Carol Netzer of Betty Maclean Travel, Inc. has taken an old-school approach to travel into the 21st century. Originally a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines, Netzer has been an advisor for 48 years — getting her start well before the Internet or social media. “That forced us to do a lot of face-to-face planning with clients,” she tells us. While modern technology provides Netzer and her clients more ways of communicating, she says she still prefers meeting with clients. “Nothing can replace a collaborative planning effort, which enables me to probe the client for their real purpose and objectives and enables the client to learn to trust my experience and judgement.”
That experience and judgement have given clients plenty of reason to stick with Netzer through the decades; many have been with her for more than 25 years. “I provide counseling, thorough trip-planning, pre-trip conferences, post-trip follow-ups and am an advocate for my clients,” Netzer says. “I think that stands out in today’s world of online travel booking, inexperienced travel agents and inadequate preparation.”
It’s easy to grow your business when entire families continue to use your services, which is just what’s happened with Netzer’s clients, some of whom are second- and third-generation. She also grows her client base from referrals and qualified agency leads.
Netzer says that Betty Maclean Travel, which she has been with since 1997, affords her comfortable and private offices to meet with her clients. The agency also hosts supplier representatives each week to keep them updated on the latest products and trends. Netzer commends Virtuoso for access to information and amenities that are not otherwise available.
Netzer says most of her clients are interested in unique experiences while traveling “and look to me for guidance and appreciate the personalized service that I provide.”
She specializes in luxury cruise and tours the world over. What sets her apart? Netzer says that she’s personally experienced the ships, destinations and hotels she has recommended to her clients. “I am able to select the appropriate product for my clients because I get to know them, their tastes and their travel objectives,” she adds. Recently, Netzer traveled aboard Silver Muse, Silversea’s newest ship. Her report: “The service and care aboard are outstanding and the many dining venues are wonderful.”
Next up, she will be visiting Italy with her granddaughter; she wants to share the country’s history, culture and food.
One tip she offers to new advisors: Be honest. “I am also very forthright with my clients when they select a product that I know will not meet their expectations,” she says.
“Travel today can be confusing, and planning is not as easy as it seems,” Netzer says. “Simply clicking on a website is not travel planning. I coordinate air, cruises tours, visas, trains, cars, insurance and drivers. An experienced advisor, at a respected agency, is invaluable in planning a complex trip: We have the ability to assist travelers to make the right decisions and provide a seamless experience.”