Dreams. Desires & Concerns–We Listen to You!

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

http://www.dreamdestinations.com

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.

Dreams

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.

Regan Gauthier28
Regan proposes to Megan on an ocean cruise at Tulum, Mexico

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!

hall-of-mirrors
I always dream of going to Versailles–a treaty that ended WWI and a sumptuous  palace–finally made it there–what an experience!

Desires

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.  

Coach Schrader
Coach Schrader teaches his defensive players in preparation for the 3A Championship Game in 2001–we won it all!

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!

Concerns

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 hschrader@dreamdestinations.com.  We want to help you:  Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader

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
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Integrity and Visit Dream Destinations, LLC

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

http://www.dreamdestinations.com

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.

Jeff and Hank
Friends for over 47 years–Jeff Rock, my West Point Classmate, and Hank–total trust!

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.

U by Uniworld
The A U by Uniworld–it would not be the right choice for a Europe River Cruise for all–you can trust us to help you decide if this is the right line for you!

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. 

Hotel Des Alps
Hotel Des Alps–A Wonderful Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland–Anne always communicates before our clients arrive to insure their stay is the best possible!

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.

Hank Schrader Graduation
My West Point Graduation Photo 9 June 1971

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 hschrader@dreamdestinations.com.  We want to help you:  Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader

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

We Make People Happy!

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

http://www.dreamdestinations.com

We have done a lot of traveling lately and had many clients traveling in the first six months of this year.  It started me thinking about our purpose as travel advisors.  Why are we in business?  What is our purpose?  What should we provide to our clients?

There are many ways to look at these 3 questions—in my MBA classes, we studied economists and business advisors and their thoughts on businesses.  Perhaps the two most famous, Milton Friedman and Peter Drucker, have their definitions of the purpose of a business.  Friedman states the purpose of a business is profit maximization.  Drucker states the purpose is to create and keep a customer.  While I think there are merits in their definitions of the purpose of a business, I believe there has to be more.  Here is our business purpose–we want to improve your standard of living by helping you experience different places–we want to help you have happy travels!

So, let’s explore this together and see if we make people happy when they travel.

What Our Mission Statement Means to You

In our mission statement, we state we are “certified travel advisors who specialize in cruises, Europe river cruises, and European vacations for discriminating travelers.”  We further state “we provide customers with highest quality, expertly planned leisure travel.”

These are lofty words, but what do they mean to you?  Maybe a shorter way to say this is “we make people happy when they travel.”  I think we try to do this in two ways.  First, we want the planning experience to be pleasant—no stress, no worries—only solutions to your travel desires.  Second, we use the right vendors that will provide you great experiences—happy travel is the result.  It is our combination of experience planning travel and dealing with people in the right way that results in happy travel experiences. 

Put another way, we have tried to create a company that we would want to do business with and use over and over again.

Happiness is Vital in our Business

Happiness for me is an emotional state of well-being.  It is living a good life, one with positive emotions, finding pleasure in living, satisfaction and joy.

No one wants hassles in their lives but we still have them—it is just part of life.  Since there are always obstacles to happiness in our lives, we are determined not to be an obstacle—we want our dealings with you to be easy and fun.  We want to improve your emotional state of well-being—in short, make you happy.  When we make your travels happy, all else falls in place.

It is our golden rule—we treat you like we would like to be treated!

How Travel Creates Happiness

I think there are 3 main reasons travel creates happiness.  They are 1) experiencing different cultures and places, 2) enjoying the food and wine when dining on a trip, and 3) to connect or reconnect with friends and loved ones.

71 River Cruise
Friends and loved ones on an AmaWaterways river cruise 2015

One of our goals when planning your travel is to create happiness by helping you achieve these 3 factors on your vacation.  Travel planning is both an art and a science.  To get the best experiences and memorable dining, we must know our products completely—this is the science of travel planning.  While that is important, we also have to match these to your expectations—this is the art of travel planning.

If we do it right, we are certain to create happy travel results and this is both your and our goal.

Our Business Interactions with you—Happy Experiences are our Goal!

We want to become or continue to be your trusted travel advisors of choice for discriminating travelers who want a good value for their travel budgets.  We are really aware that our clients use us because they know us, hopefully like us, and most importantly, trust us.

I think there is one other aspect—we always treat you with kindness and fairness.  Basically, we want to make you happy you decided to conduct business with us and we made your trip a happy experience.

Some Examples of Happy Travel from 2017 & 2018

Often it is the voices of others that really tell the story.  Do we really make people happy?  Here are two communications from our trusted clients:

“I wanted to express my appreciation for you organizing and delivering one of the most wonderful travel experiences of my life! The AMA Waterways “Danube Cruise” was a truly amazing and educational trip! This was my first river cruise and I must say that working with Dream Destinations throughout the travel planning process made my trip come together flawlessly! Your professionalism and expertise earned my TRUST and I can’t wait for you guys to plan my next adventure on one of the many rivers of the world! I love you guys and the way you go about your business!!!”

