Surprises can be nice, but not all surprises are good. Typically the types of surprises that are associated with travel are not the ones we appreciate most, which is why travel advisors play an important role in managing expectations for their clients.
First and foremost, this includes partnering with suppliers who can guarantee, for the most part, that unpleasant travel surprises will not occur on their clients’ journeys. And, on the chance they do occur, there is comfort in knowing that there is a reputable company that can make things right again.
Thus, the long-standing affinity for guided travel.
It’s been a staple for travel advisors for over a century, and while it was enhanced significantly during that span of time, the reasons why this type of travel remains a favorite are fundamentally the same. From peace of mind to less stress and assurances of safety, guided travel has always been an easy sell – mainly because in essence, it’s just that … easy.
Travel Market Report spoke to some travel advisors about the top five reasons their clients love guided travel and here’s what they had to say:
1) Peace of mind
Once your client is ready to embark on their guided journey, their part of the vacation planning process is over. Guided travel provides for a carefree atmosphere that involves no daily planning, reservations to be made, waiting in long lines or early-morning departures to reserve a spot or table.
For Fran Moeckler, an advisor with Beemster Travel, selling guided travel has always been virtually effortless, mainly because it meets all the requirements she has for ensuring her clients have a memorable vacation. “People like to know what’s going to happen and when, and [with guided travel], everything can be seen upfront before the actual trip. Many older or inexperienced travelers, in particular, like someone to hold their hand because it gives them a feeling of comfort and security.”
Sharon Hahn, an agent with St. Clair Travel, said the same is true of her clients, adding, “Having someone waiting on the other side is a relief for them.”
2) Details are covered
Traveling abroad can be challenging, even for the savviest of tourists, notes Hahn. Knowing your days, and all the logistics of them, have been carefully planned is worth its weight in gold. And, as more travelers seek local interactions and experiences, having each locale carefully selected and vetted is not something an independent traveler has the time or expertise to do on their own. Not only will the time spent be maximized, it will be stress-free, making travelers comfortable in even the most unfamiliar of surroundings.
“There is so much wasted time when you’re not traveling with a group, because you don’t know the highlights and how to get to them quickly,” explained Hahn. Plus, being able to let go of the details provides more time for immersive travel, the kind that fulfills your clients’ innermost reasons for taking their journey in the first place.
Putting together independent, customized travel itineraries can be rewarding, challenging and, let’s face it, a lot of work. On the flip side, relying on a tour curator to narrow down the hotels, transportation logistics and “must-sees” in unfamiliar destinations, has multiple benefits for travel advisors and clients alike. Taking advantage of the expertise, relationships, and buying power of a company with a long-standing reputation in whatever destination your client chooses to visit has cost- and time-saving advantages, not to mention commission incentives that can’t be overlooked.
And don’t forget that guided travel is typically all-inclusive, which means your clients won’t be reaching for their wallets during dinner. Instead, they can sit back, relax and enjoy their time away.
4) VIP access
When your clients are on vacation, you want to make sure they feel spoiled. They are important to you, which means they should be treated like VIPs. Guided travel offers that. From the time your client departs home to the time they arrive in their vacation destination and return again, there is always someone (other than you) looking out for their best interests.
They will literally be escorted at every turn, and in most cases, led to the front of the line when they reach the most iconic of attractions. In addition, all of the accommodations are hand-selected, four-star hotels or better, and the cuisine fits hand-in-hand with the culture of the destination they are visiting. Tour designers and guides dedicate a great deal of time to carefully choosing the details of guided itineraries, which makes them that much more inviting.
5) It’s fun!
From the scenery and accommodations to the irreplaceable cultural experiences and epic sights to take in, the bottom line is that guided travel is enjoyable. In addition to traveling with loved ones, travelers have the opportunity to engage with other guests, forge new friendships and delight in the shared experiences together. There are so many adventures to take part in, whatever the destination, and there is also the freedom to choose which ones your clients crave most.