Work with your travel agent to craft trip

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 31, 2011

It was Lawrence County Fair night for me a few weeks back.

Sporting Ohio University colors I fielded questions from passersby as they strolled past the OU information booth. Our air conditioned building was struggling with the hot, muggy evening and it felt more like “swamp cooled” instead of conditioned air to me.

Not familiar with the term “swamp cooler”? These are cooling devices used in lower humidity regions like Arizona, New Mexico and the Great Southwest. My lay person non technical understanding of these machines is that they draw outside air over basically a wet sponge resulting in a flow of cooler moist air.

Email newsletter signup

While this may be OK in theory I’ve been in my mother’s Tucson Ariz. place in late August where the temperatures reach the high 110s and her swamp cooler just doesn’t cut it. Fortunately newer homes, hotels and resorts have been built with central air.

Moving back to the swamped cooled fair booth a young couple approached our booth and I greeted them with “Aloha! You’d look good in OU green! What degree can I sign you up for? Applications are free tonight!”

They continued with some small talk about that other school that wears green and inquired about graduate education courses.

I answered their questions to the best of my ability but I could tell that there was more on their minds.

They looked at me then each other and asked “Hey aren’t you the travel guy? You know the one who writes a column in the Ironton paper and works at OU?”

“Sure am” was my reply.

Smiling they followed up “We’re getting married next spring. Do you have any specials? You helped a friend of ours on their honeymoon cruise last year. They had a wonderful great time and you got them a great deal!”

I froze! It was that dreaded question from hell “Do you have any specials?”

Here are two folks that I had never seen before and now I was being asked to immediately reduce a planet wide inventory of travel products into one specific answer.

In an instant I had to ascertain what their travel motivations, needs, expectations and, most importantly, budget were. Tonight was another “mission impossible” situation and I informed them of such.

Still smiling I said “Sorry no can do! We (a travel agent) need to spend some time together discussing your honeymoon plans, travel preferences and budget.

I need to get to know you! Together we need to look at the 5 Wiseman and Howie questions. Once we have these answers then and only then can we make an informed decision”.

In my world the 5 Wiseman and Howie questions are: Who is traveling? When are you planning on travelling? Why are you traveling? (This one was already answered) Where do you want to go? What do you want to do on your vacation (honeymoon)?

How much have you budgeted for this trip? It’s basically Sales 101 with a travel twist.

I tried to explain that planning any trip especially a honeymoon was a detailed involved process. My parting advice to this fair-going couple was to contact me or a good agent who could guide them through this process. I assured them that it would be time well spent.

But I could tell from their looks that they felt that I had let them down. They were expecting me to reveal the special of all specials that would knock their socks off!

As a traveler you need to give your travel planner something to work. Answer their questions to the best of your ability. If you’ve done some research share that with them. By working together and sharing information we can craft that perfect honeymoon or vacation getaway.

Be kind to your travel agent and get out of town!

Got travel? E-mail Steve Call at the or dial 740.550.9540.