It's December, there are no words I know from me that will help. I do know my personal feelings about the Covid-19 Pandemic comes with heaviest of hearts. The loss in lives is overwhelming to me. The loss of the many small businesses that had to throw in the towel. The thousands of travel related workers unemployed or lost their business or incomes. The magnitude of the losses, the newly homeless, the millions now without adequate food in addition to our on going social issues makes one hope for a recovery that makes us all better for it. I hope we all have the strength to accept & grow.
In my isolation, loss of income, relocation, personal challenges opened my eyes to my short comings. I've grown in the realization that I too must change. I'm known for my kindness as an overall trait, what I've failed in my life is to take responsibility in everything precious to me. I've taken these months (seemingly years) to beat myself up, make excuses only to final say "grow up". My pledge to myself is to live and walk the walk according to world balance. My pledge to continually acknowledge the trials of generations before me making us as a nation, the work in progress for more inclusion, safety for all is only beginning. There is just too much hate, anger and shameful distrusts for me to ignore. I'm committed to be part of the solution in my everyday life by bettering my interaction with all. Not coddling people who I fear, reaching out with more transparency, clarity and not allowing my values to be circumvented by my fears of others. Together we can make this world a better place to live, one person at a time, one day at a time, one life event at a time.
In my upcoming blogs I want to share why travel, immigrants, different cultures are more rooted in our lives than many are willing to admit or accept. We are the world, we are the future, we are responsible for the past misdeeds.
Let's celebrate life as it should be. Let's share life as it should be. Let's be open to all people, all races, all cultures, all religions and all beliefs, all lifestyles even ones that you may not share as your own. It's not for me to say who or what is wrong it's really up to me to share compassion, understanding and guidance or kindness to all no matter.
Let's all make 2022 a year of discovery as we take time in 2021 to rebuild, recover and grow from the lessons so heartlessly wrecking our lives now.
Stay safe, stay well because you are part of what is great about or world; thank you!
It's true Mickey & Minnie don't really run this amazingly complex "Happiest Place in the World", I will tell you it's all about being alive. No time is better than the present to escape the sadness, craziness and difficult times we are all sharing in recent years. No, not the great recession that created devastation of which some will never recover. Today's political climate is hurtful to our future, our wonderful children and our sense of community & unity. In comes Disney, not only have my friends & I been going annually to just be us. The new Star Wars attraction was awesome, plus Disney Adventure Land is spectacular. I'm already wanting to return, note the photo below - guest who won!
I here negative comments from potential travelers about the crowds, the hassles and the cost of a Disney Land or Disney World vacation. It's not for the faint if you just look at a number, it's truly on all levels a value. Using a travel professional who knows the parks, walks, transfers in park hotels, local hotels there are ways to make this work. The hotel is important, be sure your advisor recommends a family friendly hotel with options outside the hotel to dine, wine or just be you. Make a special night plan for one night, do something you'd not do at home. We enjoyed dinner at the famed "White House" in Anaheim, CA. It was our extravagant evening that blew us away. We've seen the fireworks before this year we decided on the water & light show in Adventure Land. To secure a front row seat to the show we made dinner reservations at one of the better restaurants in Adventure Land that offered a pre-fix menu with tickets to VIP section along the lake for the show. We weren't disappointed, in the meal, the beautiful restaurant and the VIP section. The show was spectacular, not to be missed even if you're in the general viewing area it's great.
Whether it's the flight to and from Disney, the welcome home from Mickey & Minnie or the amazing cuisine you can enjoy at Disney Land, Anaheim it's time for you and your friends or family to experience the wonders. If in doubt, you call me or contact me via email and let me convince you we will help create memories for a life time. Remember our motto - "it's about you" - Happy Trails.
Today I was thinking about why I really am a travel professional? It's not a complicated reason, like most I'm living vicariously through my amazing clients' travels. Okay that's fine, truly it's not all dreams and smiles. At times there can be hiccups, minor & major travel disruptions and of course the ever worrying error factor.