Jeff Rock 2018

Jeff and Hank
Friends for over 47 years–Jeff Rock, my West Point Classmate, and Hank

Thanks, Jeff—sounds pretty happy to me!

“Hank and Anne at Dream Destinations are truly the best, bar none! My wife Denise and I first met them on an Ama Waterways Rhone River cruise back in 2013. Their knowledge and passion for all things Europe is truly infectious and the reason why we have booked travel with them every year since. Some of our favorite places to visit are Paris, Prague, Bruges, Nuremberg, Strasbourg, and Lucerne. From river cruises to rail passes, accommodations and restaurant recommendations, they are our “ambassadors to Europe” and our first choice in travel agents.  These two travel professionals will thrill you with their ingenuity and exceed your every expectation by designing a one-of-a-kind trip tailored to your dreams and desires.”

Mark Thomas 2017

Mark and glasses
Mark Thomas and crew preparing for wine tasting on an AmaWaterways River Cruise 2014

Thanks Mark and Denise—we are proud to help you have several happy trips!

My Final Thoughts

Happy Travels!  And Happy first day of summer 2018!

We are in the business of making people happy when they travel.  Sure, we would like to also make a profit, but our focus has always been on making your trip a great experience that brings you joy.  You can’t imagine how good it makes us feel when we succeed—it makes us happy!

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.  And, we want you to be happy during the planning process and on the trip.

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 hschrader@dreamdestinations.com.  We want to help you:  Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader

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

Best Outcomes: Great Travel with Visit Dream Destinations, LLC

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

We are great travel consultants.  You want to travel.  Seems like a perfect match, yet there is a lot more that goes into the process.  I like to call it selling travel right.  My first blog of 2017 was about how can I make your day better?—it is our goal for 2017.  Here is one part of what I wrote in January:

“We also must work hard every day to become better at our jobs, so we can make our client’s trips the best they can be.  The more we can be involved in the total planning of the trip, offering wise suggestions to enhance the trip, making arrangements for all phases of their travel, and listening to their thoughts, will make their day better”.

These two sentences are the foundation of selling travel right, so let’s explore together what they mean for you to get a better outcome for your trip.

First, Our Mission

Visit Dream Destination’s LLC mission is to provide customers with the highest quality, expertly planned domestic and foreign leisure travel with a focus on cruises, European river Cruises and European vacations for groups and individuals.

For me, the key part of our mission is “highest quality, expertly planned domestic and foreign leisure travel” for our customers.  I think we accomplish this by selling travel right.

Selling Travel Right

We believe there are really 4 parts to selling travel right when we are planning a great vacation for you.  They are:

  1. A good product
  2. Great Service
  3. A good return on your trip investment—UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES
  4. Becoming your trusted counselor by truly understanding what you want from your vacation experiences.

The ultimate result, if we do it correctly, is better outcomes for you in your travels.  With the goal of better travel outcomes for you in mind, let’s examine these 4 elements of selling travel right further.

A Good Product and Good Service

The first two items in our selling travel right list are the basics in providing a good trip.  Without them, you will go elsewhere to find your desired trip.  But do not think they are unimportant.  First, we have to know the vendors and what they deliver.  We need to know their advantages and disadvantages.  In short, we must know if they have a good product.  Second, we must be able to clearly communicate these facts to you, our clients. 

Most of you, our clients or future clients, have already done your homework before you approach us—you have read a lot of information on the web or seen an ad or received something in the mail. 

infographic-for-blog
We can save you a lot of hassle and time–let us do this for you!

The ideas begin—I think this might be a good trip for me.  How good that information is, or how much is actually truthful could be in doubt, but you at least have the basics.  So, to keep up, Anne and I have to be constantly learning about what products are right for your trips.  We have to know our products better than our clients, if we want to provide accurate assessments.  I promise you, we do provide very accurate assessments of vendors or a trip idea in almost every case.  However, when we do not know our product or region well enough to provide proper service, we will either find out or refer you to someone else who can handle your travel needs correctly.  You can trust us to tell you the truth.

Good service is just that—we do what we promise.  We return phone calls and emails.  We try to respond within 24 hours.  We also build in checks to insure we follow through.  For example, when we first make contact with a new client, we tell them a deadline for a response from us.  If they have not heard from us by the deadline, we ask them to give us a call to find out why.  Sometimes it is an email that went to a spam box, sometimes it is a misspelled email address.  Sometimes, we never got the inquiry.  But, in truth, this seldom happens.  Good service is keeping you updated and when to expect a response and delivering on that promise.

Look again at what I wrote in January of this year:

“We also must work hard every day to become better at our jobs, so we can make our client’s trips the best they can be.”  Isn’t this exactly what the basics of providing a good trip is? 

