My agency is running away with me! But I am pretty sure it is a good thing. When I came into this industry, I didn’t plan on specializing in group cruises; but it seems to be where my business is leading me. The more groups I book, the more groups I get, with larger numbers. All in all, this is not a bad problem to have. I’ve had lots of families traveling together, at first booking 2-3 cabins, then 4 or 5 cabins for family reunion groups, holiday cruises or girlfriend getaways. My largest group yet is an AARP group with 28 cabins, which I know is small potatoes to many, but when my only experience has been 3 or 4 cabins, it’s large!
Since few of my clients are local to me, I do not escort any of the groups. The AARP group is being escorted by a gentleman traveling in the group who ran a tour company for 45 years before retiring. He has been a pleasure to work with, as he is organized, gracious, and is teaching me a few things as well.
It’s been a learning experience. I’ve received a crash course in cruise line group policies until I thought my head would explode! Tour conductors, group amenities and contracts, Oh My! I’ve read others’ experiences on TRO and other travel forums about the pitfalls to avoid, as well as received sage advice from my travel mentor, as she books many group cruises.
It is very time consuming. I’ve had to become extremely organized and detail oriented, lest I drown in paperwork and details. Excel spreadsheets are my new best friend! I don’t know where this new focus will take my business, but I’m running with it. I do love a challenge, and this certainty fits the bill.
Patti Maxwell is the Owner of Galavant Travel in Deerfield New Hampshire. After a 28 year long career as a medical transcriptionist, Maxwell received her Travel & Tourism Certificate from a local Community College, and started Galavant Travel in 2007. Galavant is a home based agency affiliated with Avoya Travel. You can contact Patti by email, on her website, on twitter, facebook, or her blog.