Showing posts with label Use a Travel Agent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Use a Travel Agent. Show all posts

Monday, June 7, 2021

Where 2 Next: HAWAII - Virtual Event This Tuesday!

 

🌺ALOHA! Tomorrow night is our virtual island getaway to Hawaii! There's still time to register and join in!



Hawaii is open and ready for you to visit! Don your most colorful lei and get those hips ready to hula as Cruise Planners and our partners head to Hawaii for the most unforgettable virtual journey. Discover why Hawaii is the #1 aspirational destination for all of North America. It's an absolute eruption of tropical culinary pleasures, watersports, and jaw-dropping ocean views that will leave you feeling like the Big Kahuna.

Register now and let's say Aloha to Hawaii! A Cruise Planners® Exclusive booking offer will be revealed during the event

Virtual Event details:
🌸 TUESDAY, JUNE 8 • 6:00 pm Eastern or again at 6:00 pm Pacific 🌸
Use the link below to register. You will receive instructions on how to join this virtual journey
Please call or email with questions and let me know when you are ready to experience Hawaii! I can handcraft the perfect vacation on land, at sea, or both. ~Mahalo!
317.776.1733 | clingren@cruiseplanners.com

Friday, June 4, 2021

Cruising from the U.S. is BACK! The Wait is Over!

ROYAL CARIBBEAN ANNOUNCEMENT!! The wait is over as cruising from the U.S. is just around the corner!



3-5 NIGHT CRUISES:
** FREEDOM OF THE SEAS® -- from Miami, Florida, starting July 2, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

** MARINER OF THE SEAS® -- from Port Canaveral, Florida, starting August 23, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

7-NIGHT CRUISES:
NEW! ODYSSEY OF THE SEAS®-- from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, debuting July 3, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

ALLURE OF THE SEAS® -- from Port Canaveral, Florida, starting August 8, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS® -- from Miami, Florida, starting August 14, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

Thursday, June 3, 2021

It's the Adventure of Your Life: Pole to Pole!

Have you ever dreamed about going on a journey from pole to pole? This 93-day Grand Expedition on Hurtigruten would be unlike any other voyage you've ever been on, taking you on an immersive journey from north to south, visiting the most iconic destinations along the way, and experiencing the amazing diversity of cultures and wildlife of the Americas and Antarctica. Departs August 8, 2022, from Vancouver. Rooms are selling quickly and space is limited. Let's get it on your calendar. Book Now while you still can.

Also available, a 66-day Grand Expedition on September 2, 2022, with an overnight in Edmonton, Canada before departing from Cambridge Bay.

As a certified Hurtigruten agent, I'd be happy to help you secure passage on either of these ultimate adventures!





Golf Packages!

 Ready to hit the links this summer or fall, we've got some GREAT Golf packages available, from 3-7 nights or longer.

> Scotland, Palm Springs, Hilton Head, Orlando, Scottsdale, and more. https://tinyurl.com/GolfVacations



Thursday, April 29, 2021

BIG NEWS for Land Lovers & Cruise Lovers Alike!

EUROPE IS SET TO REOPEN!  
CRUISING FROM US PORTS LOOKS LIKELY THIS SUMMER! 

This week has brought some wonderful news for the travel industry and economies the world over, to be sure.  In this pair of exciting articles, we find that Europe is set to reopen to vaccinated Americans this summer, AND the CDC has now said that cruising could most likely resume from US ports this July.  Both of these are wonderful and long overdue announcements!  Stay tuned for more as the news gets shared. I'm so excited to see travel ramping up as more and more countries begin to reopen or announce their pending reopenings. And it's been exciting to watch the cruise lines find ways to resume cruising worldwide, but even better to see that the US is finally coming around to allowing it from our ports as well. 



OPA! Greece is Now Reopen!

MORE EXCITING NEWS!  Greece has reopened!


