Category Archives: Travel On A Dream

Did You Know? Payment Plans Possible with Travel Agents

One reason we have heard that potential clients are unsure about using a travel agent is because they need to make a payment plan.  They feel the only way to do this is by dealing with the various travel company directly.

While some travel agencies may not be willing to do partial payments, we certainly can handle payment options.  There are a number of ways to handle this with you.

You can set up a regular payment by authorizing us to use your credit card on file to make a regular payment on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

Another option would be to submit payment information to us when you want to make a partial payment.

The only exceptions to making partial payments are with the deposit as these are usually required to be paid within a short amount of time (usually 3-7 days after booking).

Under nearly all cases, payments are made directly to the travel company through your agent.  This means that any form of payment accepted by the cruise line/travel company, will be accepted through us.

Check with your agent if you are interested in making a payment plan.  Some travel companies may have minimum amounts that we can do in a partial payment, but those would be the same restrictions you would find going to them directly.

Many of our clients do this to make bite-sized payments on a regular basis so final payment isn’t quite as difficult to chew.

The Evolution of the Travel Agent

Today, Travel On A Dream turns six years old.  A lot has changed in the last six years and we continue to change as necessary to meet the demands of our clients.  We have sent thousands of clients on vacation, helping them plan the details of their trips.  We have helped to plan countless vacations as if they were our own, getting excited every step of the way along with you.  We have received many photos and stories telling us the fun you all had, many bringing us tears — of joy!  We have been there with you when things didn’t go as planned and shared in those feelings as well.  You have all been a part of our family and we wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss where we have come as an industry and where we are going.

Before the internet became popular, nearly everyone who traveled used a travel agent.  It’s what you did.  Some may have called an airline or cruise line direct, but most used a travel agent.  Then along came the internet.  As people got more familiar with it, it was fun to search for everything you could think of.  Vacations were no exception.  Instead of having more and more ads in magazines and on television, travel companies were starting to go to the internet more with banner ads, pop ups, etc.  You could book anything practically in an instant.

For many though, a travel agent was the only way to go.  We found some clients coming to us, but instead of not knowing where to start, they pretty much had decided due to the research done before coming to us.  During this time, we also had a lot of folks questioning “travel agents still exist?”  After all, you can just go online and book everything, right?

While you certainly can, what we have discovered is that there is so much information out there right now, the decision-making process has once again made it more difficult for folks planning their trips.  Everyone reviews their trips, their destinations, hotels, cruise ships, meals, etc.  You can watch videos of wonderful trips, and horrifying ones.  I read two reviews once from the exact same sailing where one person said “It rained the entire trip.” while the second person said “the weather was great”.  How can two people on the exact same trip have two totally different experiences?

It’s simple.  Everyone experiences things in their own way.  The first person who complained about the rain may have been someone who spends a lot of time at the pool during a cruise.  Since it was raining most of the days, they had to find other things to do.  The second person may have enjoyed going to activities indoors, the casino, shopping, napping, etc.  They may not have gone on deck at all during the rain and never even noticed that it did rain.

A light sleeper will complain about the noise in a particular hotel room location while a heavy sleeper may never notice it.

What a travel agent does is look at the travel plans from a more objective and professional standpoint.  A particular cruise line might not be right for myself as an individual, but as a professional, I can evaluate my client’s needs, personality, likes and dislikes and recommend that cruise line if it is a good fit for them.  I wouldn’t recommend a family with children who normally love the children’s programming to a cruise line that doesn’t have activities for the kids.  Likewise, a couple who doesn’t want to be around children on vacation would not be recommended to go on several lines due to the prevalence of children onboard.  That doesn’t mean that the cruise lines not mentioned are no good for anyone, it is my job to know who they are good for.

Today, we are finding more people reaching out to us because we are experts in the destination, type of travel, etc.  We give a mostly unbiased opinion and fit you with the right vacation.  At times this comes at a cost to you, our client, due to the type of travel we are booking for you, but many times there is no additional cost.  We have found though that many of our clients put a higher value on their time and put their trust in our expertise to help them sort out all the options and plan the best vacation possible for their needs.  At times, we have also surprised clients with lower pricing than they are able to get on their own.  We can routinely do this with international airfare, hotels and even cruises.

