I recently sat down with one of our Blog Sponsors, Carrie Mandala a Virtuoso Travel Advisor. More people and families are traveling more than ever, and Carrie is here to make your trip more memorable. I was able to ask her some questions about booking a luxury vacation. She was so helpful and interesting.
She also gave me a link where NS Lifestyle readers can create accounts and book Virtuoso hotels directly. You will get all the same benefits as if I did the booking myself. This is great for a straight hotel booking – there are no fees. A more complex trip would need a consult, Carrie.
Tell us a little bit about Virtuoso Travel.
· Virtuoso is a by-invitation-only travel network for the top 1% of travel agencies. It connects the top agencies/advisors with vetted suppliers worldwide.
In addition to Virtuoso Travel
In addition to Virtuoso, my host agency Travel Experts is an industry leader and is a member of many preferred partner programs that provide my clients with many additional amenities. Lastly, just recently, we are thrilled to announce that ElmRock Travel, as an affiliate of Travel Experts Inc., has been named a Forbes Travel Guide-endorsed agency. FTG is the only independent global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas, and ocean cruises. The coveted Five-Star, Four-Star and Recommended awards are earned through incognito inspections on FTG’s hundreds of exacting quality and service standards. We are honored to be recognized by the global authority on luxury hospitality for our commitment to providing our clients with exceptional experiences.
How does a travel advisor work? What can you tell me about the process you use? What costs are associated with hiring you, and the value you bring?
Working with a travel advisor is a collaborative effort. The more information you can share the better I can assist with trying to find you the perfect trip for you. I do charge planning fees based on the complexity of your trip starting at $350.00 and have a trip minimum of $15,000 per trip. As you can imagine a lot of time in effort goes into creating an itinerary or trip ideas. The planning fee covers my time. You can think of it as in the way that you hire an interior designer or lawyer.
What will the process of booking with you look like?
It starts with a conversation and then evolves. Not everyone is a perfect fit and that is okay. Just like anything in life.
How is your service different from that of other advisors?
Good question – I can’t speak to others and their process, but I think communication, responsibility and accessibility are strong traits that I am proud of.
Do you have any special areas that you have a niche in?
My connections are in the luxury market space.
Do you make yourself available to your clients before, during and after the trip
If truth be told I am available to a fault, so absolutely. I hate to have people disappointed and it is an honor to have you trust me with your most prized assets…time and money.
How do you decide which destinations are a good fit for your client?
That all comes down to the client. I like to say, “not every destination is for every client, but there is a destination for every client.” It comes down to the more information you share the better one is able to advise. I think I have heard it all!!!
Do you book authentic experiences/itineraries? or just plane and lodging?
Yes, I do complete itineraries and authentic experiences. The more time you give the better of an itinerary you will have. Last-minute requests can be hard as it all comes down to availability. There are lots of travelers these days so it becomes challenging.
Do you book Honeymoons?
Yes, the best trips to book. Everyone is happy and excited. My advice to all newlyweds – “go as far as you can and for as long as you can. Never in life will you be this free.”
To get an idea of the scope of your work, what was the most extravagant trip you planned? And, what was the simplest?
Extravagant would be multi-generational families trip to Africa and simplest hotel booking.
Is there ever a destination that you advise your clients not to go to?
Yes, there are certain destinations that need to be done in certain ways. If a client is not able or interested then we are not the right combination for this experience. That is okay. This just happened for a prospective client and Cuba.
What are the most popular couples, family, and singles destinations
Mallorca, San Sebastian (Spain) – couples
Charter a Gulet in Turkey – families
Ibiza – singles
Your readers can create accounts and book Virtuoso hotels directly. They get all the same benefits as if I did the booking myself. This is great for a straight hotel booking – there are no fees. A more complex trip would need a consult.
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