When it comes to your vacation, fire yourself!
What? That sounds ridiculous! Think about all the skills you have at your disposal, you spend so much time with finances, project management, vendor management and many other business skills to run the day to day tasks in your job or in your home. There is an equal “job” in setting up your vacation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s take a few moments to see what this means in the following examples.
You spend several hours determining what you want to do and where you want to do it and when it will happen. This is the storming and forming part of any project. This is the research and development (R&D) of any project. This is vital. You have to get buy in from all the principals and stakeholders (spelled f-a-m-i-l-y). Without this, calendars can’t get synchronized, feasibility doesn’t go anywhere and frustration and disappointment may set in. Let’s look at this another way, you become the evangelist and cheerleader for the project and tout the virtues and benefits (after all, someone needs to, right?).
Now that this has passed committee, the real “joy” begins. Countless hours surfing the web, comparing, re-comparing, and trying dozens, if not hundreds, websites trying to get the best deal. The search drudgery takes some of the joy out of the project, but there is a better way before the entire process becomes a chore.
Outsourcing here is really the rescue. In steps your travel professional to help you. Most people don’t even understand that it is at no cost to them. This concierge service can provide amenities and upgrade levels due to the access they may have that the general public simply doesn’t see. The whole travel industry is very complex and there are so many components that the general public can simply be overwhelmed or know about that they could be missing out on.
Let’s break this down.
Project Management ~ Let your travel advisor manage your project end-to-end. This isn’t to say you don’t have say-so in the process. A great travel advisor will listen and give you what you want, not what they have to sell. You still are the client, you get to choose that you want to go to London or Paris and stay at the appropriate level of hotel you are comfortable paying for. I will say this, on a trip to Europe a couple of years ago, my travel advisor (before we got into the industry ourselves) suggested 2 hotels I never would have dreamed of or knew anything about. These turned out to be the two best hotels we had ever stayed in! Let them do their job, give input and the choice is ultimately yours, but don’t micromanage, they will give you options and budget lines.
When I say end-to-end project management, there is also end-to-end ownership, too. If you have a single point of contact for your vacation that happens to have a large group going (people like to travel with friends and family, we do, too), then have everyone in that group book through that one travel advisor. Nothing is more frustrating than 90 people booking through a single travel advisor and 10 “doing their own thing.” If there is a problem for the 10, the travel advisor will not be able to make changes to their reservations, help with special upgrades or be able to react as quickly should something come up. Funnel everyone through a single point of contact, it will save you a lot of time and potential headache.
Vendor Management ~ Your travel advisor may be aware of “excursions” or side trips that may enhance your vacation experience. Many have been to the very places you want to go and will know which excursion vendors are better than others. Case in point, one limo company may subcontract, while another one may have a better in-house standard when you are travelling. Vendors run specials all the time and cruise lines, hotels, airlines and car rentals run bundles all the time which could mean a better, smoother experience for you and far less hassle (you do like less hassle, right?).
Finance Feasibility ~ By now you should be starting to get the idea that this concierge service will make your life easier. But I know you are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Here is the good news. In almost all cases, there is no additional cost to you, the cruise lines, the all-inclusive resorts and land-based excursion vendors and other components of your vacation will pay a commission to the travel advisor WHILE still offering lower rates in almost all cases. You have a budget, and you would have discussed in the first or second conversation with your travel advisor, this may be flexible, this may not. Again, your hand is on the throttle of approval. Your travel advisor will work within that budget or suggest alternatives (there are so many choices, there are options to satisfy all price points, and maybe moving a date or time slightly will lead to savings if it is peak vs. non-peak time).
Be the CEO of your vacation and outsource the process ~ What’s YOUR time worth? Just keep in mind the travel advisor is there to help you. A professional, well-versed travel professional will save you so much time, have product knowledge and keep you out of the potholes on your journey. Your vacation should create memorable moments, not a string of frustrations, your travel advisor will help you exceed your expectations and orchestrate a wonderful experience and bring delight and a journey that you will talk about to your friends and family for years to come. Your vacation is ready to be outsourced now, make the first steps we talked about early today, then just push the “easy button” by calling your travel advisor today.