Here are the basics:
-Starting April 19, Greece began allowing entries for residents of the US & several other countries.
-Travelers must present a negative PCR test for entry OR show proof of vaccination (must be 14+ days since the last dose of a vaccine from the approved list).
-Due to the successful control of the first wave in 2020, Greece reopened tourism last summer so our partners are well-prepared to provide a safe, healthy experience for guests!
-As of May 3, restaurants in Greece will open for outdoor seating.
-There are more details to know other than what we listed above, and this is subject to change. It is important to review all entry requirements at https://travel.gov.gr prior to travel.

If Greece is on your list or you'd really like to make a visit this summer, please reach out. I'd love to help you. 317.776.1733 | clingren@cruiseplanners.com | www.icanshowyoutheworld.vacations



Thursday, May 7, 2020

For the the first responders to delivery drivers, grocery store workers, utility and IT folks and many more who keep things running smoothly...a hearty THANK YOU!

To all of the essential workers, my team and I at Cruise Planners - Christopher Lingren & Associates want to say "Thank you!" for keeping things going while so many shelter-at-home - from the first responders to delivery drivers, grocery store workers, utility and IT folks and many more who keep things running smoothly, we couldn't do it all without YOU. And for all of you, we hope you're thinking about your future adventures because travel will return...even if a bit slower than desired. Want help redeeming a future travel credit? We can help with that too even if you didn't book it originally with our agency. bit.ly/RedeemYourFutureTravelCredit We're ready when you're ready!




Sunday, April 26, 2020

When You Decide to Travel Again...Please use a live person. Do NOT click a “book” button on a website, ever again

I cannot take credit for writing this, but it is a great message to share. For all my industry colleagues...you are warriors. Until we are traveling again ❤️ 🏖 ✈️ 🛳 🚆 🏔 🎢 🗺
* * * * *
Travel and Tourism account for 330 million jobs - that’s 1 out of every 10 jobs around the world that are affected by tourism.
The travel industry has been dealing with the coronavirus since January... an additional 2 full months before it really impacted anyone’s lives here. And I️ know it will be the last industry to start up again since there is now so much fear installed in people’s minds of being on a plane, a cruise ship, a hotel, or even any crowded space.
We’ve stopped travel for production on movies currently being filmed around the world. Stopped travel for global concerts for our clients. Corporate travel for multi-million dollar accounts- all canceled. Sports entertainment travel, done. That’s all on top of the usual consumer leisure holiday vacations.
Travel agents only get paid when their clients travel. Many are not eligible for any sort of government loan, even with the small business funding that ran out (and will quickly run out again). Many haven’t had new trips booked now for months.

**I️ do beg you when you do decide to travel again - PLEASE use a travel agent. I️ don’t care who, or what company - were all on the same team. But please use a live person. Do NOT click a “book” button on a website, ever again.**

Thursday, March 12, 2020

NOW More Than Ever, Your local Travel Agent Needs Your Business

To All My Friends, you know I work in the Travel Industry. You’ve seen so many posts about my travel experiences and the importance of booking with a travel agent. NOW more than ever, your local agent needs your business.

