A recent party at a friend’s home found myself standing in a social cluster with three other “I don’t know your name” guests holding wine glasses and attempting to engage in small talk. Right after a brief comment by guest #1 on the unseasonably warm weather an inquiry on “how do you know the hosts,” by guest #2 was unintentionally stepped on with, “What do you do?” by a women standing in front of me.
Yes! I have my elevator pitch ready for these very situations, so when I shared in under 30 seconds, “I’m a leisure travel advisor. I take the complexity out of travel planning and deliver unique, imaginative travel experiences and value far beyond the status quo and off most travelers radar.” I confidently smiled and returned the question to no one in particular.
As usual, the conversation about what the other people “do” seems to never surface as the conversation goes full speed ahead on the topic of travel. Where they have been, where they want to go, how they use Trip Advisor, Rick Steve’s, Kayak, Expedia, yadda yadda. I simply listen, pleased that I fueled the conversation.
Once the conversation met a lull, I asked if anyone uses a professional travel advisor. “A travel agent?” asked John (formerly guest #1). “No, I mean a travel advisor.” I made eye contact with the small circle, “Unlike traditional travel agents, I reach far beyond the status quo, orchestrating imaginative travel experiences that are off most traveler’s radar. Experiences especially tailored for you.”
Maybe it was the wine, but I continued with my usual enthusiasm (I love what I do for my clients). “By taking the time to get to know your interests and preferences, I hand craft vacations that offer you the greatest Return on Life. Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to do, I arrange it down to the tiniest detail.
“I have a world of resources at my fingertips, thanks to my affiliation with the Virtuoso network through McCabe World Travel in McLean. I offer amenities, experiences, and access not available to the general public, that make all the difference in the way you experience travel. I can change the way that you travel and it begins with a conversation.”
Everyone asks for my business card and the conversation ends on smiles. So, now you know how my business grows. However, it builds upon referrals from people who are my clients and know first hand the travel experiences I deliver.
Another lesson learned, early on in my career, comes to play here. The market will define you, you cannot define yourself. I understood this best when a client recently shared with me how he tells others why he relies on my expertise and travel network connections whenever he can get away. He says, “it is like anyone can select a restaurant on Open Table, dine, and have a great meal. However, if you go to the same restaurant with someone who knows the owner, the experience is so different. It becomes more special. That is what WayneTraveler does for me on travel.”
Like they say, “sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name.”
When my clients arrive at their destination they are no longer recognized by the metallic status of their credit card. It is by their name, as one of their most prestigious guests with all the privileged access, perks and services. Whether you travel to celebrate with friends and family, to get away from everyday worries to de-stress, or for personal fulfillment and enrichment, the memories you build through extraordinary travel experiences echo long after you return home.