AMA Travel counsellor Megan Hill hears one thing over and over when she sits down with her clients: “I just didn’t realize how much information and research is involved in planning a trip.”
“I think I’ve heard that 10 times this week already,” she says. It’s one thing to book a cruise. But when it comes to booking the best cruise for you? Well, there are many more factors that go into that decision than the average traveller realizes. There are hundreds of companies, ships and destinations, widely varied cabin types, and myriad dining options, beverage packages, and transfer and excursion opportunities. Luckily, Hill can advise on all of them. An in-person meeting is ground zero for the planning process.
MATCH TRAVELLER WITH COUNSELLOR
AMA Travel’s 200-plus counsellors have a staggering range of specialties. Together, they’re familiar with all regions of the world, specific tour companies and countless types of travel—from solo and group trips to foodie, cruise and coach tours to custom itineraries and destination weddings.
“Our counsellors are passionate about their destinations and specializations,” says Nikola Berube, AMA Travel director of sales. “Through travel and training, our cruise specialists, for example, are exposed to an incredible amount of information, and they can speak to aspects of cruising far beyond what you could find in an online search.”
How do you access this passionate pool of experts? The most direct route is to visit AMATravel.ca and find the travel specialist best suited to your needs. Then book an appointment to speak with them in-person.
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“You’ll have the best trip-planning experience because your specialist is an expert in your desired destination or travel style,” Berube says. “Plus they can share exclusive member benefits and pricing you can’t find anywhere else.” In fact, many AMA Travel specialists are in such high demand that they are only available by appointment.
Do all travel bookings benefit from appointments? Not necessarily. For quick transactions on things like flights, car rentals and all-inclusive packages, you can go to AMATravel.ca and take advantage of member and exclusive rates. But for a trip with even a few complexities—a cruise, a journey to a country you’ve never before visited, an adventure with multiple generations—an hour-long appointment with a travel specialist is your best bet.
MATCH TRAVELLER WITH TRIP
The appointment is the initial time for information gathering, says Hill, who has personally visited more than 21 countries. Her specialties include New York, Hawaii, Italy and China, as well Insight Vacations, Air Transat and Celebrity Cruises.
When Hill sits down with clients, she starts with the basics, like their desired destination, number of travellers and length of trip. She digs deeper to find the right match—to understand each traveller’s personal preferences and interests. Do they want to travel independently? As part of an escorted tour? On a cruise? Hill can even suggest potential destinations if her clients are undecided, if they know their preferred country but not specific cities, or want to explore a region but have yet to settle on countries.
The counsellor then goes into research mode: “Once we’ve narrowed it down to, say, an escorted 12-day tour through Italy, I’ll then look at all the different companies that AMA works with. If there are three tours that fit my clients’ criteria and budget, I’ll send those to them.”
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How to choose a cruise that’s right for you
If there’s another agent in the AMA Travel network with relevant expertise, Hill might connect with them for further insights into recommended tours. Hill might also reach out to the client one last time to provide additional details and finalize the itinerary. Travellers then trust Hill to take care of the necessaries of booking, and to keep them informed about everything they need to know before departing and while they’re away.
YOUR PERFECT MATCH
However members choose to do business with AMA Travel, one thing is certain: You’ll be getting a level of service that’s simply not found elsewhere. This translates to support during all stages of the process. We’re with you before, during and after your trip.
HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
How to find a specialist to plan your best vacation ever!
1. Visit AMATravel.ca; click on “Find a travel expert in your area”
2. Choose a counsellor based on your desired destination or location of their AMA centre
3. View individual travel counsellors’ profiles
4. Book an appointment (up to three weeks in advance) with your chosen counsellor
5. Appointments can also be made and conducted over the phone: 1-844-771-1522