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It’s been a hectic week and as the days go by, the job of a travel consultant seems to get more complex with the growing challenges and demands. More so,   if you are into customized holidays and your client profile includes those from either financial sectors – be it a Bank or a Private Equity firm, or a Doctor or a Lawyer for that matter.

The aforementioned professions are a boon for a travel consultant as they do plan frequent visits – short holidays, at time longer trips with their spouses or families. However, there are several challenges and this is why I thought of putting down a list of Traveller’s Etiquette for the nouveau riche professional. Some of these may sound very stereotype, but they are indeed essential

1. Understand the role of a Travel Consultant – especially if your Travel Consultant is providing you a customized holiday, his role is to synchronize various services and put it together. He has to liaise with airlines, destination marketing companies (DMCs), hotels, suppliers of services to ensure you get the best.

2. You know you need a break and deserve a break, why not plan in advance – after all you want the best deals in terms of airfare, so why not shortlist the likely list of destinations who want to travel and set a time frame by when you need to book it. Planning early can save you from penalties due to delays in visas and also you get the best deal besides the hotels and flights of your choice

3. You get what you pay for – You may be pampered during your business trips, either paid for by your clients or your company. On the other hand your holiday is paid for by you. So if you are overly pampered and expect similar quality of travel and accommodation experience, be willing to pay for it rather than going cheap, cheap , cheap and complaining and cribbing on your return. If you are a habitual business class traveller, why go for economy class and come complaining. After all the extra dollars you make is for a comfortable lifestyle and if you expect luxury, be willing to pay for it.

4. Trust a reliable travel consultant who has product knowledge – Focus your energy in fine tuning your itinerary  rather than going crazy about checking rates offered online  which change all the time and with conditions attached. If you have a good travel consultant who knows the destination, plan on adding value and experiences. When you buy a Mercedes or a BMW, do you go about finding the prices of spare parts and putting it together to find out how cheap can a Mercedes or BMW work out if you assemble on your own. I am sure not. So when you want to plan a holiday, trust a travel consultant rather than combining bits and pieces from various online portals and making a mess of it. If you are so good to plan your own travels, why go to a travel consultant in the first place?

5. Focus on experiential and destination-centric travel – Planning a trip to Europe or South America, it is best to spend at least a week in each of the destination rather than visiting mere capital or iconic cities and losing out on the character of smaller towns and unique experiences in each location. Here is where a true Travel Consultant can be of extreme help.

6. Set deadlines – When you wish to finalize a project at work, you love meeting deadlines. Set a deadline of having all arrangements complete one week prior to travel date. After all your holiday is as important to unwind and recharge your batteries, so why plan at the last moment.

7. The cheapest will definitely not be the best – You may be heading to Egypt, Turkey or New Zealand . Why not get the best value out of a holiday? After all you will not make a repeat visit as there is so much to see across the globe. Go with the specialists who add value rather than going for the cheapest. The cheapest need not be the best. Haven’t you heard the saying, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys? So if you do go for the cheapest, be ready that what you are being promised and delivered may not necessarily be the same.

8. Compare apples with apples – A very common phrase but forgotten when you do plan a customized holiday. I have heard often potential clients calling up and enquiring how much is a visit to South Africa for 10 days going to cost them? Little do they compare the inclusions – the hotel categories, the cities visited, whether the price includes domestic airfares. If you are not doing an even comparison, you will end up with a horrendous experience for merely comparing the pricing and there is no one but yourself to be blamed for making the wrong decision.

9. Go with the flow – Every country has its pros and cons due to difference in cultures and lifestyle. If you plan a visit to Argentina or Germany and you are stuck on a wintry day in a snow storm, enjoy the experience like I did when I was in El Calafate. After all some travel is an experience of expecting the unexpected and you will agree that no one lives in a perfect world. Don’t blame your tour consultant if there is a flight delay due to heavy fog. Instead, focus on solutions so that you do not miss the onward flight.

10. Share your experiences – On your return, share your experiences and advise friends and family of things to expect in a destination. If there are online platforms, such as Namaste South Africa , you can become an advisor for your friends where to head next and what to experience just as 25 odd travellers shared their experience of an African Holiday experience.

So end this Holiday season and start 2011 with these useful Traveller’s Etiquette and for some great holiday ideas start Exploring Places like Never Before and make your list of top 10 destinations to visit in the coming years.

TRAVELLER’S ETIQUETTE
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