An Example of how we help you Learn More about Our Vendors

Shelia and Hank
Shelia and Hank with our Taste of Bordeaux Poster Board

We recently held a river cruise seminar in Houston at a local wine store, French Country Wines.  It was a joint venture, with our Business Development Manager (BDM) from AmaWaterways.  Along with some great French Wines, I provided an in-depth presentation about cruising the Rhone River on AmaWaterways and Sheila, our BDM, made a presentation on cruising the Bordeaux region.  We both had interesting PowerPoint presentations and could provide insights from personal experience of sailing these two trips.  I cannot think of a better example of how we know our products better than our clients.  We were able to answer all questions about river cruising, to include the advantages and disadvantages of sailing with AmaWaterways, and to compare that experience with other vendors.  Reliable, accurate information, with no pressure is our style and we had a fun evening, learned a little and drank some good wine—a great evening in my book!

Frankie Group
A photo of 4 guests from the Sprocket with the title added–Thanks for coming!

I really believe were are one of the premier river cruise travel advisors in the US.  But please, don’t just take my word for it–here is what one of our clients said about our services concerning a river cruise trip:

“I am finally getting around to thanking you for a truly wonderful vacation.   From the selection of AMAWaterways for the river cruise to the hotel and final dinner in Paris everything was perfect. It was so apparent to Jim and me that you both love what you do and are very, very good at it.”  Maureen & Jim W. AMA River Cruise 2015

71 River Cruise Group
From left to right Maureen, Jim, Len, Jane & Hank at Captain’s Dinner AmaWaterways Cruise

Thanks—we really appreciate your kind words and hope to live up to them on your future trips—they are going on a second river cruise later this year that we planned—there is no higher compliment than using us again to travel!

The Difference between Good and Great

The third and fourth items on our selling travel right list, separate us from other travel advisors or agents, in my opinion.  It is all about the experiences and trust.  It is about taking good and getting it to great.  I do not know one person who does not want value for their money.  However, many cannot really define value.  It is not price, it is what you get for the money.  I read a quote on LinkedIn the other day that I think really applies here:

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”—I am not sure who the author is, but I am sure that a poor quality trip will not justify a really low price.  Value is finding the sweet spot—a good price and a good value.  We excel in this.

It is our job to discover what great is to you, and advise you, our client, how to get it.  It is a constant process of getting to know you, building trust, adjusting to lifestyle changes—a dynamic process that requires us to contact you often.  The more we know about you, the better job we will do.

I also like to say that we “do what is right when no one is looking.”  We are authentic and transparent and realize we are only as good as our next transaction or contact with you.  In short, our goal is to provide you trips that will: exceed your expectations; help you make wise choices; eliminate hassles and we will help you get the best Value for your Money!

Here is the last part of what I wrote in January

“The more we can be involved in the total planning of the trip, offering wise suggestions to enhance the trip, making arrangements for all phases of their travel, and listening to their thoughts, will make their day better”.

Doesn’t that sound like a good way to make a good trip great?

An Example of a Great Value Trip

D Day Group
D Day 70th Anniversary Trip we led in 2014

In 2014, we led a group of clients on a tour for the 70th Anniversary of D Day.  We planned the trip and created a unique itinerary that allowed all to see the important D Day sights during the festivities.  We managed to allow our clients to participate in some special anniversary activities.  Other trips during that anniversary time cost several thousands of dollars more than ours, but really did not have anything extra to justify the extra cost.  That is real value, in our opinion, and we constantly look for the best at a good price for you our clients.

Again, let’s here from someone on the trip—not just from me.  Here is what one client said about this trip:

“What a wonderful trip you two architected for us!!   You were very thoughtful in all the details that made this such a success, and we thank you for it from the bottom of our hearts.   We have so many good memories to last for a lifetime.  It was also great meeting new friends that I hope we can keep for a long time.”  Clare & Bill B. D Day Tour 2014

Bill and Clare
Clare and Bill on our 2014 D Day trip

Thanks for the endorsement—we were honored you trusted us to led the trip and your easy going style help make it a great adventure!

Our Final Thoughts

We have a really deep knowledge of most of the destinations you want to visit and we will develop a personal understanding of your interests.  We basically will guide you through the process and do what is best for you.  You can trust us.  We never look at you as a client—we look at you as a friend.  We always treat our friends’ right!  The result will be better outcomes for your vacation when we partner up!  

We would like to hear your thoughts.  What are your vacation ideas or dreams, or bucket lists for now or for the future?  Please reach out to us by sending me an email at hschrader@dreamdestinations.com or better yet, call me at 713-397-0188.  We want to be your trusted travel advisors.  We want to help you: Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader

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
  • BritAgent

 

A Wonderful Travel Experience

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination Specialist and Europe River Cruise Expert

May 3, 2017 was Travel Agent Appreciation Day.  But for me, this is the wrong approach—it should be Travel Clients Appreciation Day.  While it is nice to be appreciated, it misses the whole point—we are in business to make your travel better, hassle free and provide ideas you never knew existed—in short, provide a wonderful travel experience

I could tell the reasons to use us—experience (20+ years), certified (we are well trained), we know the industry (often we have vendor contacts that allow us to get you the best value for your travel dollars), first-hand knowledge (we have most likely been where you want to go), and we are members of professional travel organizations (we must maintain high standards to remain members).  But for me, there is one overriding reason—TRUST–We are honest, hard-working with one goal—to serve you—we will do what is best for you, not us.  We try to remember this in every aspect of our dealings with you.  In almost every email or phone conversation, we always try to end with these words—Thanks for your trust in us!  It’s not just a slogan—it is our sincere way of reminding both you and us that our whole relationship is built on trust.

