Why Use a Travel Consultant?
Ever wonder why the travelers in the room next to yours received strawberries & champagne upon arrival and you didn't? They probably used a Travel Consultant!
There is a big misconception that Travel Consultants cost more than just booking online and this is just not true! Many consumers might not realize what they are missing out on when booking trips on their own.
There are several benefits of using a Travel Consultant. Here are our top 10!
Vacation planning is complicated and time consuming. Why spend time searching for the perfect vacation when a Travel Consultant can do that for you? Travel Consultants can match you with the perfect destination/travel plans based on your travel needs & desires!
"Ever felt overwhelmed with too many hotel options and find yourself scanning the internet for hours only to feel more frustrated and confused than when you started? Using a Travel Consultant saves you time and time is money." - Senior Travel Consultant Janine Cartier.
Travel Consultants are experts in the travel industry. They know the market and are able to match you with a product that is better than anything you may find on the internet. Travel Consultants live and breathe travel; they travel themselves to become familiar with the products & destinations, meet with representatives from travel companies all around the world, do hours of research and read up on the most important travel news daily. When booking a trip on your own, you risk losing the expertise that travel consultants bring to the table.
"Travel consultants know the best hotels, they know which hotels have the best service and the best food, they know because they have either been there or have met with the hotel's General Manager. "
-Senior Travel Consultant Janine Cartier
Many consumers think that it will cost them more to use a Travel Consultant and this is not always the case. Travel Consultants make their money in many ways, most of the time from the travel companies themselves. The price you can find online is the same price Travel Consultants can book them for, if not sometimes less since they have direct relationships with the travel companies. Any fees you may end up paying will come back to you as value in a handful of ways.
In addition, your Travel Consultant will offer different travel insurance coverage that can save you from unforeseen medical expenses or cancellation fees that may arise before or during your trip. Their knowledge of various currency exchange rates, customs procedures, Visa requirements, immunization regulations, etc., can end up saving you so much time, hassle and money while planning and while traveling.
If something were to go wrong during your trip, you have your Travel Consultant to go to bat for you.
Lost luggage? Flights get cancelled? Missed your flight? Weather emergencies? Car rental company fails you? Hotel/resort can’t locate your reservation? Medical emergency overseas? They’ve got you covered! One single person may not have much leverage in terms of complaints and a resolution, but a Travel Consultant with an entire agency backing them up certainly will. At Brentwood Travel, we have our own 24-Hour Emergency Hotline that can be utilized in any travel emergency, at any hour of the day after booking with one of our Travel Consultants.
“You have someone to call on when things go wrong and no one is listening.” -Travel Consultant J.V.
There are so many value-adds that can be added to your trip by a Travel Consultant, usually at no cost to the consumer. One of the most common perks is “onboard credits” or extra spending money for you while on your cruise ship or resort. Another could be "Exclusive Brentwood Travel Offers" or savings that only our Travel Consultants can offer, or extras like specialty dining and spa credits.
Additionally, if a consumer is traveling to celebrate something special, the Travel Consultant can contact the travel company and advise them of such celebrations and they will usually work something to make the trip even more special.
Brentwood Travel belongs to Ensemble Travel Group, which allows our Travel Consultants to offer special upgrades and give clients even more special amenities, like free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, complimentary food or drinks, or even have their room decorated with champagne, flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, and many more.
The photos below are an example of ways a Brentwood Travel Consultant was able to add value to a clients vacation. The Travel Consultant reached out to her connection at the resort and advised them of her clients arrival, their love of their dogs and how this trip was supposed to be very special for the couple. The consultant sent photos of the clients dogs to the resort and shortly after she received an email back advising that the resort had upgraded the couples room to a Suite and the email included the photos shown below. The resort made their arrival extra special by adding framed photos of their dogs as well as a note written just for them.
The added amenities are truly endless and Brentwood Travel will do everything they can to make any vacation or trip as special as can be!
