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What a Tour Broker Is and How to Become One

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A person who operates a tour company is a broker. A broker is a middleman. Brokers buy or arrange items or services and sells these items or services to the end buyer. Some examples of brokers are:

Independent insurance agents. These agents do not provide insurance; they arrange insurance for you from an insurance company. Insurance agents usually get a commission from an insurance company.

Stock brokers. Like insurance agents, stock brokers help you buy and sell stock. They don’t own the stock. These brokers also receive a commission based on the amount sold.

Real estate broker. Again, these brokers do not own the properties they sell and they get a commission based on the value of what they sell.

There are also tour brokers. Tour brokers serve a variety of customers. This article is about what a tour brokerage is and the basics of this business.

Here is a good description if what a tour is: A trip with visits to various places of interest for business, pleasure, or instruction.

Here travel is defined: To go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey.

A tour, then, is not only travel but it is travel with the purpose being pleasure or interest. You may think of a tour as extended travel with the object being to see and experience an area. Travel, on the other hand, is usually only about moving from one place to another.

A tour broker works with people on a continuous basis. If you are going to get involved in this type of business you should like working with people – you have to be a people person.

Tour brokers are not travel agents. Travel agents arrange for the travel needs of their customers. Usually a travel agent will only work with individuals or small groups (families, for example). Travel agents also always buy something that is already in place (air travel, car rentals, hotels, etc.), they do not originate anything.

Tour brokers originate – they arrange tours, they arrange the transportation, they arrange the lodging, they arrange the meals, and they arrange other services for their clients. A tour broker plans on what kind of tour he/she wants to operate.

Next, the tour broker makes arrangements for the various components of the tour – transportation, food, lodging, attractions, etc.

There are many types of tour companies. Some offer guided tours of a local area – tours of a city or an attraction, for example. Some offer tours in a natural setting – guided tours through the Grand Canyon fall into this category. Some offer tours to various national and state parks. Some offer tours through a large area, a multi-state tour is a good example.

IF YOU LIKE TO TRAVEL – FOR FREE – THIS IS A GREAT BUSINESS TO BE IN

You may have to do inspections of the hotels and attractions that you will be making a part of your tour. If you have been taught correctly you will know how to get “comp” (short for complimentary or Free) rooms and meals. If you will go along with the tour, you should expect to get comps again. How to set it up so that you get comps is something your mentor should teach .

NOTE THAT THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE ONLY APPLIES TO THE US. OTHER COUNTRIES MAY HAVE DIFFERENT RULES

As I mentioned before, this is a people business. Liking to work with people and liking to solve problems is a prime requirement.

Like a church is a church because someone calls it a church, a tour broker is a tour broker because someone says that they are a tour broker. There is no requirement for a license. If you do operate a business there may be a need for you to get a federal tax number and your county or city may require you to get a business license. As far as needing a license to become a tour broker – there is no license required. From the mid 1930’s until the 1980s transportation was strictly controlled by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). Under the Deregulation Act of 1982, competition was allowed and the need for federal authority became a thing of the past.

Depending on where you are you may need some sort of business license. Call your local county office and ask for the office in charge of business licenses. This should be easy as all they really want is for you to file some paperwork and pay them a small fee.

If you are going to be making money (and why else get in the business?) you are going to have to get a federal tax number. This number is called a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and is used in business much as your Social Security number is used for benefits.

I have looked at various sites on the Internet purporting to be concerned with how to become a tour operator. Most do not seem to understand what a tour operator is or does. Those which got close to the concept either offers to teach or provided links to sites which may prepare someone how to be a tour guide. A tour guide is not a tour operator – at best, a tour guide works for a tour operator.

A tour operator runs his/her own business

It’s as simple as that – you own and run the business. If you plan to make a profit you follow this rule – buy low, sell high. People tend to make things too difficult. You buy at one price and sell at another price, easy, huh?

The real “trick” to making money in the tour business is to understand that concept of breaking even (BE). The break even point is where you don’t lose money and where you don’t make money. To help you understand this idea you have to understand that there are two types of costs in most businesses – fixed and variable. A fixed cost is one that will occur whether you have 10 clients or 46. Office rent is a fixed cost. You have to pay the rent whether or not you operate any tours. A variable cost is a cost that is dependent on something else. An example of a variable cost would be the cost an attraction (theme park). If you have 20 clients the total cost of the attraction is dependent (variable) on the number of clients you have.

The lack of good information on this business led me to believe that those in this business do not want competition or they don’t have time to write about how they run their business. A well thought out tour, advertised correctly, can bring in thousands in revenue. For example, suppose that you operate a seven- day bus tour. The tour sells for $985.00 (per person, double occupancy) and you have 36 people go on your tour. The gross revenue on this tour will be over $35,000.00 and you should be able to retain at least $10,000.00 of that amount.

IS THIS THE SORT OF BUSINESS FOR YOU?

