on the ship and you’re waiting to leave port, the first day, you look down and you see all these high lows delivering crates and things like that. That’s all the food for the whole week. The river cruises, they don’t have that space. So what happens is, as you stop in each town along the way, the chef gets off the ship and goes to the local farmers market, right there. And purchases. So I mean, it’s fresh, and it’s local. So you’re getting … If let’s say, you’re stopped in Vienna, you’re going to that night at dinner, you’re going to have the specialties from Vienna.

Tony Abate:
That’s cool.

Scott Hunter:
Sausages and things like that. So that’s-

Jon Lafferty:
It’s a benefit.

Scott Hunter:
Yes. Along with the wines too. They’re going to serve wines from whatever area you’re at.

Jon Lafferty:
That’s true. So you’re not stuck on the Thames River drinking chips or tool’s special reserve.

Scott Hunter:
But you’re having fish and chips every night. Which wouldn’t bother me because when I was in England in March, that’s the joke. There was only 15 of us that were on this fam trip. And that was the joke because I had fish and chips every day, whether it was at dinner or lunch. So, I figured that’s your specialty, right? I did not known for gourmet food in England. They are known for fish and chips. So I figured I couldn’t go wrong there and I didn’t.

Jon Lafferty:
I had fish and chips over there the first time. And it was served, the fish was served to me in a newspaper.

Tony Abate:
Really? Just wrapped up in a newspaper?

Jon Lafferty:
Wrapped up in a newspaper. Two big fried pieces of code.

Tony Abate:
Very cool.

Jon Lafferty:
It was interesting. So where do you think … Where do you see the travel industry in the next three to five years? Where do you think things are headed? Are you headed towards a disruption? Or do you see more people professionally coming into assist? Do you see it growing, contracting? Where do you think it’s going to be?

Scott Hunter:
There’s more right now. There’s more people coming in to the business all the time. It’s just-

Jon Lafferty:
Are there any classes that a travel agent has to take or licenses to acquire?

Scott Hunter:
Yes. Going back to your … I think it was the first thing you mentioned about the-

Jon Lafferty:
It’s only taking a 35 minutes to answer the damn question.

Scott Hunter:
… about people approaching you saying, “Book your trip with me and I can get you this or that or …” Those are considered multi level marketing companies and it’s been the bane of the industry. They pop up and then they’re taken to court, and they pop up again with a different name and-

Jon Lafferty:
Sounds like some real estate company.

Tony Abate:
It does definite. Yeah.

Scott Hunter:
Think they’re in every industry. And book with me or sign up with me and it’s like a pyramid scheme type of thing. So these people think they can just pay their way to be a travel agent when-

Jon Lafferty:
You sign up and then you sign two people up, and they’ll sign two people up. It’s like that fabrication commercial, right? And then so on and so on. And pretty soon you’ll have a big income stream coming in-

Tony Abate:
In theory, right?

Scott Hunter:
Yeah. Like Amway.

Tony Abate:
Yeah. I could see where that could sully the industry and just make it look bad.

Scott Hunter:
Amway is a legit company. Disclaimer.

Tony Abate:
We have a disclaimer for that.

Scott Hunter:
I don’t know that they’re around anymore. In fact, I don’t think they exist anymore. Do they? They’re a different name. Now I think-

Tony Abate:
I think-

Scott Hunter:
Yeah. I think it is a different name. So I think Emily’s now different. The name itself anyways, but there’s classes, there’s always training to go through. I’ve taken training for most of the major cruise lines, with our consortium signature travel network. There’s … I’ve considered a signature travel expert because I went through the online training for that which is rigorous. So I like to be up to date on everything, just like your industries, you need to be continually.

Jon Lafferty:
So give us an example of you say, update on training, give us an example of something that it pays to be updated on, that if somebody didn’t go through this, they wouldn’t be aware of. What might be an example of that? A change in your industry that’s happened, that if you’re not in the know you could make an error to your client’s detriment.

Scott Hunter:
Good question.

Tony Abate:
No pressure.

Jon Lafferty:
Did I put you on the spot?

Scott Hunter:
You put me on the spot, now my brain is going.