To honor your great travel experiences, we have created the Dream Destinations Travelers Hall of Fame.  To get in, all you have to do is allow us to plan your travel and send us a picture we can post on our website.

So, let’s take a look at some of your trips—for us, there is nothing better than celebrating you, who have trusted us to become your travel advisors!

Some Wonderful Travel Experiences

For 2018, we have already planned a Regent Seven Seas cruise, a group on an AmaWaterways river cruise and an Africa river cruise on AmaWaterways.  All are repeat guests—thanks for your continued trust in us!

In April 2017, we planned a cruise and marriage proposal for Ragan and Megan.  Ragan wanted to surprise his bride-to-be by proposing at the Mayan ruins of Tulum.  We arranged a special tour, complete with a photographer, and completely surprised her—she never suspected a thing and said yes.  When you look at these photos they just shared with us, we were proud to be part of this—Thanks Ragan and Megan for trusting us!

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Regan Gauthier49

In January 2016, we arranged a special trip in Asia for my West Point classmate Jack and his wife Mary.  As part of their trip, they visited the ancient temples of Angor Wat.  Thanks Jack and Mary for trusting us!

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In 2015 we were honored to lead my West Point Classmates and other West Point Graduates on 2 Different river Cruises.  Almost 45 years ago, after 47 months of training and studies, 729 of my classmates graduated from West Point.  Prior to beginning my training as an Army Officer, I took my first trip to Europe.  43 years later I took several of my classmates on 2 different river cruises.  What an experience—Anne and I helped introduce these wonderful guys and their wives and some of their family members and friends to the joys of river cruising.  We laughed, shared stories of West Point and had so much fun that many decided to take a river cruise in 2016, 2017 and 2018.  Thanks folks for your trust in us!

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71 River Cruise

 

In April 2015, we helped 2 wonderful couples go on the Enchanting Rhine River Cruise on AmaWaterways.  The photo shows Jerry, Mary Kay, Bill and Becky at dinner on their 7 night Enchanting Rhine AmaWaterways River Cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands in April 2015.  We also arranged a pre-cruise stay in Paris and a post cruise stay in Brugge, Belgium.  Thanks Jerry, Mary Kay, Bill and Becky for trusting us!

Jerry, Mary Kay, Bill Becky Enchanting Rhine River Cruise

In June 2014, we planned and led a group tour for the week long D Day 70th Anniversary.  Here is our group prior to the visit of the Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms in London, England. 

D Day Group
D Day 70th Anniversary Trip we led in 2014
We also visited Portsmouth, England, and took an overnight ferry to France.  We toured the key D Day sites.  The tour highlight was a chance for the male members to march in the parade honoring D Day participants and veterans of the military on 6 June 2014.  Here are 2 photos just prior to marching in the parade.  Thanks Ann, Wendy, Sandy, Clare, Irene, Trish, Jim. Tom, Allan, Bill, Mark and Joe, for trusting us!

D Day Ladie

D Day Men

In November 2013, we planned a 7 night Blue Danube Discovery river cruise on AMAWaterways for 3 great couples.  Here are some photos of their adventure.  Thanks Bob, Dena, Brenda, Ray, Joy, and Vic for trusting us!

Doyno River Cruise

Doyno Ladies PJ

In June 2012, we planned an Alaska cruise for a great group from the Houston area on the Celebrity Millennium.  As one member of the group said “The shipboard experience was spectacular. The recommended ship offered a truly uniquely Alaskan experience of cruising into Yakutat Bay and spending the morning enjoying the sight of the Hubbard Glacier.”  Here is a picture of this wonderful group—Thanks for trusting us!

Alaska Adventure Group

Thanks for your trust in us!

Looking back on these trips, we are humbled and proud to help all of these folks.  We look forward to helping you in the future to take your next trip.  When you are ready, why not give us a call (Hank at 713-397-0188) or email me at hschrader@dreamdestinations.com so we can help you plan a wonderful travel experience. We want you to: Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

What I am Thankful For

by Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination Specialist & Europe River Cruise Expert

I have a lot to be thankful for.  Maybe after you read this, (please read it all, I think you will be glad you did), you might reach out to someone and tell them what you are thankful for—directly to them and maybe add a comment or two back to us.  We hope you do—nothing is better than hearing from you all!  So, here goes:

Our Family

First, and foremost my wife Anne.  Here it is short and sweet—I don’t say it as often as I should, but you have made my life AWESOME! 

