|I’m shown here, not traversing the wide, wide world, but rather close to home at the St. Regis 1904 Polo Cup At Greenwich Polo Club late last year. As I write this, I’m about to embark on the Virtuoso Symposium cruise with Regent Seven Seas and expect to return with several reports from far-flung places.|
I recently sat in on a day of education with Abercrombie & Kent for its 100 Club, which recognizes its top-producing travel advisors. It was wonderful to visit with agents who span all of the consortia, who have many different strategies for promoting travel to exotic places. The huge benefit of being at the meeting was that A&K invited its regional managing directors from all over the world to give 20 minute presentations on what is happening in their neck of the woods. It was like attending a class on “The World of Luxury Travel 101,” with reports of new hotels and insider experiences with stunning graphics on the destinations. There were a lot of cute wild animal videos as well, which never hurts.
Up until that day, I thought I knew where I wanted to go in the world; it’s a fairly short list and has thus far included some fairly posh hotels in fancy locales. But after the day with A&K, I realized I wanted to go to many more places, to Antarctica to visit the penguins and to Egypt, where the crowds are smaller these days but where the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza are still overwhelming to contemplate. I am not sure why I never considered a cruise down the Nile or on the Yangtze River in China until now, but suddenly I can’t wait until I do. The Bund in Shanghai looks like just the type of urban vacation I’d enjoy and I am kind of considering taking that helicopter over the Great Wall. I am convinced that the way I’d enjoy Southern Africa the most would be to fly in to Cape Town and then go on a river safari in Botswana to see the crocodiles and elephants along the way. I had not realized there were so many bird species in East Africa (1,600), which is also the only place where you can visit with chimpanzees. Morocco has always been on my bucket list, but now I have a clearer sense, that instead of just Marrakech, I must visit the region of Fez and stay in a riad, where all the rooms face a tranquil courtyard. Extreme adventure has never been my style, but now that I realize I could travel in a 4X4 from Morocco into the Sahara, staying in a safari camp along the way, my interest is piqued.
It was all rather intense to take in, and I have to admit, that by the end of the day I felt a little sad because my bucket list is so full now, I will probably never get to tick every single item off of it. But I also realized that I had better start trying to experience as many of these trips as quickly as possible, to at least give it a fighting chance. Which is exactly the way we all should feel; that the world is vast and at our fingertips and we must go there, everywhere, as soon as we can.
It got me thinking: Had I not gotten the full picture of what’s available, would I ever dream of these places on my own?
I wondered if luxury travel advisors, who have become experts at pushing experiences to their clients that they know they will enjoy, are missing an opportunity by not sitting physically with their clients and turning the pages of a beautiful, glossy brochure, or visiting them with an impressive video to show them the breadth of opportunities that await them around the globe. Who knows what may pique their interest? After all, they don’t know yet what they do not know, and it’s up to you to show them the world, not just one e-mail at a time but in a dramatic display that will be sure to get their adrenaline going.