What does a travel agent do on a "business" trip to the Dominican Republic?
I’m glad you asked because I did a lot!
In case you missed my posts on my social medial pages, I just returned from a business trip to the Dominican Republic.
I know I know, lots of people like to tease me when I say I’m taking a “business” trip to a beautiful destination like the Caribbean, but I really am working while I’m there – well, at least most of the time (wink wink!).
It’s so important that you work with a travel agent who invests in visiting destinations and resorts regularly, like me. The saying is so true, “I know because I go.”
Some parts of travel have obviously changed quite a bit over the last year because of COVID-19, so I think it’s key that I experience the new protocols first-hand in order to advise my clients accordingly.
For example, the flight attendants passed out four different paper forms during my flight: immigration, customs, embarkation, and health questionnaire.
There was quite a bit of confusion about whether any of these forms still needed to be completed if you had already completed the new online entry form, but now I can now confidently advise my clients that they do not need to worry about completing any of these paper forms.
It might seem like a small thing, but it’ll save time and stress when traveling which is a huge part of why I’m here!
I pre-booked the VIP airport arrival service for myself so I know whether to recommend it to my clients – not all of these types of services are worth it, but this one was excellent!
I was greeted by a friendly face the moment I stepped off the plane and brought to an air conditioned lounge with water, juice, and beer available while staff collected my luggage.
I was expedited through immigrations and customs, and then escorted directly to the VIP area to meet the transfer to my resort. Super fast and smooth!
EXPERT TIP: Take a photo of your luggage before you leave home to show the VIP staff when you arrive to simplify the process.
Each trip is a little different, but this particular one was for a romance travel conference through the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA), which I’m a member of.
During the conference, I attended multiple days of workshops and breakout sessions that focused on learning about the latest trends and best practices in romance travel.
I also met one-on-one with local suppliers from the Dominican Republic and expanded my network of trusted travel agent colleagues in the industry. It's so helpful to have fellow agents to bounce things off of and get feedback from when needed.
I intentionally arrived a few days early before the conference started so I could stay at another resort and also visit several others. Seeing resorts in person is critical because like I always say, “they can make anything look good online.”
I love being able to see things like how big/nice a beach really is, and check out a 360 degree view of a wedding venue (not just the professional cropped shot that only shows the straight on view).
Staying at a resort also gives me insight into things that you just can’t learn from a website. Things like the quality of food, friendliness of staff, level of service, nightlife vibe, which swim-up rooms have the most privacy, etc.
And, making face-to-face connections with resort staff is priceless – especially when I need something for my clients.
So, there you have it - I really do work on my business trips…while also squeezing in an occasional cocktail and sunset, of course : )
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