Ah, my sorely neglected blog. Sadly, during the pandemic, I didn’t do much traveling and kept my eating to a small number of local restaurants in West Palm Beach, Florida. But finally, I have an exciting and relevant update for my PassportDelicious.com audience. Given my love of travel and all the pent-up travel demand coming out of COVID, late last year, I became a Virtuoso travel advisor. I wanted to let you know more about Virtuoso and what I can do for you when it comes to travel.
What is Virtuoso?
Virtuoso is a worldwide network of travel agencies with specializations in luxury and experiential travel. Importantly, bookings made through Virtuoso advisors come with value-added perks for no additional cost to you! Here are some of the benefits…
- Daily breakfast for 2 guests per room
- Room upgrade (subject to availability)
- Early check-in (subject to availability)
- Late checkout (subject to availability)
- A special Virtuoso amenity (typically a $100 property credit or other amenity valued at a minimum of $100, like a massage or resort credit)
The catalog of Virtuoso hotels includes name-brand chains like Conrad, Four Seasons, Hilton, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott, Rosewood, Peninsula, Ritz Carlton, Shangri-La, St. Regis, Viceroy, and Waldorf.
Booking Virtuoso rates with me is a lot like stacking benefits! Because a Virtuoso hotel rate still goes through the hotel’s booking system, you can still earn hotel points, elite night credits, and even enjoy hotel elite benefits when booking through me. But you just get a little something extra. Doesn’t that sound awesome?
OK, But What’s the Difference between Virtuoso and Amex Platinum Hotel Benefits?
I’ve gotten this question from a few friends recently and the simple answer is…it depends. For example, I’m working with an old friend on a trip to Vietnam. At first, she just assumed that she would get perks at all the hotels through Amex Platinum so she didn’t need me. I confirmed that 3 out of 5 of the hotels she selected for her trip did not offer any Amex Platinum benefits. By booking these hotels through me, she got spa credits, hotel credits, and free champagne! Score!
What Else Can You Do, Krista?
I have access to vetted and specially selected travel partners all over the world to help plan your perfect trip. For example, if you want to spend 10 days in Thailand, I will put together an amazing itinerary for you where all you have to do is show up. Want to self-drive Iceland but not entirely by yourself? I can set you up with an amazing self-drive itinerary with all your hotels and tours included. With my itineraries, all the transfers, hotels, and tours will be bundled together for one price. I can also do cruises (ocean and river) and any sort of tour pretty much anywhere. If you want to rent a yacht or charter a jet or reserve all 80 cabins on an AmaWaterways river cruise, I can do that for you too.
Yeah, But Does Anyone Use a Travel Advisor These Days?
Given how busy I am at the moment, the simple answer is YES.
I can save you a lot of time in researching places you don’t know and I can create an entirely seamless itinerary for you where all you have to do is show up. And of course, as a Virtuoso advisor, I can elevate your entire trip.
Here’s a personal story about the value of a travel advisor. In 2017, I decided to spend 10 days bouncing around the Cyclades in Greece. (This is the part of Greece where Mykonos and Santorini are located.) I tried to do it myself but quickly got flummoxed by the ferry schedules and the sizes of each island. I knew that there was probably a better way to organize my trip. So I gave my request to a travel advisor, who helped me see more of the Cyclades in 10 days than I ever would have seen on my own. (I visited Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, and Koufonisia.) Also, every time I got off a ferry, there was a guy with my name on a sign and all I had to do was follow him. It was fantastic. And now, with my connections, I can organize the same thing for you.
What Can’t You Do, Krista?
Sometimes, people will ask me if I can beat a hotel price. To be completely transparent with you, I usually can’t. What I can do though is get you something extra (like a welcome amenity or an onboard credit or an upgrade). So if you’re price shopping, I hope you understand that I’m probably not your girl!
The other thing I don’t really do is flights. Flights are hard work and, well, if I book your flight for you, I don’t actually get paid for that – unless I charge you a booking fee — so that’s no fun. One exception to this is when booking flights for cruises. If you’re taking a cruise, it can be quite convenient to book the flight through the cruise line, so I will help you do that. (Plus, the cruise lines usually have enough buying power to get you a small discount!)
Lastly, I can’t help you with points bookings, either for hotels or airlines. The rules for using points are complex and it’s never as easy as you think it will be. Trust me. I’ve been trying to play the points and miles game for years.
So How Should I Use You, Krista?
At the simplest level, use me for free hotel breakfasts and welcome amenities when booking hotels!! But also consider me if you and 10 of your closest friends want to bounce around Croatia or Thailand for a week or two. I love working on vacation itineraries in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I can pretty much do the entire world of course but Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia are really my bag.
If you’re planning a trip, let’s do a 30-minute free consultation. I can suggest some ideas during our call and tell you how I can help you. Drop me a note if you’d like to chat. The call is entirely free!