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Northern California a Source of Delight for Personal Travel Managers

July 26, 2017 Mobile travel consulting No Comments Email Email

Five personal travel managers (PTMs) who participated in an exclusive TravelManagers’ famil of Northern California discovered that, whilst an eight-day guided tour was long enough to whet their appetites, they would happily savour a much longer stay in this scenic part of the world.

The group was hosted by Trafalgar Tours and Qantas Airways, and according to Sarena Taylor, representative for Robina in Queensland, the opportunity to experience a long-haul journey with Qantas was a great start to the famil.

“I was very impressed with Qantas, the service exceeded my expectations. The cabin crew were very hospitable and we experienced the luxury of business class on the return sector, which was a real highlight. Qantas really looked after us.” 

Personal travel manager Kerry Cleasby has the California Line tram all to herself

According to Lucretia Caruso, representative for Athelstone in South Australia, the impeccable service continued seamlessly upon their arrival in San Francisco, demonstrating very clearly the value that is added to the client’s experience by the presence of an excellent tour director.

“I believe that having the right “Tour Director” can make or break a holiday for any client doing a coach tour.  Mary Lee was our Tour Director and from the moment of meeting her the evening before the tour, she was nothing but professional and special.  Her attention to detail with every single passenger was truly impressive: she was such a wealth of knowledge and she was always quick to make recommendations or pass on valuable tips to enhance the experience for all 50 passengers.”

A perfect day in Yosemite National Park, all in a day’s work for TravelManagers’ Jan Marshall, Lucrezia Caruso, Julie Jenkinson, Kerry Cleasby and Sarena Taylor (left to right), plus Trafalgar’s Sheena Smith (centre).

For Caruso, her first-hand experience with the people who lead the tours for Trafalgar has enhanced her confidence in promoting the product to her clients: “Mary was truly impressive so I can feel completely comfortable recommending Trafalgar to my clients: whether they are families or foodies; mature couples or singles who want to travel as part of a guided holiday.”

Trafalgar’s Sheena Smith, who hosted the group on their famil, agrees that the famil was very useful in giving PTMs confidence in recommending the product to their clients, noting that her group were very impressed with the high standards of their tour director.

“The PTMs on this famil had the same experience as every other member of this guided holiday so their experience was utterly authentic and we know that they will have left the trip with greatly increased confidence in selling not just the destination but the guided holiday itself.”

All aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, for wine tasting and lunch.  From left to right are TravelManagers’ Kerry Cleasby, Sarena Taylor, Lucrezia Caruso, Jan Marshall and Julie Jenkinson, plus Trafalgar’s Sheena Smith (2nd from right)

One of the main highlights for all five PTMs was the opportunity to spend time in Yosemite National Park, which Julie Jenkinson, representative for Doonan in Queensland, describes as “jaw-dropping.”

“I had high expectations before we got there but I was not disappointed: the area even is more beautiful than I imagined.”

This sentiment is shared by Taylor, who says describes Yosemite as “spectacular”.

“Staying in the park was a great experience: I really enjoyed the hiking and seeing the mountains, granite cliffs and waterfalls, and would definitely recommend the tour to clients who enjoy adventure, love nature and the outdoors.”

As well as the outstanding natural beauty encountered throughout the famil, great food and wine was another popular feature for the group.

Lunch with a view: personal travel managers Lucrezia Caruso and Sarena Taylor, at Pebble Beach Golf course.

“The Napa Valley Wine Train was such a unique experience amid spectacular scenery,” says Caruso.  “We travelled through beautiful manicured wine country and past famous wineries, and the food and wine we were served was sensational and truly memorable.”

For Taylor, her time spent exploring in and around San Francisco has made it very easy to sell the destination – either as part of a tour or to visit independently.

“To be honest,” she says, “I wasn’t familiar with Northern California before this trip. I learnt so much about San Francisco and loved the one mile walk across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the ferry ride to Sausalito. It put everything into perspective by seeing the distances between each place so I can see how much you can do and how far you can travel in a day.”

She says she also picked up useful tips that would be relevant to visitors to any part of North America, whether they were travelling independently or as part of a group.

“It’s a good idea to carry small denominations of cash. Tipping is expected in the US and Taxes and Gratuities are not included in restaurant bills which is something to be aware of as they need to be added to your payment.

Yosemite Falls makes a surreal backdrop for TravelManagers’ Sarena Taylor

Kerry Cleasby, representative for South Brisbane in Queensland, was another member of the famil and agrees that her new, first-hand knowledge of the destination will enhance her confidence in providing great service to her clients.

“This was my first visit to this part of California, so I now feel much more confident selling it,” she explains.  “Many of my clients do self-drive trips here, so being able to give them local insights and tips such as the best place for a clam chowder or a margarita at Fisherman’s Wharf will be invaluable to my business and reputation as a PTM with in-depth local knowledge.”

TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager Michael Gazal confirms that this ability to share detailed, on-the-ground insights with clients is key in ensuring the ongoing value that PTMs add to their clients’ holiday experiences.

“Our PTMs are constantly working to ensure that their product knowledge is current, relevant and valuable to their clients.  When our industry partners, such as Qantas and Trafalgar in this case, offer famils such as this one to our PTMs, they are helping to preserve the special relationship of trust and expertise that exists between travel agent and client.”

For Cleasby, the benefits of the ten days away from her desk were obvious even before she had arrived back in Australia: “many of my clients were messaging me while I was away, looking for recommendations and wanting to know what local goodies I had uncovered during my visit.”

For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.

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