As your Personal Travel Manager, relationships are important to me. My relationship with you will always come first, so that you have 100% confidence in the holidays that you book with me. However, maintaining relationships with sales representatives across the breadth of the travel industry ensures that I have that same confidence in the what I book for you.
Traditional “bricks & mortar” travel agencies get visits from these reps throughout the working week. They pop in seasonally with updates on the airlines, cruiselines, wholesalers, tour companies & insurers that they represent. These drop-in visits are sometimes difficult to do effectively, as consultants are answering phone calls & greeting clients who walk in at the same time.
I remember one particular visit from a cruise rep about ten years ago, when I worked in a traditional travel agency. The lovely Maggie was there to discuss the stable of boutique cruise lines that she represented. She’d quickly run through updates for her more well-known brands, and was about to leave, when she pulled out a single brochure that piqued my interest.
“Before I go, you’ll most likely never have any enquiries for this one, but I knew you’d like a copy to marvel at”, she laughed as she placed it on my desk & left the office.
The brochure before me was for a one of a kind ship, the Hebridean Princess. Never heard of this unique ship? Neither had I until that moment.
I have Scottish heritage on my mother’s side, with my grandfather’s parents hailing from Stornaway (Lewis & Harris) in the Outer Hebrides, so finding a cruise ship that specialised in exploring these remote islands was a revelation. While other cruise ships visit the Hebrides once or twice a season, the Hebridean Princess spends nine months of every year cruising both the Inner & Outer Hebrides.
This luxurious, all-inclusive ship accommodates a lucky 50 travellers, so this exclusive experience is priced accordingly. I knew immediately that this is not a cruise for everybody. I also knew that I probably would never be lucky enough to get any clients onboard in the office I was working in at the time, so took the brochure home & dropped it at my parents’ place a few weeks later. I knew that Mum would love to see the beautiful Hebridean photography, which she did.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when 6 months later, when Mum announced that she & Dad would like to celebrate their 40th anniversary onboard! Most of these photos were taken on their cruise in the summer of 2012. My parents still talk about their once in a lifetime experience onboard the Hebridean Princess, rubbing shoulders with Lords & Ladies (!). Their high praise of the experience has even encouraged a few of their friends try the experience for themselves over the last few years. I am pretty sure that I heard Mum just the other day saying that if they lived on that side of the world, then she’d happily take a new Hebridean Princess cruise every year.
Quaint Scottish towns, breathtaking scenery and close encounters with unique wildlife are just some of the highlights of cruising on this luxurious small ship. What a special way to celebrate a major milestone for my parents – all possible thanks to once visit from a cruise rep & the fact that she knew I would love the product. Little did she know that I would also find the right “clients” to experience this fantastic ship!
If you would like to find out more about getting onboard the Hebridean Princess yourself, ask me about the 2019 Earlybird Sale. With only 20 twin/double cabins & 10 single cabins to choose from, the more popular departures will sell out very quickly!
TravelManagers are lucky to have scheduled meetings with a range of suppliers throughout the year. My calendar is filled with “coffee catch-ups” with representatives from every aspect of the industry, with the occasional full day training arranged for specific segments of the market (e.g. an airline day or a river cruise masterclass).
I make the time to get to as many of these sessions as possible, as I learn something new at every catch-up that helps me to help you. Maintaining regular contact with the reps also means that I know who to contact if I need something special for you!
Keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates on the suppliers who I catch up with over the next few months, and for more unique cruise ships & destinations that you will want to add to your bucket list today! ? Christie