Everybody knows what a Travel Agent is, but when I say “Travel Designer” most people are left scratching their heads and giving me a weird look that says Technically I know what both of those words mean, but I have no idea what you’re talking about. Also, I am hungry.
If I have some food on me I’ll be sure and offer it up, but I’ve always got an answer for “What is a Travel Designer?” Simply put: a Travel Agent will get you where you’re going, but a Travel Designer will not only get you there but make sure you have the time of your life.
Travel is SWELL‘s purpose is to design customized travel and wellness experiences. This is a fancy way of saying, “Tell us what kind of vacation you want and we’ll make it happen.” Travel Designers talk with you, get to know you and your likes and dislikes, and then present to you packages or options that best fit your needs and wants. Because of our connections around the world with hotels, tours, excursion providers, resorts, and so much more, we can get you anywhere in the world you want to go and provide you with a variety of experiences once you get there… experiences you might turn up via research, or you might not. But who wants to do research? The great thing is: we’ve already done all the research for you. And, in the vast majority of cases, we won’t charge you a thing for our services.
I’ll be honest with you and tell you that the first time I found out what a Travel Designer is and does, I needed more explanation. I’m the kind of person who needs words spelled for me to pronounce them correctly, and I need to see examples to understand something as abstract as “make sure you have the time of your life.” Here’s what this all looks like, practically:
The first thing a Travel Designer will do is ask what things you liked and disliked about your past travel experiences, and what you’re thinking about doing now. Let’s use Eli and Rosa as an example. Eli and Rosa are a California couple in their 50’s. All the kids have moved out of the house and they’re finally ready to explore the world. They’ve been saving for a little while now and they, like a lot of us these days, value experiences over accumulating more stuff. They’re ready to invest in an experience they can remember forever. They’ve been talking about traveling to New York for years, but have never pulled the trigger. Why? They honestly hate trying to figure out flights and hotels and rental cars and where to go and what to do and where to eat. Especially in a big, crazy city like New York.
In other words, they’re our perfect clients.
One of our premiere Travel Designers, Erin, sat down with Eli and Rosa and used the Travel is SWELL questionnaire to determine that they’re the type of people who like the touristy stuff. They wanted to see the Empire State Building and Central Park and Ground Zero and all of it. They also wanted to take in a show on Broadway and eat at a good hole-in-the-wall place that other tourists might not know about. And they wanted at least an afternoon to just wander around the city, but they wanted the safety of not getting lost. Additionally, there were a few historical sites in Upstate New York they desperately wanted to see, but they weren’t sure they’d be able to fit them into their five-day schedule and stay on budget.
Erin took what they talked about together and was able to craft three different, fully customized travel packages for Eli and Rosa. They were able to get everything they wanted, including a trip upstate and a flight out of Rochester on instead of returning to the airport they’d be arriving at in New York City. Their itinerary will take them to the Empire State Building, Central Park, a show on Broadway, the Ground Zero Museum, and several restaurants. They also have an afternoon when they’ll wander around the city using a hop-on/hop-off bus to set their own pace and get them safely back to their hotel. Erin also let Eli and Rosa know that the historical sites they’d be visiting would put them within spitting distance of Niagra Falls. A little juggling of the schedule and they could absolutely check it out with time to spare. Eli and Rosa were all about that.
A week after they first met, Eli and Rosa approved the package Erin put together and Erin took care of the rest. She booked the flights, hotel, and rental car. She secured the tickets to the show and mapped out their travels so they knew exactly where to be and when. The relief Eli and Rosa felt at having it all taken care of for them was the best part of the whole process for Erin. It’s what gives her the most joy in her work as a Travel Designer.
Full disclosure: Erin is my wife. While she was confident this was absolutely the trip that was just right for Eli and Rosa, we reflected together afterwards about how their trip seems amazing, but is also quite different from what we’d do as couple. And that’s okay! If we were to take the trip, we’d seek more of the out out-of-the-way places and experiences that a typical New Yorker would have in their day-to-day. We’d probably also have turned it more into a food tour (at my insistence). But that’s what a Travel Designer does: it’s not just about getting there, it’s about having the time of YOUR life when you’re there. Not mine, and not Erin’s–yours.
As I said before, we don’t, in most cases, charge a thing for these services. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you consider just how much a Travel Designer does for you, but it’s true.
If you think you’d like to talk to one of our Travel Designers, you should! An inquiry or a conversation costs nothing and you might be surprised just how much they can do for you.
This is Erin. She was able to help Eli and Rosa and she can help you. You can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 559-906-0270.
This is Chris. He has almost three decades of experience in the travel industry and you’d be hard-pressed to find a place he hasn’t been. You can contact him at email@example.com, or by phone at 559-207-0545.
They sincerely hope to hear from you today.
Brock Heasley is a filmmaker and artist serving as Travel is SWELL‘s Creative Director. His favorite place in the world is Garmisch, Germany where he swears the color green was actually invented.