Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest | TravelResearchOnline


Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest


Way back when in a and far, far away, airlines used to give travel agent certificates for free or discounted travel. One time, I had a bunch of them to use with US Airways and decided to just walk up to an airport with a suitcase and go someplace new based on the clothing in my bag—warm or cold. It was exciting. It was cool. I told the ticketing agent to just let me know the gate and not the destination. I tried to not know, but usually the gig was up when I arrived at the gate. But the serendipity was intoxicating. Fast forward to my discovery last week.

Pack Up & Go. A newcomer to the industry from Pittsburgh is replicating what I did many years ago and I love it! You select your budget, answer an online survey about your travel likes and dislikes and the agent plans out a 3-day weekend for you with the destination as a surprise! Serendipity has returned.

The trips, for the most part are not mainstream cities—rather than Baltimore or DC, they might look to Frederick, MD or Annapolis, MD. They are planned and geared to your travel likes, they avoid places you have been or are planning to go. And for the most part they are budget friendly even for the most frugal traveler.

I am a fan, and this is not a plug for them, but some food for thought for you. Might this not be a neat addition to your current agency offerings? Might this not be an outstanding way to introduce yourself to new clients without them “risking” a honeymoon or European FIT with you?

Such a program could really highlight your expertise. Research the destination, forge the relationships and absolutely wow them. Make reservations at the hottest table in town. Hire a local guide to show them around. Arrange for a special treat in their hotel room. Make it hard for them to NOT come back to you for their larger trip.

To make it even easier, you could have packages already in your stable that would need minimal to no customization like City Escape Holidays! Of course, your clients do not need to know that. Just some food for thought.

Very often, the best ideas are the simple ones. My only regret…I wish I had thought of this first!


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