One of life’s guilty pleasures is often found in fast food. You probably have at least one go-to restaurant that can quickly satisfy your hunger, possibly selected for the quality of the food and probably for the speed in which it will surely find itself in your hands and mouth. You enjoy the meal, but it is soon forgotten. You are unlikely to recommend it to others, or really even think about it once the food is consumed and the paper bags are thrown out.
But there are other times when you truly prefer a sit down restaurant. You’d like to be seated at a table and be waited on, with a server to attend to all of your needs. You’ll likely hear about the specials, maybe the server’s personal menu favorites, you can ask for a wine recommendation. After your order is placed, you might anxiously wait in anticipation for your meal. It’s a different experience with a completely different result. The atmosphere of the restaurant, the service you receive, perhaps the company you are with, certainly the food, drink and yes, even the amount of time spent at this venue, will all contribute to your memories. If the experience is good, you may return again and again. You may endorse the restaurant by telling all your friends. But it’s not fast food and you wouldn’t want it to be.
This analogy occurred to me when it comes to buying travel vs planning a vacation. Anyone can buy an airline ticket or find a hotel room online. That’s fast food.
If you work with a travel agent, that course of action is comparable to sitting down for the nice meal. You want to talk to a “server” who will attend to all of your needs and make recommendations especially tailored for you. The very best travel agents will form a connection with you and really evaluate what you want to get out of your vacation. It will take longer to get your meal, as the “chef” is preparing it to meet your specifications. Food is too spicy or maybe a bit bland? You can ask for an adjustment! The same with your travel agent. We are getting to know you and your preferences, so please offer feedback on our proposed travel plans.
We live in a “fast food” society, where an overload of information is readily available on the internet. But the personalized meal with the chef’s fancy touches requires a bit of patience. Custom tailoring a trip is a complex process, especially when the agent is ensuring that you get the absolute best value for your travel dollar. Fabulous trips most often occur with a careful attention to planning.
If you prefer the trip that has been sitting on the shelf under the warmer, ready for anyone at a moment’s notice - then you might be better off with fast food and that is okay. The nice meal will be ready when you are!
While at Memphis State, I landed a dream job at Omega Travel. It was M to F, 1 to 5 in an office, not a restaurant or retail. I knew immediately I was in job heaven! My first assignment was the “brochure room.” Literally. Back then, every hotel, resort, tourist destination, city, state and country in the world produced brochures and sent them by the hundreds to travel agents. Our boxes of brochures hadn’t been touched in quite some time. . I learned a lot that first semester. First, I got the travel bug. Secondly, I learned how a travel agency operates from the ground floor up. Upon graduation, armed with a PR degree, I joined the travel industry and have never looked back. I love it! Today, I handle HR & Operations for Travelennium (name changed in 1999). Travel agencies in general, and mine in particular, have changed drastically. But we are still here and going strong. Over the years, I have been privileged to work with the finest, most knowledgeable travel professionals around. Now I’m blogging to share some of the tips and insider information that I have picked up over the years. Please share your comments or any travel questions!