Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays & Seasons Greetings!

Happy Holidays & Seasons Greetings!

Wishing you all a beautiful holiday season full of 
friends, family, fun and frivolity.

Looking forward to another wonderful new year
filled will many more possibilities to
be explored.

Chicks That Trip

*Photo used from "Christmas Decoration" by feelart

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Find Your Zen to Reduce Stress

Find Your Zen to Reduce Stress

The holiday season starting from around late October to mid-January has been marked as being the most stressful time of the year.
Everyone is racing around trying to get all of their holiday shopping completed; while also maintaining a job (yeah, you know that thing that helps you pay for unbelievable travel). It's no wonder that people are stressed out. Lines are longer, and it would seem that patience levels are significantly shorter.

I was just in Staples the past evening to purchase some items and I was conversing pleasantly with the young lady ringing me up, and she commented during our conversation that during the holidays,  "People are just mean during this time of year. They are pushy and intolerant. Just mean." I nodded my head in agreement, because I've been seeing my fair share of "meanies" too. 

This time of year isn't particularly stressful for me, because in my family we really don't exchange gifts, so we don't have that stress of finding the "perfect" gift; procuring it, and hoping that the person likes it. Furthermore, I've been working extremely hard this year to find my Zen.

While I am not a particularly religious person (though I was brought up in the church); I am a spiritual person. I believe that you treat others as you'd like to be treated, and that you should simply - be nice (although I do fail at this at times too).

With that being said, I have had my fair amount of stress this year; specifically from September through October, so I get it. Stress...well, it's a natural part of life. We all have it, and as some studies have indicated, a certain level of stress is actually a good thing.

My approach has been really immersing myself into things that lessen my stress. There are things I have to get done on a daily basis; therefore, I make sure those important items get done, and then the rest can wait. Also, I've found that revisiting pictures from my travels really helps put things into perspective. I place myself in those spaces that make me feel all warm and cozy and from there - I find my Zen.

The picture above was taken during one of my visits to Puerto Rico. It is the entrance to the St. Regis Resort & Spa in Bahia Principe, Puerto Rico, and let me tell you, the property is AMAZING. It has an exquisite golf course (played by many pros in the golf industry); areas that remind me of Jurassic Park (though it was actually filmed in Hawaii). It simply permeates a calming feeling that resonates throughout every space on the property. I did a site inspection and was toured around the entire property (I'll put a full review up soon). I was there for almost two hours, and let me tell you, it broke my heart to have to leave. 

Now, whenever I feel a bit anxious or uptight, I place myself (mentally) back on that property. Immediately I can smell the ocean air and picture the exotic, indigenous foliage that surrounded me while I was visiting. The visions take me to a safe place and I can then shake off any of the nasties that may have been resting on my shoulders. I lean back. Take a deep breath, and immediately I'm in my Zen place. 

During this stressful time of year, make sure you take time for you! It's easy to get caught up in the fray, so my advice is to be nice to yourself and enjoy the here and now.


*Photo of St. Regis in Bahia Principe, Puerto Rico was taken by That Chick Té

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and your families a beautiful
and food filled day of thanks.

Chicks That Trip

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Event Showcase: Restaurant Day

Restaurant Day - November 16, 2013

As much as I consider myself to be a "foodie," I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard about Recently on my linkedin account (that I am remiss in checking on a regular basis), I received a posting about Restaurant Day, so I had to check it out. describes the Restaurant Day concept as:

"Restaurant Day is a worldwide food carnival when anyone can set up a restaurant, café or a bar for a day. It can happen anywhere: at your home, at the office, on a street corner, in your garden or inner courtyard, at a park, or on the beach – only your imagination is the limit." ~

The event started with just a humble smattering of 13 cities and 45 restaurants participating back in May, 2011, and has swelled to an impressive 220 cites, 35 countries and 1683 restaurants (at their last event, August 18, 2013.)

For more information on the next Restaurant Day being held on November 16, 2013, visit their site:, for more detailed information.

*Picture provided by That Chick Té

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Launch of: Women Play Golf Too!

Wow! I can't believe it's already October. Where has the year gone? I've been busy, busy, busy, and so has one of my close friends, Shanon, who recently launched her new site: Women Play Golf Too.

This cheeky site not only provides an insight into the forays of Shanon's golf outings, but also provides some musings (about golf, of course), as well as resources related to golf. There is also an events page showcasing future golfing trips! Shanon's premier golfing trip will be next October 2014, to the Reunion Resort property in Orlando, Florida. CEO and Founder of BET, Sheila Johnson, has the midas touch, and with that touch she has launched a string of luxury resorts.

