Monday, February 15, 2010

When I Grow Up...Part 2

OK. So in our last episode, our heroine decided she wanted to be a Travel Agent. Cool. Got a direction - so let's move that way.

So I Googled/Binged "How To Become a Travel Agent." The results were numerous web sites that all say something along the lines of "If you pay us $395, we can make you a Travel Agent!"

So then I looked up "Travel Careers" and "Travel Jobs." Similar results, but with a few job web sites mixed in. So I went to Career Builder and Monster and search on Travel Jobs. There aren't many. I did see two postings for AAA Travel Services, and one for Amex Travel Services, but they both said "experience needed." The rest of the jobs were for Car Rental Companies. NOT the direction I was aiming for. I also don't really want to work at the front desk of a hotel.

My travel agent - who is a really nice lady - recently sent me a hotel quote for our Mexico trip. This particular hotel was offering a free upgrade for the group leader, a free room for every 5 booked, and a group coordinator at the resort. Then - in very tiny print at the bottom - it said "The group seller will receive 5 complimentary nights at any of our Real brand resorts."

See - THAT'S what I'm talking about! She gets us to Mexico, and she gets a FREE TRIP. I want to be the girl who gets the free trip.

My friend Tia says her sister-in-law does Travel Stuff on the side. Doesn't make much money at it, but mainly uses it for the discounts and perks. She also sub-contracts out with a Cruise Line.

Now, with this Mexico trip on the horizon, Bart and I (OK - really just me) started doing research on resorts. Our first choice - the place we stayed last year - won't cut us any deals, even though we're threatening to bring between 8 and 15 rooms full of people with us. No group rate, no upgrades - nada. So I thought... screw them. Let's see who else out there will work with us. There are 15 bazillion all-inclusive resorts in Mexico. Surely we can find one that wants a fun, festive group of folks to come down for a little Fiesta.

So I started looking. I had it narrowed to 7 resorts. Then 6. Then I tied Bart down and forced him to look at my findings so we could narrow it down to 4.

Let's talk about my "findings" for a minute. I am OCD. I am anal. I am a control freak. We alllllllll know this. So - in an effort to compare and contrast the various resorts, I made little brochures. One for each resort. They contained all the pertinent info - number of restaurants, number of pools, kid's club info, etc. I also included posted internet rates and offered incentives. I mapped them on Google Earth. I added color photos. I even threw in 3-4 reviews on each resort posted on Trip Advisor.

(Ok - I know you started laughing at Google Earth Deb, so quit it...)

My point here is this: there is no way in hell the Travel Agent knows as much about these resorts as I do. I know everything. Show me a picture and I can name the resort. I know how long the shuttle rides from the airport are, and I know which resorts have gators on the grounds. I know which resorts have noisier maids. I have researched these place inside and out, and know everything you can know without actually visiting them.

This is EXACTLY the kind of research a Travel Agent should do. I mean, if a Mom out there is thinking about taking her kids to Mexico for the first time, she needs to know that there is a Kid's Club, and that the staff is CPR certified. She needs to know that they can always do burgers, dogs, chicken nuggets, and mac and cheese on request, even if it's not on the menu. She needs to know that the surf is rough, but that there's a little shallow shelterd area to the left. She needs to know that all the water is bottled, and they have their own water treatment facilities on grounds. She needs to know if there is an abundance of topless Europen women on the beach. She needs to know if the shuttle ride is 2 hours long, so she can prep the kids with snacks.

I know all of that, and then some. I am detail oriented. I am good with people. I love learning about new places. I would make a kick-ass Travel Agent. But I still don't know how to become one.

With the internet having failed me completely, I have turned to Old Faithful...the Library. I have 3 books on request that may be able to point me down the right path.

There is the thought that most people don't use Travel Agents anymore, becuase they can do it all themsleves on the web. I think that's true to an extent. Domestic travel is pretty easy to do on-line. But when you are considering a Foreign Country - especially with kids - the sheer volume of information on the internet is overwhelming. IF I were able to completely relinquish control (which I can't), I would LOVE it if soneone were to present me with the info that I have in my possession now.

So once my books come in, I'm going to get busy. Hopefully soon I can become a home-based Travel Agent, willing and able to help YOU with your Travel needs!

PS The first person who books with me gets to go on the free trip with me! ha ha ha Not entirely kidding.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

You sold're hired!! :)