Insider tips on traveling to Europe : Travel Weekly

Jamie Biesiada

Over the past few weeks, almost every travel agent I’ve spoken to has had one thing in common: they’re busy.

Despite potential headwinds, like gas prices, customers are booking and traveling, and their advisors are hard at work. For an industry hit so hard by the pandemic, this is great news.

With that in mind, I’d like to share some insider tips that apply particularly to traveling in Europe. This all came up during a recent episode of the podcast, Trade Secrets, which I co-host with TravelAge West’s Emma Weissmann.

The first episode of our second season focused on selling Germany. Our expert guests were Sascha Mayerer, CEO of Historic Highlights of Germany, and Sandra Weinacht, President and Founder of Inside Europe.

Build customer enthusiasm

Do you have customers who love wine? Offer them a bottle from the country they are visiting.

Germany, for example, is often considered a beer capital. While that’s undeniably the case, Mayerer also pointed out that his wine is impressive in its variety. The country is home to many vineyards which are also tourist attractions.

So why not send a bottle of German wine to customers? Weinacht recommended working with your local wine bar — they normally have relationships with smaller distributors — to acquire a special bottle. For Germany in particular, she also recommended German chocolate (who wouldn’t love that?).

On inter-European travel

“Perhaps the biggest piece of advice we can give as Germans and also travel professionals, having worked with individual clients and groups over the past few years, is to consider taking the train… or to have a private driver bring your customers to their destination,” Weinacht said.

She encouraged advisers to coordinate with their hotel partners to arrange private cars for guests.

“It takes a lot of stress away,” she added. “It’s sometimes also profitable if you add the rental of the car, the insurance to rent the car, the gas pump.”

Advisors recommended by Mayerer organize a main hub for clients exploring a particular region, such as the Black Forest. This gives them a base to explore without having to pack and unpack multiple times.

Don’t plan too much

“The magic happens when you allow your travelers to spend a little time in each location,” Weinacht said.

She was specifically talking about traveling along the Romantic Road in Germany, but that applies to anywhere in Europe.

Try not to schedule too much, especially in cities where there’s a lot to explore. Find the right combination of guiding your customers to local attractions and letting them discover them on their own.

For more on Mayerer and Weinacht — including their answers to questions from our listeners, from traveling the Romantic Road to where to go in the Black Forest — check out Season 2, Episode 1 of Trade Secrets.

And if you have a question about anything travel-related that you’d like us to address in an upcoming episode, please contact us by calling our hotline, 201-902-2098, or emailing us at [email protected].

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