Jon Lafferty:
So for instance, and for us, and for him, especially to three years ago when the tread regulations became law, there was all this speculation that, the fact now that buyers actually had three days to review documents, because what was happening is everybody would … We’d set up a closed date for this date, and the buyers wouldn’t see their closing documents until that morning. And so it’s like, “Well, you either sign off on, and accepted it or we’re not closing.” And so a lot of buyers felt pressure that, “Okay, I guess I got to take it. There’s no way to change it because we’re under the gun.” But now buyers have to see that stuff three days in advance prior to closing. So it’s changed things. So it’s a regulation like that, that if you don’t understand it, you’re probably out there spotting all bunch of crazy stuff and operating under the same guys that, “Well we can just close Monday, right? Even though the buyer just got the documents Monday.” No. You’ve got to be aware of stuff like that. So anything in your industry that you can think of?

Scott Hunter:
Well, the cruise lines are always changing itineraries, adding itineraries, things like that. I saw a lot of Alaska and there’s cruise lines that are coming into that market that haven’t been there in years like Canard. You’ve probably heard of Canard, they deal with transatlantic cruises. So that’s all brand new and if you’re not informed on what their itineraries are, you’re just shooting from the hip. You need to be able to direct people. Those clients that are right for canard compared to Royal Caribbean, for example. They change up hotels, quite often and some of their cruise tours and things like that. So I mean that’s off the top of my head. That’s one of the examples.

Jon Lafferty:
Okay. Well, before we let you go, I have to know your opinion.

Scott Hunter:
I don’t offer free advice.

Jon Lafferty:
I’m not asking for advice. I want your opinion. So, your opinion, does Michigan make it to the game against Notre Dame with one loss?

Scott Hunter:
Yes, while they’re playing Indiana, then-

Jon Lafferty:
Illinois then Penn State in Happy Valley.

Scott Hunter:
I’ll say yes, they’ll make it with one loss.

Jon Lafferty:
Okay, they make it with one loss, I think we’re looking at a night game. Which means you and I got to figure out our schedule and how we’re going to make that work but-

Scott Hunter:
Well, I started buddy Doug last night and at another event and he’s seems to think it’s a night game. I would bet if-

Jon Lafferty:
They make it there with one loss I think it’s a night game.

Scott Hunter:
Unfortunately, I don’t like night games.

Jon Lafferty:
Well, Tony we want to-

Tony Abate:
Yeah, Thanks Scott. It’s been great to have you on board. How … Yeah, so somebody wants to reach you, what’s the best way for folks to get a hold up you?

Jon Lafferty:
At Cruise & Travel Experts.

Scott Hunter:
Yes. thetravelingmanvacations.com.

Jon Lafferty:
Is there a G on that traveling man?

Scott Hunter:
Yes, there is.

Tony Abate:
Traveling man.

Scott Hunter:
thetravelingmanvacations.com or you can give me a call. 248-891-6809.

Tony Abate:
All right, excellent. This was informative. I’m still pleasantly surprised as to the viability of somebody call up the person like you and just have it all laid out, and arranged and do this. Don’t do that. It’s all.

Jon Lafferty:
You know what’s interesting, is that, I mean, it just goes to prove that even though his industry was considered dead 20 years ago, how much people still enjoy and embrace the convenience of having somebody do something like that, as well as the personal touch, and the personal connection and conversation. There’s certain things that you can technology out. But those are some things you just can’t and we’re seeing change in our business, which is why I thought our discussion would be so interesting. And so we hear the Doomsday are saying that we’re going to go the way the travel agency did 20 years ago, but I mean, you’re living proof that people really want that help, that convenience, and that connection.

Tony Abate:
Yeah, the value. A genuine value there for sure. Thanks for coming on.

Scott Hunter:
Thank you.

Tony Abate:
We’ve talked about a different kind of turbulence today. So but it’s-

Scott Hunter:
We did.

Tony Abate:
Yeah, very good. All right. Hey, thanks for listening to Avoiding Real Estate Turbulence. If you’d be so kind to subscribe, review and rate, we’d appreciate it. Please share with your friends, family and co workers so that they too can find us at avoidingret.com, where you’ll find our contact information at every episode. You can also find us on Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify.

Jon Lafferty:
Couldn’t wait to scroll on your Google phone.

Tony Abate:
Is a busy man.

Scott Hunter:
I was checking my emails.

Jon Lafferty:
Jesus! I had this guy for guest and he’s already checking his emails.

Tony Abate:
In board meeting. Totally cow!

Jon Lafferty:
Put the mics off. Holy cow!

Tony Abate:
Thanks Scott.

Scott Hunter:
I want to see if it was posted online yet.

Tony Abate:
Yeah. Good recovery.

Scott Hunter:
Better media. Thanks

Jon Lafferty:
Appreciate it.

Scott Hunter
Cruise & Travel Experts
(248) 891-6809
http://www.thetravelingmanvacations.com