The Wild Atlantic Road Trip: Step One… Planning
A Personalized Road Trip with Specialized Travel Services.
Working in the travel industry during the pandemic has been an interesting experience. We have all had to adjust our professional and personal lives to varying degrees and there have been challenges along the way. Professionally, how do you sell any destination now? How do you instill confidence in your client base? When is the next “fam trip” even possible? As a new member of the team at Specialized Travel Services, I enjoyed four months of excitement as we were booking tours and planning customized trips for groups and individuals. I was learning more about the industry and our product and it was fantastic… and then March happened! The world changed and we all had to sit down and take stock.
First and foremost, we had to make sure that our clients’ interests were taken care of and that their trust in us was protected. In this regard, I felt lucky to be working for a company that is family owned and has over 45 years in the business, creating first-class customized experiences throughout Ireland. That’s over 45 years of relationships that have been built and respected in both Ireland and the United States. We have always been committed to providing the absolute best that Ireland has to offer. The trust from our clients and business partners is so important to us and seeing it honored during the uncertainty of Covid-19 has been personally meaningful. I feel like the professionalism in what we do is conveyed to our guests who are in turn, confident in trusting that we are there for them, and we have been, which has been so nice to be a part of.
As a new member of the team, I was still eager to move forward and to learn more about our products. One of the best ways to do this, was to experience them firsthand. This was going to be a bit of a challenge, but if there is one thing that the pandemic has provided us with, it is time. Time to get out into the field and meet our partners whenever, wherever, and however as safely as possible. After some careful planning considering the climate we are living in, and at the suggestion of Managing Director, Derry Cronin, I took the opportunity to travel around Ireland for a week as a “tourist” while making use of the services we provide. This was a great opportunity to see and experience what we do from a client’s perspective. The following, is an example of how we operate as a company and some of the services we provide. I was glad to be a part of this journey, and happy to share with you. Please enjoy…
Alicia and I are avid travelers, living abroad. For this experience we decided to explore The Wild Atlantic Way. We were both excited to be planning our annual holiday but due to the unforeseen restrictions related to Covid-19, we needed to be creative in planning what had now evolved into a “staycation.” Between the two of us, we had traveled extensively throughout Ireland and thought it might be a challenge to seek out and experience something new and different this time around. As it turns out, with the help of my new family at Specialized Travel Services, we were happily incorrect. As we began to plan our one-week getaway around Ireland we talked to the STS team about how we could do something different. One of the suggestions was a chauffeur drive. We are both self-sufficient travelers and have always travelled on our own via public transport or car hire but have never done an extended period with a driver. Knowing that our trips are fully customizable, we decided to split the trip into two parts and incorporate a driver into our travels. We would begin with a driver/guide and transition to a self-drive tour along the way. This idea was a perfect way for us to split up the trip, enjoy the experience of a seasoned, professional guide and still have the autonomy to explore on our own.
We were both looking forward to experiencing the advantages that come with using the services of a destination management company, and eagerly began planning. With help from the team in Cork, we were able to put together a plan that suited us perfectly. They had great suggestions and assisted us with adjustments that really fit with what we were looking to experience.
Another advantage of working with Specialized Travel Services is in their partnership with their sister companies, Cronin’s Coaches and Select Hotels. We were comfortable knowing that we would be traveling with one of our own professional driver/guides in one of our own custom vehicles and staying in hotels that were in our network. This made planning easier which was also a perfect fit for us. Although we were excited in having a guide for our trip, we were also interested in exploring on our own. Our operations team listened to our needs and helped us create our own unique and fully customized Irish experience that incorporated both options. This accommodation was a nice feature and put us at well at ease.
While working with my new colleagues, it was impressive to see their knowledge of the areas we were interested in and was eye opening to see that there are so many unique places and experiences along the roads we thought we had already explored. It was a nice surprise for both of us. After some planning, we agreed on an itinerary and booked our travel dates. Our plans would take us from Dublin to Mayo, south along The Wild Atlantic Way and back, making some great stops along the way. With the planning done, we awaited our day of departure.
Note: Featured image at the top of the bog is of the Wild Atlantic Way Passport © Failte Ireland
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