I basically do two things: I counsel and I book.
I counsel everyone I book, but I do not book everyone I counsel.
My desire to offer pure travel counselling came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was working at a large corporate agency (leisure department) and PPP stimulus terms put me back full time. I started taking calls from every traveller in need, even people who were not clients of that agency. So many people were duped into losing money to a hotel, airline, or cruise line. My clients didn’t. I can proudly say that nearly every penny for a client of mine that was put in jeopardy by the pandemic, I got back.
That wasn’t true for most people; many people effectively subsidized many travel companies. Usually when people called me, it was already too late for my advice to help.
I’ve become something of a luxury item, with most of my clientele being on the luxury side. I love luxury, it’s in my blood. When it just comes to helping people GO, that runs even deeper in me.
In the first few months of Counsel Travel, I found other people who wanted a little help. People who were DIYing their trip and just needed a little advice. People booking on credit card points that still wanted a pro to find the best options have been happy to find me.
I offer complimentary 15 minute consult calls because I really want you to go, no matter who you are. That’s all most people need.
If you really do need a lot of consultation on something really out of the box, I charge $75 an hour, after that first 15 minutes.
For Plane Tickets.
I charge $75 per ticket. I do go above and beyond with my flight tickets. I am one of the last independent GDS-capable agents using the same kind of proprietary software that airlines do. That means I can and will do things that are next to impossible through the Global Distribution System. I also keep a better eye on them, looking for opportunities to add value. I love booking international air and I rock at business class. If you also want a main-stream hotel or a car rental, I toss those into my flight bookings at no extra charge. I don’t enjoy booking domestic flights in the USA and only do that for certain high-volume clients.
For Cruises, Packages, and Tours.
I don’t charge clients extra fees. The way I see it, each of these companies pays me to handle customers for them. If I have a new person who wants me to find the *right* cruise, package, or tour, I’ll take a $200 deposit and pay that entire $200 toward the option they select.
For Custom Work.
I charge custom fees. I really wish I could quantify this, but it’s not possible. Most of my custom vacations are for trips less than two weeks, for two people, in not more than 4 or 5 different places. That assumes everything, every moment of every day, is planned and booked (down to the minute if desired) based on the customer's needs. I expect that to take 5-6 hours at $75 an hour, which is agreed to prior to the custom work being done.
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