A tool that many service people, not only travel professionals; fail to utilize. First what is "Calming Effect" - it's a zone or attitude you must achieve prior to resolution of issues. Don't react immediately to a situation, give yourself some credit, believe it's going to work out to everyone's advantage. Second, bring your Calming Effect to your client in a powerful yet compassionate way.
You're my client - things are falling apart. How will I help you? Read on, this info is public to my clients as well as my fellow agents.
So what happens when I get that urgent text, email or call in the middle of the night? It's normal to be reactive in a surprised or unaware manner. After all you can't know where, when and what all the travel components are for each of your travelers, can you? On a moments notice we're expected to be an instant resolve. It's doesn't happen that way and for a good reason. You never want to make an emotional decision with a stressful client, you are the client and don't deserve a reactive response. Some hints you should know and we all should be aware of for our you "the client" and us.
1). I wait 5 to 15 minutes to reply to a text or email - never longer.
2). I'll assure you I'm working on this, I'll keep you engaged.
3). It's never always going to be alright - I avoid that statement, it causes anguish
4). Pull in the "Calming Effect"; you want to be heard! I'll listen, I'll empathize, I'll go into action
5). I am going to virtually hold your hand, take the immediate matter off your shoulders
6). Together we're going to focus on the positive side (while I'm working to offer resolutions)
7). Should you be in an emotional state, angry I'm going to pull you in. Together we're in this.
8). I'm creating back up options, while we're engaged all the while I'm hearing what we need.
9). I'm allowing you to make me your sounding board, it actually gives me insights.
10). We've secured a plan, executed and you're now ready to get on your way.
This is why my profile I mention, when you travel - I travel. I'm not an expert on the world, that's why I won't sell you places I've not vetted or have training or experience. If I suggest a fellow professional in the market you're interested in, I'm still traveling with you. Knowing this is the "Calming Effect". It works if you allow it to work for you.
It's been a while since I've posted, actually since early November of 2018. I'll focus more on getting my personal travel out there, reason it brings some insight as to how I see your travel when I'm planning on your behalf.
For me travel is part of life, experiencing different cultures, life styles opens your eyes to all the possibilities there are in our wonderful world. Kindness isn't rare, it's just ignored in the frantic world of instant messages, news sources and false travel narratives often found on review sites. Start with an open mind, friends or better yet family. Washington, D.C. is a fantastic place for multi-generational travel.
Four generations - six personalities - six likes and dislikes - six opinions - six amazing people! That's what makes a vacation real. I've been known to travel as a single adventurer, often on a cruise or self guided exploration. The difference when traveling solo vs family or like minded groups is contribution to the experience. You're not in control, you're participating, sharing and building the relationships and shared memories. Travel is living - living is to travel!
Washington, D.C. April 2019 - celebration of life, multiple birthdays and new relationships was our purpose. Why Washington D.C.; that's easy it's a mecca for gourmet foods, unique shopping, historic exploration from the monuments to museums there isn't much left to desire after exploring this amazing clean, safe city. We walked an average of 6.5 miles each day from our hotel to Georgetown to the Potomac River. Exploring the memorials along the mall as well as the fantastic new NMAACH! If you don't know what the letters stand for you've missed a very important part of the history and culture of our amazing country. Yes you can goggle it, or better yet let's get you to D.C. to explore.
We stayed at the famed "Jefferson Hotel" - for the younger set it might be a bit on the old fashion, dull side until they realize what a true luxury hotel experience is. The younger generations was liking the experience more when they realized the staff remembered their names, what they had to eat each morning and more importantly treated everyone as if the hotel was our personal residence. In the area of the Jefferson Hotel there are more hotels from luxury to basic than one can imagine what is more important when you're experiencing a location like D.C. or even Savannah seek out a property true to the heritage of the city or region you're exploring. After all staying at a modest chain hotel is great for the budget and works just fine, it lacks the immersion into the culture and history that you'll miss with great regret later in life or as you share your experiences with others.
We took the current political turmoil out of our vacation with little to no discussion on the current state of affairs. We weren't there to visiting our nations capital to be beaten down by dissension or hate. We were there sharing love, kindness and exploring the true importance of our nations capital.
Shopping is always a part of our travels, yes you can buy most things anywhere it's never really needed but it's also part immersion into the local vibe, culture and people. It's rare to have a conversation with a person on the street as a tourist or your waiter or waitress; they're busy. A shop owner, sales person often loves to share stories and their pride in their city. We met a wonderful sales person who shared his favorite place in the city for Mussels, suggested an amazing Tapas place and a really cool French restaurant yes we did all of them and more. We did take a time out for one of my favorite burgers at "Shake Shack" - now that's keeping things real! Oh how yummy - after eating at the Shake Shack on the Potomac we found another one on 14th - the unique ave with bars and restaurants in the heart of the city. Don't ask - hint - if you did the answer would be yes!
When you're ready to explore this unique city, I've stayed in the area many times, restaurant fav list is long and vibrant let's talk! Unique properties in repurposed building offering great luxury hotel experiences to some very unique boutique hotels for the more ultra cool travelers. Until next time, dream big, go for it and remember you only live once, make all you can out of it. Share Kindness!
When I think of exceptional summer vacations, this region comes to mind in Southern most region bordering Italy on the Mediterranean Sea. The part of this region that excites me isn't the coastal villages or resorts it's the unique offerings of the smaller villages, along the Rhone River and upper villages bordering Lyon & the Rhone Alpes. Creating a visit like no other, adding multiple options for exploring the region will all it has to offer. This region is a combination of villages, vineyards, cities and much of what you'd expect on a European vacation except when diversity is a key to your vacation this is a top destination. Let's explore some of the options including a wonderful villa stay offered by our top tier provider. The photos are from our provider, I'm posting them in my blog with their permission.
Come with me - let's make this about you!
What about a wonderful Barge cruise either public or charter with 6 friends or family or even more?
Maybe a little more intimate experience, possible a self-drive boating option along the canals of France, not all regions have this, even a neighboring region with the finale being Provence?
River cruise with a major cruise line, we have specific programs with the top line in the region offering some amazing values along with our special air contracts I make it a value on all levels.
Then the icing on the cake, a private villa! Almost any type from 2 bedroom to 20 bedrooms, ensuite to family style villas! A/C, pool, internet and the best amenity in my opinion; walk to town! Nice!
Combine any of the canal, river options with a villa stay allows you to immerse yourself in a truly cultural experience. A river cruise gives you a taste of the region, a barge cruise gives your a very up and personal experience and a self-drive boat rental along the canals of France brings you to the locals, farmers meet you at the locks to sell you fresh produce, veggies, eggs and baked goods or tie up and stroll into the villages. I think I have your attention now? The options are endless, together we can create the trip of a lifetime without stress or worries. A trip for 2 to 22 all this is achievable with special attention paid to "you" the client.
Like this villa, have to tease you a little get your dreaming along with me. A magnificent 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom all to yourself. Take a swim on a wonderful summer afternoon walk into town for dinner or drinks with locals. Did I leave out anything? Yes of course, now it's up to you let's put a wonderful plan together for the summer of 2019 - spend the time relaxing with a little local market shopping on the weekends? Maybe a week or two - maybe a combination or just a villa stay. It's all about you.
Safe travels - be inspired to travel - the world is amazing - cultures are amazing.
Today I was wondering where are the new clients? Why does it seem a website is no longer a great tool to secure new clients? I think it's a combination of things, we like to think websites are still very relevant and they are! They've maybe morphed into a resource after the fact you find a travel agency or agent you'd like to engage? This is an interesting change in attitude, all being equal there really isn't a way to guide a client to your agency with certainty; even referrals are challenging at times especially if you do the work for free on a difficult vacation only to have them pass. Why would you do the work for free, as a courtesy to your current client who referred them. I'll be honest that's really not in the best interest of the possible new client as well as the travel agent. It devalues the agent and his or her credibility to the possible new client, being you're willing to go all out without regard to your earned professional status. That might be a bit of overthinking on my part, I do know it might be a different reason all together. It's time for a couple of calming photos of nature and the beauty she offers.
Before I mention social media, I'd like to briefly mention a benefit of using a Travel Professional vs the on-line agencies or the websites of the suppliers like, cruise lines and hotels. When we work hard for you we know we must also offer value, service along with special perks when available. We will be on call to help if you're in trouble or find yourself without a room or other issues while traveling. Really when there are the occasions a service charged is requested to plan your journey it's not the basis of our income. We find it necessary to charge fees as any professional allowing us to continue with our education, memberships in consortia that helps only our clients not us.
A supplier mentioned something to me the other day over coffee; she mentioned a consumer asked her "Why would we use a travel agent". She had many replies, beyond our associations, pricing and security your trip will go well. Her response was "Working with a Travel Professional is investing in your community, producing jobs in the small business sector, taxes paid to local municipalities is only a small reason but the best." She went on to explain when you book with a cruise line or hotel you'll get the best pricing offered to the general public always, they guarantee it! What they don't offer you when you book direct is volume discounts, perks, ship board credits or tour credits from tour companies. What booking direct does is increase the profits of the suppliers only. They don't give you a discount for booking direct, they take the part of the costs that would be paid as a commission to the Travel Professional to there bottom line.
Most travel agencies or Travel Professionals work for commissions from the suppliers, our agency will not recommend a product based on commission we offer a product we feel meets your needs, desires and budget. It makes for a better long term relationship with you the client, no the supplier! The supplier will be around no matter what method you choose to book, however; the Travel Professional will not.
So why not go all out on Instagram with #hashtags? I think it's very much needed, not sure it'll drive a customer base, it will drive interest with people who follow #hashtags. Yes, that is a real thing, people loving certain tags will follow to see new posts. Here are some #hashtags we're considering as we go all in:
#travelagent #cruiseagent #travelprofessional #portlandtravelagency #familytravel #cruisegroups #seniorgroups #corporatetravel #businesstravel #leisuretravel #leissurepro #gaytravel #vacationrentals #fijispecialists #disneytravel #universaltravel #disneyagent #universalagent #hawaiiagent #hawaiispecialist #europetravel #rivercruise #rivercruiseagent #singlestravel #agent #travelspecialists #allinclusivespecialist #Pacificnorthwesttravel #railtravelagent #raileurope #gobyrailagency #resortspecialist #resortsandhotelagent #familyfunvacactions #foodandwinetravel #foodietravel #bucketlisttravel #beallyoucanbetravel #goforittravel.
So there are many ways to create interest, once we figure out how to get your attention we'll know we've found the right #hashtag.
Facebook is an more open forum, allowing for more interaction with potential clients. It requires much more work for the most part. I've decided to link my blog posts to auto feed into my facebook account. I did this many years ago only to let that program slide. For me I feel Instagram has more of a solid footing and future with the changing demographics of our population.
Let's get together and plan a special trip together. Remember our philosophy "It's about you"!
I mentioned in my previous posting we were on our way to Disney and Universal Florida. As a recent graduate of the training programs and a loyal sales person and supporter of each venue I like to visit every couple of years. This year the parks exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I hope you will consider a visit, single, retired, newly weds, families, family reunions, coworkers getaway or a group of like minded friends. I always travel with either friends or my client groups, the immersion into the trip is real when you're with the general public. Feed back is instant without shading or after thought. It's as real as it gets when you want to experience a region, ship, venue or country & city. Here are some highlights below on why this works so well for all.
Disney has it all, allowing for all ages to enjoy. We took in all the rides, gourmet dining (excellent) and of course some yummy snacks along the way. What tops off a Disney Park experience is the newly updated animation & fireworks show at night. On of the ladies with us made a statement the says it all "the castle and fireworks show tonight was worth the price of admission alone"! I know we were all speechless by the end of the show, the imagination of the Disney creators have gone over the top with this. I feel if you went to the Magic Kingdom or Disney California and missed this event you've actually missed the parks all together. This was the encore of encores!
