Sharing the "Secrets of Success"

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President of Direct Line Cruises, Inc. Speaks at Cruise World 2011 Convention

Unlike so many other highly-competitive industries, the travel industry is somewhat unique in the way that established companies are willing, if not eager, to provide advice and encouragement to those just entering the business. This supportive environment was very apparent at the “Cruise World Home Based Agent” show that was hosted by Travel Weekly, a leading publication for the travel agent community.

The five-day conference, which was held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center November 2-6, was attended by well over a thousand aspiring travel agents from all over the United States, most of whom were looking to improve their product knowledge and, equally important, to gain insights that could be key to their future success and prosperity.

Among the keynote speakers on the “Peer Power Panel” was Helen Coiro, President and co-founder of Direct Line Cruises, a Long Island, NY-based company that, over the past 17 years, has become one of the largest and most successful cruise only travel agencies in the country. During her presentation, Mrs. Coiro spoke of her “very humble beginning as a one-man-show” operating in the basement of her suburban home with just a telephone, a fax machine and a home equity loan that provided her with some cash to get the company started. But, with much hard work and dedication (along with a good deal of “trial and error”, as Helen recalled by citing some embarrassing examples), she was able to expand the business, first to a very modest 400 square-foot office with four employees and, eventually, to its current 5,000 square-foot suite with thirty-five (and counting) trained, professional staff members.

As winner of the Royal Caribbean 2010 Northeast Partner of the Year award, along with numerous other accolades, including the Norwegian Cruise Line “Freestyle Partner of the Year”, Direct Line Cruises is unquestionably among the most inspiring “grass roots” success stories in the travel industry. But, those attending the conference were eager to learn HOW that success was achieved and Mrs. Coiro (as well as each of the five other co-panelists who told their own success story) was eager to share her “secrets” with the audience. By relating her earliest experiences, including a number of “memorable mistakes”, Helen provided specific advice on setting goals, acquiring product knowledge, establishing a budget, projecting a positive image and, perhaps most important of all, persevering day-by-day.

Following the presentation, Helen said, “I was so gratified by the reception that the audience gave me.” And, as she later confided, “I don’t consider myself to be much of a public speaker so, when Vicki Freed [Sr. Vice President of Sales for Royal Caribbean International] first recommended me for the panel, I was both extremely honored and extremely nervous. But, now that it’s over, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to meet and speak with so many enthusiastic people who are about to experience the excitement and rewards of this fabulous industry.”


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Greg Coiro
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