By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert
Of all the things we pride ourselves about in the 23+ years that we have helped many folks have great vacations, the most important item is our integrity when dealing with all. We believe we have as high standards as possible in our industry. However, we feel this is so important an issue that we wanted to tell all exactly how we expect to earn and keep your trust.
Here is our statement about Trust on Our Website
On our home page of our website we, provide you 6 reasons why you should use us. Here, word for word, is what we have written about trust:
“Trust — We will do what is best for you! We are honest, hard-working with one goal—to serve you—we will do what is best for you, not us. We help you avoid hassles & get the best value for your dollar–saves you time & money and we will help you protect your travel investment.”
There is a lot of information there in this short statement. It means we must make choices that favor you and are in your best interests. It could mean saving you money, or protecting your investment or getting a vacation that meets your expectations.
Thanks for Your Trust in Us!
If you have ever received an email or written note from us, it usually ends with the sentence “Thanks for your trust in us!” To us, it is not a motto, it is a constant reminder that we must earn and retain your trust in our dealings with you.
While we strive for 100% satisfaction in our client’s vacations, sometimes things do not go exactly as planned. I think this is where we shine—if in the middle of a trip, we might be able to intervene and fix the problem. Sometimes it happens we learn of a problem or issue after the end of a vacation and we notify the vendor and provide their response to their problem or issue.
I like to say, “Trust is doing what is right when no one is looking”.
Our Dealings With Our Vendors
We have established some great relationships with some key vendors in the travel industry. The relationships allow us to provide you, the traveler, a way to get some added value by using our services.
You should be aware that some vendors have allowed us to learn about their products first hand thru what is known in our industry as “familiarization trips.” While we have never accepted a fully hosted trip for free, unless we have won a trip by an agent give away, we have been on some discounted trips that were available to all qualified travel agents. We have always paid for these trips. The reason we have participated in these trips is to gain a better understanding of the benefits a travel supplier can provide you for your vacation. The other thing you should know is we take every effort possible to disguise the fact that we are in the travel industry–we try to avoid getting special treatment that might come if we have been identified as travel professionals, so we get a true picture of the vendors product and how they really treat their guests..
Here is the integrity portion of this—we have never allowed our relationship with a vendor to influence our recommendations for your vacation. We would never accept any money from a vendor to promote them. We pride ourselves with telling it like it is—honest and comprehensive information so you can make the right decision for your vacation.
An awesome example of this is our 2018-19 Europe River Cruise Company Comparisons. It is a balanced, fair look at 8 companies—never did any of these companies influence our judgements. It is always about what is best for you. Here is the link to our 2018-19 Europe River Cruise Company Comparisons.
Communicating With Vendors Prior to Your Vacation
One reason we think we earn your trust is our effort to reach out to every hotel or vendor prior to your vacation to let them know you our client and to ask them to provide any extra perk to help you have a more pleasant stay or experience. It always seems to works—at the very least they know we expect their best—and it often results in an upgrade or a freebie.
If you think all travel agents do this, you are mistaken—very few do. Sometimes we never get a reply but most times we are successful—we feel you trusted us to provide a great venue or experience and it is our duty to try and make it special.
I must single our Anne for this—she is relentless following up with the vendors—you can trust her! Well done, Dear!
We Build Relationships With You
Trust is a two way street. You can trust us to provide you with honest, accurate and comprehensive information. We must trust you to tell us exactly what you want, when you want to go and what the limitations are. We also need to know what you don’t want. As long as we both provide accurate info, chances are we will provide you exactly what you want, if it is possible, for your trip.
There is also a lot of sensitive information you provide us with—your passport info, and your credit card info are the two that immediately come to mind. We must safeguard this info so it cannot be improperly used. One thing we always try to do is to get credit card information over the phone—it is much more secure than you providing it to us by email.
Keeping Your Trust—Can You Trust Us?
Trust and integrity are valuable traits and, in my judgement, in short supply in our country. Too many make promises they can’t or won’t keep. My whole life has been devoted to service after graduating from West Point—20 years as a US Army Officer, 20 years as a coach and teacher and 23+ years helping others travel to the right location. At West Point, our motto is Duty Honor Country. Honor was a way of life–a cadet will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. I lived those same principles as an Army Officer and coach and now as a travel advisor. After living those principles for almost all my life (OK almost 69 years if you must know), I don’t think it is hard to see how they always carry over to all we do.
Anne is equally dedicated to trust and integrity—she always thinks about what is best for our clients, every single time. She always goes the extra mile to look for the best travel values in her research–if you really know her, you would say she is unrelenting–most others would not go to the lengths she does to get a trip right.
We think trust is the cornerstone of our relationship with you. We try to under promise and over deliver a great travel experience for you.
We strive to make your travel experience better by helping you make wise choices, eliminate any possible hassles, and help you get the best value for your money. In short, while working with us, we want to provide a trip that will exceed your expectations. I guess the best thing we can provide you is some comments by several of our clients. To read A Few Words From Our Clients, Please click here
My Final Thoughts
Do you trust us?—we certainly hope so. We are only as good as our last dealing or conversation with you—did we provide you what was best for you, not us?
Making sound decisions are critical to the travel planning process. Time and money issues are complex—we all want the best at the least possible price. We help you solve those complex issues, saving you hassles, time and worry. We solve them with honest answers, comprehensive information and we are not afraid to tell you when we do not know but will find out. We are also not afraid to tell you if we cannot help you—it all boils down to trust—we always try do what is right when no one is looking.
We are travel experts, ocean and river cruise experts, and Europe destination experts. We have first-hand knowledge of almost anywhere you want to visit in Europe. We know our products and the vendors who sell them to you. We have designed special tours for dozens of clients, led several and will continue to find just the right vacation that will exceed your expectations.
When you are spending your hard-earned money for a vacation, you want an advisor who can match you with the right trip. You want someone who will understand your expectations and fuel your anticipation (or excitement) to get you the best possible trip experience. And, you want someone who can help you with the decision making process. We think we have all these qualities.
Whatever your Dream Destinations are, we are here to help you get the best possible vacation based on what is important to you! We will provide you high quality, expertly planned travel. Please give me a call 713-397-0188 (Hank) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to help you: Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations! Your journey begins here!
HANK is a certified Western European Destination Specialist (DS) who has been traveling to Europe for 45 years. He is also an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), conferred by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). This recognized expert in cruise and leisure travel is a retired Army Officer, and taught World Geography for 8 years. He is a `71 graduate of West Point and has earned 2 master’s degrees. His other Certifications:
- AmaWaterways River Cruise Specialist
- Viking River Cruise Specialist
- Scenic River Cruise Specialist
- Emerald Waterways Specialist
- Avalon Waterways Specialist
- Brit Agent