As we look at future travels, creating a trip that really connects with your preferences is an area to focus on. I like to ask my clients about their hobbies and interests, so I can help tailor their experience. Often they will hesitate or just mention some basic things, but the deeper we can go in talking about wants and interests, the more personalized the trip arrangements. Some of the projects I’m working on inspire this week’s article that delves into ways of incorporating your preferences and quirks…
A few months ago, I was at a business mastermind meeting, and there was a choice of hotels associated with the conference. I picked one where I could get reward points and arrived to find no Diet Coke in the little shop. How could this be? This was a Pepsi hotel. Pepsi in the vending machines on the hotel floors. Pepsi only in the little shop. No Diet Coke. So, you know what this means – next time I’m staying at another hotel.
We all have our little quirks and cravings. Anyone that has traveled with me figures out quickly that I am addicted to Diet Coke. I drink it constantly and particularly want it when I travel to indulge myself with something familiar. Not getting my Diet Coke makes me unhappy. This is the type of thing that you tell your travel professional.
Depending on the type of trip that you are looking at, where you are traveling, and what your traveling style is, there are a lot of opportunities for you to indulge your preferences, your cravings, your special interests, and it’s your travel professional’s job to help you do that. From Diet Coke to your favorite type of wine to a love of model trains to your preference for feather pillows – those things that are important to you may be something that can be incorporated into your travel plans.
One of the most obvious examples of this is the selection of your preferred beverages stocked in your cabin refrigerator on several luxury cruises like Crystal or Seaborn. Whether it’s wine, spirits, soft drinks or juices, they will stock with your beverage of choice. So, let your travel professional know that your favorite white wine is Riesling or that you’d enjoy a bottle of vodka in the fridge. It’s not just for the cruise though. If your travel planner knows that not only do you like vodka, but you think of yourself as a vodka aficionado, then on your next trip they could suggest the Vodka Tour when you visit Warsaw Poland, where you will have 5-6 vodka tastings plus typical vodka food while visiting some local bars.
Beyond food and beverage preferences, share your other hobbies and interests. If you are really into wellness and yoga and you share that information when inquiring about river cruises, then you get a recommendation for one of the wellness-themed river cruises that has yoga sessions, specialty nutrition programs, an onboard fitness room and bicycling options, rather than just a general river cruise suggestion that may be on a ship without those amenities.
The more you share about yourself and your interests, the more you’ll connect with the destination if your sightseeing visits and experiences can be tailored to you. If you are touring and have only a day in a particular city, there may be many more classic interesting sights than the military museum, but if I know you graduated from a military college and love learning about historic weaponry, then the military museum and changing of the guard will become a primary visit in your travel plan.
All sorts of interests and family history can make a difference in your planning, and you never know what may spark an intriguing tie-in. For instance, if you share that you have a fascination with lighthouses, I can use that when planning your trip to Ireland and arrange for you to stay in a lighthouse while you are visiting the west coast of Ireland. One of my colleagues was working with a family going to France and they shared that their grandpa had parachuted onto the beach on D-Day. She arranged for the teenaged grandsons to parachute in the area – how intensely personal does that make the travel experience?
Share your favorites, your interests, your cravings, your history, and your quirky hobbies so your travel experience can be customized to reflect your personality and you’ll enjoy it even more.