Anne, Hank & Anne (Ft. Ord 1986) & Kelly, Anne & Hank Oct 10. 1987 (just before our wedding)

Our wonderful daughter Kelly, Matt (son-in-law) & Lissie (granddaughter) are a constant source of joy and wonderment—they are all really fun folks who are just good, hard working and it makes us very proud.  And, although I am incredibly biased, we have the best granddaughter in the world!

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Front Row, Lissie, Anne, Kelly (daughter), Back row Cody, Hank, Amber (niece) Mindy (niece) and Tom on the Carnival Triumph Cruise 2014

Anne’s sister, Missie, Mike (brother-in-law) & Ryan (nephew)—the adults are caring, involved folks in the community and their church, who also work hard yet have raised a great young man ready to go to college next year—this bright guy will be a huge success.  Great family!

Next up, the Nephew & Nieces. 

Mindy (niece), Tom (her husband) and Dustin & Dalton—another unique family—Mindy is serving her country in the Air Force and Dustin & Dalton are in college and will be assets to somebody in the future.  Tom is a great Dad—we are so proud of you all!

Amber (niece) & Cody (her husband)—young folks with a bright future—they love sports, are gracious and just easy to be around.  Because of folks like you, the future of our country looks very good.

Lance (nephew), Elaine (his wife) and Nolan & SamLance served his country in the 10th Mountain in Bosnia and now is a policeman and firefighter—does impressive sound like a good term to describe him?  Elaine is a dynamo working Mom, whose tales of the two boys, Nolan & Sam are hilarious.

And no family tribute would be complete without mentioning our dogs past & present—Duncan, Harley, Buddy Lee (all in doggie heaven) and Louie—all put up with us no matter what and just wanted us to know how loved we were.  Take all that is good in this world and bundle them up with tails that never quit wagging and you know why they put a smile on our faces every day!

Doggie Heaven Dogs–Duncan (top). Kelly with Harley & Buddy Lee

louie

 

Louie

They say you can’t choose your family, but we choose well to say the least!  THANKS FAMILY!

My Classmates, Army Buddies and Track & Rugby Teammates

No words will do this group justice—they shaped my life, shared the ups and downs, pushed me, picked me up, made my life a constant joy and still influence my life today.  Our shared hardships and service to our country during my Army and West Point years went a long way to make me who I am.  Added to these great folks are my sports teammates who I have forged an unbreakable bond.  DUDES, YOU GUYS ROCK—THANK YOU ALL!

Hank as plebe (freshman) 1967 & at Graduation June 9, 1971

Hank running the mile relay against Navy at West Point–I never lost to Navy!

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Ft Benning Rugby Team 1975–Hank 2nd row with his arm around future Chief of Staff of the Army,  George Casey

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1977 Panama Founder’s Day (of West Point) with 2 classmates

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Officers of 4-20 Infantry ready for the jungle in Panama–I’m on back row 5th from the left 1978

The Sports Teams I Coached—Football, Rugby and Track

Growing up, next to my parents, no one influenced me like my coaches.  They just had a knack to get the best from me.  I tried to do that as a coach.  In a magazine article I wrote for American Football Monthly, I wrote the following “You can still care yet be demanding.  There is a fine line between firmness and harshness, between firm leadership and bullying, and between discipline and pettiness—great coaches know the difference and practice every day.”  I tried to live up to that as much as possible every day I coached.  While our time often was brief, it still lives on—almost all have really gone on to become great citizens who can make us all proud.  I can’t begin to tell you how much you have meant to me—THANKS FOR LETTING ME COACH YOU AND FOR YOU OUTSTANDING EFFORTS TOWARDS OUR GOALS AND STAYING IN TOUCH!

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West Point Rugby Team 1983 at Sandhurst, England–my first coaching job

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Hank (head coach) with his St John’s Military Academy Football Team 1993

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Teaching my players, Bellevue HS, just before we won the 2001 State Football Championships

Our wonderful Clients who are our Trusted Friends

Anne & I work in the best possible business—we make travel dreams a reality!  Our slogan says it all:  Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!  THANKS ALL YOU WONDERFUL FOLKS WHO TRUSTED US TO PLAN THEIR TRIPS—WE LOVE YOU ALL

D Day Group
D Day 70th Anniversary Trip we led in 2014
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AmaWaterways Chef’s Table with Clients on a river cruise Photo Anne Schrader

Some awesome clients we escorted in 2015 on an AmaWaterways Rivers & Castles river cruise  Photos Anne Schrader

Our Great Vendors

The hardest part of the travel business is finding the right suppliers who constantly deliver a product that exceeds our client’s expectations.  It is a partnership we do not take lightly.  We have learned from you and respect you continuing efforts to deliver high quality products.  Your business development directors combined with great education programs have made us much more professional.  High on this list are AmaWaterways, Scenic, Celebrity, Azamara, Travel Guard, and Europe Express.  We also appreciate all you dedicated employees who have made our vacations and our clients’ vacations fabulous.  THANKS FOR BEING SUCH GREAT PARTNERS!

