In High Demand: Travel Advisors

As a Travel Advisor, Joshua Smith knows what it’s like to help travelers maneuver through difficult situations, from pandemic restrictions to natural disasters and medical emergencies.

Those quick-thinking, problem-solving skills are coming in handy more often as travel professionals navigate turbulent times. Smith says his company, Global Citizen Journeys, has never been busier, both with clients seeking help with logistics as well as millennials craving unique adventures. His experiences are a microcosm of the trends emerging in the travel marketplace right now.

Turning to the pros in turbulent times

In this era of uncertainty, travelers are looking for stability. That’s likely one of the reasons why travel advisor and travel management company bookings are projected to account for 32% of all air bookings by 2024, according to the US Travel Market Report. In addition, 44% of travelers say they’re more likely to use a travel advisor after the pandemic, a study by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) found.

Google search trends offer a glimpse into travelers’ top worries. After Russia invaded Ukraine, searches spiked for questions like “Is it safe to travel?” and “Should I travel to Europe?” Earlier in the pandemic, Google searches for “travel restrictions” skyrocketed.

“The number one thing is security,” says Recep “Richie” Karaburun, a clinical assistant professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. “They actually want to book the trip and they want to feel secure doing it.”

Before the pandemic, there was discussion about whether the travel advisory profession was fading away, but that conversation has completely changed, says Karaburun, a leading expert with two decades of experience in the travel industry. “People want to trust someone,” he explains. “They want someone who knows the trends. The travel advisors are the experts and advocates for customers.”

Source: Google Trends

In addition to providing a sense of stability, travel advisors build relationships with their customers. That personalized, custom travel experience is where Smith’s Global Citizen Journeys excels.

“The value of relationships is the biggest reason why travelers should use travel advisors,” Smith says. For example, Smith recently worked with clients who were interested in visiting Thailand, but he knew the requirements for entry were complicated, so he steered them to Colombia instead. Smith created a tailored Colombia trip based on their interests, and they raved about the unique experiences he curated.

Locating luxury and leisure

Relying on the expertise of a travel professional is, in itself, a form of luxury. Rather than scrolling through pages upon pages of online reviews to find the best hotel, Smith says he and his colleagues can recommend not just the best hotel in a particular city but the best room in that hotel. By drawing on their own experience as seasoned travelers, he adds, travel advisors can offer restaurant recommendations, suggest specific menu items and even share the best time of day to visit certain attractions.

That insider experience matters. More than half of travelers who have never used a travel advisor are more likely to use one if it means they have access to the travel advisor’s special relationships and insider access, the ASTA study discovered.

Luxury clients tend to have high expectations, Karaburun says, and travel advisors are wise to understand that. For instance, he says, a luxury traveler who doesn’t like their room is likely to call their travel agent to deal with it, rather than calling the front desk themself, because they trust the agent’s work.

Millennials, in particular, are eager to outsource the planning and benefit from VIP treatment, the New York Times reported. And 35% of millennials prefer upscale and luxury hotels and resorts, a Resonance report found.

But those millennial clients see luxury differently than past generations, the experts say. While older clients may want more deluxe accommodations, millennials are instead putting that money toward experiences, such as a helicopter ride or a cooking class, Smith explains. To millennials, luxury is about access and diving into different cultures.

Indeed, Karaburun says, for this generation in their mid-twenties to early-forties, experiences and Instagrammable moments matter.

Generally speaking, he notes, millennials care less about the hotel room and more about the public spaces of the hotel and its surroundings. Karaburun describes this generation as ‘prosumers’ meaning they’re not just consumers of information, but they also produce user-generated content. They’re sophisticated consumers because they’re constantly online reading reviews, researching destinations and talking to their friends about their experiences.

Marketing to millennials and generating Gen Z business

The first step in marketing to millennials and Gen Z, Karaburun says, is using technology such as programs like chatbots for 24/7 availability and virtual reality (VR) during trip planning. Adapting to this technology will build loyalty with millennial customers, he says, because it indicates that the advisor is not only trustworthy and available but also up to date on trends.

“My advice is to use technology,” he says. “These are digital natives. The phone is, for them, part of their body.”

The classic word-of-mouth referral still matters, too, it just might be more accurately called “word-of-Instagram-message.” Smith, for example, sees his younger clientele posting about their trip on social media, which creates a buzz. Then their friends ask how they can do something similar, and they turn into a referral.

In addition to running his own agency, Smith co-founded Millennials in Travel, a career development and networking organization for young, passionate travel industry professionals. The group started nearly a decade ago and has grown to 3,200 members worldwide. The group helped highlight for the industry that millennials travel differently and need to be marketed to differently. Ever on the cutting edge, Millennials in Travel is starting to focus on Gen Z as well.