“We partner with many hotel brands such as Hyatt and Fairmont, where at some of their resorts we can add on extra amenities like breakfast daily or spa credits.” -Supervisor of Leisure Travel Stacey Hoehne.
Travel Consultants have a numerous amount of resources that the average consumer does not have access. They use different software and computer programs that allows them to find better seats on airplanes, room upgrades, tickets to events, hotel amenities, etc.
Travel Consultants also use their personal and business connections as resources. Brentwood Travel has access to hundreds of representatives from hundreds of resorts, hotels, airlines, tour companies, etc. We meet with our reps regularly and overtime we have built relationships with them. The representatives are our direct contacts so we can call them at any hour of the day for assistance with a booking, to ask questions or to sometimes even meet with our clients!
Travel Consultants are equipped for an ever-changing world. There is always somewhere new and trendy to travel and a Travel Consultant will know the best way for you to travel based on your interests.
Travel Consultants also have relationships with many travel companies that offer vacations as a package (hotel/resort stays, flights, transportation, tours, etc) and can often do so at a rate lower than what you can find online. Additionally, they have exclusive access to many tours, experiences and even private jet products that are only made available through Travel Consultants, some that you probably didn’t even know existed! Making your travels just that much more unique than everyone else’s.
Probably the best part of using a Travel Consultant instead of booking online is the personalized touch you receive when utilizing a Travel Consultant. You are dealing with a REAL PERSON who you can build a long, lasting relationship.
As Travel Consultants get to know their clients and travel interests, they are able to suggest the right destinations and overall trips without even having a conversation with them. When you have that type of relationship with a Travel Consultant, you can call them up, tell them you are wanting your next beach vacation and they can have a handful of different options for you to choose from rather quickly!
“After talking with clients and learning their priorities, we can narrow down the vacation search to our top 3-5 choices based on our experience with them. This helps save the client time from endless internet searching and saves them from getting overwhelmed.” -Supervisor of Leisure Travel Stacey Hoehne.
Travel Consultants are the professionals that know of the most unique destinations and experiences, and can customize your travels to be SO much more than anything you can find online. If you are wanting a true, unique travel experience, use a Travel Consultant because what you see online is what many others are seeing also.
Additionally, after asking the right questions and getting to know the consumers interests, Travel Consultants can pin point exactly what destinations a client should travel to and exactly what experiences a client should partake in to best meet the clients needs and desires. They are always in "the know" as to the best times to travel to a particular destination and even what the new "it" destination will be before the general public does. Want to be the first to travel there? Use a Travel Consultant!
Travel Consultants are very personable and knowledgeable! They are easy to talk to, easy to get to know and are very welcoming. They come from various backgrounds with different experiences under their belts, and they can have more stories to tell than a history book. Travel Consultants have been out in the world, experiencing other lands, people and cultures.
Travel Consultants (especially the ones here at Brentwood Travel) are so passionate about sharing the beauty of the world with you!
Contact us today to start utilizing our great staff and our amazing services!
Our Summertime Travels
It's time to celebrate because it is officially the first day of summer!
Summer is one of the most popular times for domestic and international travel. We celebrate this day by highlighting a few of our staff's travel plans for the summer months!
Where do YOU plan on traveling this summer?
Stephanie Turner - President & CEO
Stephanie and her husband Will returned home Wednesday after taking their two grandsons on a two-week European adventure. They started their journey in Paris and continued with an Avalon Waterways river cruise with stops all through Europe and ended their travels in Switzerland.
Stephanie will also be making a trip to Greece at the end of July.
Stacey Acree - Executive Vice President
Stacey Acree and her friend are currently on a Celebrity Edge cruise from Rome to Barcelona!
Susan Hakenjos - Vice President & General Manager
And Dianna Paridon - Senior Travel Consultant
Susan Hakenjos and Dianna Paridon recently returned from an amazing 2-week adventure in Japan!
Janine Cartier - Senior Travel Consultant
Janine and her husband just returned home from Hawaii a couple weeks ago. In July, she will head down to Florida for a Travel Conference and she will journey to London in August as well as Florence and Lucca, Italy in September!