Now It’s Your Turn

Do yourself a favor—tell someone thanks today for any reason.  We all have so much to be thankful for—for me the hard part is perhaps leaving someone out–I hope I didn’t.

From Anne & Hank—Happy Thanksgiving and Thanks Again to All of You for Your Trust in us!

How We Navigate the Maze of River Cruise Companies to Get the Best Trip for You!

by Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

I often wonder why folks are determined to book travel and river cruises on their own.  Maybe it is a control issue, maybe they like going to a website alone, but the truth is I’m not sure.  What I do know is that they just do not know what we know.  So, here goes—do you know more about Europe River Cruises than we do?

OK, Test Your Knowledge

Here is quick quiz!  1) What are the major river cruise companies that sell to the US (hint if you can’t name 8, you may not get this one right)? 

2) What is one new feature on these major lines? 

3) What are the rivers that river cruise boats sail on in Europe (hint looking for 8 or 9)?

Answers

1) AmaWaterways, Avalon, Crystal, Emerald, Scenic, Tauck, Uniworld & Viking. 

2) AmaWaterways—has reinvented its Chef’s Table Menu—more a tasting menu paired with excellent regional wines; Avalon added a healthy, locally sourced vegetarian food items to their menus; Crystal debuted its 154 guest Crystal Mozart—suites range from 204 sq feet to 750 square feet & feature apple iPads & 40 inch HDTVs; Emerald has added guided bike tours and hikes on 6 itineraries; Scenic added Scenic Culinaire on 3 ships—it is an onboard cooking school; Tauck christened 2 new ships with twenty-two 300 sq feet cabins, with floor to ceiling twin French balconies, a walk in closet and spacious marble bathroom; Uniworld will launch the Joie de Vivre (Joy of Living) in March 2017 to sail on the Seine River and continue its boutique signature decorating style in the cabins; Viking has decided to enter the US river cruise market and has started to cruise on ocean going ships—has it decided to stop adding to its huge river cruise fleet in Europe? 

 

Emerald Sun 2015

3) The 9 rivers are: Douro, Dordogne, Danube, Elbe, Po, Rhone, Rhine, Seine, & Volga.

 

Scenes from the Iron Gates on the lower Danube 2014

How did you do?  This is just the tip of the iceberg—there is so much to know and learn.  We help folks find the right river cruise every day.  Maybe we could help you!

5 Factors to Consider before you Navigate the River Cruise Maze on your own

We do not provide “price quotes”

If the only thing you want to do is to press a couple of buttons to find your trip– go for it.  We hope you selected the right buttons, the right cruise and the right cruise line.  We, on the other hand, do professional research to match you to the right cruise.

We do not provide instant results

Our first step is to match you with the available options.  We first learn who you are, ask a lot of questions and then find the best options.  We have developed a great Europe River cruise questionnaire that will help us learn what you really want on your river cruise.  We spend our time doing the research for you, so you can spend your time dreaming about the memories you are going to make.

If there is a great deal, we will find it

Everyone wants the best value for their money.  Note I did not say the least expensive price.  Our goal is to find you the best vacation that will exceed your expectations.  Now, that’s money well spent!

We can help you with benefits you might not be able to get on your own

After 20 + years in the travel business, we have made some great industry contacts.  We can often solve problems, get an upgrade, or enhance your experience through our contacts.  We are with you every step of the way.

We are travel professionals with outstanding credentials and experience

First, we have sailed on 12 European River cruises since 2009 and are going on our 13th this December.  We have sailed on Europe’s river in all 4 seasons.  We try to visit Europe 3-4 times a year.  Along with our personal experience, we have sent clients on almost all the river itineraries you might want to try.  We have personally escorted 4 groups on European river Cruises.

Second, both of us are certified Western Europe Destination Specialists and Accredited Cruise Counselors.  Between the both of us, we have earned river cruise specialist designations from AmaWaterways, Emerald, Scenic, Uniworld and Viking (Crystal and Tauck presently do not have specialist programs).  We have written 49 guides on European Cities.  We have visited 35 European Countries.  We were recently selected as the 2016 Living Magazine Reader’s Choice for the Best Travel Agency (Pearland and Friendswood edition).

Maybe it’s time to stop trying to navigate the river cruise maze on your own.  We certainly think so!  We hope this will inspire you to consider a Europe River cruise for your next vacation and let our expertise help you find the right one for you.  Please give Hank a call at 713-397-0188 or email me at hschrader@dreamdestinations.com so we can help you:

Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Buying Travel from us– What Is In It For You?

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

We sell travel to many satisfied clients.  Our mission is: Anne & Hank Schrader, of Visit Dream Destinations LLC, are certified travel professionals who will provide you with the highest quality, expertly planned domestic and foreign leisure travel with a focus on cruises, European river cruises and European vacations for discriminating travelers.