Did you know that in 2019, the US travel industry accounted for $2.5 trillion in economic activity, and supported 15.7 million American jobs? Plus it drives economies around the globe when Americans travel. Dire consequences come when the travel stops.
These past few weeks have been horrific for the travel industry, and last night we were dealt a bigger blow with new travel bans & restrictions. I so appreciate all of my friends, clients, and family member’s calls and acts of support. Please, continue to support your local travel professionals including locally owned hotels, tour companies, restauranteurs, taxi companies, and travel agents as travel rebounds, which will, but certainly faster with your help. When you book locally (vs with Expedia, Costco, Orbitz, VRBO, etc), you’re truly helping ensure their family’s viability, and that’s huge right now, particularly as many of us watch our earned commissions vanish (a GIANT thanks goes out to the suppliers who are going above and beyond right now, including guaranteeing commissions). We don't get paid until our guests travel...so when you cancel, all the work we've done leading up to your trip is for naught and no payday comes. Verbally thanking us might seem like a nice thing to do, but verbal thank you's don't pay our bills. These are dark times for us all, and I’m personally feeling the pressure. (To my clients, I appreciate everyone’s patience, as I know there have been long hold times, and I’m doing my best to get to everyone.)
Please don’t stop traveling after we’re all able to once again! We need to see life around the globe to better appreciate our own place in this giant world of ours, and better relate to the other inhabitants. Like so many other crises before, this too WILL pass, but the economic impact will be devastating for so many across this land and around the world if people don't start traveling once again.
Turn to your local travel professionals for assistance when you're ready to travel again. I understand you think you know what you’re doing, you found a better rate, it’s easier online, etc., etc., I’ve heard it all. Travel agents need your support. They not only need your business now, but they want it. So please do think about your local travel agent when you’re asking your Facebook friends to support small and local businesses. Expedia, Costco, Orbitz, VRBO, etc, will do just fine. But your small, local travel agency - well, they need your support. So when you post “support small business”, please do just that. I treat every trip as if it were for my own family, and care about your travel plans. The big boxes and online sites treat you merely like any other transaction - you're just a number to them. With the recent events we are all facing right now, those big box stores & online sites (i.e. Expedia, Orbitz, Costco, et al) - well they won't be there to help you through this rough patch. I am here, 24/7 if need be, to help you work through cancellations, rebookings, etc.
If you are booked for something in the next few weeks - I'm closely monitoring and working on your travel plans to re-accommodate, change, or transfer to another time as works best for you. But if you are booked for something later this summer or fall and are considering canceling - PLEASE - hold off, have some patience, and let's get through this rough patch together. This too will pass. The worst may be coming shortly, but with so many measures being put in place to slow the spread, it will not last for long. Don't throw in the towel out of fear. Be strong, and let us get beyond it and then make a measured decision at a more appropriate time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Happy March! Where Will Your Next Adventure Take You?

It's March, and here are some fabulous things to consider for your next vacation. I'd be happy to help you score some of these great experiences!

FEATURED OFFERS:
Celebrity Cruises - Choose from the lowest available fare with a non-refundable deposit or two free perks, including onboard credit, beverage packages, and more
Sandals Resorts - Save up to 65% when you book a minimum of 3 nights
AMA Waterways - Enjoy up to $2,000 in savings, up to $100 onboard credit, and a complimentary stateroom upgrade or prepaid gratuities on select sailings
Reach out and let's chat. clingren@cruiseplanners.com | 317.776.1733 | www.icanshowyoutheworld.vacations

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Harvard Business Review Recognizes the Travel Agent's Worth!

Thank you, Harvard, for recognizing the value of using a Travel Agent for booking those unforgettable experiences. I do my very best to help my clients have the most wonderful vacation experiences....whether on the land, sea, or on a river. Live is short. Acquire memories, not things.


Harvard Business Review Cites Travel Agents As Example For Salespeople To Follow


In an article titled “B2B Salespeople Need To Act More Like Travel Agents,” authors Nicholas Toman, Brent Adamson and Cristina Gomez note that “Having more information doesn’t always make it easier to decide. Consider what’s happened with travel: With the explosion of internet travel sites in the 2000s, consumers took charge of their own travel, and travel agencies hemorrhaged business. Fast forward to today. According to the travel and leisure marketing firm MMGY, the use of travel agents increased by 50% from 2014 to 2015. Why? Because consumers, overwhelmed by information and inundated with choices, are again turning to travel agents to take the work out of travel planning.”


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thank You, Jimmy Fallon, For Recognizing Our Worth!