I will be the first to admit that I  am not a golfer; however, I enjoy being on the golf course and pretty much whacking the heck out of the greens. Hmmm, perhaps I should revisit the golf lessons I took years ago.

Swing through the new site: Women Play Golf Too, and check out what Shanon's been up to on the course!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Launch of Travel Professional Association - Check out the video!

For those of us who take pride in our work and providing top-notch customer care for our clients, it's great to have organizations that not only support our efforts, but also provide us with the tools to be able to go above and beyond.

Recently a new organization was launched called, the Travel Professional Association, and I am proud to be a part of this association, which is headed by the Ogg's who have been an integral part of the travel industry for many years. They've written travel books; operated travel agencies; headed up travel organizations, and spearheaded other worthy travel related initiatives.

Here is a great video to watch extolling the benefits of working with a travel professional! Stay tuned for more great videos provided by the Travel Professional Association.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Technologies Creation of New Pen Pals

Technologies Creation of New Pen Pals
When I was growing up I had two pen pals; one was from France, and the other one was from (I think) Spain. My French pen pal began in either the third or fourth grade, and my Spanish pen pal started in middle school. I used to love coming home and seeing the letters with their exotic stamps. My pen pals were intrigued by me being from America, and I was equally intrigued by their beautiful cultures and foreign languages. 
It's a shame that we lost touch, because they helped brighten my life, and began my interest in travel at a very young age. Little did these cute, foreign girls know that they would influence a large portion of my life.

Today, we have pen pals of sorts. They are everywhere in social media like: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and the like. We are able to connect with people all over the world, in a medium that is familiar and comfortable to us all. 

In Linkedin, I belong to various business, hospitality, food and travel related groups. While the topics are interesting and diverse, I am much more fascinated that I am able to connect and communicate with people from small, nondescript parts of the world. Further, it's interesting to find that we all have some of the same issues and struggles in our professional and personal lives. I learn so much just from reading their questions, and responses to questions that are posed on the myriad of threads that pop up on a daily basis. 

Sometimes I get bummed out because I think we are losing some of our personal relationships by so much being done online; but then I'll receive an email from an individual who has read something I've written, and they will write saying that they felt compelled to reach out to me and let me know how much they enjoyed reading it. Or, my most recent endeavor involved the usage of SKYPE, wherein, I was able to interview two chefs that reside in London and Edinburgh.

Despite how big the world is, it's also shrinking, and while I enjoy meeting my new form of pen pals via the net, I can undoubtedly say there is no greater feeling than making new friends while traveling abroad.

Cheers! To our new wave of Pen Pals!

*photo used from by digitalart

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rock on Chef Elise Wiggins of Panzano - Denver, CO!

Rock on Chef Elise Wiggins of Panzano - Denver, CO!

Chef Elise has been featured in, Best Chefs America. The yearly publication features some of the top chefs around the country who are nominated by other fellow chefs, food enthusiast, and other culinary professionals. I can attest to the delicious food that Chef Elise prepares, and with her incredible personality and "can do" attitude, it's no surprise to me that she was one of the featured chefs for, Best Chefs America.

Again, a great big ole' congrats to one of my favorite chefs! You go Chef Elise!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Win Two Roundtrip Tickets Anywhere in the US! See How!

Whoever said there's "no such thing as a free lunch," well, they were wrong. Although technically, this isn't lunch - it's actually a much better deal!

Bestselling author Ramit Sethi, and writer on his site, "I Will Teach You To Be Rich," is giving away TWO roundtrip tickets for anywhere in the US!

Click on this link:, and you can be entered to win the tickets. All he asks is that you tell where you would go if you won! This awesome opportunity will be over by August 5th, when he announces the winner!

Happy travels!

*Photo from, called, "Young Man Holding Globe" by stockimages

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Woman's Day vs. The Travel Agent Community

Woman's Day vs. The Travel Agent Community

I took a few days to decide if I wanted to jump into the fray surrounding the controversial article that was written a few days ago by Woman's Day magazine titled, "10 9 Things Travel Agents Won't Tell You." Notice, I crossed out the 10 and changed it to 9, because throughout the past few days, the piece that was originally written (with outrageous misinformation) has been changed numerous times; therefore, I've lost track of what the original article even stated, but the non-edited version is still floating around somewhere on I'm sure you can find it if you are so inclined.

