I know there’s usually a Movie of the Week post on Saturdays but there wasn’t a Movie of the Week (which would have been brought to you by a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables), but I have something else to talk about. Here it is, your periodic reminder of something that I do the “other half” of my days. By other half I don’t mean half of the days of the week I do the podcast/media stuff and the other half I do this. I mean every day I do the podcast/media stuff and the this all through the day. Each is “half” of my day and that also includes evenings. I’ve talked a good bit about the media stuff so I’ll focus on the other in this post. So, I know I’ve talked about it before and Thursdays are supposed to be Travel Thursday but I’ve kind of gotten away from that. So let’s talk travel, shall we? First, I’m a travel professional, a travel agent, an itinerary advocate. I have my own agency, called Bee On Your Way Travel. It’s part of a larger national agency so I have access to a lot of travel products.
Do you bypass a real person to go to an OTA (online travel agent) like Travelocity, Expedia or Priceline? I hope not but if you do, there are two ways I can look at this. First, why not use a real travel agent? Email them, call them, IM them, send them smoke signals. It doesn’t matter what you do, contact them. They (we) want that business. There are three excuses I get from people (including my very own family, which kills me), the most, as to why they don’t use me: 1) “I didn’t want to bother you,” 2) “I just wanted to look it up and it was there, so I bought it,” 3) “I didn’t know you did that!?”
Okay. Looking at #1, that’s offensive. I know you’re not necessarily telling the truth; albeit perhaps not on purpose. You don’t ever not contact me at 9:30pm for just chatting or wanting to talk about someone else or get me to do something for you. I think it’s really one of two things. It’s either that you don’t like the thought of your friends (or family) making money off of you or you think you’re going to save money by using one of those OTAs instead of me. Look, I get it, it’s money and it’s hard to come by and we want to save what we can. The fact of the matter is, in most cases, you’re not going to spend much (if any) more using me than an OTA. I have access to stuff that an OTA isn’t going to present you. I also offer you a human aspect that you certainly aren’t going to get from an OTA. And, you’re putting food on my family’s table. OTAs are putting money in the big-wig’s pockets and not individual families (beyond that). You want your friends to succeed, right? You don’t like seeing them down. This is my job. This is what I do. I need to feed my family. Help your friends when you can.
#2. You spend a lot of time and effort working to earn your money. You work 40+ hours a week. Why in the world would you go home and work 10+ more hours on your vacation? That seems counter-productive, doesn’t it? You have insurance agents to handle your insurance, you have finance agents to handle your investments. Why not let your travel agent manage your free time and leisure money? I get the need to research what you want, but even the online world is going to mislead you at times. What is TripAdvisor going to give you that a travel agent’s expertise won’t? Honesty. I’m a senior writer at TripAdvisor so I’m for it, but there some people that only want to find negative things to make them look like they know what they’re talking about. Or, they just want a check on their count so give 5s and it means nothing. Even if we’re not experienced in a certain spot, our vendors are. They succeed from you being happy so they’re not going to steer you wrong. We succeed from you being happy and we’re not going to steer you wrong. If you have questions, ask me. If I don’t have the answer, then I will find that answer. Our answers are for your benefit, not just for us to see our name on a website. Use us! And, chances are, if you find it, we can get it for you at a great price, don’t impulse buy travel products. It usually isn’t worth it in the long run.
#3. (facepalm) I know that I don’t update my Facebook “travel professional” page every week, but I have 2200+ friends on Facebook and I’m talking about travel all the time and I talk about it on here, as well. I know I have readers because you talk to me. What more can I do? I’m open to suggestions. I DO “TRAVEL!” See!? I shout it at the top of my textual lungs! Now, you know!
So I said earlier, Dear Reader, that there is two ways to look at this, right? Well the other way is that if you’re just in need to go to an OTA really quick and buy a flight and hotel for this weekend and it’s 2am (I’ll admit I won’t usually answer you at 2am), there’s still a way to do that and still support your buddy (that’s me). I have my very own website that is just as feasible, works the same way and is comparable in prices with any of the big OTAs. Hotels, flights, cruises, rental cars, packages, even insurance. They’re all available to you right there. The one difference, I’ll tell you up front, is that you have to register to get any pricings. There’s no commitment in doing so and it’s absolutely free. The idea is that I can offer you everything you need in travel at a competitive price that you don’t need to “shop;” you’ll find it here. To be clear, I’d much rather talk to you and work on things for you as I still can get access to things that even my website can’t. It’s more personalized service and, in most cases, I don’t require any deposit to work with you. Also, I only get paid after your trip is done. So, that’s never a concern. Travel, have fun. That’s what I care about. The website can be found here.
All that out of the way, let’s talk one more thing. The human vs. OTA aspect part deux. If you book with OTAs or http://www.IBuyCheapTravel.com (that’s made up, I think) or whatever, then you may get the bottom dollar cost on “budget” travel. That means you’re showing the places you’re going that you don’t care about their location, only what you can get from them cheap. Usually, that ends up being exactly what kind of vacation you get: cheap. Even when there are things and amenities included with these you’re getting as little as they can give up for that price. Plus, they see that you didn’t necessarily pick them for their product. Human interaction allows me to take in information, make suggestions and give advice so that we make sure we get the most bang for your buck. Never in anything else in life does it mean so much to say, “you get what you pay for!” than in travel. You pay for a Motel 6 (not that there’s anything wrong with that) then you are going to get a Motel 6. Perhaps not in the resort, etc., but in the overall experience. And if something goes wrong? Call an OTA and see what happens. Call me and I will work to get you satisfaction. I can’t promise magic but I will do what I can to make you as happy as possible. You can find ALL my contact info on the website.
I know Edinburgh, London, Bruges, Brussels and Costa Rica, to some extent because of my experience and traveling there. I really know Paris and Walt Disney World because I study them and have spent adequate time there. It’s more than where to stay. It’s how to get around, what to expect in the ambiance, the currency, the weather, everything. You read on TripAdvisor, “it was awful, it rained the whole time.” C’mon. They can do better than that. Let me get you the best info for your trip. Trust me with your trip. I have been doing a good amount of cruises as of late. It’s very popular as of late. Let’s get yours. All inclusive in Caribbean? Let’s get yours. Riverboat cruising through Germany? Let’s get yours. Let’s do this.
The bottom line here? I want to help you. I want to feed my family. I want you happy. I simply offer you better and more practical service than websites, other than my own; I still service those customers. My tagline has always been that I help turn your dreams into memories. Let’s make that happen. Come to me before you do an OTA. You won’t be sorry. Let’s get yours. I hope this sheds a little light on what I do and how I can help you. I could write another thousand words plus on this and I’m sure I will in the next bit, but at fifteen hundred words, this is probably too heavy, already. I’ll end it here, then.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I look my best when I’m totally free, on holiday, walking on the beach.” – Rosamund Pike