Thinking of winter…in July

Yes, I know this seems insane, but it’s what travel professionals do!

In mid-summer, we have clients who are now or who will be soon travelling in Europe or elsewhere in the world, taking coach tours, river and ocean cruises, or journeying on their own by train or car. And we’re here at their home base, keeping a virtual eye on them until they return safely.

Our colleagues in the travel industry have been announcing “new” destinations that will be more easily accessed by Canadians this coming winter. We’re talking Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles, and Cayo Largo (off the coast of its mother island, Cuba), for example.

We’re reminded by our clients of where they travelled last winter, and yesterday I was pleased that two Prince Edward Islanders are still thinking fondly of a resort I referred them to this past March:

Bruce recommended The Pullman at Cayo Coco in Cuba. Cuba wasn’t on our radar at all. He didn’t disappoint. The resort was well beyond expectations; it was all we wanted for a vacation and more. We are looking forward to having him plan another trip in the future.

(By the way, the husband of this PEI couple is a hotel manager, so he’s a very discriminating customer!)

Here’s the thing: travel professionals (or consultants, advisors or agents) often quiz their clients after a trip, as we keep our own ‘little black book’ about how the client liked the hotel, the attraction, the restaurant, or whatever else we may have recommended. In turn, we pass on positive (and sometimes negative) word of mouth comments to other or new clients, as well.

We also listen and note the reviews our fellow advisors  are posting in private chat groups or travel-agent-only forums and websites.

For those of us in Canada, it’s not unusual to start thinking and then planning winter trips in the middle of summer. New airline routes from charter companies are announced at this time, and often these introductory fares (starting in December or January, typically) can be very cost-effective.

Boutique, inn or B & B accommodations in the Caribbean that are tried and true are often fully booked for the winter season by the time October rolls around. And if you’re thinking of spending Christmas week through New Year’s anywhere ‘down south’, don’t wait until November to reserve your flights and accommodations…I may not be able to get your first or second choices of dates and hotels.

As is the common refrain, there’s no time like the present!