Once in a Blue Moon - Who are the real travel experts?
Topical right? Well, lets get straight into it..........
Have you ever contacted one of the big high street Tour operators / Travel agents? You know the ones; big budgets, glossy brochures, branches up and down the country, looking to ask advice about booking your next holiday. You have a destination or type of holiday in mind but you need an expert to really make it come alive, put some flesh onto the rough ideas. You have also scoured the internet and you feel well informed, after all the internet is always right, right? You really just need someone who has seen it before, done it and has up to date knowledge about what's new, what's changed in the last 3/6/9/12 months.
Some of these big companies have truly brilliant travel experts, I should know I used to be one :-), or at least I used to work with them. The problem is, it's sometimes pure luck to get the right person at the right time, the real expert in the office, the person who has just come back from your chosen destination 3 months ago.
So I ask myself the question; would I risk spending potentially thousands of pounds on a holiday getting advice from someone who (A) has never been to the place I want to go (B) lives thousands of miles away from the destination and really doesn't know whats going on right there on the ground (C) offers discounts every second week because their prices are too high to start with?........Put simply, no! However, that's what millions of people do every year, as until now there has been little alternative, especially for tailor-made travel. We are creatures of habit and bizarrely expect the person who knew everything about Botswana last year to now magically be an intimate expert of Cambodia this year................really, seriously, do you think that makes sense?
Which brings us nicely back to the title of this blog......"Once in a Blue Moon - Who are the real travel experts?". The reality is getting hold of a real expert from one of the old style tour operators is about as common as witnessing a Blue Moon.......Over the years we have learned to compromise, as that's how the system is.....or at least was.
This is where I shamelessly extol the virtues of booking with or at least enquiring with AsktheTraveller.
Our aim is simple, we do not claim to be experts on everywhere - yes we should know our flights, after all we have trained some of the finest travel companies personnel on how to book flights, how to get the best deals and how air fares actually work. We should know a lot of destinations well, yes we have travelled to over 120 different destinations and lived in a few of them. We of course have been in travel for over 25 years and the company is fully ATOL protected. We can offer a lot more than you see on our website and if we do not have the right expert contacts to be able to book this trip for you, then we will aim to give you the very best honest, unbiased advice on who else to contact on this occasion.
However, we understand that the real experts are our local partners who live-in and breath the countries they sell - you want to go to South Africa and need a recommendation where to stay and eat in Capetown?......well it just so happens that our local partners live in Capetown, did I mentioned they are travel award winners as well?
So you need advice about a visit to The Galapagos? ......Our partners live and work there, they own their own Cruise ships and have first hand honest expert advice on what would suit you best. Did I mention they are travel award winners?
Perhaps you need to know where to stay and what to do in Peru apart from the Inca trail....Well as luck (or design) would have it, our local partners are based in Lima, have been welcoming guests to their home country for over 60 years - Experts? Oh yes and did I mention they are travel industry award winners?
Perhaps you're noticing a trend? Yes, you got it, our partners from around the world are the very best, as we think you deserve nothing less and frankly we also have a reputation to uphold.
Think about it........Who are the real experts? UK based travel industry sales people, with limited experience of your destination of choice looking to shoe horn you into a trip someone once told them was quite nice a couple of years ago, worse still referring to a brochure that was out of date the day it went to print.........
Or the travel industry award winners sat in Siem Reap with over two decades of experience inviting guests to Cambodia, their home, organising the very best travel experiences with immediate up to date knowledge and expertise. Hmmmm, this isn't a trick question.
So there you have it, forget the lottery of the traditional old school tour operators. Turn your back on those who claim to be travel experts and look instead towards those who are real destination travel experts.
One really powerful way of explaining the difference between booking with AsktheTraveller and our local partners vs a traditional tour operator is that the traditional operators are trying to sell you a product/destination thousands of miles away, with limited knowledge and out of date experience. At AsktheTraveller, when we put you directly in touch with our local partners, they have the up to date knowledge and experience you can trust. Plus, the insider gems that only a local really knows about.......We think you deserve the best.