WARNING Don't book your next holiday before reading this!
Looking forward to a holiday, planning it and being there creating experiences and memories is all about happiness. The more we are immersed in the experience the higher the happiness factor. In this super fast post-modern age, the solid anchor to the immersion holiday experience is the secret weapon PTA. Like the A list movie stars who have guaranteed 5 star experiences you can get yourself a personal travel adviser, and here’s the secret to why you should and how to do it!
We all have the basics. We know how to hop online and make bookings. For day to day activities, this is usually enough to get by comfortably. But we go on holiday to enjoy experiences that are different to our day to day lives. We all have diverse interests, so we may want to experience being pampered, immerse ourselves in culture, find the best shopping areas, enjoy fine dining - the list is endless.
The first thing to know is that holidays are different to daily life and there is a serious cost to getting it wrong. What if you travelled halfway around the world and missed out on some of the amazing experiences while you are there just because nobody told you about them or introduced you to the secret wonders of that destination (no I don’t mean the crowded tourist spots). It takes local knowledge and connections to turn a run of the mill holiday into a once in a lifetime experience.
Here’s some proof. Consider the London Caper making headlines in holiday circles - two unrelated groups of four friends booked holidays to London at the same time. Red Group take care of things themselves and spend $8000 a head for return flights, accommodation, meals and activities. They stay up all night booking everything online through a discount travel site.
Gold Group allocate $8776 a head which also includes return flights, accommodation, meals and activities. However, they have chosen to book through a very well connected Personal Travel Adviser.
They meet the PTA over coffee and discuss their wildest dreams, their everyday interests, particular sleeping habits, and "must-avoids". The five star service has already started. The secret weapon now moves silently into action. Gold Group can go and relax.
Fast forward to the holiday destination and Red Group did all of the normal touristy things, including queuing for two hours to get into the Tower of London and then experienced an even longer wait to get into Madame Tussaud's. They accept this as part of the holiday experience and have a nice time anyway. They travel to and from Heathrow Airport packed like sardines on a train (maneuvering the luggage was a bit tiresome as well) and chat about the best bits and the worst bits.
Gold Group benefiting from the Personal Travel Adviser's intimate knowledge of their destination and some amazing connections on the ground were able to bypass the queues at the Tower and at Madame Tussauds. One of the group was a car enthusiast and another mentioned that he was a keen gardener. Prized tickets were promptly obtained for an exclusive motor vehicle launch (Jaguar F-type sports car) and (for impossible to get hold of tickets) for morning entry and lunch at the Chelsea Flower Show, where they rubbed shoulders with not only the who’s who of the gardening world, but stars of the small screen, big screen and minor royalty as well. The photo book that resulted was an amazing record of one of the best days on the London calendar.
Chauffeur driven to and from Heathrow airport to their Knightsbridge Hotel, Gold Group were delighted to find that their standard rooms had been upgraded by the hotel management to junior suites, and they were invited to join the manager for pre-dinner drinks.
Their gold standard PTA even arranged a personal meeting and book signing with Nobuyuki Matsuhisa owner of the famous Nobu Restaurants who happened to be visiting London at the same time. This was totally unexpected and a real treat as the group had mentioned that they love Nobu dining during their coffee briefing prior to booking their travel experience.
The two groups were brought together for an interview after their holiday back in Melbourne, Australia and shared their experiences. Red Group were initially happy with their holiday but when they started to learn about the different experience that Gold Group had, it became very obvious that despite their best efforts this once in a 5 year holiday didn’t hit the happiness highs that are guaranteed by securing all of the perks of using a Personal Travel Adviser.
There is a lesson to be learnt. Getting the inside running on securing your own PTA is easy. You have a choice...would you really be happy with a run of the mill holiday, when you can actually have a once in a lifetime experience?