If you’ve booked travel with me, you’ve likely heard me talk about my “team on the ground.” In just about every destination around the world, I have a team of people with whom I work to coordinate every detail of my client’s travel. This includes not only accommodations, but airport transfers, custom tours, excursions and even dinner reservations, babysitting services and more.
I’m regularly reminded how important these people are when it comes to orchestrating the best travel experiences, and today wanted to share with you a little behind-the-scenes insight into why exactly I love my teams on the ground!
Over the past 20 years I’ve created trusted business relationships around the world with many tour operators, also sometimes called “on sites.” These are local travel companies I trust and have worked with for years. When I call, I know who is going to answer the phone, they know me, and more importantly they place great importance on my clients.
Like anything in life, strong relationships make all the difference and savvy travelers understand the importance of tapping into these enduring relationships. Simply put, if things go wrong before or during travel, it’s these valued, longstanding, established business relationships that will ensure things are made right for you. There is an entire team of people who have your back.
And in countries where I don’t have decades-long relationships, I have access to the carefully curated network of Virtuoso on-sites with whom I work. Virtuoso is a global consortia of travel agents (like me!) as well as travel suppliers. All businesses affiliated with Virtuoso have been carefully vetted, and as a result the network is truly the best in the travel business. I trust the Virtuoso on-sites to offer the best service to my clients the same exact way in which I trust my personal network of on site relationships.
You Save Money
These in-country operators specialize in one destination and as a result send a significant amount of business to resorts, hotels, domestic airlines, and other service providers on the ground in country. Each year, these on-sites negotiate preferred rates and amenities with hotels, resorts and other service providers based on their collective volume. I’m then able to pass along these preferred rates and amenities to my clients.
Same Time Zone, Same Language
And perhaps most importantly, by working with a “team on the ground” you have someone available to you in the same time zone who speaks the local language and is available 24/7 should there be any questions or needs that arise while traveling. If there is a problem or emergency, or even if you want to change plans or simply add an activity or make a dinner reservation, having a local contact to call is absolutely priceless.
Things like cancelled flights, transfer mis-connects, and itinerary changes are most efficiently managed in country and in real time. This on-the-ground service is particularly valuable to my families and larger groups.
These are just a few reasons why I love my teams on the ground! (And a little peek behind the travel industry curtain!)