Back in April I wrote a piece, "What's In It For Me When Working With A Travel Professional,", in that piece, I pointed out some benefits of working with a travel professional. I read the Woman's Day piece with much chagrin, because they pretty much trashed the travel agent community as a whole, but rest assured, the travel community took notice, and not just the agents, but numerous travel organizations like ASTA, as well as some of the heavy hitters in the supplier community like Apple Vacations. There were so many comments posted on the Woman's Day piece, as well as on their twitter account, that it was rumored that a lot of the comments had been deleted. Curious. Now that has me scratching my head.

Of course, I may be biased since I am a travel professional, and I take my work very seriously; especially when clients are forking out a few thousand dollars on a vacation, because it is my goal and soul desire to ensure they have the best experience they possibly can - with zero to few problems. While I can't guarantee there won't be issues during a clients travels; I can help to alleviate some of those issues, and essentially put those issues on my shoulders and make sure they are handled as expeditiously as possible, and hopefully in my clients favor.

There are unscrupulous and unprofessional people in every industry, but they are typically the exception, not the rule. Unfortunately, it is the negative or controversial items that seem to get legs and run away; versus the positive stories.  My final comment is that while the piece that Woman's Day wrote was clearly negatively slanted, it was refreshing to see so many organizations and clients of travel professionals, who bandied together to write comments and email the editor(s) of Woman's Day in support of the travel community...which, by the way isn't the dying breed that so many doomsayers have proclaimed it to be.

If  you'd like to stay abreast of this continuing saga, check out Stephanie Lee's site, Host Agency Reviews, which has links to most of the rebuttals to the controversial piece that was published by Woman's Day.

*Photo used from

Thursday, July 18, 2013

See Where Your Luggage is Traveling With Trakdot!

See Where Your Luggage is Traveling With Trakdot!

Have you ever been hit with the sense that your luggage may be having a better vacation than you? Probably not, but the point is, many of us have checked in luggage, and it has theoretically "disappeared." Sure, some of us may get that luggage back...maybe, but for those who have lost their luggage to the wild abyss of airline mishandling, Trakdot is a state of the art device that is placed inside of your luggage so that it can be tracked when it's not with  you.

It is described as:

"First-ever luggage positioning solution with worldwide location reporting keeps you connected to your valuables
  • Place the palm-sized device in your luggage and it will send you a text with the location of your luggage as soon as you arrive
  • Provides peace of mind over baggage and valuables, used advanced technology to track luggage anywhere in the world from mobile phone or online
  • Empowers you with the knowledge of your bag’s location, even if your bag does not arrive with you
  • The lightweight design is built for travel and easy to use with a free app that works anywhere, no roaming fees
  • Compatible with Android and Apple smartphones" 
(*Information provided courtesy of Trakdot)

According to a February 12, 2013 press release issued by the Department of Transportation, it was stated that:
"The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 4.15 reports per 1,000 passengers in December, up from both December 2011’s rate of 3.22 and November 2012’s rate of 2.64. "

(Press release number: DOT 15-3 "Airlines Report Lowest Mishandled Baggage Rate in 18 Years in 2012")

Despite the fact that lost and/or mishandled luggage is down significantly over the past 20 years; there is still a significant amount of lost and/or mishandled luggage to date, not to mention the stress and time involved with getting that luggage returned, as well as the condition of that luggage once it has been returned. Trakdot's revolutionary tracking device and service can take some of the stress out of worrying about your luggage; especially for those frequent travelers.

*Trakdot photo provided, courtesy of via Max Borges Agency; photo of suitcase provided by taken by Victor Habbick

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Longtime Restaurant - Strings in Denver, CO

Saying Goodbye to Longtime Restaurant -
Strings in Denver, CO

I attended a lunch in mid-April, right before the closing of a longtime favorite, Strings, closed on April 30, 2013.

This restaurant had been around for years. It was the place to go on special occasions, and was a favorite for those who lived in that community located by city park, and for those of us who lived a bit farther away.

The first time I ever went to Strings, I was in high school. One of my classmates parents' took us there for dinner. My friend and I felt so mature and grown up, because it was definitely a restaurant for adults. The the vibe was always laid back, and the decor and atmosphere were professional and well-maintained. They served delicious salads, steaks and fish dishes that were immaculately prepared, but never fussy.

As life progressed and I moved away from Colorado; I would still frequent this restaurant when I would come home during summer and winter breaks. Despite the saying, "you can never go back," that wasn't the case with Strings; regardless of the change of time and age, it was always a place that I could go to and enjoy myself and reminisce on "the good old days."

