If you haven’t noticed, more and more supplier-loyalty programs targeted specifically at travel advisors are being introduced into the market. These programs are a great way to stay connected and earn added incentives, but most importantly, they build a deeper relationship between you and the supplier. As the travel industry continues to evolve, such relationships will be your single distinct advantage over your competition. Many of these programs reward you as well as your clients.
I recently rewarded myself with a few days of vacation in Italy. I turned to JDB Fine Hotels & Resorts for assistance, where Judith Baer fully understands the American traveler. She has visited every inch of Italy and has relationships with all the top hotels and many of the small jewels that might not yet be on your radar, but will blow your clients away once you discover them. Check out her newly upgraded website at www.jdbhotels.com.
My experience was in Positano with a few nights at the Villa Franca, which is a wow experience that’s not to be missed. (Check out the details on pages 26-27.) If you look at any panoramic photo or painting of Positano, the Villa Franca is the white building on the very top of the town. In fact, staying at the Villa Franca is like staying on top of the world. I highly recommend it. Pictured at left with me is Rosa, the niece of the owner of Villa Franca, Mario Russo, whose father originally opened the hotel in the 1940s.
My other find while visiting the Amalfi Coast was my driver, Mimo, the owner of Smile Travel Car Sorrento, who is pictured with his car. For more than 20 years, Mimo was a tour guide for Globus; he speaks great English and is a very pleasant person to be around, so much so that I wanted to sit in the front seat with him. He handled our airport transfers and took us on a day tour of the Amalfi Coast as only a local could. Mimo can be contacted at [email protected]
My conclusion? Reward yourself by participating in these travel advisor programs and also by partnering with those who can bring you unique experiences. Look for those hidden gems waiting to be discovered.