So, let’s talk a little about our sales process and answer the question—what is in it for you?

3 Questions Most Folks Ask Themselves When Presented a Travel Offer

We are all overwhelmed with ads and offers daily.  We also meet many folks who are selling to us.  I’ll bet that most of us are thinking about 3 questions when they met a salesperson and are listening to their pitch.  They are 1) Can I trust this person? 2) Do they know what they are talking about? 3) Do they care about me and what I need?  So, we want to enter the conversation you already having with yourself about these 3 questions.  These 3 topics deserve a more detailed approach so you can decide if we should be your travel professional.

Can I trust this Person?

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 20 years helping others travel to the right location.  Anne is equally dedicated to trust and integrity—she always thinks about what is best for our clients, every single time.  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 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

Do they know what they are talking about?

With over 20 years of experience selling travel to many satisfied clients, we know both what you need to make your travel experience better and the knowledge of what is available to match you with just the right vacation.  We have extensive first-hand knowledge and do comprehensive research on trips.  We have planned hundreds of successful trips to delighted clients and we are eager to plan yours.  Like a little proof?  Ask for one of our 49 Europe City travel guides (email Hank at hschrader@dreamdestinations.com), or click on one of our many (80 or more) PowerPoint presentations on our web site) or visit our About Section of our website to get travel tips (www.dreamdestinations.com )or visit our Pinterest page—over 4,500 pictures (www.pinterest.com/visitdd)There is one common thread herealmost 98% is our own pictures or written by us—in truth, it would be hard to find many travel professionals who have been to so many of the places we sell.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know we know our stuff.  As I used to say as a coach, when evaluating good football players, “he is the real deal!”  Well folks, we are the real deal!

Do they care about me and what I need?

We treat each of our clients as friends, because we don’t sell travel to clients—we sell travel to friends.  There is a big difference—how your trip goes makes a world of difference to us.  We like to say we are small enough to deliver personalize serve but big and experience enough to get you just the right trip.  We try to match you to just the right experience and make it logical, realistic and affordable in your price range.  Don’t get us wrong—we do not sell on price—we sell on value.  We try to demonstrate how valuable you are to us in many ways (many love our handwritten thank you and welcome back notes) but how many other travel professional have a Traveler Hall of Fame?  We are proud we could help you and want to share with others your joy and satisfaction.  To see some of the folks who we have added to our Hall of Fame, Please click here.

Some of our Awesome Friends in the Traveler Hall of Fame

What we do not do

Our goal is to provide you with information but not bombard you with offers you do not want.  We really try to get to know you and match your desires to opportunities when they arise.  We are low-key and strive to provide the right info in a relaxed, no pressure situation.  In my opinion, there is a big difference about being eager to be your travel professional and being an obnoxious salesperson.  We are eager to help, but know the boundariesthe truth is we want to form a partnership with you—not sell you something.  It is as simple as this—we inform, you decide.  We also realize you are busy and we respect your time by trying to contact you in the form (phone, email or written) that works the best for you at the time that is the best for you.  In short, we respect you!

We hope these words inspire you to become or continue our travel relationship.  We want to help you achieve your travel dreams—remember if you want to Visit Dream Destinationsplease contact Hank (713-397-0188) or email him at hschrader@dreamdestinations.com to get started or just tell us about your travel dreams.  We are here to help you:

Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Our Ideal Customer—It’s Probably YOU!

 

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

This might seem like a strange topic for our blog, but in reality, it may be the most important—who is our ideal customer?  In my lifetime I have been a career Army Officer, a teacher and a travel advisor.  These 3 careers have one item in common-it’s all about relationships with people.  We think our best asset, while advising you about travel, is our relationship with you—we are your trusted travel advisors. We will do the best for you and match you with the right trip so you can experience the joy of being in a wonderful place and learn all about it and share these experiences with family and friends.  So I would like to boldly tell you who you are, what you want from travel and how we can help you achieve your travel goals.

Who You Are

First and foremost you are active folks.  You have succeeded professionally, physically and socially in your lifetime.  You are a college graduate and you are married.  You may still be working or just recently retired but you have been in the workforce for over 40 years.  You are reasonably affluent and willing to spend $10,000 or more on a trip that matches a travel experience you want.  You are well traveled—you probably have visited Alaska, Hawaii or Europe, or all three.  You might have even lived for a while in a foreign country.  You probably have been on a 7 day ocean or river cruise.  You have realistic expectations—you know great trips are expensive.  You seek great value in your trip—the best experiences for your money.  You know geography and world events—chances are you read a lot.  You like art and history.  You like both big cities and small villages and historic sites.  You really like good food and wine.  You want to be pampered—you want to have a temporary lifestyle that exceeds your daily lifestyle.  You want to mark milestone celebrations with unique travel experiences.  You have worked very hard in your lifetime and you want to reward yourself for your past and future achievements.