When I moved back to Colorado a few years ago, I attended an event that was hosted by the Aruba Tourism Board, at Strings. I hadn't been there in several years, but the moment I stepped through the door it was as if I was that young girl in high school again.

Steak salad @ Strings Restaurant

My last visit was a luncheon being held by a family member, Lucy Walker, of Eden Theatrical Workshop. Lucy has been a part of the community even longer than Strings; however, given its close proximity (walking distance) from Eden Theatrical Workshop, Lucy had been a long time guest of Strings, so it was apropos that Lucy would so graciously hold a final luncheon there, to say goodbye to a favorite neighborhood restaurant.

*photos taken by That Chick Té

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fright of Flight!

Fright of Flight!
With that title, I'm sure you are expecting me to be talking about the flying experience - but I'm not; it's actually about all of the fees being raised and instituted by the major airline carriers.
I am all for businesses making money, because there is a cost to doing business; however, some of these fees are getting ridiculous. In late April of this year, several airlines increased their change fees to $200-250 (this is for non-refundable tickets). That's per person, so a family of four would be looking at a minimum of $800-$1000 if they had to change their flight. Also, just to be clear, this fee is ONLY for changing your ticket, that is not taking into consideration if there was a change in your flight costs. 

Sarah is taking her daughter to New York to celebrate her 16th birthday. She's worked with her travel professional and provided all of the date information and booked and paid for the vacation six months in advance. Later, Sarah finds out a month prior to her trip that she needs to change their flights because she has a work obligation that she can not get out of, so they need to depart a day later.

The initial price of her round-trip tickets per person were $350 dollars; however, the price of that flight has shot up to $500 dollars. Not only does Sarah need to pay the difference in the price increase of $150 per person (which will be $300), but she will also be paying a change fee as well. If her flight was booked with one of the carriers that charges $200 per person, then she will be paying $400 to change her and her daughter's tickets. The total price she will be paying additionally out-of-pocket will be $700. I don't know about you, but that's a lot of money!
Sadly, it's all about "follow the leader." If one carrier sees that a major carrier has increased their fees; rest assured, many others will be following suit. 

Quick tips to possibly alleviate this issue:
  • Make sure your dates of travel are set, and there are no potential conflicts that may make you have to change  your dates. Yes, things do come up, but the better prepared you are, the better off you will be.
  • Double and even triple check all documents you receive to ensure the dates of travel are correct, because if there is an error and it's not caught prior to purchase (or with some carriers, within twenty-four hours), you could be in for a rude awakening when you are hit with a change fee because you need to make a correction.
  • In some cases, the purchasing of travel insurance can help defray some of the costs of non-refundable payments that have been paid. This is a case-by-case situation, but is definitely worth considering and looking in to when you are planning your travels.
  • Finally, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Ok, ok, I know that's probably not the best tip, but hey, it's true! Many things happen that are out of our control. 
The site,, is good about updating information in respect to most of the major carriers and their fee schedules. I've only scraped the tip of the iceberg on all of the fees that can be potentially assessed, so if you want more information, you can check out their site. Their last update was on May 1, 2013 (as of today).

*Photo used from

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Travel Tips Learned from Game of Thrones

Travel Tips Learned from Game of Thrones

I will gladly admit that I've succumbed to reading George R.R. Martin's, A Song of Fire and Ice series, starting with, A Game of Thrones. Masterfully written (well, at least books 1-3), and entertaining; the entire process by which Mr. Martin must have taken to put together these tome's is exhausting to imagine, and also quite inspirational and impressive.