It is possible to may some serious money in this business – you could also lose money. Here are some basic requirements that you should have before starting such a business.

You should like working with people

You should not panic when things go from good to bad to even worse

You should be able to organize things easily

You should have at least a working knowledge of certain computer programs – word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail

You should have a copy machine and a fax machine

You should have at least one telephone

You should have at least one fairly up-to-date computer

What sort of tours and what do I do next?

The world is your oyster

This is really the fun part – you can go anywhere! Successful brokers operate three-day tours from Denver into the nearby Rocky Mountains and seven-day tours to Branson, Missouri. Brokers on the east coast offer tours into New England and parts of Eastern Canada as well as longer tours into the American southwest.

Brokers in Seattle do a good business operating tours into the Copper Canyon of Mexico. Some brokers offer tours to musical events, art showings, and short trips to New York City for Christmas shopping.

Where to go is up to you as long as you keep it reasonable. Going to Iraq now may not be the best choice but there is a company in the UK offering and operating tours into Iraq – make sure that your clients sign many disclosures stating that you are not at fault in case of your death. Given the current state of the economy it may be wise to limit your offerings to North America but tours to Costa Rica seem to sell very well.

To find out more about this exciting business click here.

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What Do Betta Fry Eat?

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Betta fry are difficult to raise. One of the toughest things is, well what do they eat. Do not try using powders or flakes, it will just totally foul up the tank. The best thing I have used is microworms. These are tiny little wiggly worms that you can grow yourself and never run out of them. I purchased my first microworm culture from a site called aquabid. Make sure you get this culture before your betta fry are born. Like probably a week before. When the fry are swimming freely, and ready to eat then its time to feed them these microworms.

What I use is a mashed potato mixture to a consistency of like peanut butter. I just used potato flakes and water and put them in a small clear bowl with a lid with small wholes in the top. Place a tablespoon of the culture you got from aquabid in the center of the bowl on top of the mashed potatoes. After about a week, you will see them crawling up the sides of the bowl. Sounds kinda icky, but its not too bad. Then you can take a Q tip and run around the sides of the bowl pulling off the microworms. Then just empty them in the tank off of the Q tip. You will be able to see them wiggle and see the baby betta frys eat them. Do this twice a day.

Its good to have 2 to 3 cultures of microworms growing at all times. All you have to do now is repeat the instructions above and you will never run out of food for your betta fry. The culture usually last about a month or so, so always make new mashed potatoes and take a table spoon from the one you grew and start another one.

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What Does It Mean When He Says You Are Special? Here Is How to Easily Decode Your Man’s Language

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Normally men are lateral thinkers. They say what they mean. But when it comes to relationships they get all jumbled up. If your man says that you are special to him then here are some of the possible things that he could be meaning.

He is interested in you seriously

When a man tells you that you are special to him then he is trying to tell you that he is getting serious about you. Since he doesn’t want to come on too strongly he chooses his words carefully so that you both can ease into your relationship.

He wants to take things to the next level

If you have been dating for a while and your man says that he finds you special then he is implying that he wants to take things to the next level with you. He wants to approach the relationship with caution and hence is taking baby steps to let you know how he really feels.

He is letting you know that he cares deeply for you

By telling you that you are special to him your man is letting you know that he cares deeply for you. He says this to make it clear to you that you are not ‘just a friend’ to him but a whole lot more.

He could be trying to create a diversion

Sometimes a man can say that you are special to him just to create a diversion. If he is not sure of how he feels about you and yet feels the need to validate his feelings for you, then he says that you are special to him. It is his way to make you stick around till he is able to figure out what he really feels for you.

He could be shy to tell you that he is falling for you

Some men are shy and cannot find ways of telling their girl how they truly feel about them. Your man too could be falling deeply in love with you but for the lack of courage would settle for saying that you are special to him.

He has finally understood his feelings for you

Sometimes a man takes time to identify his real and true feelings for you. If your man has finally come around to understanding his real feelings for you then he will tell you that you are special to him.

He calls you special to retain his macho image

There are some men who feel that admitting how they really feel makes them less macho. Your man might tell you that you are special to him to let you know of your special place in his life and yet maintain his macho exterior.

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Face ID In iPhone X: What Do iOS App Developers Need To Know?

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Apple announced a new and expensive edition of its popular smartphone – iPhone X – in September. The company subsequently made iPhone X available in more than 55 countries and territories. In addition to featuring an edge-to-edge OLED display, iPhone X also comes with a number of out-of-box features to challenge the dominance of Android platform.

At the same time, the special iPhone model also comes with an exclusive facial recognition system – Face ID. Face ID enables users to use their face just like conventional passwords. The facial scanning system enables a user to unlock his iPhone X simply by looking towards the smartphone with his eyes open. He can even use Face ID to keep the data stored on his iPhone X secure and make mobile payments.

