trip types

where we fit in the broader travel industry

Within the travel industry, there are so many types of travel professionals with different approaches to business. For journeyers, it is important to understand the differences and to help you choose a partner that is best for you.

At Journey Softly, we are Leisure Specialists/Destination Generalists/Upscale Product Generalists. What does that mean?

While we can certainly plan cruises, all-inclusive beach vacations and weekend getaways to Vegas, none of these is where our expertise lies. Journey Softly’s goal is to partner with you to plan amazing experiences in more than 100 countries, to destinations as diverse as Laos, Colombia, Estonia, and Botswana. Our itineraries include city stays, cultural immersions, and activities on land, in the air and in the water. We handle everything from the time your plane touches down until you are wheels up on the way home. We help you purchase travel insurance and we give you guidance on international flights. We work with honeymooners, families, active seniors, and groups. To learn more, visit How we Work or Travel Planning. Or for a deeper dive into the different segments of the travel industry, you can continue reading below.

Leisure vs. Corporate

The first distinction in the travel industry is between Leisure and Corporate travel. Leisure consultants focus on vacation planning, while corporate consultants focus on business travel. The skills are quite different. Corporate travel consultants are generally expert at making (and changing) airline, hotel and car rental reservations for business travelers. They are typically well-versed in the rules and perks of the big name hotel chains and the twists and turns of every airline’s frequent flier program. But corporate agents have limited knowledge of international destinations, unless they have a client that regularly travels to a specific locale.

Leisure travel consultants also know about airlines, hotels, and rental cars but have a much greater knowledge of vacation destinations, tourist sites and activities. They are able to help clients with destination selection and itinerary development.

Destination Generalist vs. Specialist

Many leisure travel consultants specialize in a small number of destinations. For these agents, their knowledge of their specialties is deep, and they will have nuanced understanding of all aspects of a destination. An amazing Italy travel specialist, however, may know virtually nothing about Costa Rica. For journeyers, this may result in a lot of time spent building trust with different specialists for every vacation.

Destination generalists know a reasonable amount about a wide variety of locations around the world. They will not have the depth of knowledge about any specific destination, but highly skilled generalists will have a robust local network of travel partners around the globe who will supplement the information they can provide to their clients.

Product Generalist vs. Specialist

The product specialist may focus on a specific type of trip, such as cruises, Disney or beach destinations. Or they may focus on a specific type of activity, such as skiing or diving. As with the destination specialist, these product specialists will have deep knowledge of the products they sell, but will have limited understanding of travel options outside of their area of expertise. For avid cruisers or divers, you can build a successful, long-standing relationship with a single product specialist if you want to plan cruises to different parts of the world or dive trips to Australia this year, Galapagos next year and the Red Sea the year after that.

Product generalists use their knowledge and network to support a full range of trip options. They can blend a variety of activities across a well-planned travel itinerary. So if you want to go to Belize, a product generalist can help you plan a few days along the water where you can do some diving and snorkeling followed by hiking, rafting and caving in the interior, followed by a day trip into Guatemala to explore the magnificent Mayan ruins at Tikal. And a generalist can help with golf reservations and restaurant recommendations.

Upscale vs. Budget

This is a spectrum, as every journeyer has a different definition of luxury and different comfort thresholds with the accommodations they choose. The days of industry professionals supporting budget travel have waned, as budget-oriented travelers have shifted to online booking in search of the cheapest price. Why, budget travelers ask, should we pay $775 for a three-day all-inclusive trip via a travel agent when we can get the same deal for $750 on the internet?

Upscale travel professionals support busy clients who understand that their journey is not a commodity and that the quality of their experience is paramount. Upscale professionals work in partnership with their clients and will spend the time to plan experiences and immersions that meet their interests, comfort levels and budget. Upscale travel is generally more personal, frequently using private guides and offering unique experiences you won’t find online.

 

Photos: Pyramids, Giza, Egypt; Danube River, Passau, Germany; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Hpa-An, Myanmar

testimonials

“Rick became my most trusted adviser in terms of international travel.”

Bertrand G.

“Laura always incorporates authentic experiences to match the interests of our group.”

Thomas W.

“Rick’s depth of knowledge of destinations is immense.”

Kristen H.

“We always felt confident Rick was looking out for our group.”

Nicole K.

“Laura brings a personal and thoughtful touch to all of our engagements.”

Deirdre O.