While reading this series, I was struck by the many lessons that were being taught that could so clearly be connected with traveling. Alright, I can see you sitting there scratching your head saying, "How can some mythical world have anything to do with travel?" Well, let me lay out a few items that I can easily relate to travel:
  • You're going to get lost. Keep a map. Throughout the characters' various journeys both by land and sea; they would get lost. Granted, they somehow always seemed to get back on track, but as one character pointed out (paraphrasing, and no spoilers here), "How can we know which lake we are too follow? And how do we even know this is the right one?" Keeping a map and/or GDS system handy is key. Whether you are traveling near or abroad, having reliable directions will be the difference between a wonderful vacation versus one fraught with aggravation.
  • Do a bit of research on your destination prior to arrival. Countless characters throughout this series had limited or faulty information about the destinations they were traveling too (and trust me, there is a LOT of movement throughout this series). What seemed like it would be a divine place to go; oftentimes turned out to be (figuratively speaking) one of the seven circles of hell. While some characters believed they were traveling to destinations brimming with food, opportunity and safety; more often than not, their "dream" destination turned out to be a nightmare. The lesson here: don't just believe what you hear from one person, do a bit of your own research.
  • Be open to eating different and unique foods. Hmmm, this is a bit dicey because there were a lot of the meals described in the series that I just was not keen on (can we say, horse heart anyone). Suffice to say, there were also quite a few of the meals described, that actually sounded delicious. Several of the wedding dinners and large gathering meals that were described didn't seem altogether bad. There were some detailed descriptions of pies, meats and desserts that were elaborate, and my imagination was able to take over. And, lest not forget the wines. It would appear that no one was without some (weak or strong) ale and/or wine to wash down any of their meals. The lesson here: it may sound trite, but it's true, be open to experiencing something different that you wouldn't ordinarily eat. While fried grubs may not be high on your list of foods to eat, you may be surprised and find out...hey, they do taste like chicken!
  • Pack light. (Or you'll lose it.) I think this one is self-explanatory, but always bears repeating. When you are traveling by horseback and carriage, it's easy to see how some items will be lost along the way. It just works out that way. What seems like a good idea to pack on day one, turns out to be a nightmare and pain to drag around by day twenty. Fortunately, this is the twenty-first century, so it's not quite that bad (although, many who travel via the airlines on a frequent basis may disagree). Regardless, less is definitely more. Many hotels have on-site dry cleaners and laundry facilities so there is no reason to pack everything you've ever owned. Also, as I learned at a young age when camping; if you pack something that you don't want to carry for about 10 miles on your back, leave it at home unless it's absolutely necessary.
*Photo from "Fresh Crown Of Thorns" by Iamnee; provided by

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Grooving Into the Summer

Grooving Into the Summer

All times of year are beautiful, but there is a heightened anticipation for Summer, because it is a time of frolicking, fun, and sunshine. The enjoyment is made even better by lazy afternoons languishing in a pool; chilling at a BBQ, or simply lying in the grass or at the beach.

For me, Summer kicks off a lot of wonderful smooth jazz concerts, and one of the top-notch concert series is held at the Thornton Winery, in Temecula, CA. The winery is host to some of the top talent in the smooth jazz industry, from Brian Culbertson, to Boney James (both are two of my ULTIMATE favorites to see in concert). 

This year is no exception, as they will be hosting the likes of Jonathan Butler, Dave Koz, Hiroshima, David Sanborn, Bob James...the list is jam packed with primo talent, and lest I forget Jessy J (a USC Alum, like myself); an incredible saxophonist that has busted onto the scene with a vengeance (if you haven't heard of her, you need to check her out; especially one of my favorite songs by her, "Tequila Moon.")

Here's to a wonderful Summer of great music, food and (of course) wine!

*photo provided by "Music World In Abstract Background " by jscreationzs from

Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Book Release: Into Wine by Olivier Magny

New Book Release: Into Wine by Olivier Magny

Last August I wrote about the opening of a new wine bar in Paris called, Ô Chateau. I met co-owner,  Olivier, on a trip to Paris when he still held wine tastings in his flat...ohh, la, la. Now, he's big time, and not only does he have a wine bar to add to his list of accomplishments, but he's also released yet another book titled, Into Wine.

As an added enticement to purchase his book, he has an offer (which sadly will only last until Sunday, May 12, 2013), just in time for Mother's Day. The details follow:

 Get a copy of Into Wine on Amazon... 

...and receive $349 in FREE gifts  

Gifts include:

- Free premium access to HD wine videos,
- The list of the 50 best Food & Wine destinations in Paris, from the author of 'Stuff Parisians Like'
- A discount code giving you 10% off on any purchase on O Chateau's site.
- The list of my favorite (and best value) wineries worldwide
- The full presentation of my "History of wine class"
This offer is only valid until Sunday
To take advantage of this offer:
simply email your Amazon receipt to

Click on the following Into Wine, and you will be taken to the Amazon page to purchase his book. Don't miss out on this spectacular opportunity to obtain $349 in FREE gifts just by purchasing what will be an incredible read; with plenty of wine information, and spiced with Olivier's cheeky personality.


p.s. I do not get any compensation for referring his book. I just like Olivier and want to help spread the word about his wonderful wine bar and his new wine book.

p.s.s. I purchased a copy too!

*photo provided by "Glasses Of Champagne" by Rosen Georgiev

Friday, May 10, 2013

Work Options for Women - WomenCook Event Rocked!

Work Options for Women - WomenCook Event Rocked!

