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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Discover Your Perfect Getaway

Words by Jennifer Stein
How Working with a Professional can Save you Time, Money and Stress

When couples begin the process of planning a destination wedding or honeymoon, the choices can feel overwhelming. There are so many locations which appear to be a perfect fit on the surface, but once you start digging deeper, you may realize the resort isn’t what you envisioned or is unable to suit your needs. Internet photos can be extremely deceiving, so how do you ensure your destination wedding or dream honeymoon getaway lives up to what you want? You can scout out the property yourself (which can add expense and time to your planning) or, use a professional.

The beauty of working with a professional is twofold – first of all, they have taken tours of the guest rooms and scouted out the ceremony and reception sites to understand what the property’s strengths and weaknesses are. Second, they coordinate much of your group planning so you don’t have to. Everything from excursions, room discounts for guests, hotel/airport transfers and group airfare will be handled by them.

One of our partners and top romance travel companies in America, All About Honeymoons, specializes in creating these experiences seamlessly for couples far and wide. One of the steps they take in working with clients to understand their needs is a “discovery call.” With each new client, the travel specialist sits down with the couple to determine their desires, budget and overall vision to make sure the goals are clear from the beginning.

April Schmitt, 2010 Franchisee of the Year for All About Honeymoons explains the many objectives of these discovery calls, “The goal of the call is numerous. To begin to build the relationship and ensure the doors of communication are open, we educate the couple on what to expect with each step of the process from planning to the big day. Locations, budget, guest list and expectations are all topics covered. One of the most important questions I ask them is ‘are you a barefoot in the sand bride or a stiletto heels in the gazebo bride?’ This question tells me volumes about the type of wedding desired and a lot about the couple’s personality.”

Sometimes the discovery call reveals things that surprise even the bride and groom,” says Greg Strobach, Founder and CEO of All About Honeymoons. “When we go through our list of questions it is not uncommon for one to look at the other and say, ‘I didn't know you cared about that!’ Or, while discussing options one may comment ‘Whoa, never even thought about that!’ The end result is they get the experience they really want for their honeymoon and/or destination wedding.”

Tina Hearn, Travel Specialist with All About Honeymoons in Houston finds that by adding the personal touch, it ensures trust and respect from the start. “I gain a lot from talking to a client and getting the ‘feel’ of what they are looking for. It is very important that they realize I will stand behind them if they have any difficulties while away on their trip.” One of Tina’s recent brides cultivated such a great friendship with her through the process, that Tina was actually invited to the wedding. “I had a beautiful experience with this bride and groom, met their wonderful friends and family I had been working with for months. I saw firsthand the ease of planning a destination wedding this way. I love being a part of a couple’s first memory together as man and wife and treasure each couples experience.”

By asking a series of targeted questions, Jackie Waechter, also a Travel Specialist with All About Honeymoons, finds that it helps narrow the search for couples and therefore simplifies the entire process. “I met a couple planning a destination wedding and because I took the time to listen to what they were describing, was able to show them right then and there a resort that I thought fit them perfectly. Three days later, that couple confirmed their wedding date. Listening is key and reflecting back what you hear whether in person, on the phone or via email is paramount!”

Professional travel specialists are also able to take advantage of perks due to the volume of business they send to many hotels. Things such as special room placement, or honeymoon suite upgrade, free cocktail parties or in some cases, complimentary ceremonies can all be negotiated on your behalf. “Working with someone who knows the destinations, has relationships with the on-site coordinators can save brides and their guests time and money while taking the stress off…sounds perfect,” says April Schmitt.

We couldn't agree more.

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