However, Face ID in iPhone X takes advantage of another robust hardware feature included in the smartphone – TrueDepth camera. Many analysts believe that Apple will soon make the innovative facial scanning system available to other iPhone and iPad models. Hence, the iOS developers must understand important aspects of Face ID in iPhone X to meet the emerging mobile app development trend.

Important Aspects of Face ID in iPhone X each iOS App Developer Must Know

Replaces Touch ID on iPhone X

Touch ID was an integral part of several iPhone models. The authentication system enables users to unlock their smartphones simply by placing their fingers on the sensor. A user can even use Touch ID to perform various financial transactions and mobile payment. IPhone X is designed with Face ID instead of Touch ID. Unlike Touch ID, Face ID does not require users to touch their smartphones. A user can take advantage of Face ID to unlock his device simply by glancing at the screen. At the same time, the iOS app developers can take advantage of the new facial recognition system simply by replacing the Touch ID code with Face ID code.

Does not make Passcodes Obsolete

Despite replacing Touch ID on iPhone X, Face ID is yet to replace passcodes fully. Apple recommends iPhone X users to use passcodes while restarting the device, the device has remained unlocked for more than 48 hours, and the user has attempted wrong face match five times. Also, a user has to use passcode to make his iPhone X accessible to friends and family members.

Authenticates through TrueDepth Camera

Face ID authenticates users through another new feature provided by iPhone X – TrueDepth camera system. The advanced camera system captures all features of a user’s face through depth mapping. Also, TrueDepth creates a unique facial map by capturing over 30000 invisible dots projected onto a user’s face. Each time a user unlocks his iPhone X, TrueDepth Camera reads the dot patterns through an infrared camera and captures an infrared image. It subsequently sends the infrared image to Secure Enclave in the A11 Bionic chip. Once authenticity of the infrared image is confirmed the iPhone gets unlocked.

Uses Machine Learning

A user’s appearance may differ from time to time. Face ID uses machine learning algorithms to recognize the changes in a user’s appearance. Hence, a user can unlock his iPhone X regardless of his current appearance. He can take advantage of Face ID in iPhone X to unlock and authenticate despite wearing a hat, putting on glasses, and growing a beard. TrueDepth Camera further uses a flood illuminator to identify a user’s face through invisible infrared light when there is inadequate light.

Prevents Unauthorized Device Access

Despite identifying different appearances of the same user, Face ID in iPhone X still does not allow any other persons who unlock the smartphone. While unlocking the iPhone X, a user has to keep his eyes open. If the user’s eyes are closed, the iPhone X will remain unlocked. The feature makes it difficult for unauthorized users to unlock the mobile device when the original user is sleeping or absent. However, Face ID in iPhone X lacks the capability to identify identical twins. A user has to use a passcode additionally to prevent his iPhone X inaccessible to the twin.

No Option to Register Multiple Users

Apple further enhances the security of iPhone X by allowing each user to register a single face. No user has option to register multiple faces. Hence, only one user can unlock and authenticate through the Face ID. However, a user can still make his iPhone X accessible to multiple users by sharing his passcode. Multiple users can access the same iPhone X by performing authentication through passcode instead of Face ID.

Performs Multiple Tasks

In addition to keeping the iPhone X secure, Face ID also improves user experience by performing some basic tasks. The attention-aware nature of the facial recognition system further enables users to perform basic tasks simply by looking towards the iPhone X. For instance, a user can take advantage of Face ID to check messages and notifications, reduce volume of alarm or ringtone, and keep the screen lit while reading.

Facilitates Mobile Payment

Along with enhancing security of iPhone X, Face ID will also facilitate mobile payment. It will work seamlessly with Apple Pay. Also, a user can take advantage of Face ID in iPhone X while shopping at the brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants that support Touch ID payment. Also, the apps that support Touch ID will allow users to take advantage of Face ID. The developers can make their existing iOS apps support Face ID by replacing the Touch ID code with Face ID code. However, many banks and financial institutions are yet to support Face ID fully.

Security and Privacy Issues

Apple implements several security mechanisms to keep facial scan private and secure. After scanning a user’s face, the TrueDepth Camera system stored the information directly in the A11 Bionic chip. Apple further does not transfer the information to its server or cloud. Hence, the facial scanning information remains only on the iPhone X. Apple further uses the facial recognition system as a robust security tool to keep user data inaccessible and prevent unauthorized access. A hacker in Vietnam recently claimed to break Face ID by creating a complex face mask. But several security experts believe that Apple has to make several changes to Face ID in iPhone X to make it an effective security measure.

On the whole, Face ID in iPhone X transforms iOS app development by replacing Touch ID. But the iOS app developers must remember that the facial recognition system is currently used only by a single model of iPhone. Apple will make Face ID available on upcoming versions of iPhone and iPad gradually. Hence, the developers must explore ways to make their existing iOS apps support Face ID. Also, they must adopt the emerging trends in iOS app development to make their mobile app relevant and popular over a longer period of time.

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