On Monday, May 6th, I was WOW'ed by the incredible WomenCook Event that was given by Work Options for Women. I know the amount of work that goes into an elaborate event such as the one they put on, and I have to say that they did an incredible job, and their entire organization should be proud of the massive turn out and the delicious food that all of the participating chefs contributed.

I saw one of my favorite chefs, Elise Wiggins. She was one of the featured chefs at the event, and was busy as could be, but I was able to get a big hug and a quick "hello."

The mood was upbeat, positive and an experience that I was so fortunate to be a part of; especially since Chicks That Trip was a part of their Silent Auction. The donated, Viva Las Vegas package was a big hit, and I was told that the lucky winner rarely gets to travel, so she's extremely excited by her win!

I also wanted to give a big "Thank You" to the companies who donated portions of the package:

And finally, it just doesn't get any better than this - platters of delicious cookies!

*Photos taken by That Chick Té

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chicks That Trip is proud to be participating in this wonderful and worthwhile event for Work Options For Women.

Please check out the information below to see a "sneak peak" of the Silent Auction Preview. Please click WomenCook! Event for more detailed information regarding the event being held on May 6, 2013.


Zulu Nyala
South Africa Photo Safari Package
valued at $4,950
• 6 days and 6 nights luxury accommodation for two people at one of Zulu Nyala's 3 lodges.
• 3 delicious meals per day.
• 2 game viewing activities per day on Zulu Nyala game reserve.

Chicks That Trip
Vegas Vacation Package
donated by Chicks that Trip
valued at $1,100
• 3 days, 2 nights stay in one of The Palm's Deluxe or Superior Rooms.
• $100 gift certificate to one of the restaurants at The Palms Hotel.
• Shuttle transfer to/from McCarran International Airport.
$50 gift certificate to SENSE Clothing.
• Special departure gift.

Zulu 1Zulu3
Hotel Madeline ~ Telluride, Colorado
valued at $3,750
• 5 nights in a luxurious Hotel Madeline Guest Room.
• Dinner at the acclaimed Rev Restaurant.
($100 gift certificate)
• Choice of services from Spa Madeline.
($200 Gift Certificate)
*Information provided by, for and on behalf of Work Options For Women

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's In It For Me When Working With a Travel Professional?

What's In It For Me When Working With a Travel Professional?
I attended a SCORE Small Business Conference, and while all of the speakers were incredible, there was one who really stood out to me; especially when she started talking about the WIIFM (What's in it for me?) phenomenon that has always been present, but is now more openly discussed, and should be the first question that all business owners are addressing when working with their customers and clients.

People want to know, "What's in it for me?" While your credentials, professionalism and ability to perform and/or deliver whatever service or product you are selling is important to a lot of your customers or clients; by and large, most of them may only want to know, "What's in it for them?" 

Bear with me for a moment as I drift through a quick little story about a book I just read entitled, Hotel Babylon, by Anonymous and Imogen Edwards-Jones. Besides the story being a complete hoot, it really touched on the reason that relationships and networking are important in any business.

The story is about a twenty-four (24) hour period of time at an upscale hotel in London. The name of the hotel, and the characters are fictional, but they are based on real life employees in the hotel industry, as well as real stories of interesting, bizarre, and downright eyebrow raising tales of the types of shenanigans that take place within a hotel on a daily basis.

There were two characters who stuck out the most for me within the story, and they were Tony, the head concierge, and Gino, the head bartender. Both of these men were good at their jobs, but what put them above their competition was not only their personalities (they were quite the characters), but their networking abilities and knowledge of all things related to their job, as well as other intangibles. One line summed it up perfectly for me in respect to how important it is to find that one person who has their hands in everything, "For starters, there is almost nothing that is going on in London that Tony doesn't know about...He knows where to go, where to eat, where to dance." (Hotel Babylon, pg 13).

More often than not when you hear people talking about travel, the first comment they make is, "Yeah, the internet is great to book travel because I can do everything myself." But can they? The regular consumer has not built the types of relationships that those of us in the travel industry do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Regardless of our particular niche, we are constantly working with various suppliers; completing site inspections at countless hotels, and visiting domestic and international cities to help us better serve our customers and clients. We are investing in ourselves so we can be the "Tony" within our various niche. This, in turn, helps us provide the quintessential experience for our customers and clients, while also addressing the, "What's in it for me?" question too. We are utilizing our vast network of relationships to assist them in having the best travel experience possible.

*Picture  of 3D Characters Shaking Hands by Chrisroll and used from