The global group wants its members to understand that fellow travel advisors are not competitors; they’re colleagues. Smith delights in being able to call a colleague to ask about destinations he’s not as familiar with, and he’s glad to offer his expertise to others as well.

That broad intel is especially useful when young travelers don’t have a specific destination in mind. When beginning to plan their last trip, only half of Gen Z travelers already had a specific destination in mind, whereas among Gen X and older travelers, 57­ to 92% already knew where they were headed, according to Phocuswright research. That means travel advisors can play a major role in molding consumer preferences.

Caribbean Weather

Average Caribbean Weather By Month

 

Caribbean rainfall in inches by month for major destinations. © 2017 Scott Bateman

January

Caribbean weather in January is certainly warmer than the U.S., Canada, or Europe, but some places are warmer than others. The warmest destinations include Cayman Islands and St. Lucia; the coolest include the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos. Rain averages about two to three inches per month. Keep in mind that sea temperatures is often cool for swimming in northern locations.

February

Temperatures in February show little movement. In some places they increase a degree while in others they decline. In Dominica, rainfall increases to four inches. Costa Rica reaches a low point for rain, which is good news for western Caribbean cruises.

March

March is one of the most popular months for visiting the Caribbean, not just because of spring break, but because of warming temperatures and low rainfall for many destinations. In Dominica, rainfall climbs again to five inches, but keep in mind that Dominica is a lush island with waterfalls and tropical rainforests. It’s a great place for ecotourism, though not so much for lying on a beach. Costa Rica continues to have low rainfall.

April

April is another great month to visit the Caribbean, for the same reasons as March, but with some exceptions. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, rainfall reaches its first high point of the year at six inches. It’s not the best time for a long-term stay, but it’s okay for cruise visitors, who can visit indoors San Juan historical sites and shopping.

May

Caribbean weather in May includes a brief rainy season for many destinations. Aruba is a safe bet because it is the driest island of all. Rainfall at Cancun, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, and Dominica jumps to five inches or more per month.

June

This is a bad month for the Bahamas, with an average of nine inches of rain. Cozumel gets eight inches, while Belize and Costa Rica average more than 10. For people who like hot weather, Cancun, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel have average high temperatures that reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

June is the official beginning of the annual Caribbean hurricane season. But historically it almost no hurricanes and only one tropical storm every other year, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Tropical storms often threaten the Caribbean during hurricane season from June through November. Source: Pixabay Creative Commons license
Tropical storms often threaten the Caribbean during hurricane season from June through November. Source: Pixabay Creative Commons license

July

Hurricane season is starting to make itself known, with six inches or more of rainfall for the Bahamas, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and St. Lucia. It’s a good month for Antigua, Cancun, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. July averages three tropical storms with two that become hurricanes.

August

“Ugh” is a good word to describe rainfall for the Bahamas and Cancun. Every major destination except for the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao averages four inches or more. On average, August has three tropical storms with two that become hurricanes.

September

September is the worst month of the year for Caribbean weather because it’s the worst month of the annual hurricane season. An average of four tropical storms occur in September with two that become hurricanes. Avoid Caribbean destinations, except possibly the ABC islands—Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao—and maybe the Dominican Republic. But at least September is warm.

October

October is barely better than September, usually the second worst month of the year for Caribbean weather. All of the major destinations average five inches or more of rain. On average, four tropical storms develop, but they rarely grow into hurricanes.

November

The Bahamas finally get a break from the rain and wind, but the temperatures are starting to drop too. Barbados, Cancun, and Jamaica are becoming better options. St. Maarten has the heaviest rain of the year. On average, only one tropical storm forms every other year. Hurricanes are rare.

December

The hurricane season is officially over and rainfall declines everywhere. But temperatures are declining as well; the Bahamas, Cancun, and other northern destinations are usually too chilly for swimming. Dominican Republic and St. Thomas are worthy options. Tourist activity starts to increase in the Caribbean as northerners start to flee cold winter weather.

3 Reasons Why It’s Better to Use a Travel Agent

3 Reasons why you should use a travel agent

(a super informative, unbiased blog from a travel agency)

Don't Pay Bills and Die

Whoever told you that planning the trip is half the fun obviously hasn’t been on any great trips. Life’s short enough, honestly, and let’s face it – vacation days are limited. Make sure you get the most out of your trip and rest assured that everything is taken care of.

Think of your travel agency as your very own secretary, hype squad, booking assistant, local guide, personal assistant and emergency contact. They’re like your very own human travel swiss army knife – there when you need ‘em, yet hardly noticeable when you don’t. Take a look at three reasons why you should use travel agents. This is also just a clever way of saying ‘Three Ways to Humbley Brag about Apollo Travel Orlando.’

