Having lunch with my sis and bro-in-law yesterday during a brief visit to Houston, my sister mentioned a friend of hers and the friend's Dad who had been a Harlem Globetrotter back in his athletic heyday. This was a fact of which I was unaware, so I was quite surprised. In my head, one thought led to another, morphing into completely unrelated issues: the Globetrotters (hey, I like that name!), basketball, a visual of a team playing basketball, my nephew who played basketball, my brother-in-law who coached his sons' various teams when they were younger, all the teams they played on in about five different sports, sports that are solo-participant but you still are part of a team: even chess players and shot putters are on a team...
It made me think about how important it is having a team who has your back. I feel the same being in the travel industry. When I custom-craft your European vacation experience, or put together an amazing (and seamless) journey through the Hawaiian islands, the experience you receive is a direct reflection of a team of people:
1. My supplier team -
When you receive your final itinerary from me, there are usually several hotels, transfers from airports, train stations & piers, sightseeing tours, cruise bookings, airline reservations, private guides, and goodness knows what else. All of these components are sourced based on my relationships and experience with the tour operators and other suppliers with whom I have established a level of trust and expectation: anywhere from a major international hotel chain like Marriott, to a 10-room inn on an Umbrian hilltop, to the mom & pop driver/guides I use in the Amalfi Coast who meet my clients with a chilled bottle of Prosecco in the car and know all the little hideaway spots that can make the difference between an "okay" trip and a stellar one. Travel providers take better care of my clients because they don't want to let me down...and I continue to support them because of it. Try getting that when you book online.
2. My network of other travel professionals -
I spend lots of time and money every year in professional continuing education and peer networking. My host agency, the Gifted Travel Network, is made up of like-minded niche or specialty travel professionals who are some of the most brilliant (and fun!) folks I know. If a client comes to me with a request for a custom itinerary exploring the Great Wall of China, an African safari or a bed & breakfast tour of New Zealand, I may not know the immediate answers immediately, but I sure as heck know to find them. And we don't hesitate to refer clients among each other. If during a discovery call with a new client I find that they are a better fit for another agent than they are for me, I refer them to that agent who will create for them an unforgettable trip. We have each other's backs and the clients are the ones who reap the benefits.
3. My team of past, present and prospective clients -
I really learn as much from YOU as I hope you do from me! Almost every client has returned to me a tidbit of helpful information I can use in the future. Priceless! Every traveler has different hopes, needs and dreams for their perfect vacation and it is my job to make sure they are all met. So, if I ask you too many random questions during the planning process, or I follow up with you before you have time to get over your jet lag - my apologies. Just understand that what I learn from your honest feedback helps me to better serve more people in the future.
So that's the team...and I haven't even mentioned the bookkeeping, accounting, marketing, insurance and other professionals who assist my business and help make GEA a successful agency. I hope you are reassured knowing how many folks have your back when you allow me to plan your next adventure. Where will these plans take you?
'til next week.
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Contact Juliet: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES