Ahead of a recent virtual event themed around romantic travel, Luxury Travel Advisor figured there was hardly a better resource than April Schmitt, founder and CEO of Travel by Divine and Divine Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, to learn some tips and tricks. Schmitt offered five tips (plus one "bonus tip") for travel advisors who are planning a romantic vacation—whether that's a honeymoon, anniversary or other special occasion, or just a simple get-away.
Tip 1: Listen to the client's vision. This doesn't mean what destination they want to go to but how they see themselves spending their days, how the room feels, and what the vibe of the hotel and the energy of the destination are like. Schmitt begins collecting this information before talking about potential destinations.
Tip 2: Dream big even when your clients don't. Couples can often be limited with their thoughts on destinations, budget and travel time. They come to us with a predetermined idea based on what friends and family members have suggested to them. It shows true expertise and value when you take all that you heard from them and show them places they hadn't even considered.
Tip 3: Sprinkle in the love. Identify what is truly important to the couple and create those memorable moments. This is where to focus—and even push—the budget. Add value by elevating at least one or two special items for them. If they are all about the food and wine, then arrange a private cellar tour and tasting or dinner in a vineyard. If they have a long list of activities but limited time, arrange a private highlight tour.
Tip 4: Navigate rough waters. Is the couple on the same page with their travel style, destination or activity level? If not, acknowledging what is important to each of them individually and as a couple is imperative. Propose options to please both people. Often this can mean proposing a destination that neither had thought of and helping them understand why this destination meets both of their wish lists. Additionally, it is OK to have couples spend a day apart. One person wants to do a day hike and one person wants a spa day? Give them "permission" to have this day apart and then plan a romantic dinner for them that night to share their day with each other. Talk about balance and affirm to each person you are considering their preferences.
Tip 5: Arrival Day is a special day. Begin with a local experience (Schmitt like to begin an itinerary with a local food and walking tour). The couple arrives in Rome at 10 a.m. and the hotel check-in isn’t until 4 p.m.; they can drop their luggage at the hotel and have a guide greet them for a two- to three-hour walking food tour. This will help the couple handle the jet lag better and give them insider info about the neighborhood around their hotel. Another idea is a city tour with a few photo stops as they make their way from the airport to their hotel. They will wake up the next day excited to explore more confidently.
For the full conversation, and to find out Schmitt's "bonus tip," check out the video above.