Emily Medina - Travel Consultant
"A couple of weeks ago I took a Carnival cruise out of Galveston, TX with stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico. Next week, I will spend the week in San Antonio enjoying the sights. In July, I will be making my way to Cabo!"
Maggie Groene - Travel Consultant
And Rachel Madigan - Travel Consultant
Maggie and Rachel are currently on Carnival Visita through the Caribbean!
Christine Hakenjos - Travel Consultant
"I recently returned from an Alaskan Cruise a couple weeks ago with Royal Caribbean and it was the most amazing experience. If Alaska is not already on your bucket list, it needs to be! In addition to our trip to Alaska, I’m going to Destin, Florida at the end of July with my fiancé and his entire extended family. There’s about 35 of us! We usually rent a beautiful vacation home directly on the beach. It’s a week full of family memories and sunbathing!"
Missi Wilson - Supervisor of Marketing
"This summer I’m going on the trip I’ve looked forward to my whole life – taking my son to Walt Disney World for the first time! My husband, my 11 month-old son and I will be staying at Walt Disney World for a few days where we’ll be some of the first people to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios! Following our Walt Disney World vacation, we’ll be heading to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in Vero Beach, Florida so our son can experience the beach for the first time as well. It can’t get here fast enough!"
Stacey Hoehne - Supervisor of Leisure Travel
Stacey is venturing down to Costa Rica this August!
Cathy Robinson - Group Travel Director
Cathy will be enjoying the beautiful scenery in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in July!
Stevie Goeke - Corporate Travel Consultant
Stevie will be making the drive to Gulf Shores, Alabama with her whole family in July!
It's not too late to get away this summer!
Give us a call at (314) 439-5700 or email us to begin making your own summer travel plans.
With everything that has been happening recently in the Dominican Republic, we would like to share safety and security information we have obtained regarding necessary actions and protocols being taken at select properties. Of course when traveling anywhere in the world, we urge travelers to always exercise common sense safety precautions.
Brentwood Travel is a long time supporter of AMResorts. Please read below for their letter to the public.
"It is important to us that you have up-to-date and comprehensive information about our protocols in the Dominican Republic. Please know that guest safety is one of our top priorities and an area in which we have invested considerable time and resources. To support the safety and security of our guests, industry best practices and extensive staff training are in place at AMResorts branded properties in the Dominican Republic.
As a testament to this, the properties have been recognized by several independent rating organizations as among the best in the world. This includes the Cristal Certification for International Standards in Food, Beverage and Safety, which has been awarded to AMResorts branded properties in the Dominican Republic. This is one of the industry’s highest-level certifications ensuring each resort has best-of-class processes in place for quality and safety. It encompasses areas such as the supply chain for food and beverages, water quality, safety protocols, and the environment.
Below we have outlined details about AMResorts brands’ specific practices that we hope will be helpful to you. We welcome thousands of visitors a year and proudly celebrate a high repeat guest ratio. We attribute our strong track record for guest satisfaction to our strict guidelines and standards, and the trained staff’s commitment to superior quality and service.
Please let us know if there is additional information that would be helpful to you. Your ongoing loyalty and support are very much appreciated. Thank you for your partnership.
HEALTH + WELLNESS
Please know that we take the health and well-being of guests seriously. Resorts have an array of policies and procedures in place to so that guests who stay with us are taken care of and supported.
ENVIRONMENT + AIR QUALITY
AMR branded resorts in the Dominican Republic have received or are in the process of receiving certification from the Rainforest Alliance, an international non-governmental organization that audits properties environmental sustainability. Only biodegradable Eurochem products are used on the properties as verified by the Rainforest Alliance. Any pesticides used are environmentally friendly and free of organophosphates or methylbromide. Air quality is controlled by a single, centralized cooling system and there are no individual A/C units in guest rooms.