1. Skip The Admin

Agreed, picking the destination is great. So is searching the web for things to do and daydreaming about your vacation, as you watch influencers vlog about their travels in your next destination. However, there’s a less-fun side of things. Planning flights, securing accommodation, booking airport shuttles, ensuring travel insurance – the list goes on and on. Apollo Travel Orlando ensures that all the nitty-gritty details are taken care of, to ensure a smooth journey from start to finish.

travel blog

   2. Tailored to taste

Get the most out of your holiday and the most of what the destination offers. Although it’s great to explore a destination and see which adventures come your way – Apollo Travel Orlando ensures that your travel package includes everything you need and even more. Our team of travelling experts has connections all over the world and can give you the inside scoop to the best places to see, which activities to book and secret gems waiting to be explored.

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3. The best, affordable deals and options

You can’t find what you want if you don’t know where to look. The internet is jam-packed with holiday deals and big, bold promises. However, we all know that when it looks too good to be true, it usually is. With years of travelling and booking experience, Apollo Travel Agency secures the best and most affordable options that are the real deal and that will give you the most out of your holiday.

Piggy Bank

Which destinations are on your bucket list? We’d love to help you and start your journey to get the most out of this life we’re living. There are mountains to climb, oceans to swim in, people to meet and food to try! Contact Apollo Travel Orlando today and we’ll help you plan your next holiday!

Apolo Logo hires

Apollo Back  –  6/3/21 local press release

Apollo Back – 6/3/21 local press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bruce Kahler                                                                                              

Apollo Travel

407-341-0853

[email protected]

 

 

Apollo Travel Orlando announces vacation opportunities for honeymooners, couples and social media friends

 

 

Apollo Travel Orlando, a leading travel agency based in Florida, is kicking off the start of the summer travel season by reminding customers of its specialty couple vacation packages designed to spice up your love life.

 

The last several months were tough for families and relationships, but clear skies await Apollo Travel couples. One thing that sets Apollo Travel Orlando apart is the value and importance of romance. Booking romance travel with Apollo Travel gives you access to gorgeous destination wedding options and beautiful honeymoon locations with exquisite beaches and scenic landscapes. Many in-love travelers make memories in Cancun, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Saint Lucia, and Barbados.

 

“For couples, the pandemic was a trying time. It was tough, and people need to reward themselves for making it out of a global health emergency as a team, as a family,” Apollo Travel Orlando CEO Bruce Kahler said.

 

A wedding is a unique and special experience that sets a foundation for lasting happiness. Apollo Travel Orlando avoids the “cookie-cutter” approach to traveling and gives each client a custom experience.

 

Letting Apollo Travel Orlando take the reins lessens the stress of any destination wedding or vacation planning. Apollo Travel Orlando agents can assist with many wedding stressors like your Honeymoon registry.

 

Apollo Travel Orlando also has options for all family and group sizes and accepts clients all over—not just Florida. Prospective travelers have an array of choices from its Caribbean All-Inclusive resorts and cruises to unique and affordable international travel options in Europe. Don’t worry Apollo Travel Orlando agents are industry experts and have all the information you need before traveling overseas.

 

Have a big family or special requests/accommodation? Leave your worries in the past. Apollo Travel Orlando agents can customize your travel to fit your family’s unique needs.

 

Let’s not forget about our social media friends. Apollo Travel Orlando is unique and caters to your entire friend circle, including those online. Travelers can book Organized Social trips with friends and family and connect with new friends.

 

For more information about booking your next vacation, visit www.apollotravel.com

 

ABOUT APOLLO TRAVEL: Apollo Travel Orlando is a successful travel agency specializing in Destination weddings, Social groups (with a flair for social Facebook group gatherings) as well as Caribbean all-Inclusive resorts, cruise and European vacations. The Apollo Travel Headquarters has a brick and mortar storefront, in the same Florida location since 1985.

 

 

25 questions to ask

25 questions to ask

25 important questions to ask a travel agent

  1. Are they available to help you plan?
  2. How long have they been in business?
  3. Do they have a business license?
  4. How do they get paid? Is there a fee to you, and if so, what is it?
  5. Do they specialize in honeymoon planning?
  6. How many honeymoons have they planned?
  7. Are they familiar with the best places to travel the time of year you would like?
  8. What services does the travel agent offer?
  9. If they provide full-service planning, what do they need from you?
  10. Can they help you stay within budget?
  11. Do they get discounts at certain resorts?
  12. Have they traveled to any of the resorts they recommend?
  13. What is their favorite place to visit?
  14. Do they have photographs or websites for the resorts they have booked in the past and recommend?
  15. Do any resorts provide special perks for honeymooners (champagne, chocolates, etc.)?
  16. Can they recommend activities to do while on your honeymoon?
  17. Do they coordinate transportation?
  18. How can you reach them while on your trip in case of emergency?
  19. Do they offer trip insurance?
  20. What types of documentation is necessary for your trip (domestic and international)?
  21. Can they provide references?
  22. What is the total cost and what is required for a deposit?
  23. Do they offer payment plans?
  24. What type of payment can they take – cash, check, credit card?
  25. What it their refund or travel change policy (including if the wedding is called off)?

