Travel … I love almost everything about it. Planning, packing, sightseeing, meeting new people, trying new foods, etc. Whether you just leave Delaware or travel halfway around the world, I want to hear about your travels, insights, experiences and tips. Many times, I’m caught almost interrogating people about their adventures. My natural curiosity and my passion for travel kicks in and off we go.
As a travel agent, I’m called upon to offer advice and book travel to many places that I haven’t yet been. I always feel like I am playing catch-up to visit the areas that I’m sending clients. I’m well aware that there are many “better traveled” folks than I will ever be. I have to trust my network of travel agent friends and hours of training to guide me in getting the best value and accommodations for my customers.
I’m also aware that no two people have the same experience on the same adventure. Recently, I took a cruise to try out a cruise ship that I needed to “touch and feel.” I was accompanied by about 40 other travel agents. We attended classes during the sea days and usually ate dinner together but were free to explore the ship and take island excursions at the ports on our own.
When I returned home, I couldn’t believe some of the other agent’s comments posted on Facebook. I think that they must have been on a different ship. Different expectations, different experiences on other ships, and different level of service all played into their disappointment and dissatisfaction.
When I thought about this incident, in particular, it then dawned on me that was my biggest value as a travel agent. It wasn’t important that I had traveled or not to Barcelona but that I asked enough questions as to how you like to travel and matched you to the correct product. My job is to find a travel product that best matches your travel profile.
Do you usually stay at five-star hotel or are you the bed and breakfast-type person? Do you want to see all of Europe in 14 days or do you want to immerse yourself in-depth in Florence for the summer? Do you like history and art or do you travel on your stomach tasting the best wine and food? Do you want to be on a cruise ship with 4,000 of your family and new friends for spring break, or do you want to be on an intimate luxury river cruise with 110 fellow guests?
If I or any travel agent does their job correctly, you will return from your adventure/vacation with great memories of unforgettable times well spent with your family and friends. And I will be waiting to interrogate you.
Marci DeWitt owns a local travel agency, Anchor and Away Travel, a Dream Vacations franchise. She can be reached by email at mdewitt@DreamVacations.com.