Some of the Great Folks We Have Helped Achieve Their Travel Dreams

What You Are Seeking From Your Travels

You want travel to enrich your life with experiences.  You want to travel with friends and family to share these experiences.  You have done your research before you seek us out and you want to turn your dreams into reality (according to Google, 62% of all leisure travelers use the internet to research their trip and the average traveler visits 20 different websites prior to making a purchase—you may be one who has done such extensive research).  Sometimes it is a new experience.  Sometimes it is a familiar place.  Sometimes it is an escape.  Sometimes it is pure luxury—the best the world has to offer.  Sometimes it is active and full of adventure.  I’ll bet if you close your eyes and start thinking about where you would like to go and what you would like to experience, you can quickly think of 3 or more places—your own personal bucket list.  You want a vacation that is fun, safe, hassle free and a good value for your money.

How We can Help You Achieve Your Travel Goals

According to Google, there are 5 distinct stages of travel. They are 1) Dreaming; 2) Planning; 3) Booking; 4) Experiencing; and 5) Sharing.  We help you in all of the 5 phases of travel by turning ordinary trips into extra-ordinary experiences.  How do we do this?—we really know who you are!  We know what you like and do not like.  We do not want your trip to be okay or good—we want it to be the best vacation you ever take!  We are not Hank.com or Anne.com—we do not work for a cruise line or a resort or a travel company—we work for YOU!  There is no booking engine on our website—we need to talk with you, really know you and then plan and book your trip.  We have been in business for 20 years.  We know what a great value is in travel and will find it for you.  Ask yourselves—who do you know that has been on 27 ocean cruises, 12 river cruises, visited over 80 countries and written 49 city guides for European destinations?  We really know our stuff about travel and we use our experiences to enhance your trip.  Maybe, most importantly, we don’t want to be one and done with your travel—we want to be your trusted travel advisors for life.  You aren’t our customer—you are our friend and we treat all our friends with respect and will do the right thing to help you achieve your travel goals.  Almost every time we plan a trip for someone, we ask ourselves why would anyone try to do it themselves, especially since it cost nothing extra to use us and you will pay the same regardless if you use us or not.  The bottom line is we know what you are seeking from your travels and we can help you achieve your travel goals so we can get you the right experiences on all of your trips. 

Did we get it right—are you our ideal customer?  We are pretty sure you are!  The next time you are thinking about traveling, why not contact us to help you achieve your travel expectations?  Let us make you member of the Dream Destinations Traveler Hall of Fame.  We hope this will inspire you to give me a call at 713-397-0188 or send me an email (hschrader@dreamdestinations.com ) so I can help you:

Savor life . . . make memories . . . visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Why Are You Visiting 20 Different Websites before You book Your Trip?

 

by Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & River Cruise Expert
That’s right, according to Google, 85% of travelers search the worldwide web for travel information when planning a trip and 62% visit 20 or more different sites prior to making a booking.
Trip planning does require a lot of work to get it right, and it is a hassle. Wouldn’t it be better to let us solve the trip research for you? Here are 7 Benefits to you if you let us plan your trip:

Problem # 1: Will I get the best value for my money?  Benefit to You: Spend your money wisely  Our solution:  We match the right vendor(s) to provide a trip that will exceed your expectations
Problem # 2: Will I get the right trip?   Benefit to You:  A better vacation  Our Solution:  We learn your dreams and turn them into a reality
Problem #3:  Will I make wise choices?   Benefit to You A better vacation and no fear of missing out on great experiences Our Solution:  Our 20 years of experience in the travel industry coupled with our first-hand knowledge and numerous professional certifications will help us provide you with the best options available
Problem #4:  Will I remember all the details?  Benefit to You:  No unforgotten trip details Our Solution:  We check all the details so you do not have any missteps or forgotten arrangements
Problem #5:  Will I spend too much time researching my trip?   Benefit to You:  Saves you time & eliminates hassles  Our Solution:  Once we know what you want, we do research to get you the highest quality, expertly planned trip
Problem #6 How can I best protect my vacation?  Benefit to You:  Peace of Mind Our Solution:  We can help lead you to the right people to answer your questions about insurance options
Problem # 7: How do I know I can trust my adviser to do the best for me?  Benefit to You: Someone thinking of your best interests   Our Solution:  We are members of several professional organizations and we have earned the trust of hundreds of clients. We encourage you to read their comments about our service
LEARN MORE

Google has determined there are 5 Stages of Travel. They are 1) Dreaming; 2) Planning; 3) Booking; 4) Experiencing; and 5) Sharing. We can help inspire you to dream and really help in the remaining 4 stages of travel. LEARN MORE HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
You can plan your own trip and take your chances or we can help you have a better trip.
Our Goal—Customer Bliss—Unforgettable experiences—We are not selling travel, we are helping you make memories to last a lifetime.
Why not call Hank now at 713-397-0188 and let’s get started getting you to your personal Dream Destination!
Savor life . . . make memories . . . visit Dream Destinations! . . . Your journey begins here!