Travel Safe – Tips

Travel Safe – Tips

 

Travel Safe – Tips

Trip Calendar

 

  • Get a Checkup and the Vaccines: Always have a physical before your trip to ensure that you are healthy enough to travel abroad, and make sure that you understand the health concerns of the country you are planning to visit. Numerous worldwide travel destinations require vaccinations before your arrival, so make sure that you know the immunizations you need and that you are immunized before your trip.
  • Make Electronic Copies of Your Documents: You’ll be carrying necessary documentation with you when traveling abroad. Create an electronic backup of your immunization record, itinerary, medical insurance card, passport, plane tickets, travel insurance, and visas before you leave. Email the file to yourself and keep it in your inbox so you can access the information from your smartphone should the paperwork be lost or damaged.
  • Don’t Carry Everything Together: It might be tempting to keep your cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks in your wallet, but don’t do it. Keep any money, credit cards, IDs, and checks you won’t be using locked in your hotel room safe. Separate the monetary and identifying items you must carry on you and carry them in different spots on your person. This safety tip prevents you from losing everything should somebody steal your wallet.
  • Don’t Carry Things in Your Back Pocket: Speaking of theft, pick-pocketing is common in specific areas around the world, and yes, pickpockets have targeted tourists. Keep nothing in your back pocket, including your wallet, a small purse, your hotel room keys… anything! Doing so opens you up to becoming an easy target for the swift hand of a pickpocket.
  • In Fact, Keep Items to Your Front: Another thing you might be tempted to do is hang your purse on the back of your chair on a sidewalk or set your bags down at your feet. This isn’t a good idea, either, because your attention is going to be attracted to the new sights around you. Keep your bags in your lap or at the front of your feet under the table, with the straps wrapped around your leg.
  • Look Back When Leaving: The previous tip often helps prevent leaving things behind; after all, if you have your purse strap wrapped around your leg, you’ll trip over it getting up if you don’t remove it. People do, however, leave personal items behind all the time when they’re ready to move on to their next destination. Look back at where you were sitting as you’re going just to make sure you didn’t forget your purse, shopping bags, or anything else of importance.
  • Leave the “Bling” at Home: It might tempt you to wear your favorite jewelry throughout your trip or take pictures with that new, costly camera, but in the interest of your safety, don’t. If you tour your international destination dressed to the nines and wearing many expensive jewelry, you are announcing to potential thieves that you are a worthy mugging target. Keep it simple and appropriate for the place you are visiting, and hide your camera in a case when you aren’t using it.
  • Don’t Talk to Strangers: Of course you’ll be talking to the people of the land you are visiting – that’s the best part of traveling, meeting new people! Don’t get carried away, however, and trust strangers with your life story or personal information. Think about what you say to your children and stick to your advice. Don’t talk to strangers who don’t look trustworthy, do not accept food or drink from them, and do not go somewhere with them unless they are your licensed tour guide and you’re on your booked tour.
  • Don’t Solicit Panhandlers: Many nations have areas that suffer from poverty just as we do here in the U.S. It is crucial not to traverse these areas without the proper guides, and it is even more important not to give beggars cash or any of your belongings. Of course, you want to help them out, but if you are genuinely interested in aiding the poverty-stricken in the land you are visiting, research local charities and donate that way.
  • Don’t Try to Be a Hero: The flip side of the previous tip is don’t be a hero if you, unfortunately, become the victim of a mugging. Rather than attempt to fight the perpetrator, give your belongings up. Your cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks are not worth injury or death. Give the items up quickly, and once you’re out of danger, proceed to the nearest U.S. Consulate or authority to report the incident.
  • Avoid Using Your Credit Card at Internet Cafes: With the Internet, criminals have found a new way to commit identity theft. Internet cafes are trendy among travelers. They are a quick and easy way to grab a cup of coffee while emailing the latest details of your adventure to your family and friends. Criminals keep a wary eye and use keylogger software on the computers in Internet cafes to get your credit card information, so pay for the computer use with cash.
  • Be Properly Insured: Many people are of the opinion that they do not need travel insurance, and nothing could be further from the truth . Your health insurance might offer you some international coverage, but the chances are good that it doesn’t cover potential illness, injury, or even death entirely when you are on foreign soil. Your belongings need to be insured, too, because anything might happen to them. Make sure that you, your fellow travelers, and everything you are taking on the trip is properly insured before leaving.

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