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Booking Summer Vacations

Written by Marla Archer
June 2011

Hi Everybody!

The 2011 summer travel season has started off with a bang! I have had the privilege to handle the arrangements for several different individuals heading to a variety of destinations recently.

Jamaica Me Crazy

My first opportunity was working with two ladies who wanted to go to an All-Inclusive Adult Resort in Jamaica at the end of this month. I did thorough research on all available properties within their budget and found the perfect girlfriend getaway at the Secrets Resort in Montego Bay.

People often ask why they should come to me for their vacation plans. Here is a perfect example as to why. I provided that extra time and effort with diligent research and found out that Secrets was offering a "Spring Fever Special". The special included a reduced room rate in a Junior Ocean View Suite, $200 resort credit, $100 credit for spa treatments, $60 coupon for dinner, and $40 in coupons towards wine. These ladies are going to have an absolute blast! Plus I arranged for air on the carrier of their choice, in addition to ground transportation for their stay. These ladies do not have to think about anything once they board the plane!

South of France and London

My next project was HUGE! A lovely couple is celebrating their upcoming 10th anniversary in July and wanted to visit both the South of France and London.

I wanted to do my absolute best to provide a very special experience for them. The gentleman has back issues and needed to make sure he traveled Business class on a specific type of aircraft. I must have spent days looking for the best flight at the best price. For those of you who may not know it, the airlines stopped paying commission years ago. I finally found a good match and we booked the air.

Since they wanted to go to the South of France, I remembered how much I loved Nice and the surrounding area. I read countless reviews looking for the perfect hotel for their stay in Nice. I finally found a boutique hotel overlooking the Mediterranean. I personally contacted the hotel manager to assure a pleasant stay. My couple will be greeted with a chilled bottle of champagne upon their arrival.

In addition to the hotel, I arranged two tours for their stay in Nice. I scheduled them for a half day city tour of Nice for their first morning, so they could get acquainted with the town. I remembered how much I loved the quaint town of Eze, so I suggested a half day tour to Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze for the afternoon on their second day. I hope they like the tour as much as I did.

On the afternoon of their third day they are leaving for London, so I arranged for air transportation from Nice to London, with all the ground transportation, too. While in London, I arranged for a hotel right in the heart of the city. I also booked an all day tour to Bath, Windsor and Stonehenge. Stonehenge is one place I really would like to visit some day. The couple wanted to have some unescorted time in London, so I also arranged for a Two Day London Pass. This way they can come and go as they please.

Rick and I will be celebrating our 10th in August, I am very jealous.  Ricky honey, are you reading this?


My third big travel booking adventure was with a very kind gentleman who had recently lost his wife due to cancer. He was planning a very special trip to Hawaii to spend time with his son. The gentleman came to my home, and we discussed that he wanted to go to Kauai for three weeks and split the time between a condo and a high end resort.

Boy, this one was challenging. There were no specific dates, so I researched when would be the least expensive days to fly. I found him very nice 3 star accommodations right on the waterfront at a reasonable rate. I searched high and low looking at all the possibilities and decided on this particular hotel because it was offering a 4th Night Free promotion. Since he was staying for an extended time frame, this was greatly to his advantage. He ended up booking the 5 star resort through his son due to better pricing.

The son has a work affiliation with the resort and the gentleman was able to take advantage of a family discount. No hard feelings on my part, I only want what is best for my guests. I also arranged for a car rental with Alamo. I found a deal where he was given a $200 car credit. The air was tricky.

Not to disclose too much information, but there were three airline tickets for three different dates involved in this transaction. This was certainly more complicated that my Jamaica ladies. I am sure my gentleman is going to have a great time! ;-)


As I write, I am currently working on two different cruise vacations. One is on Holland America for a 7 day sailing to Alaska in August for a mother and daughter.  As I write, that booking is practically complete.

The other project is for a Western Caribbean sailing on Carnival's new Magic for this November. I will let you know shortly how these turn out.

One thing I found out was that I definitely want to book the Magic sometime in 2012. Well, there you go, I just received a call with the credit card for the guest sailing on the Magic!  And minutes later, the go ahead on the Holland America cruise. I was able to capture a reduced fare on a balcony cabin that was only $25 higher than the oceanview. Holland America had a limited time promotion and the ladies definitely wanted to take advantage of the promo.

Summer Summary

As you all may know I am very experienced working with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and NCL, but I now am well-trained with Princess as well.  This training with Princess recently came in handy.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to book two 14 day Panama Canal Cruises. I must say this was one of the easiest bookings I have ever done. My guests let me know exactly what itinerary they wanted, approximately when they wanted to go and that they wanted two adjoining Mini Suites. They told me that they had done this cruise before and liked it. I looked up their past guest numbers and found out that there was a Past Guest Promo running on this exact cruise. I relayed the info and we booked the cruise.

The only tricky part of this was that one of the guests is not a U.S. citizen, so I had to check each port to see if a visa was required. I liked the itinerary so well, and now that I am familiar with Princess, I am hoping to be able to attempt a group cruise on one of their ships.

I started out by organizing group cruises, but after ten years of experience, I now feel equally comfortable booking individual itineraries.  Wish me luck on my expanded travel career!  I not only can save people a lot of time and booking hassle, I have been to every place these people want to go.  I have complete confidence I can give you some advice on each place that will not only save you time and money, it will also enhance your trip.  If I can help, let me know!

Marla Archer

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