Another way to look at this is the process itself.  To find a vacation package for yourself, you go to the internet and start your search.  If you are average, you will plan one to two trips a year.  This means that one or two times a year, you are actively searching for the best options for your family.  Travel professionals daily are looking for travel plans for someone.  If I handle only one booking per day, that’s 365 plans a year!  Things are changing on a regular basis online, so again, if you are only doing one or two a year, you may be learning a whole new way to book the next time you are looking at a vacation.

When you have the right travel professional on your team, the process never changes.  My clients contact me and tell me what they want.  In many cases, I have all of their information on file and just need to verify if things have changed.  If your preferred cruise line changed their website since you last booked a cruise, chances are good that I’ve already booked more than a dozen cruises with the new site and know my way around.  If you are planning to go to an area where there are travel warnings or advice you should get, I’ve probably already given the same advice to a handful of travelers.  The beauty of this is that you can still do your research if you want, but the time constraints and pressure are off you.

Travel agents are still around and we are busier than ever, helping to make dreams come true for many.

espressocafé

Free Water Park Tickets With Your Walt Disney World Package

Travel On A Dream is celebrating six years and have we got a deal for you!  When you book a new 2016 or 2017 Walt Disney World vacation package that includes a 3+ day park ticket while supplies last, you can get a one-day water park ticket for free for everyone in your traveling party!  This is a $60 value per person, included at no extra cost when you use Travel On A Dream and request the free water park tickets.  It’s our way of saying thank you for six wonderful years making travel dreams come true!

Waterparks

Of course, there are a few terms and conditions.  Water park tickets expire 12/31/17 so if you can’t use them, just let us know.  No substitutions or cash value for the tickets.  Tickets will be mailed with your package documents after you are paid in full, approximately two weeks prior to trip.

Contact your Travel On A Dream agent today or request a quote from our website.

Cruise with Travel On A Dream on MSC Seaside

MSC Seaside, the ship that follows the sun, will begin sailing 7-night Caribbean cruises from PortMiami in December 2017.  We are so excited about this amazing ship that we decided to ask a few friends to come along with us.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones excited!  This group is growing day by day.  Come along with us, and see what MSC has to offer you!

The revolutionary design will bring cruisers closer to the sea with a unique 360 degree ocean level promenade on Deck 8 that will include indoor/outdoor shops and restaurants, as well as a full buffet area and a pool, which are traditionally located on a cruise ship’s higher decks.

Be among the first to experience MSC Seaside.  Book now and receive a FREE All-Inclusive Classic drink package* (also known as the More-For-Less Classic). PLUS kids 11 and under cruise FREE when sailing as the 3rd/4th guest.

*Instead of a drink package, Aurea Experience and MSC Yacht Club bookings will receive $150 Shipboard Credit per person (applicable to first & second guests) and Super Family & Super Family Plus bookings will receive $200 Shipboard Credit per stateroom.  Book by January 31, 2016. Continue reading

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa!  And very soon, Happy New Year!!  We are so excited for 2016 and we can’t wait to share it with you!

When I decided to open up Travel On A Dream, I did so in order to be a more full service agency for those who wanted more from me.  I hand-selected agents who had the same beliefs as me about customer service.  I did believe that offering great customer service and knowing as much as possible about the products was what we needed to succeed.  And we did!  But what I didn’t notice at the time was there was one more ingredient to the recipe that made the most difference to the outcome.

While reviewing our business recently, we asked a couple clients what makes Travel On A Dream different.  The results were unexpected, and very exciting!  In all fairness, these clients we asked have become good friends over the years, but they also are known to be brutally honest.  Even if it’s not what we want to hear, they will tell me the truth.

Each of them said that we treat our clients like family or a close friend.  We listen to them and give them what they want (even if they don’t really know what they want at the moment!).

Hearing this made us realize we had the secret ingredient already!  We were offering it, but didn’t realize how important it was.  We never really thought about it because it just was natural for us.

We all want to you to feel like we are a close friend, helping you make the decision that’s right for you.  After all, your friend isn’t going to benefit one way or another from your decision, except that you may be unhappy with your friend if they guide you to something that’s not right.  But unlike your friend, we have the experience, knowledge, licenses and accredidations to give you sound advice beyond what your friend knows.  Not all travel agents can say this.  Many have cut corners or are giving advice based on who pays them the best.

The other difference between us and your friends is that this is our profession.  We may treat you like a friend, but we also give you all of our professional courtesies.  If a friend is helping you with something, many times it is when it is convenient for your friend as well as you.  For us, it is at your convenience.  This is also why at times we may have to charge you a service fee, but we will always disclose that to you before we have to do so.

