Whether your destination wedding is going to be on a cruise ship off the shore of Alaska or on the beach at sunset in Riviera Maya, you’re going to want to work with a Destination Wedding Specialist to make sure that every detail is as picture-perfect as you’ve been imagining.
Unfortunately, not all travel agents are created equal. Just as you would interview a general contractor for your home repairs or a doctor for a medical consultation, you should take a few preliminary steps before jumping in.
Meet With Them
Get to know the person who will be putting your dreams together. First impressions are everything and considering that you will be working with them for the next year or more, you want to make sure that they share the same vision, professionalism, and goals as you and your future spouse. Whether it is a video call or face-to-face conversation, do not book an agent without a consultation.
Communication is Key
What are your agent’s hours? There are over 1,000 ways to communicate today. How does your agent make themselves available? Phone and email are the most popular ways to communicate but what about text messaging and Skype? If you’ve found the most amazing inspiration for colors but you aren’t sure if the resort is able to accommodate, can you FaceTime your agent to ask or do you have to try and describe the color over the phone? If you are a hands-on bride or groom, you’re going to want to work with a Destination Wedding Specialist who offers multiple communication channels.
One Size Does Not Fit All
A travel agent with a niche is key to a unique experience. Ask the agent what they specialize in. It takes time to get to know each destination and each vendor. If your potential agent specializes in domestic travel, cruises, Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico, they may be stretching themselves too thin. However, if they have taken the time to visit and get to know a few areas really well, you know that you’re going to be able to get the answers that you need.
Knowledge is Power
As in any profession, the longer you’ve been in the business, the more you have seen. You want your agent to be experienced and trained. How long have they been in the travel industry? Have they ever worked in hospitality or handled travel outside of being the booking agent? You’ll get a much different experience from a professional agent who has a well-rounded background.
Continuing education is key to keeping a Destination Wedding Specialist’s skills sharp. If your agent sold a Sandals vacation four years ago and hasn’t had any interaction with the brand since, they won’t be up-to-date on the latest offerings. Make sure they are engaged in your destination on a regular basis, whether that is through classes or firsthand travel.
Quality over Quantity
How many weddings does your agent plan per year? Too many and you could be dealing with a wedding factory. Too little and they may be out of touch with the industry, doing weddings only as a side-business to their agency. You want to make sure that your agent has enough time to tend to you and your guests throughout the duration of the planning process. If your particular agent is planning more than one to two weddings per month, they could be overextending themselves.
At the end of the day, a good sales person can give you all the warm and fuzzies in the world. Reach out to past clients. Ask the agent if they have references. Check their websites and social media accounts for reviews and feedback. A happy couple will be glad to share their experience with a great agent.
As always, go with your instinct. You know what will work best for you and your guests. The wedding planning process should be enjoyable and a great agent can ensure that it stays that way.
If you’d like to learn more about LoveShack Vacations’ experience in destination weddings, check out our Agent Finder to read about our Destination Wedding Specialists!