The Trevi Fountain in Rome, singing gondoliers in Venice, moonlit nights in Tuscany, quiet drives along the Amalfi Coast and dinner for two in a little resturant in Florence…. Could there be a more perfect place to begin a life together?
But the perfect honeymoon to Italy is also one that takes some special planning, particularly in today’s economic climate where everyone wants to rein in pricing a bit. Which makes it even more perfect when you consider, as should your clients, that travel pricing to Italy—from airfare to hotel accommodations—has not been this pocketbook-friendly for a long time.
To make it easier for you to do honeymoon planning for your clients, Central Holidays has come up with honeymoon-planning modules where you can mix and match Italy honeymoon destinations, accommodations and itineraries that reach across the budget spectrum from high-end to low cost and at the same time, provide the kind of honeymoon trip planning that only a specialist in the region can provide.
Because of Central Holidays’ specialization in Italy destinations, “We do a tremendous amount of business and the preparation and customization of these type of niche markets, such as the honeymoon, culinary programs—you name it.” says Fabio Sembiante, executive v.p., sales and marketing. “With Central Holidays, it’s very much a budget issue at the end of the day. We can do it all the way from escorted programs, to totally customized. We’ve got a client now through one of the travel agencies that’s going to a number of cities—all five-star hotels and all suites—we’re talking about a honeymoon program that’s over $50,000. That’s one end of the spectrum. But when it comes to Europe,” he says, “honeymoon pricing is still holding strong with budgets that accommodate good four-star hotels and excursions, restaurants and even a private driver and car. There’s still an interest in spending a little bit more when it comes to a honeymoon, compared to a couple taking a summer vacation in Italy.”
In fact, he adds, “That’s the one thing with a Central Holidays honeymoon, because we’re specialists, we can add and customize everything from what we call a Castles and Chateaux tour, and turn it into a honeymoon program. We have the Mercedes-Benz—it can take them anywhere and for all intents and purposes, the driver will take them anywhere.
Indeed, says Gianni Miradoli, Central Holidays’ executive v.p. for product and operations, “We have two approaches with the honeymoon, just as with everything that we do. On the one side are programs for people who perhaps don’t know Italy or don’t know the destinations, but they would like to have their honeymoon there. So we offer Venice and Rome, which are perhaps the most well known, then we offer Venice and the Amalfi Coast and Rome and the Amalfi Coast—programs that will give a good taste of Italy and those are priced at about $1,500 on the land portion, up to about $4,000 more or less with five-star accommodations, including the transfers and all the components of the honeymoon program.”
As a result, Miradoli says, “We’re offering the people who don’t have a huge budget to make their first trip together a memorable occasion. The point is that we have a base proposal that we can build that can really cover a large spectrum of clients. Then there’s the guy who has a budget of say $10,000 per person, at this point we can really customize, bringing in very special occasions, very special hotels that we can build on as the client wishes.”
“I think it’s common knowledge that on a honeymoon, they’re going to be spending a little more, even in this economic climate,” Sembiante says. Nevertheless, he adds, when you’re talking about $5,000, $10,000 or even $15,000, that can be daunting, particularly if you’re worried about keeping your job. As a result, he says, “We’re going to be doing something that a lot of other companies in other industries are doing now, we’re going to be offering insurance for unemployment. When jobs are uncertain, people are looking for assurance.” It can also be a good closer for couples who are uncertain about their jobs, he points out.