Good friends — great adventures.  That’s what it’s all about.  With Travel On A Dream, you will always get both.  We shared this last month, but if you haven’t seen it yet, here is our holiday greeting.  Travel On A Dream Holiday Greetings

Updates to Our Cruise Incentive Plan

As many of you know, I started this agency with the hopes of being able to provide the best service to clients looking for travel.  Before the agency, I only worked with Disney vacations, but I realized that there was so much more available and I wanted to be able to help with it all.  I would say we have done a great job in offering you the best value for your hard earned dollar (or whatever currency you use!).  For our cruise clients, we have always offered competitive onboard credits without giving everything away.  You see, the onboard credits are paid out of the commission we earn from the cruise lines.  This amount varies based on the volume that we book through each company.  Your bookings have helped us reach higher levels no doubt!

We felt a need to offer a higher onboard credit in the past to get you “in the door” and see how great our customer service is and you have responded by booking more with us and sending many referrals our way.  We thank you for that!

We have never wanted to be in a position to compete with other travel agencies for your business based solely on the onboard credit amount being offered.  We don’t consider ourselves your travel agent, we consider ourselves your travel consultant.  A travel agent will just facilitate your booking — like an order taker.  We are here to offer our expertise and advice on what is best for you and your family.  We look for the best fit and the best value, which isn’t always the lowest price and highest credits.  We take care of you!  We are there if you have problems.  We fix the problems!  You can’t say this about all travel agents.

We are able to do this without a service fee to you because we receive a commission from the travel supplier.  Basically, we work for you for free.  We have offered an onboard credit as an incentive in the past to consider our services.  Unfortunately, Disney Cruise Line will be changing its terms with us starting on October 26, 2015.  They will be significantly cutting our commission for onboard bookings.  While we have considered not promoting booking onboard, the fact remains that an onboard booking is one of your best opportunities to receive a discount on a future Disney Cruise Line cruise.  Therefore, to give you the best value for your future vacations, we need to make you aware of these promotions.

We will continue to offer onboard credits for reservations booked through our agency at this time, but our offer will need to change.  The reductions in our onboard credit offer will in no way make up for the differences that we are receiving from Disney Cruise Line,  If we eliminated the onboard credits, it would not make up for the reduction either.  We feel though in order to give you the best service possible, our agents must be compensated so we cannot give away a significant portion of their commission.

Effective Monday, October 26, 2015, our onboard credit for new bookings will change as reflected on our Incentives page.

Special Limited Time Offer

Many of our customers have been with us for years.  Some have just found us but plan to be with us for many years.  For those folks, we will continue to offer the best onboard credits we can.  This offer will be available to anyone who is a client of ours on or before November 10, 2015 and has had a traveled package or cruise reservation with us within the past 12 months or a future booking for a package or cruise within the next 14 months.  Basically, if you are loyal to us, we will return the favor.

So you don’t have a current booking with Travel On A Dream?  How can you lock in the best onboard credits for your future trips?  Book a vacation today!

For all bookings from now through November 10, 2015, we will continue to offer our best onboard credits for all direct bookings (onboard bookings and transfers are excluded).  This includes booking a “placeholder” reservation for the future.  This is not limited to Disney Cruise Line reservations.  We will lock in your onboard credit offer and continue to offer this as long as you continue to use Travel On A Dream as your travel consultant.

Cruise Onboard Credit Amounts

  • 1500 – 1999  $50
  • $2000 – 2499  $75
  • $2500 – 2999  $100
  • $3000 – 3999  $125
  • $4000 – 4999  $150
  • $5000 – 5999  $175
  • $6000 – 6999  $200
  • $7000 – 7999  $225
  • $8000 – 8999  $250
  • $9000 and up  $300

This special onboard credit offer is based on cruise fare amount of the reservation with Travel On A Dream (this excludes taxes, insurance, transfers, pre/post cruise packages, airfare or prepaid gratuities).  This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts offered by Travel On A Dream including, but not limited to offers with group space.  This offer can be combined with offers from the cruise lines however.  Some cruise lines prohibit onboard credits, such as Carnival Cruise Lines, and onboard credits will not be offered in that case.  Onboard credit can be used for any purchases incurred once onboard your sailing including gratuities, beverages, cruise line organized shore excursions, spa treatments, photographs, etc.  Unused onboard credits cannot be redeemable for cash or cruise and are returned to Travel On A Dream.  All terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

Contact us today!

Vacations@travelonadream.com