First you will note that I called myself a “travel advisor” and not a travel agent. As we look through this week’s blog will answer that, and give you some more information, too. And, because we focus on cruise travel (Caribbean, ocean, and river cruising) that’s what we will concentrate on here, too.
We have often been asked why someone interested in going on a cruise or other vacation would need to contact a travel agent. Actually, with all of the options available to travelers today. There are on line mass marketers where you can choose from hundreds of cruises and other vacation options. And then there are the individual business’s web sites. These sites offer the basic information that a traveler needs to know about an itinerary, date, and price. But, what do you know about whether this is the vacation that best fits you and your family and your vacation desires?
There is no way that a web site can understand all of the features of a ship and what it can offer you and your family. What activities do that have for your children, is there a solarium or quiet place for relaxing in a hot tub or pool – only for adults, what dining arrangements does the ship offer – anytime, set time, or My Time – and what are the staterooms like and why might you want to choose a different category, are the excursions, food, wine, beer, and other amenities included or extra? A web site can’t do that, but I can!
Earlier this year I got a call from the sister of a former colleague called me and said she was planning a trip to Europe. She had been working on it for weeks and just couldn’t figure out what hotels to stay in, how to arrange for flights and a car, and what was required of her for this travel. And, while this is certainly not our specialty, we were able to arrange for her hotels, flights, rental car, and travel advice for her entire trip of three weeks in the UK.
Just last week I received a call referred to me from a networking member. This wheelchair handicapped lady was travelling to three different cities in three different countries. She had made her flight reservations, but needed advice on hotels and travel arrangements on the rail system in Europe. I was able to make her aware of some of the limitations for handicap accessibility in Europe, especially in the three cities she is visiting.
And, speaking of handicap travel, one of the advantages of using a trusted travel advisor that has received special training in helping those who need special assistance and equipment while on a cruise is that they can make that happen for you. Cruise lines don’t provide electric carts, walkers, oxygen and other specialize equipment for their passengers. But they do prefer that that type of equipment comes from a supplier that knows exactly what the cruise line will allow and accept for their handicap passengers.
There are a lot of reasons to use a trusted travel advisor, but let me specify several for you here, courtesy of the consortia to which we belong, Vacation.com, the largest travel consortia that works to get you the best trips, prices, and amenities.
As I noted earlier, one of the best part of using a trusted travel advisor is that we talk with you so that we can know what you want on your cruise or other trip. Because we talk with you we understand where you want to go, how to get you there and the experiences you want to have, and I specifically ask those questions if you haven’t already told me. We can’t make a good recommendation for you until we know whether you are looking for a sunny beach escape or an old-world European adventure. And, because we deal with so many different types of cruise lines, ships, itineraries, and all inclusive resorts we recognize that no two travelers and no two trips are exactly alike. One of the things you will appreciate it that we take the time to understand your unique travel needs, interests and desires and translate them into your own personalized travel experience. We want to show you how you can “travel better” with us.
Another advantage is that we will use our experience and travel industry relationships to offer you exclusive vacation packages, amenities and travel specials that you won’t find anywhere, except through us, to help you get the most value for your travel budget. In a few days I will blog about our new Distinctive Vacations – incredible cruises with incredible amenities added at no extra charge!
And, while I have alluded to this in previous comments, the average traveler doesn’t understand that travel is complex. There are hundreds of details that go into every trip. We can guide you throughout the entire travel process, from what to pack before you leave to the best transfer to get you home safely and on time. I’ve often said that there is a huge learning curve in the travel business. Even though we have traveled and sailed a lot that is only a part of it. We use our education and experience to provide you with insider tips and advice on everything from tours and timing, to how to find a secret snorkeling cove or out-of-the way cafe. We’ll even make your restaurant reservations, so all you have to do is relax and enjoy your getaway.
We don’t just want you to book your vacation on an incredible cruise to the Eastern Caribbean or a European River Cruise or Hawaii with us – your interests are our priority. Unlike any resort or airline, we can tell you the best route or price from competing travel companies, and all of the best options for YOU. We are here for you to make sure your valuable vacation time is not wasted on logistics!
Travel is our passion and our work. It’s what we do every day. We have been to many of the destinations, resorts, off-the beaten path excursions and planned trips to the destinations you want to experience. Our first-hand travel experience, education, and ongoing training make us travel experts who can make sure your trip turns out just the way you imagine, every time.
We are proud that we are certified specialists and have completed extensive training on destinations, and cruise lines, hotels, resorts, tour operators and more. Over the years, and throughout our training, we have personally traveled to and around the destinations, sailed or inspected the ships and stayed in the hotels and resorts. We also have specialists in niche travels areas, such as destination weddings and honeymoons, group vacations, special needs for the handicapped — and even business travel.
After reading through this it almost sounds like we’re bragging… and we are. Because we offer all of the things that an on line site doesn’t, and yet you get the great prices, too. We look forward to knowing that the next time you need to plan your vacation travel you’ll call us, your trusted travel advisor. Or at least call a travel agent.