Universal is a unique and equally exciting park, especially in Orlando with the Harry Potter experience being the highlight of our visit once again and the expansion of the Harry Potter experience is amazing. You need a multi park ticket to take advantage of the Hogwarts Train ride from each park the train seemingly brings you into the world of Harry Potter with little fan fare and major excitement. See we are in a cabin on the train in the photo. What makes Universal a little more unique are the options for the rides. You can even in a group take the "single rider" line and be split up to quicken the wait, or purchase the advance passes. The other important fact is when you're at Disney a wait time of 45 minutes seems reasonable, albeit we saw up to 2 hours at Disney; however at Universal the longer wait times are 45 minutes not 2 hours. With the single rider option there isn't a real need to pay for express entry to the rides. On one of the Harry Potter experiences the wait time posted was 35 minutes, it took us exactly 4.5 minutes go get on the ride. With the difference in adventures at Universal you'll find wait times less which is another great reason to consider this park if you're into multi rides for all ages as a focus. They offer parades as well as all types of dining experiences. We went for a full on "home style" restaurant, for us it wasn't the best choice as it turns out although the food was tasty it wasn't our cup of tea. The evening we snacked on goodies from the Dr. Seuss area, with some smaller cafeteria items.
OH! and seeing Voodoo doughnuts at Universal was amazing, a little piece of Portland, Oregon all the way in Orlando.
One last note that is important to know, both Disney Springs and Universal City Walk offer amazing restaurants and activities to extend or enhance your visit. No entry fee at either area, some amazing shops and themed restaurants are everywhere. We had one of the best Pizza's at "Blaze Pizza" I've had in a long time, make your own basically. On another night we had dinner on the deck of the Boat House it was romantic, tasty, fun and a nice breeze off the lake as we watched in the distance the fireworks from both Disney and Epcot.
Please be sure to contact us or your personal travel professional for our inside deals and knowledge when exploring options for any Disney Park or Universal Park.
Have a magical experience! Happy trails,
#disneyagent #travelagent #disneyvacation # disneycruise #travelagency #Portland #Oregon
It's been 2.5 years since my last visit to Disney World and it's parks as well as Universal Studios in Orlando. Next week June 4 - June 8, I'll be on site learning and updating my knowledge of these two magnificent attraction parks and all they inclusions. The parks themselves, as well as the hotels, bars, restaurants, activities and surrounding areas are ever changing. It's important for a travel agency and it's team to be familiar with what's now! What was Disney World in 2015 isn't Disney World 2018! Same for Universal Studios in Orlando, new hotels, restaurants and the expansion of the water park.
While visiting Orlando, it's important I also take the updated training at Universal Studios another adventure and fantasy park option in Orlando with it's three amazing parks. More on them when I return! What's new at Universal Studios will leave you speechless, special attention will be paid to the Harry Potter experience you can experience in two parks === I'll keep you in the dark for now. More to come on my return, with tons of candid photos and fun.
The all new and exciting coming to you in my blog in mid June!
Wishing you a never ending youth! Have a magical time at what ever you do every day;
I had the pleasure of traveling with my friends from our past groups. It was a reunion of sorts, I mixed the reunion with a Mother's Day gift for two special ladies in my life. I love cruising for many reasons, too many to list in one blog. The advantages of taking a cruise vacation allows for everyone in your family or a like minded group to enjoy individual activities. It's really the way to go to maximize your vacation dollars and see the world. Why not take a cruise to Europe? Explore the major or smaller ports depending on the cruise line; then draw up ideas and thoughts for extended land vacations once you're able to do this after retirement or during an off season at the job or business. Hey, packing and unpacking once is a perk few travel options offer.
Today's cruise ships offer it all, be wise ask your agent to match you to the perfect cruise experience. For almost all regions around the world there are a variety of ships to appease every palette. It's no secret we've researched and experienced many ships and different types of service levels. There is one for every cruiser, family or group. Yes even single cruisers will have a great time, ships have special events for meet & mingles to help you feel more at ease as a valued cruise passenger.