 

“Of course I use a travel agent. Travel agents get you the best rooms and the best rates. I was friends with a travel agent growing up in Saugerties, NY; I’ve used a travel agent my whole life. I don’t even know how to book my own trip.” - Jimmy Fallon

I enjoy his positive enthusiasm and energy with his show. He cracks me up many times with his different sketches and ensemble musical bits, and when I saw this in an article promoting the new "Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon" attraction opening at Universal Orlando this spring, I was delighted. It's always nice when people recognize the value and service that TA's provide. DIY really is for crafting projects like you see on Pinterest - not for experiences utilizing potentially thousands of your hard-earned dollars. Professional Travel Agents are like your own travel concierge and work hard to ensure you have a fantastic experience and really do treat every trip request as if it were for their own family (at least I do). Thanks
Jimmy Fallon
for the shoutout! Those of us in the industry appreciate positive comments like this.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

You Use a Professional for your Health, Finances, Insurance, Legal Concerns, and Even Your Hair...You Should for Travel Too!

DIY can be great for many assorted projects - Pinterest has flourished for that reason alone - but when it comes to things like your hair, your health, your finances, insurance, legal advice - and YES - your travel plans - you really should seek a professional who does it day in and day out all year long for that one vacation per year you take. Why spend hours upon hours searching through too much information available online when you can easily turn to a professional to take care of you. Nolan lays out the reasons plainly and simply.

#travelagentawareness



Thursday, March 10, 2016

5 Important Things To Know When Considering Hiring Me As Your Travel Advisor

 1.    You are not bothering me if you just need an airline ticket and a hotel in Chicago. I can indeed book more than just your exotic annual vacations and will do so gladly. Plus, I will likely have access to free amenities at the hotel that you might not find on your own because of my industry connections.

2.    If something goes amiss when you’re on your trip, call me immediately so I can fix it. Don’t be shy and say you didn’t want to make a fuss. You’ve paid money for this vacation and I’m your advisor for a reason. Little things that mar the experience can typically be fixed quite easily and that’s what I’m here for.

3.    When you compare the vacation packages I’ve offered you with what’s available via an online travel agency or discount website, please know that you’re probably not comparing apples to apples. The hotel I’ve selected is in a locale I think you will like, based on what you’ve told me. The room I have reserved for you is guaranteed in its category, meaning when you check-in, you won’t be given inferior accommodations, based on the desk attendant’s mood. Plus, if you’re looking at a website that brags that it has the lowest pricing available, you’ll likely be getting the lowest quality room available. Trust me.

4.    When you’re online and you see a deal that looks too good to be true, it probably is. Travel companies don’t give away things for no reason. Is there any small print you’re not reading because you’re so excited about the price you’re seeing? Do bring any deals you see to my attention and I promise to give you my best expert opinion as to what you’d actually get for your money.

5.    Do make travel a priority in your life. Every moment is precious and if you keep putting off that family vacation or that couple’s getaway, you may never do it and only end up with regrets. Let me craft a trip for you that will make the most of your time together so you’ll end up with fabulous memories. Live for the now; who knows what tomorrow will bring? 

 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tips on Thursday - Myths About Travel Agents


10 Myths About Travel Agents
 

1.    Myth: All Travel Agents and Agencies are the Same

Fact: Every travel agent is different and has a different area that they specialize in. So, depending on what type of trip you are looking to take one travel agent will suit you better than another. That’s why it is important when planning a trip to find a travel agent that specializes in where you want to go.

2.    Myth:  No One Uses  Travel Agents Anymore

Fact: Travel agents still sell 51 percent of all airline tickets, 87 percent of all cruises, 81 percent of all tours and packages, 45 percent of all car rentals and about 47 percent of all hotels.*

3.    Myth: Travel Agents are Trying to Cheat Me if They Don’t Quote Me the Cheapest Price

Fact: Travel agents know the ins and outs of different itineraries. While you might find one that is a little bit cheaper, that cheaper itinerary might involve a whole slew of headaches.  For example, longer waits at the airport and odd travel times.  A travel agent will be looking to get you the best value for you money spent which should include the most direct and time friendly itinerary they can find. – Unless you have told them you would prefer to have the cheaper options presented as well expect value to be a factor included in the trip they plan.

