Recently, I presented an opportunity for you, my valued clients, to suggest topics you would like to read about in upcoming newsletters. Some of you provided great ideas through the survey, and I plan to use all of them in following editions!
For today, I would like to address three unique questions that share a similar answer:
• Any condo rentals at the beach for a family of 6?
• Lisa, do you know anything about Ocala FL? I know it’s a place that’s all about horses.
• Road trips- can a travel agent help with these?
So…..here’s my very honest answer. When I first started in the travel industry 14 years ago, I accepted any project that walked through my door because I was eager to grow my business. After extensive research on a destination, I could put together a pretty good vacation experience for my clients.
As my business grew and I became more proficient, I strived to bypass “pretty good” and go for excellent! I realized that excellence requires expertise. I also came to the humbling realization that I can’t be an expert in every destination; the world is just too big for that! Nor can I be an expert in every travel style available to modern travelers—luxury travel, budget travel, honeymoons, family travel, group travel, rail vacations, adventure travel, escorted tour vacations, road trips, river cruises, ocean cruises, corporate travel. The list is practically endless.
Just as a doctor determines a specialty, an educator focuses on a specific age of the learner, or a chef gravitates toward a particular cuisine, travel advisors should also specialize in a limited number of destinations or travel styles. Why? So we can offer the very best vacation experiences for our clients. A general surgeon probably has the knowledge required for your hip replacement, but wouldn’t you prefer an orthopedic surgeon be in charge of the procedure? Do you really want a “stuffy” college professor overseeing your kindergarten student on the playground? Would you hire a sushi master to create a French-inspired menu for your anniversary celebration?
Joyful Journeys specializes in family travel. Family can mean dad, mom, and children; couples without children; multi-generational family groups; family reunions; even friends traveling together (as a second family?). Family travel is a broad field.
Within the specialty of family travel, I concentrate my efforts in four destination and travel style segments:
• Disney Destinations—Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and Adventures by Disney (an escorted tour option for worldwide destinations)
o I’m also an expert in Universal Orlando for those you want to enjoy a theme park vacation on the other side of town.
• All-Inclusive Resort Vacations in the Caribbean
• Escorted Tour Vacations in the United States, Europe, and around the world
• River Cruises and select Ocean Cruises
While I have the skills and resources to design your independent backpacking trip through Europe, I don’t truly understand the needs of a backpacker, and I think you will be better served by someone who is an expert in that style of travel. I do, however, know which all-inclusive resorts can best accommodate your food allergies, which river cruise lines offer land excursions designed for more active adults, and which Walt Disney World resorts will accommodate your family of 5!
How does that relate to the questions posed in the survey?
• I really can’t recommend condo rentals at the beach. US beaches do not fall within my areas of expertise. I want you to have a wonderful vacation, so I recommend you reach out to a vacation rental management company in your destination. They know the ins and outs of the area, and they have personal experience with every property in their portfolio. They can better advise and help you choose the perfect home away from home!
• I regularly recommend a specific hotel in Ocala for my clients driving to Walt Disney World, but that’s all I know about Ocala! You are right that Ocala is a haven for equestrian events. Unfortunately, horses aren’t my area of expertise, either! I recommend you contact the Ocala/Marion County Visitor and Convention Bureau for more information.
• Yes, travel advisors can assist with road trips. I’ve assisted with road trip vacations in the past. Currently, I choose to limit to destinations I already know intimately!
Hopefully, my ramblings provide a clear picture of why I can’t be “all things to all people.” I just don’t have that much time or that much personal bandwidth. I prefer to do a few things well. And I appreciate the opportunities you give me to build my expertise continually!
Coming soon, I’ll be answering questions about all-inclusive resort vacations, travel with teenagers, international travel for senior adults, travel insurance, group travel vs. independent travel, and more. Stay tuned!