There are several types of cruisers, I'm more about the ship, sea and relaxation. The activities fill my need for interaction with people, like many cruisers it can only about the ship / cruise experience. Then there are the amazing cruise port or cruise collectors wanting to experience all the ports of call to the fullest extent possible. Taking excursions, or exploring on own, these more adventurous cruisers are amazing to me. If I cruise alone I will take in a port on foot or local public transit to get a feel for the port we're visiting. If I'm with a group or friends we often do a private excursion so we can stop, grab a bite at a local spot or event afternoon adult beverage at a local hot spot or pub? Why not we're on vacation, not working to have fun.
Deciding on the type of accommodations is as important as the selection of the itinerary, and ship! It should never be put to the test of guessing. Many potential first time cruisers will call and say they can get a cruise at a lower price than I quoted. I said absolutely that's possible, there are caveats to this type of deal like the new "basic airfare" you can't select you cabin location, they'll guarantee the cabin type but you're subject to accept the location. Even if you're more about the itinerary and not the cabin, want to go the lowest category cabin you might end up in the perfectly price inside cabin right above the anchor release. Let me tell you, I did that once the first time we pulled into port the noise and vibration scared me straight out of the cabin. What if you wanted a simple ocean view, be careful you're most likely to get an obstructed view, albeit still ocean view, there may be a beam, life boat or other obstruction. We will get you the perfect location, always considering agility, elevator locations as well as your personal goals helps us find your perfect cabin, locked in and guaranteed.
Lastly in my never ending cheering for the cruise vacation, it really works for most all travelers. Sadly the misconception about cruising won't change for some people. That's okay with me, not everyone is suited to cruise, like some folks are suited to climbing Mount Everest on vacation or cave diving. This is just one option that works for the adventurers and non adventurers alike. Grandparents, Parents, youngsters and youngsters at heart can enjoy a cruise with a multitude of activities of all ages.
Imagine the seclusion of you very own cabin, with a private hot tub or pool, indoor and outdoor living areas along with an outdoor shower for more engaging experience. Are you interested? I am, I've been to this resort as has many of my clients for many different reasons. Actually the most popular is an escape from the city for locals; for out of state folks it's a true paradise in an area that allows for hot air ballooning, wine tasting or just escaping in your cabin, private hot tub or pool or a combination of the cabin, the public pool and amazing restaurant at the resort. You want to escape without extensive travel with flexibility to create your own adventure there isn't anywhere else I'd recommend for a multitude of activities.
With our partnership with Calistoga Ranch a Auberge Resort property we have some amazing values as well as promotions to enhance your stay. This resort is often sold out at peak times, if you have flexibility in your travel there are some short off season periods that are beneficial.
Some of the amazing things about Calistoga Ranch are the cabins along the creek at the resort, seasonally of course in this region. Sitting on your private deck chase lounge listening the the sounds of the creek water crossing over the rock beds in itself sets the mood. Behind you is your private outdoor living area with a nice fire burning in the fireplace so you can retreat for a wonderful glass of wine or have dinner brought in from the restaurant.
I'm excited about this resort for many reasons, it's consistently amazing service and guest satisfaction, as well as a very well informed concierge staff. There are so many activities that can be arranged from the resort, hot air ballooning, wine tasting, private wine tastings, chef tables at a winery, public or private wine tours or the best restaurants off the resort for an intimate dinner.
With the challenges of international travel, when a client requests the unique, good value option to a honeymoon in Bora Bora or Moorea or Paris this is my to go to place. They offer different types of cabins for different budgets, no matter the choice of cabins the resorts public offerings are amazing, or if you select a special cabin with added extras you'll be happy with being in your cabin if you're wanting all to be private and at hand.
I'm ready to plan your visit to Calistoga Ranch. Door to door, from you home to the resort, all activities returning you home all in one step. It's all about you! I'm at your service with our unique programs your enhanced experience will provide a lifetime of memories.