Recommend reached out to our audience via Facebook and asked, “Your Mission Today (if you choose to accept it): Share your FAVORITE travel memory in the comments and tell us why!” We asked as a way to remember the happy travel memories, but we were surprised by the overwhelming responses we received. One thing is for sure, travel advisors don’t only sell travel, they love to travel, too. And, they do it well.
The memories shared weren’t always of fancy hotels and exotic locations, they were of connecting with locals, of memories made, of moments that remain ingrained in their hearts.
Looking ahead to when we can all travel again, that’s a sentiment you should take with you when booking the next vacation for your clients. It’s not always about the five-star accommodation, the most luxurious suite, or most exotic tour. It’s about those moments connecting with locals and with each other that remain forever in someone’s memory. It’s the moments of sharing, of learning, of overcoming a fear, of touching someone’s life. Now that we’ve all been staying at home for a couple of months, these moments of human connection, and immersing in nature, will be what your clients seek.
Travel advisor Lauren Goldenberg, whose daughter now lives in Prague, recalls a memory of when her daughter was just a kid: “Going to a playground in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris with my then 9-year-old daughter. A group of local girls started playing with her, which turned into a lesson in learning to count in each other’s language.” Goldberg adds that she’s raised her daughter to be a global citizen.
For Amy Schwartz of Imagine Travel, it was the quiet moment of “stargazing in Botswana after an evening game drive,” that’s forever instilled in her memory. “I’ve never seen so many stars nor experienced such quiet,” she says. Schwartz traveled to Botswana as part of a travel advisor FAM trip last year. She adds that this trip, “opened my eyes and heart to the beauty of South Africa and other countries.”
Helga Thalheimer luxury travel advisor at Sixth Star Travel recalls a very special moment with nature while traveling in Africa. “During a drought, a herd of elephants drained our pool at Makalolo Plains in Zimbabwe. Asked the camp manager to refill the pool, but he said we’d have to go without showers or flushing until the morning. Everyone agreed. Small sacrifices on our part to help these beauties.” A moment like that can’t be planned, but it is one that will stay with you.
Travel advisor Heather Driver McNamara with Merit Travel Brockville also recalls a trip to South Africa that she won at the Signature Travel Network conference in Vegas. McNamara traveled last April with her sister on a private safari at at Royal Malewane Lodge in South Africa. She recounts that the duo spent 10 days traveling the region and exploring. “Two nights in Cape Town at The Silo where we toured the waterfront and the Cape of Good Hope where we saw the penguins at Boulder Beach, two nights in Franscheok at La Residence where we did the wine tram to see a few of the wineries. We spent two nights in Hermanus at Birkenhead House where we walked the 5.5 km Cliff Path and then we flew up to Hoedspruit. We stayed two nights at the Royal Malewane where we had four private game drives and saw the Big Five, as well as many other animals. We had a bush dinner and sundowners.The trip was definitely once in a lifetime and it was compliments of South Africa Airways and Royal Portfolio Hotels.”
Linda Crook also recalls her memorable moment in nature, ”This time last year, I stayed in a luxury tented camp in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, over my birthday. So many great photos and memories, but one that stands out was our great fortune to spot this cheetah on my birthday! Apparently this was the first one they’d seen that year!”
For others like travel professional, Richard D’Ambrosio it’s connecting with others that creates memorable moments. He says for him it was “Playing football [soccer] with crew members in Hungary on the final day of my AmaWaterways Danube cruise April 2019.”
Owner of Starstuff Travel, Stacey Singleton Cabell, recalls a moment that she overcame her fear by the simple kindness that her guide portrayed during a helicopter ride. “This is a picture of me with the pilot of the helicopter I rode In while visiting Kauai,” she says. “It was the first time I have ever been in a helicopter, and I was petrified. This pilot was so calming and sensitive to me being so nervous. He had a voice like butter that was very calming and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Sadly, I found out this pilot passed away doing what he loved this past December. I was so honored to have had my first helicopter ride with him and that is why it’s one of my favorite memories.”
And, for others, it’s the quiet moments in remote locations not known by a popular social media hashtag that captures their heart. Dave Burckhard says for him it was the experience of visiting a remote village that stays with him. “The ancient village of Treccione stands 1,200 feet above Lake Como’s shore and is so obscure that many of the lake’s residents are unaware of its existence. No roads pass through the town and the 25 people who live there get around on foot over cobblestone paths. Homes and the church are built from roughly hewn stones and lumber gathered nearby. I spent three days there visiting with relatives of friends and photographing.”
As we celebrate you today on Travel Advisor Appreciation Day, take a moment to think about what travel memories stick in your mind the most. Share them with your clients via social media, on your website, or in your newsletter. And, when they call you to book their next trip, consider crafting moments that allow for a lifetime memory to be created.