4.    Myth:  It is Expensive to Use a Travel Agent

Fact:  The fee a travel agent charges really depends upon the agent. While some of the more luxury agencies have higher fees, the average fee is quite marginal. Some travel agents will even drop the fee or offer a discount once you have finalized your trip with them. Plus, you can always ask an agent upfront what their fees are and decide for yourself if it’s worth it. Also, it is important to remember that a lot of online booking sites, such as Orbitz and Expedia, charge a booking fee as well.

5.    Myth:  I Can Easily Book the Same Trip on My Own Without Using A Travel Agent.

Fact:  Although travel agents have access to all of the same outlets you would use when looking to book travel, they also have access to exclusive pricing and package deals that are most times not available to the public. Your travel agent also has more leverage in helping out in situations such as hotels claiming to be booked, when in fact they may still have rooms available that are on hold for travel agents reservations. So when everyone else is telling you “No” your travel agent can help turn that to a “Yes.”

6.    Myth: Travel Agents Don’t Have Information as Updated as the Internet

Fact: Travel agents obtain some of their information from the same sources as online booking sites such as Orbitz and Travelocity. They also receive daily emails and faxes with new specials from resorts and hotels that may not be published on the internet. Travel agents can also call a place directly to see if they can work out other kinds of special deals for you, something an online site can’t do.  

7.    Myth: Travel Agents Are a Waste of Time

Fact: Although you can find much of the same information that the travel agent provides for you on your own, you are going to spend a lot of valuable time doing so.  A travel agent can actually save you from hours of painful research and price comparison shopping.  They have up-to-date prices, hotel conditions, and interesting new activities. Their prior knowledge and experience gives them the upper hand in trip planning.

8.    Myth: Travel Agents Have Lost Their Clout

Fact: Travel agents book hotels, cruises, and activities every day. The companies that provide these services know that and want their business and will work to keep that business coming back. So while a place might be telling you “Sorry we are booked,” for your one time trip, they are more likely to make an exception for the travel agent to insure that the agent sends them more business in the future. 

9.    Myth:  Good Travel Agents are Hard to Find

Fact:  While there are some below par travel agents out there, sources such as Tripology are great outlets to go to find reliable specialized travel agents that will match your needs.

10.    Myth:  Travel Agents Can Only Book My Flight and Hotel

Fact:  Travel agents can arrange car service, personalized tours and activities, in addition to all the basic travel services they provide. They are also excellent sources of information concerning good restaurants, good sites to see, and tips on what to pack.

*Source: American Society of Travel Agents

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Savers - More VALUE Found in the Travel Advisor Community

Again in researching information to provide for Saturday Savers, I found another great article to demonstrate the VALUE that a good Travel Agent can bring to the table for their clients.  Click the link and check out this article below and let me know what you think.  

Hurricane Sandy's Lessons to Travelers: Use a Travel Agent

Many of us plan out vacations to the nth degree, but ultimately life doesn't always happen the way that you plan. Things happen, especially when mother nature is concerned.  As this article from this past fall demonstrates, sometimes mother nature gets in the way and disrupts even the best laid plans.  Having a Travel Agent in your corner can truly be beneficial when things don't turn out the way that you imagined they would.  In the end, that can truly be translated... VALUE.  But only when you use the Travel Agent from the beginning to help you put together your fantastic plans.  When you trust them to help you plan things, and use their services to book your vacation, Travel Agents will be right there for you when things go a bit awry, and they just might end up saving you time and money and help you get home again instead of sitting in an overcrowded terminal for days as many people had to during the still recent events of Hurricane Sandy.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday Savers - The Value of Using A Travel Agent

As I have been researching new savings tips to highlight in order to resurrect in 2013 this irregular feature from 2012, I came across this terrific article that really resounded with the overall concept of the Saturday Savers column.  Savings isn't always translated into "dollars off" (or "cents off").  Sure that is the general connotation, but very often the VALUE that you receive from a special is much more important than the reduction in the price you pay.  Personally, I always look for the total VALUE of a purchase before merely saving a few bucks off of something's price. Check out the article and let me know your thoughts by commenting below.  And quite honestly, Travel Agents, Consultants, Advisors... whatever they go by, do bring VALUE to their clientele. 

