By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert
To us, you are special and important. You have travel dreams, desires and concerns and are looking for answers and solutions. Well, you have come to the right place—Anne and I are eager to hear what you have to say—we actively listen to you!
So, why is this so important for your travels—the more we know what you like and dislike, the better a trip we can plan and provide to you. So, let’s explore this important topic together.
We all have dreams. Most of us have several places we want to travel and see. I’ll bet right now you could close your eyes and see a vacation spot—maybe you looked on our website, or our Pinterest page, or you regularly read this blog—we hope we have added some destination inspiration for you. OK, it may have been another source for your travel inspiration, but the key is you do have at least one dream destination and hopefully more.
Your dreams lead to anticipation and excitement—I want to go there! But dreams can become reality if you just reach out to us. As many of you have told us, our company name says it all—Dream Destinations. The really good thing about dreams is they can change and mature as you do. Go ahead, let you imagination run wild and then let us try a match your dreams to a great vacation. Keep on dreaming—we will be ready to help when needed!
There are certain items each of us desire when we travel. Travel is an exciting, emotional business with great life changing experiences and many benefits but when there is a lot of money on the line, we have to get it right so you get the best possible value for your money. Part of getting right is our experience and credibility (22+ years in business; numerous professional certifications and specialty designations; first-hand knowledge of the desired trip; and great industry vendor contacts) but it is really about building trust and a partnership.
Partners add value so both win. Thinking back to my high school football coaching career, my focus was on developing players to be their best by being demanding yet caring so we could win games. It was about the relationship and trust.
Travel experiences are no different—there are a lot of options but finding the best fit is like coaching—it is both an art and a science. The science of travel is the trip offered by the vendor. The art is matching the right client to the right trip. First, we start with the goal of the trip—what does the client want to experience? What do you desire to see, do, stay and eat? Does one factor outweigh another? What is the deal breaker? Does it have to be on a certain date or is there flexibility on the time of year? Once we have all the desires for your trip out in the open, we can now match those desires to trip. The outcome will be great experiences that will make you feel awesome and will create great stories when you return home. Trust me, travel desires filled is a great thing!
Travel is exciting but it also brings concerns—there is a certain what if factor on every trip, no matter how experienced or well prepared a traveler is for any trip. I think the goal of ever trip should be to get the best possible vacation, despite the obstacles, concerns and constraints of what is possible. Never forgetting the goal, the second part is to obtain the goal trip, given the constraints of real life (time available, cost, a trip offered at the desired time of travel by the desired vendor, etc.). It is a balancing act that requires just the right touch—what is the solution to the problem?
It should be easy—we should do the hard work for you and alleviate as many concerns as possible. It should be hassle free for you—just follow the plan we created for you. It should avoid situations that make you so uncomfortable you are afraid to go and do and experience. And most of all, it should be fun, as we have addressed all your concerns and found a solution that puts you at ease.
Listening—the key to getting your trip right
One professional travel advisor trait that Anne and I have in great abundance, is the ability to listen to exactly what you are looking for in a trip. Perhaps it is the most important trait for an effective travel advisor. We ask a lot of questions and LISTEN—not only what is said but not said. Each question has a purpose and gets us closer to the right vacation for you.
Our listening methods include concentrating on exactly what is said by you, understanding what you are saying, responding with sounds ideas and remembering what you said when we plan a trip for you. Some have labeled this active listening, but I think it is really part of a good partnership—you trust us to find the right trip and we trust you to tell us exactly what you desire for your trip. We can’t do our part without listening carefully to what you want or say.
Don’t worry if you can not exactly express what you want–part of our job is to understand the intent of the vacation. In my military days, we called this the commander’s intent–what was the objective that needs to be achieved. Just listening to you and expressing back your intent will solve this problem–it is our job to get this out of you.
If we listen closely and use our skills as professional travel advisors, you will get a great vacation.
My Final Thoughts
Do you feel sometimes you are not heard? We hope this never happens to you in our dealings with us. Tell us your dreams, desires and concerns—we will listen and find you the right trip. Let’s form a great partnership—are you in?
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