I just returned from my whirlwind trip to France and Italy! Whew!! This trip gave me the opportunity to make some connections that will really enhance my clients’ travels – YAY! Unfortunately, there were also some major time sucks involved – BOO! I met with dozens of suppliers in Italy and in France—everyone from wine producers and private chefs to hotel owners, tour guides, and drivers. I also had some much-needed face time + brainstorming sessions with my friend and colleague, Sandra, the mastermind behind many of my group experiences.
The best thing about meeting suppliers in person is that the vetting process is so much stronger. I was shocked at how many of these suppliers wanted to squeeze *what I do* into a tidy little box. I figured out in a hurry that the first words out of my mouth needed to be “tailor made,” “custom,” and “on request” so that I could push away the people only offering “pre-packaged,” “one-size-fits-all,” and “these three cities only.” The good news is that many of these suppliers were on board and relieved when I explained my unique approach to travel design. Others, though, were baffled. “That’s just not how we do things,” and “we don’t believe that’s a profitable way to run a business” were typical responses.
But here’s the thing: I am a believer in providing an exceptional experience at a fair price. I believe in over-delivering on value for my clients. Yes, this means I must limit both the number of clients I take on and the destinations I offer so that I can provide worthy service and over-the-top products.
I’m okay with that.
How do you know if my customized brand of travel design is for you?
Here are a few factors worth considering:
1) You don’t know where to start.
People are always saying they want to go to Europe, but they have a major issue when it comes to deciding where in Europe. This seems to keep folks from coming to me for counsel, when, in all actuality, it is probably why you need me the most! I spend my days researching different destinations across Europe, and I can offer thoughtful opinions on locales that best suit your interests, budget, and wish list.
2) You don’t know what works.
Texans are maybe the worst at this! We think the entire continent of Europe can be easily traversed in a week or two. After all, we can pretty much park half of the European countries in our panhandle, right? But after wasting time online trying to figure it out on your own, you soon discover that it isn’t so easy to put together the details of a complex tour, and there’s no way you can see all the places you want. This is where I’m at my best! I geek out over the details! I know what’s do-able and what isn’t, and I’m intuitive at determining what will add to your particular experience and what will ruin it. You just can’t get this level of expertise or service on a pre-packaged tour with your kid’s school (unless we plan it, that is).
3) You don’t know what’s out there.
There is so much more to Europe than the capital/major cities, yet something like 90% of American tourists are spending all their time in London, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Florence, and Venice. There are small towns and villages you could be getting lost in! There are countrysides you could be exploring! There are slopes you could be skiing and seas you could be yachting! If you are a person who loves the big cities (I am a lover of both), then by all means—spend your time there. But if you are more into quaint towns and off-the-beaten-path secret spots, you need to set yourself free from the guilt of missing the Eiffel Tower or the London Eye. You can visit Italy and ignore the “big 3” (Florence, Venice, Rome)! I promise!! I would love to sit down with you and discuss the amazing vacation that awaits you in places Americans are warming up to such as Sardinia, Puglia, San Sebastian, or Beaune…or how about lesser-known Dusseldorf, the Dordogne, Malta, or Portugal (<—yeah, that’s a whole country Americans can’t seem to wrap their heads around).
4) You want the best possible value without compromising on service and quality.
I’m going to break this down for you so there’s no further confusion on the subject, okay? I don’t get paid on top of the cost of your trip, I get paid out of the cost of your trip. I negotiate with the best suppliers (see above) to secure rates, services, and amenities that are not offered to the public. Then, I take that rate and mark it up enough to cover the cost of my expenses—usually to a price still much lower than what you could get on your own (or through an online booking engine). That difference plus the retainer you pay me in order to secure my services is how I earn a living. Fair enough?
Bottom line: it doesn’t cost more…it costs less. The difference here is that you GAIN time and quality.
So what’s stopping you from calling me? My guess is that you are conditioned to having select options and simply buying what’s available.
I get it, really I do. We shop online for everything these days! Nobody is going into the corner dress shop, getting measured, and picking out textiles instead of buying something ready-to-wear. But if you could…if you knew it would save you time and money…if you understood that the quality of your purchase would be significantly greater…wouldn’t you?
I ❤️ customizing unique vacations that fit you like a glove. That hasn’t changed and it isn’t going to.
I appreciate so much the feedback you’ve offered which has inspired me to continue meeting you where you’re at in order to take you where you want to go.
So, are you ready to start visiting about your next adventure? Let’s grab a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and chat. Click here to get in touch today.
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