An Inside Look at Why You Need a Travel Agent for Business and Pleasure
This post is for all you dreamers out there. Yep, if you dream of photographing couples on the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean, this may be the blog post to get your foot in the door. If you are a bride who is feeling overwhelmed by the thought of having a local wedding and would like to just be whisked away to some tropical island and tie the knot on a beautiful pier overlooking windex colored water—this is the blog for you. If you are just thoroughly interested in the life of a travel agent, wanting to know more about what they do and how they can help you plan that dream vacation or honeymoon…this blog is for you.
Debbie, which might I add was our travel agent for our destination wedding, has shared some valuable information that I think could not only help our client readers, but also help photographers who are needing more information on the honeymoon/destination wedding process. I feel as though there are some solid tips shared about the travel industry, but also about business in general.
As a side note, if you are thinking about traveling to the Caribbean, reach out to Debbie. I know destination weddings are not for everyone, but if you are planning on doing what my husband and I did (we tied the knot in the Bahamas), Debbie was our saving grace throughout the process. I will chat more on that later, but this lady is a rockstar at her job. Not only did she help my husband and I with out travel needs, she did so with my sister and her husband, and about 5 other couples and families that we have referred to her. She’s amazing at what she does, and I am not saying that lightly.
P.S. Some of the images that you will see in this blog post are not my images. Please see the verbiage written under each image to see which wonderful photographers shot which image.
P.P.S. Indulge in some of our wedding portraits!!! Thanks, Kevin Glaser!!
N : Tell me what a travel agent does. How long have you been in business?
D: A travel agent in the simplest of terms helps clients find the perfect trip for the clients specific needs. A travel agent does not charge a fee, however, we do receive a commission from places that we do refer. This does not come out of the clients pocket so its a completely free service. We ask specific questions so that we can see which resorts might fit your needs. We take care of all of the details for the clients, including bookings. We can book all of the flights, deal with communication between the resort and the client, and really serve as the liaison for a smooth experience. BluPrint Travel has been in the business for over 5 years now! However, I have been in this business for 35 years working with other brick and mortar travel agencies.
N: What are the top resorts that you work with? Do you ever help plan vacations that are not on resorts?
D: I mainly work with all inclusive resorts. These include the Sandals and Beaches Resorts along with the Excellence Resorts and AM Resorts. These can be found in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica.... And other Caribbean islands. Some specific ones are Excellence Resorts, which are adult only and with AM Resorts there is Secrets, Breathless, Zoetry which are adult only and Dreams, NOW and Sunscape which are for everyone. . How I normally tell people what I book is “Fun in the Sun” travel types--so really anything in the Caribbean, Hawaii, all cruises, Mexico, South Pacific, etc. As far as your question is concerned, I can help clients even if they do not want to go to these fun in the sun type of places, however, I know you would be served better with someone who is well versed in whichever place you want to go. Take for instance, Paris. I could plan a nice trip to Paris for you, but I know there are other people in the industry who mainly do Paris. I specialize in my Caribbean style travel, and I want all couples to receive the best for their travel experiences. I am part of DWHSA--which stands for Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Specialist Association. I can easily reach in to this pool of Specialists who I can guarantee are qualified and refer them to said client. I want to know that these couples will get as good of service if not better if I refer them out. Just as a side note, if someone says that they can do everything, I would be a bit worried. It takes alot of time and maturity, but eventually you learn what you like and are good at. Once you know what you are good at, there is no need to do other things. You have got to do the parts that you love, because if you dont, you get burned out.
N : I know you work with weddings and honeymoons--I'd like to ask you a few questions about the wedding side. Do you ever suggest the bride book the resort photographer? If you are getting married on a resort, are there any rules about photography or photographers?
D : Most destination weddings that I work with have already chosen a wedding photographer that they want to bring with them. Alot of resorts used to not allow this. Resorts have been more flexible the last couple of years with this, but I think the resorts have realized that they actually make more money this way when a traveling wedding photographer stays as a guest. For instance, if a couple decides to get married in Jamaica, but they do not want the resort photographer and have decided to book a Jamaican photographer instead. This photographer would have to pay a fee to be on the resort for the day. However, if you decide to fly your photographer in from wherever, the resorts are more willing to house said photographer because they would be on the resort for more days. This flown in photographer is considered an invited guest and the resorts are starting to become okay with this idea. As far as the resort photographers go--some clients are okay with them. If its a super small wedding, maybe just the couple themselves, then more than likely they choose the resort photographer. However, if its a bigger wedding, they are more than likely to choose a photographer to travel with them to the destination.
N : Why is it helpful to have a travel agent for a destination wedding or honeymoon?
D: Simple. I help you find a venue. The couple gives me their invite list to send them all of the information. If any of the guests have any questions, they come right to me and not the couple. It’s a seamless process. For a honeymoon-- I help find things that fit in to the couples budget. Sometimes they don’t know about the costs of things, so it’s my job to educate the client. People honestly just dont know what the cost of things are because they’ve never been married before.
N : What type of bride/client do you typically book for your services?
D : 25-35 year olds. These brides tend to have discretionary income. They are more well traveled. They have a knowledge of what travel expenses generally cost. They are college educated, and definitely considered to be in the Millennial generation. The main thing about Millennials is learning how they prefer to do things. I used to find it upsetting and think that some clients were checking up on me--like my resources, etc. But, I realized, Millennials arent checking up on you--they just want to be part of the process. Once I realized this, the whole game changed. I love working with Millennials.
N: Since you work in the destination industry, what advice would you give wedding photographers who are looking to market to destination brides?
D : Reach out to travel agents as we work with quite a bit of destination couples. If you are looking to have more beach themed weddings--then photograph more beach things. You are what you put out there, so make it look like you travel alot. Make it look like you do destination work.
You may find more information at BluPrint Travel