SAFETY + SECURITY
Guest safety is one of our highest priorities, including guidance for travelers to take basic safety precautions when travelling to any foreign country. Some specific safety protocols include:
ALCOHOL STANDARDS + PROTOCOLS
It is always our goal to provide guests with a perfect vacation experience. We take any situation that detracts from that very seriously, and consistently work to provide for the health and safety of our guests.
It is not uncommon for travelers on a relaxing vacation to occasionally overindulge in food, sun exposure and alcohol consumption, which combined in any manner may cause illness to occur. Additionally, we have found instances of guests drinking in combination with over-the-counter or prescription drugs, which can have adverse health effects.
In any instance in which guest distress is brought to our attention, staff is trained to take immediate and appropriate steps such as escorting them safely to their room, facilitating an extended stay, securing prompt medical attention by a licensed physician, and ensuring their well-being. Guest incidents are routinely reviewed by staff and management making sure proper steps were taken.
Additional safety processes include:
MINI BAR ALCOHOL STANDARDS + PROTOCOLS
In addition to the overall alcohol standards employed at the AMResorts branded properties, resort guest room mini-bars are stocked with sealed bottles mini bottles of liquor. As with sealed packaging of products, any concerns should be reported to management. Additionally, a single, licensed and bonded vendor is used to provide mini bar liquor for properties."
-Letter Provided By AMResorts
We are here for you!
Call us at (314) 439-5700 or email us
with any questions or concerns you may have.
What is Transformative Travel?
Transformative Travel revolves around the self-reflection and self-discovery aspects of travel. It is how these experiences inspire people to make changes in their life, big or small. For some, these experiences are labeled “wellness tours" and incorporate therapy lessons, coaching, exercises, and other tools for self-development. Some are labeled “People to People” or “Voluntourism” that are geared towards assisting the less fortunate in other countries, but transformative travel can take place in ANY destination on ANY type of tour or vacation.
For us in the travel industry, we have a handful of these experiences to speak to. Keep reading for some of our staff member's own transformative travel experiences!
Susan Hakenjos (Vice President & General Manager)
"Visiting Hiroshima in Japan was a life changing moment for me. We (the U.S.) did this unspeakable act, not only once but TWICE to these people. We then visited the Peace Museum while walking side by side, in peace, with other visitors from Japan. These experiences were true reminders that a horrific act like this should NEVER happen again. I believe that all countries and world leaders should visit these places so that we truly never forget!"
Missi Wilson (Supervisor of Marketing)
“When I was seven years old I fell in love with Paris after my first grade class did a year-long class project about France. We studied French art, history, music and food. It became my mission in life to go to Paris and I practically put my whole life on hold until my dream came true in 2017. I even brought a book I made when I was seven years old about Claude Monet’s life with me and I proudly held it on Claude Monet’s Japanese Bridge in Giverny. It was such a powerful, emotional and fulfilling experience that I hold so dear to my heart!”
Rachel Madigan (Travel Consultant)
"Traveling to Peru was a spiritual journey for me. It made me realize how different people, cultures, food, and lifestyles are in just the southern hemisphere alone. Even the stars were so beautiful and different! It truly made me realize how ancient and mysterious this world really is."
Ashley Curry (Senior Travel Consultant)
“Think about your ideal escape in your head as clearly as you can. Now, close your eyes and breathe in and out as calmly as you can 5 times. Isn’t it amazing how much clearer the picture becomes? How rested your heart feels? Next, think of how you feel when you watch the home run hit to clench the game and the high five you give to your friend shouting right next to you, the uproar of the crowd around you doing the same thing. How joyous you are and excited to be alive in that moment. Transformative travel offers these feelings and allows you to make changes so that you can feel them whenever and whenever you choose. I was lucky enough to experience a life-changing week in Canyon Ranch, AZ. I never knew how desperately I needed to make changes in my day to day to ease my mind, or give myself extra moments of happiness. It sounds extremely cliché to say that when you allow yourself to go to a place that makes your heart race with excitement or mind as clear as crystal and then come back craving those feelings at home. I went to Canyon Ranch hoping to get a better grip on ways to maintain my physical health. That worked wonderfully, but the surprise came when I discovered how much the trip impacted my spiritual and emotional health. When you allow a destination to open new windows in your head and heart, it’s amazing how much you’ll strive to keep them open when you get home.”
