Travel Managers are constantly asked how they can be in business since everyone books their holidays online these days. I can’t speak for every travel manager out there, however I can say that I stay extremely busy! So, who are these crazy people that would utilise a travel manager to help plan their holidays? Here are just a few examples of the type of clients I work with:
The Time Poor– These clients understand that their time is valuable and are thrilled to have an expert in the travel industry put together their holiday. Working with a travel manager means that they can usually schedule appointments that are convenient to all parties and the discussions are productive, informative and efficient!
The Time Poor individual values what a travel manager does for them. They understand that in order to plan a holiday there is a lot of research involved to make sure they know when the best time to travel to that destination (ie: are you travelling during the wet season), unique experiences, best accommodation for the client needs and so much more. They also know that whilst sometimes the flights may not be the cheapest available, they are by far the best options in regards to routing, total time travelled and airline.
The Researchers– These clients love to plan their own holiday but want to know that someone is there for them along the way, especially throughout the actual trip. They will spend the countless hours surfing the net to find exactly what they want. Going through all the reviews, recommendations and the thousands of travel websites is a thrill to them and they will provide an agent with a list of what they want, the prices they’ve found and what their expectations are. All they really want is the travel manager to book everything and be the point person in case anything goes wrong along the way. They truly understand the benefits of having a travel manager that is only a phone call away if needed.
While the Researchers may be a bit budget consensus, they aren’t cheap. Usually these clients are more than understanding if a hotel is no longer available and a different option is substituted or will take recommendations from their travel manager on alternative ideas. In fact, even though they do all the research they realise they aren’t experts and value the insight a travel manager can provide them.
The Families– A lot of families do book online, however the families I work with are usually the ones who really want to make sure the holiday will be enjoyable for all involved. Ideally there is something that will entertain the kids for large portions of the day (kids club, free beach activities, etc) as well as services that entice the adults (spa, evening babysitting or swim up bar). The clients who fall in this category understand how difficult it can be to find locations that tick off boxes for everyone as well as allows the room configuration needed.
Did you know that many Southeast Asia countries have very strict requirements for how many people are allowed in their hotel rooms? This makes it extremely difficult to find rooms that fit families of more than 3. You can spend hours looking for locations that you like only to find out they won’t allow that many people in a room and they also can’t guarantee interconnecting.
My family clients know we are the experts and we have contacts at hotels and resorts all over the world so we know which ones would work and which won’t. Travel managers get amazing rates at some all inclusive properties that appeal to kids of all ages. We also know that several holidays can be packaged with flights, transfers and activities and end up saving the clients hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run. Our clients value the service travel managers provide that make the holiday as seamless as possible.
The Retiree– While they may have more time than others to sit on a computer and research their next adventure, they are some of our most dedicated and favourite clients! Main reason I love this group of travellers is because they are often well travelled and usually plan holidays to more unique places because they have already done the traditional locations. Retirees challenge travel agents with their own knowledge and experience as well as their skills on the internet. They help us learn more about the world, find providers in remote places and overall itineraries that would impress any professional globetrotter.
Together the travel manager and client work on creating the perfect combination of travel- from river cruises to self drive to train rides through the mountains. Often our retirees are proud to support a local business then a faceless website, although they will get research off the internet they want to deal with a local person.
The Young Professionals– When you think of 20 somethings travelling you may think of hostels, hitchhiking and Bali getaways. Our Young Professional demographic is a bit more sophisticated with their travel plans. While they aren’t opposed to a night here and there in a hostel, they would prefer their own space at night. They enjoy group tours such as Contiki or Trek America but often extend their holiday on either end and do a bit of self-exploring to enhance their experience. They don’t want to ‘wing it’ when it comes to transportation or accommodation, but they don’t mind booking in activities once they are there.
This group is split in half with those that research a ton of the trip ahead of time where the other half don’t get online at all. Either way, they are often working with a travel manager because they want reassurance that they are picking the right location, tour, etc. I think the Young Professionals realise how helpful a personal travel manager can be when they advise them of required VISAs, passport expiration requirements and mandatory shots (although really every group appreciates this service).
Regardless of what category you may fall in, and yes, there are several others, it shows that travel managers are still being used and greatly appreciated. An expert in the industry wants to work with their clients to ensure every aspect is covered and they are experiencing everything they envision for the perfect adventure. Why not give a personal travel manager an opportunity to see if they can impress you next time you start planning your holiday?