Travel Advisor Tools
I hear from people all the time that they think I just sell Virtuoso properties. I talk about non Virtuoso properties often, but I don’t think people realize that they are not a Virtuoso property. For example, most all inclusive resorts are not luxury or Virtuoso (remember my warning from a few weeks ago – just because a hotel says it is 5 stars, that does not mean it actually is!). Virtuoso is just one of the many tools I have at my disposal. At the core of all of these tools is relationships. Bottom line is that relationships are the biggest reason to use a travel advisor. Those relationships come in many forms so I thought I would share some details today that help explain the tools that I have at my disposal!
- My host agency, Gifted Travel Network (GTN): They help facilitate the relationships that I have with everyone. While I have my own brand with my own LLC, I have their support which makes me more visible with the myriad of travel suppliers around the world!
- Virtuoso: Because GTN is a member of Virtuoso, I benefit from that affiliation. Suppliers that are associated with Virtuoso are thoroughly vetted and most offer exclusive perks and amenities to guests that book through a Virtuoso affiliated advisor.
- GTN Preferred Partners: GTN promotes relationships with plenty of suppliers that are not part of Virtuoso. These companies are vetted by GTN, and I know that if my clients experience an issue with them that I can not resolve, GTN has my back.
- Supplier Reps: I have reps that I can reach out to at all large travel suppliers – whether that is a hotel, a cruise line, or a tour company. I also have a large selection of contacts at smaller, more boutique suppliers.
- Preferred Hotel Programs: GTN is a member of most hotel preferred agency programs. Many of these hotels are not in Virtuoso. For example, we are part of Marriott’s preferred program, and because of that, your chances of an upgrade on arrival is even higher than if you are a high level Bonvoy member.
- Destination Management Companies: DMCs are really how we create the most magic for our client’s trips. They provide in destination support that I just cannot provide living half the globe away from where my clients are visiting. Using DMCs means the price of the trip is a little higher, but clients are receiving a seamless experience with the best of the best guides and high levels of service. An added bonus is that they have people on the ground in destination if anything goes wrong and often guide clients through any emergencies – such as medical issues or losing a passport.
- Rep Companies: Here is a recap of what I told you last week about rep companies … They bring awareness to smaller hotels and tour companies around the globe. These smaller properties do not have the marketing budget for a global audience so these rep companies get their products in front of the right audience.
As you can see, I am not piecing together the trips I create. I am working with vetted travel partners all over the world. That is why I do not book every tour you find online. It is also why I can not assist with every request that comes my way. I want to make sure that I can add value before assisting clients with a trip.
Rep Company Properties
There are too many hotels in this world for me to know them all! That is why I love learning more about properties that are not part of larger chains through rep companies. Many of these properties fit into more of the premium, four star category and many are more boutique. However, my relationship with the rep company enables my clients to get some Virtuoso level amenities for my clients at these non-Virtuoso properties.
I learned about several new properties from the rep company I met with last week so I thought I would share a couple of them below to serve as some travel inspiration!
Hammock Cove in Antigua is actually a Virtuoso property. However, I can not know every Virtuoso property that exists, even though I did already know about this stunning property! However, meeting with the rep company allowed me to have a deeper conversation about the property and who would be an idea match for it. I also learned about several more properties that the company represents in Antigua so that I can be a proper matchmaker for any client request for Antigua!
Los Establos Boutique Resort
This is precisely the type of property that benefits from their relationship with a rep company. This property would not even be on my radar, but now I am trying to figure out when I can get there!!! Los Establos in Boquete Panama is an all inclusive resort for adventure seekers. Guests will discover where rich soils, climate, and altitude come together to create the best coffee, or satisfy your need for adventure as you explore breathtaking waterfalls, natural landscapes, and the sheer volcanic cliffs of Volcán Barú. Boquete Panama is the true definition of ‘off the beaten path’ while being only an hour away from beautiful Caribbean beaches (and yes, they do offer a day excursion!)
Le Cinq Codet
Last week, I learned that this rep company had several boutique properties throughout France. Since I have sold more France than anything else this year, I thought this was serendipitous! Then on Thursday, I received a request for a Paris property in the 7th Arrisdonment. Sure enough, I found Le Cinq Codet was repped by this rep company. I was able to offer my clients a boutique hotel in their preferred area of Paris with extra amenities that can only be offered through this new relationship I am developing. Even better, this hotel offers terraces with views!
I hope this blog gives you some insight on the advantages of using a travel advisor. We are ready to help you with your next trip where we can add value.