Maggie Groene (Travel Consultant)
"I never thought I would be brave enough to jump out of a plane, but while traveling in New Zealand, I went skydiving! It was not something I had planned on doing, but in the weeks leading up to our stop in Queenstown, the magic of travel took over and I was convinced that I could do it – because if not in the adventure capital of the world, then where?! While it was terrifying to free-fall at 12,000 ft, it was such an amazing experience that made me feel like I could conquer anything. Knowing that I made it through skydiving, I’m now open to taking new chances and fully experiencing what a destination has to offer!"
Christine Hakenjos (Travel Consultant)
"The transformative travel experience that I had was when I traveled with my Grandmother to Israel in January of 2018. This was a college graduation gift from my Grandmother and Israel was the furthest that I have ever traveled internationally. Of course, visiting such historic places like Jerusalem, The Temple Mount, The Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem, and the Church of the Holy Sepulture was life changing and spiritual but the transformative experience I had didn’t happen until the very long flight home. I was listening to music while my Grandmother slept in the seat next to me and began thinking about all the history I had learned that past week and how there is SO much to see, learn and experience in this beautiful world we live in. I remember thinking that I wanted other people to experience the world like I just had. Travel has always been very important to me, but it was not until this trip that I realized travel was my true passion in life! This exact trip was when I decided that the travel industry was where I wanted to work. "
Janine Cartier (Senior Travel Consultant)
"India was one of the most eye opening countries I visited on all of my travels. The busyness of Mumbai was exciting but the poverty I witnessed when driving back to the ship at night was a moment of utter disbelief. Families sleeping on the street in rows and masses – it made me grateful for the things I have – but also made me wonder what I could be doing to help."
Jen Ramig (Travel Consultant)
"A trip that changed my life is for the active individual (it was tough but beautiful). I wrote this on the train leaving for Barcelona after this amazing hike with my brothers and sisters:
I'm sitting on the train heading to Barcelona. I am looking into the distance, wondering if I can see The Camino De Santiago that we just hiked. In Chile. I wonder if my fellow Peregrinos (pilgrims) are staring into the horizon thinking the same. Heavy tears fall down my cheeks, but why? Is it a release of something? The weight of my pack is no longer a struggle, but I still feel the weight on my back and shoulders. I think it is to remind me that, we carry so many burdens every day. My sore legs, ankles and feet remind me that I am stronger than I think. I walked with a heavy bag up a mountain, wow, I did that. My heavy heart makes me feel the love for my family, what I left on the Camino and the love I have waiting for me at home. The smell of my clothes is the remnants of the sweat and layers of dirt from the Camino. I want to keep walking, get questions answered and feel nothing but the pain of my muscles. The sound of my shoes on the gravel, walking the steps of past pilgrims and the beautiful countryside. Adios Camino, I will be back again.
Reading this still makes me cry and brings me right back. I plan on going back. I am not finished, it has forever changed me."
Click through the slideshow below to see more of Jen's photos from The Camino De Santiago hike in Chile.
Stacey Hoehne (Supervisor of Leisure Travel)
“In 2015 I quit my job and took off on a 4.5 month adventure in Southeast Asia with my best friend. I came home from this journey with my eyes opened to new cultures. When I returned back to the U.S., I knew that I wanted to have a job where I could travel more and encourage others to have similar experiences. This is what led me to Brentwood Travel!”
Ready for your own transformative travel experience?
Contact us today!
(314) 439-5700 or Email Us
Brentwood Travel Vacation Experts
In the 64 years since Brentwood Travel was founded in 1957, we've grown into the largest, full-service travel agency in the Greater St. Louis area. No matter what your travel needs may be, our consultants will be able to assist you.