Last updated on January 27th, 2021 at 08:18 pm
My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!
How do I choose a reliable travel expert?
Boutique travel agencies are reserved for those desperately seeking something exclusive and unique to their preferences and identity. After all, what good is traveling if it’s not exactly what you want? Boutique travel agencies are emerging as the latest travel trend that offers the best, customized experience for all sorts of travelers. While global-scale travel agencies may attract customers more, it is the specialized local travel agencies that fully cater to a customer’s demand and needs.
Planning a trip to Colombia soon? If you’re somebody who likes having his needs catered to, read on!
Well-travelled clients know what they want while others may not be as confident and require a well-planned travel itinerary to enjoy the best travel experience. Boutique travel agencies offer a unique and fulfilling experience that you will not find in standard packages most companies offer.
Specialized agencies are careful to take into account important factors such as likes, dislikes, lifestyle, age group, past travel experiences and preferences. This makes boutique traveling in a league of its own. It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert traveller or a first-timer; every customer deserves a well-planned trip that will be worth all the money they have saved up to relax on the ultimate vacation.
Most customers would usually contact the nearest and best-rated agency in their locality. Such travel agencies have decorative but standard packages covering over 150 countries and thousands of products.
While their immediate impression might be grand and lucrative, don’t be fooled! Worldwide travel agencies operating in various parts of the world usually buy their products and services from even bigger agencies in the destination countries. They collaborate with these agencies that may have various operators in Colombia that the client knows nothing about. The layers keep increasing.
The downside? The customer does not get what they need. This is quite similar to walking to a car dealer and only being faced with the option of choosing Car A or Car B. You don’t bet to pick the color, the size or the specifications. That would be awful, right?
The standard packages offered by these companies operate in the same manner. The long queue of operators and layers tend to leave the customer baffled and trapped in a trip they imagined would’ve been far greater. Make sure that this is the kind of package you want and that you’re well advised and your sales-person is well informed about the various destinations in Colombia.
South American Agencies
Travel agencies specializing in the South American region are another option where the sales-persons are usually familiar with the region.
But remember, South America is a huge continent and Colombia itself is the size of Germany and France together! That’s the size of Texas and California combined! Such a huge country with its various parts and destinations can only be familiarized by someone who has traveled there a lot, unlike the majority of sales-agents who claim to be specialized in Colombian travels after merely traveling once for two-weeks.
Again, make sure that the sales-agent knows Colombia in depth and not simply the major areas that their one trip has allowed them to see. A good way to test such agents is to ask them about Salamina; a national monument located on top of a hill in Colombia that only the natives or well-versed travelers know about. This way you can easily assess if the sales-agent knows what he’s talking about or not.
Traveling with a South American agency in your vicinity has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages:
- They speak your native tongue. This is a great benefit because that way you can communicate with them easily and develop a rapport.
- They understand your needs. They might not always cater to your needs but they will understand them.
- Consumer rights protection or strong regulations in countries protect your money in case the company or airline goes bust or stops operating (or not e.g. Tomas Cook bankruptcy).
The Internet has surely made life much easier. Thanks to the advent of the Internet and technology the world is at your fingertips.
This means that in the tourism industry the modern customer is a well-informed one. If you surf the Internet for travel places, several platforms with attractive content will pop-up on your screens. But what’s the difference between actual travel agencies and these modern platforms? The latter are aimed at marketing and not simply delivering the best travel experience.
These platforms act as intermediaries for various operators and travel agencies and again the consumer has no clue as to where they are getting their services. These platforms are flashy and colorful but do little to solve your travel woes, sending the consumer from station to station to specialists and advisors and that’s just another hassle.
An example, the company GetYourGuide just raised USD 500,000,000.–. Do you believe with this capital they might also fish you from the Internet?
Big Local Agency
Now after all these layers, the consumer may decide to simply opt for a big, renowned local agency in Colombia. Seems like the wisest choice right? But this also has a catch.
Just because you’re opting for a good local company doesn’t guarantee that the assigned travel advisor is well informed or well versed or even ever traveled more than 10 km away from his hometown.
- The starting price is already low because such companies can avail of 20-40% discount from Colombian service providers.
- These local agencies also have pretty standard packages and are unaware of the local providers.
- Your trip is not customized and not personal because these companies have dealings with wholesales providers that offer them huge discounts so you will probably get a pretty standard package here too.
Boutique Travel Agencies
To start off with let us understand what exactly are boutique travel agencies? This fast emerging trend is quickly becoming the go-to for customers who are very particular about what they want and need when they embark on a journey.
Quite simply put, boutique travel agencies are providers of a tailor-made holiday. Boutique travel is limited and usually small-scale.
The very idea of boutique travel calls for services that target a specific customer niche and offer the best-personalized goods and services. These types of travel agencies are focused on catering very exclusive and private customized trips.
