In the August 2006 issue of Condé Nast Traveler magazine, Brook Wilkinson lists the Seven Tactics of a Top Travel Specialist & Travel Consultant
You can rest assured that Your Friend In Italy strives to meet and exceed the following tactics in order to be an Italy Travel Consultant that offers you valuable travel advice and peace of mind enabling you to experience the true heart of Italy.
Find the right fit: Not every Travel Consultant will be the right match for every client. If you’re not immediately enamored of the first one you contact, try some others.
Offer ample background: The travel consultant will want to know about you in order to design a travel itinerary that best matches your personality and fulfills the goals for the trip. Be as honest and specific in your responses as possible. You will likely be peppered with questions about your past trips, your expectations for this one, your hobbies, your physical condition, and your travel companions, among other things.
Establish a budget: Have an idea of how much you want to spend. Remember that luxury comes at a price, no matter the cost of living at the destination—and don’t forget to factor in fluctuating exchange rates. Even if your budget is tight, a good consultant can often be able to stretch your dollars.
Expect a fee: Travel Consultants earn their living through commissions from travel suppliers (e.g., cruise lines, tour operators, and some hotels) and/or charging clients a service fee. You will likely pay either a fixed amount (typically from $100 to $500) or a markup (about 10 to 15 percent) that is built into the total trip cost. Sometimes the up-front service fee will be applied to the cost of the trip if you end up booking it.
Plan ahead: Contact your travel consultant as far in advance of your trip as possible and be prompt in offering feedback and requesting any adjustments to the proposed itinerary, whether it be a flight time, an excursion, or a hotel. Involve your travel companions from the beginning so that all parties are familiar with the plans as they evolve. Last-minute changes can be difficult and costly to accommodate.
Value the relationship: Treat your Italy Travel Specialist/Consultant not as hired help but as a travel expert who can enrich your travel experiences.