Why You Should Insist Upon a Virtuoso Travel Advisor
By Kelly Luf, General Manager of Travel Associates USA
As someone who spends a great deal of time sitting next to strangers on planes, I usually end up divulging that I work as a travel advisor. Years ago, I’d get the same reply:
“I didn’t even know travel agents existed anymore!”
To which I’d rattle off a litany of reasons as to why advisors are important and hand the fellow traveler my card.
I met some of my best clients that way, but I am pleased to report the once-standard reply has changed. Now when I’m flying in the “pointy end” (premium class), I seldom encounter people who do not utilize the services of a professional travel planner. But a travel advisor is more than your typical travel professional.
At Travel Associates, our advisors are not only amongst the most seasoned and knowledgeable in the industry; they are also part of the Virtuoso Luxury Travel Consortia, one of the world’s elite travel orgnaizations. This membership affords our clients some of the industry’s best benefits.
If you’re not booking with a Travel Associates Virtuoso Advisor, you should be, and here’s why.
Our Consultative Process
Your relationship with your travel advisor is one you’ll come to treasure. When we’re first starting out, it is key that you give us as much information about your travel style (and experience) as possible, so we can make the best recommendations personalized to you.
“Qualifying a customer is of the utmost importance,” said Luxury Advisor Karen Zambri of Travel Associates Los Angeles. “It gives me a great baseline for what they’re looking for, and it saves time when I’m giving them options.”
Once your advisor has a good idea of what your style and budget is, they’ll deliver personalized recommendations, which is a fun process for both advisor and client.
“When I have all the requirements and get to really ‘wow’ a customer with their travel options – I absolutely love that part of my job,” said Zambri. “It’s really wonderful to present a customer with places they’d never even heard of until they’ve worked with me.”
The consultative process also presents an opportunity to flex our knowledge and “get real” with our clients. A client may think they want a particular destination until they find out another one suits them better (and why). If you’re a beach person and looking for that perfect, talcum powder sand with the clear, calm water – you just won’t find that everywhere. If you think skiing and beaches cannot be easily enjoyed in one 7-day vacation, think again! Want to bypass lines at museums and have your own private guide in every city in Europe? We know where to send you and earnestly apply our passion for travel trends and connections within the industry to benefit you and enhance your travel experience.
Once that dream destination has been locked in place, you’ll be relieved to know you have support in both your advisor and our 24/7 team. Most of our clients never need the service, but it’s important that it’s there.
“It provides a level of comfort,” adds Zambri, “knowing that if you find yourself needing to get home in an emergency, there is always someone at the ready, willing to help you. Navigating the airline or hotel policies can get stressful and tedious, and we’re here to take that pain away.”
The Virtuoso Connection
Virtuoso represents over 1,400 hotels, cruise lines and tour operators around the globe. These partners are nominated, inspected and thoroughly reviewed year after year for inclusion in the community. This means our affiliation and recommendation of these 5-star properties to our clients assures preferential treatment and amenities you cannot get anywhere else.
Who doesn’t love feeling special? Working with our partners at Virtuoso, we can ensure you’re treated like a VIP from the moment you walk in the door. Virtuoso affiliation means you are guaranteed certain inclusions such as spa or restaurant credits, an in-room amenity and preference for complimentary upgrades. At 80 select properties, we can even guarantee your upgrade at time of booking. Travel Associates has also introduced our own amenities program for our top customers – custom curated gifts well suited for the avid traveler.
After working in this industry for the better part of 15 years, I am pleased to be a member of Virtuoso Luxury Travel Consortia. While I might be a bit biased, I do believe our advisors at Travel Associates are the top in the Travel World, and our membership in Virtuoso helps us to provide you with more services and amenities than other travel agencies.
Contact me directly at my email (email@example.com) , and I will pair you with the perfect advisor, who will make your travel dreams come true.