You get a bespoke holiday
Boutique travel agencies don’t always cater to the general population. They pride themselves over prioritizing the consumers’ needs and demands.
They start off by helping you identify what you don’t like and don’t want to do on your trip. They ask the clients their specific needs and wishes and ask questions that can make significant changes in your overall journey.
The staff is well informed
We agree that the clients have the best idea of their needs and demands. However, travel agents/consultants and the staff in a boutique travel agency helps you identify and plan your itinerary to the best of their abilities. We recommend you take heed of the travel consultant’s suggestions because they have plenty of experience and knowledge about the places you are probably unaware of.
Colombia is home to great architectural wonders, historical monuments and stunning sites. The travel consultants can give you an honest first-hand account of these places and guide you in the perfect, most informed manner. This is sure to help you pick the best destinations and anticipate in advance what to expect. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.
You’re in Control
The best part of opting for a boutique trip is not being at the mercy of pre-planned standard packages. Clients are absolutely in control of their trip. Starting from the services, the hotels, the places they want to visit, the destinations they want to avoid and most importantly, the activities and excursions you plan on doing.
People work hard all year round and save up to go on holidays. We believe that their hard work and dedication deserves a break full of the best services that cater to their needs.
By travelling with a local boutique agency you will not be restricted from doing what you want or visiting places you like, nor will you be forced to sight-see something that does not interest you. Don’t you fancy trekking to higher altitudes? Love all things adventurous? Plan the most thrilling activities around the country. You’re in control and you will absolutely love every second of it! You’re the top priority here!
A further huge advantage is that you always can change or add services. Do you wish to dine in a specific restaurant the same night? Do you want to stay one more day in a specific place? In a boutique travel agency, everybody will strive to make your wishes happen.
Well-planned and well-organized
Nobody wants to sign up for a stressful, ill-organized holiday full of layovers, unnecessary stops and bad accommodation. With custom travel agencies you can lay back and relax. Expect to have all the details planned to perfection well in advance.
Why worry about logistics and boring details on a break? Let boutique agencies handle that for you! It is probable that your local travel consultant is familiar with most hotels, their owners and sites, and that way they can prepare you for the best and worst.
Excellent service providers
Boutique travel agencies are renowned for paying due attention to even the smallest detail and leave everlasting impacts on their clients. It’s no wonder that boutique travelers are often repeated travelers; they enjoy the best services!
No request is too large and even the smallest detail will be taken care of. The hospitality and care they are provided with are highly efficient too. The staff-to-guest ratio is higher at boutique travel agencies to ensure to create extraordinary experiences for their clients by going above and beyond. Their services, work ethic and values are not to be compromised.
Clients give very positive feedback each time and return with a bag full of happy memories and a high level of satisfaction.
Some tips to keep in mind while choosing a boutique travel agency
- It is imperative to do your research before opting for a local boutique travel agency in Colombia. Make sure that the company and the salesperson is somebody you can trust and rely on.
- You must check out the homepage of the boutique travel agency’s website. A good homepage will immediately satisfy a customer and it’s very easy to tell if a homepage is satisfactory or not. Does the homepage have contact numbers? Can you spot the owner and the staff there? Do they offer detailed travel itineraries and travel packages? Make sure to check these off the list before you finalize your travel agency.
- Social media is very important too, as it allows you to look inside the company and its services. Visit their Facebook page and look at the customer ratings. Or head over to their Instagram account or YouTube channel to look at the kind of content they post. These are indicators of how well a company operates and is perceived by the masses.
- Arrange a phone call or a Skype session with the travel consultant. You can authenticate the identity of the staff and ask for details that might not always be given to you by email or text. You can also develop a rapport through communicating with the agent and convey your demands and needs more clearly.
- Quiz them about their local knowledge. You can ask them about Salamina, or other various places in Colombia. It will not take you long to be able to tell if the agent has sufficient knowledge of the country and the places.
- Consult different travel agencies simultaneously. That is your right as a consumer. You can surf the Internet for various Colombian boutique travel agencies, talk to their owners, check out and compare the packages and their prices before you finalize one. This way you will make an informed decision and surely enjoy the best vacation.
- Make sure to convey your likes and dislikes. That is the entire purpose of choosing a boutique agency, isn’t it? Make sure to let the company know about exactly what you expect and what you don’t want.
We at Pelecanus would be more than happy to win you as a client. We have been at the forefront of promoting a positive image of this glorious country and ensuring that travelers and tourists take away only the best memories of Colombia back home.
We offer a customized experience of Colombia with a variety of packages that cater to your needs. Come explore the exuberant Colombia full of rich culture, mouthwatering cuisines, scenic landscapes, towering mountains, pristine beaches and a thriving urban scene. Get your appetite already in our Colombia travel guide. We await your arrival.