Why We Really Don't Want Travel Agents To Die



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Why a Travel Agent?



Are Travel Agents Dinosaurs?

Absolutely Not!  You ask, “why should I call a Travel Agent instead of going direct?”  Good Question! About 5 years ago, it was predicted that being a Travel Agent was a dying profession, and in the age of technology, Travel Agents would become extinct. Well, here it is 5+ years later and the agent community is alive, thriving, and growing once again. Yes, it is true that booking an airline ticket is a commodity, so they’re not quite the order takers they once were. Today’s Travel Agent will help you figure out not only where your next vacation will be; they will help you weed through the piles of information on the internet and let you know what’s real and what’s not.

So let’s take a moment to examine Why you SHOULD use a Travel Agent

  • The biggest myth surrounding Travel Agents is that they “charge” for their services. And for the most part, their service is complimentary. Perhaps not for an airline ticket (because airlines have cut out paying any commission), but for travel – such as cruises, tours, and land packages, their commission is paid by the vendor. This means – Travel Agent’s Services are FREE to you!
  • You get the BEST DEAL by calling on a Cruise Planners/American Express Travel Consultant. We don’t work for any one Cruise Line or Tour Operator – we search all cruise lines to find you the best deal for the best available cabin at the time of booking. And the best part is a travel agent will continue to work for you even after the deposit. So, if a cruise line has a rate change, we call and lower your price. If you book directly with the supplier, does the cruise line call you to let you know there has been a price reduction? I doubt it!
  • A good agent will also provide advice – once you pull into a port of call, now what? Try to Google the words “Mediterranean cruise” and you will see 1.5 million results. Yikes! Where do you start to look? Who is legitimate and who isn’t? A good Travel agent will guide you and let you know which is the most popular site to see, or even some hidden secrets they’ve uncovered while traveling. When calling a cruise line directly, do you think the hourly person who answers the phone can offer the same advice?
  • If you run into trouble on a weekend while traveling, will the cruise line agent help? Most agents check their e-mail or voice mail during the weekend just in case of any emergency. 
  • Your time is valuable. Give an agent a call and let them know what trip you are interested in and let them do all the work. Why spend hours and hours searching the internet or calling each cruise line? Call a Cruise Planners/American Express specialists and will save you time and money.
  • Who has the best deals? If I call direct, will I get the best possible deal? Yet another myth is that many online sites run exclusive promotions or hold space months in advance. This supposedly gives them an advantage on certain ships and sailing dates. Travel Agents have access to all the best promotions as well. You might receive extra shipboard credit to spend onboard or pre-paid gratuities so all tipping is included. And on some itineraries a unique shore excursion is available. They aren’t available on all sailings, but if you book in advance you are more likely to enjoy a special extra perk.
  • A Travel Agent can help you customize your vacation! So you want to have a family reunion, get married, or renew your vows on board? Call your Travel Agent today! Don’t try and book this through the cruise lines or on your own as it will likely become a nightmare. By booking through a reputable agent, they will take the burden off of you and become the “party planner”. They can set up cocktail parties, beach parties, special shore excursions, wedding receptions, meeting rooms, dining arrangements. Leave it to the pros!
  • With so many travel options out there, it can be overwhelming. We work as your "value interpreter."  Using our expertise, we find amazing experiences that exceed your every desire, but not your budget. With our services, you can be confident that your vacation will be perfectly planned, hassle-free, and filled with moments you'll never forget. 

So why wait?  Call me today at 317.776.1733 to get your next vacation plan started… or visit my website.