Everyone with a camera thinks they are a photographer and everyone with a blog thinks they are a journalist. Likewise, everyone with a computer thinks they are their own travel agent. The difference in each instance is years of training, experience and intuition.
For many people, the decision to spend their valuable leisure time and money traveling is one of the most costly investments made each year. The demand is there and the need for expert guidance to vet thousands of options grows daily. There are features on the news quite often showing people who are hired by hotels to write “fake” reviews on Trip Advisor. So how do you know what to believe? Those in-the-know have found travel advisors that they value as much as, if not more than, their financial advisor and many do want to keep us a secret. And God forbid anything goes wrong on your trip! Do you really think Expedia is going to answer the phone and help you out?
I can provide services and knowledge that you won’t get online through any big booking sites, I will ensure that your vacation is utra-customized to exactly what you need, and will be here to help you from questions before you leave to beyond when you get back home again. If I don’t know the answer, I know someone who does!
My job is not to just “sell travel”, but rather to work with my clients to ensure that you will get the experience you are looking for through a custom-crafted vacation that meets all your expectations. When you’re planning that perfect vacation, whether it’s a cruise, international trip, or a beach getaway and want to make sure that you have a perfect, relaxing time – call me and let me help you. When I first meet with a prospective new client, I am used to all of the usual questions; Why should I use a travel agent?, How do you get paid?, What can you do for me that I can’t do for myself online?, etc. I have my responses well- prepared. Here’s the thing...if you want to book round trip air from Charlotte to Buffalo and stay in the Holiday Inn Express on the corner of 1st Avenue and Main Street, you probably don’t need me! I am an expert in custom-crafting vacations that are going to provide you with the EXPERIENCE you are longing for. I don’t just “sell travel”. Sometimes, that amounts to some well-researched advice on which Caribbean resort or which Hawaiian island is the right fit for your dreams. They are all so very different! If you have always dreamed of seeing lava flowing from an active volcano, I’m going to recommend the Big Island of Hawaii, not Maui! If your anniversary getaway brings visions of a child-free pool cabana with a cold tropical drink, I’m going to steer you towards an Adult-Only property with awesome service! Sometimes it involves literally hours and hours of detailed planning, research and jigsaw-puzzle precision to put together a 3-week custom European journey through 3 or 4 different countries for a family who want to immerse themselves into each culture with art or culinary classes. I am happy to go to any lengths necessary to craft that perfect EXPERIENCE for my clients...it’s what I do! And I am very good at it!
I am not going to waste your vacation dollars, in fact, I love to save my clients money! This week I helped save one of my clients an extra $4,000 on a cruise – that’s huge! If my clients aren’t happy, they won’t come back to book with me again, and then no one wins. However, if you send me an email that says “I found a deal online for a week in Jamaica at the XYZ resort for $599...Can you beat it?”, I’m going to let out a big sigh and pour another glass of wine. First of all, how do you even know that the XYZ resort is a good fit for you? Secondly, I have no idea what that “deal” includes – and neither do you. Just this week, a returning client sent me something similar, only he said that the online price included round trip air....I thought it looked “too good to be true” and it was....the price was only for the resort...no air included. Last week, a Hawaii client sent me several screen shots of quotes from a website for Maui condos that she thought looked cheaper than what I was recommending. The price they were looking at was “per adult” (in the fine print) and did not include tax. Saving money is great, and I’m all for staying within budget and getting a good value for my own travel dollars, but don’t reduce your vacation to being treated like a commodity. When an item is a “commodity”, there are no differences between the same item sourced from different places – except price. I really do have your best interests in mind...trust me to do what I do best and find you the perfect fit and the greatest value for your precious vacation time and budget.
Finally, keep this in mind...when you hit the “Buy now” button on Travelocity or Orbitz or BookIt.com and purchase that vacation, you receive confirmation numbers and the corporation gets a cut of the cost back into their high-tech wallets. When you give me, or any other hard working travel professional, the “go ahead” to book that same vacation (often at the exact same price, or better), you receive your travel documents, destination information, restaurant recommendations and sightseeing suggestions, along with the promise that we have your back until you return from the trip...and even beyond! If anything goes wrong on the trip, we are that extra security blanket who advocates for YOU and your well-being. Try getting Mr. Orbitz to pick up the phone at 6:00am to argue with a French hotel desk clerk about the noise level, or lack of air conditioning, in your room! Haven’t I done more to justify my commission than an online booking engine? That, my friends, is “VALUE” for your travel dollar...and it’s what I am all about.
If you’ve never used a travel agent before, it may seem like an odd idea, but let’s talk before you DIY your next vacation and let me help you! Click here to contact me today!