From the time I was a young child, my family’s kickoff to the holiday season always began with a much-anticipated trip to New York City and Radio City Music Hall to see the famous Rockettes perform in “The Christmas Spectacular.” With six kids in tow, my parents would dress all of us up and march us in, stopping first to see the Rockefeller Tree and all the beautifully decorated windows of Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Lord & Taylor, before we grabbed our popcorn and headed for our cozy seats in the famed venue. When the organ roared up and the curtains were lifted, it transported me to a magical place, leaving behind all the worries a young child might have – which at the time probably amounted to what Santa was going to leave me for Christmas.
Today, as a parent of three teenagers of my own, I have spent much of their childhood trying to recreate the traditions that were the fabric of my own upbringing. I’ve done this because I realized that the dolls Santa left me weren’t what made an impressionable mark, rather it was the time spent making memories with my family.
Which brings me to my youngest son, Connor, who is 13. Every morning as I drive him to school, we listen to the music of my favorite musician, Billy Joel. Connor didn’t initially have a vote in my decision to play Billy, but as it turns out, the kid has learned to love his music. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me feel, and as a result, later this month my husband and I will be taking him to his very first concert to see none other than our mutually beloved Billy Joel.
The added touch agents need to remember
We hear it daily in the travel industry, but not so much that it isn’t worth repeating – experiences are what is driving today’s travel purchases. They are the reason parents like me are snatching up tickets to Broadway shows, soccer tournaments, musical festivals and concerts worldwide. Seeing the excitement and wonder in our children’s eyes gives us a sense of fulfillment that material items just cannot fill.
And it’s not just children who benefit from these experiences. One travel agent Travel Market Report spoke with recently highlighted a milestone anniversary trip to Dublin with tickets to their favorite singer’s concert. While the idea came about from the husband, Jennifer Walker, owner of Jennifer Walker Travel in Washington, Illinois, said oftentimes enhanced experiences such as these are not something the client thinks of initially, but an “added touch” that travel agents should be offering.
“Pleasant and unexpected surprises during a trip are what make a trip more memorable and leave the clients feeling like they received great value for what they paid. These special touches will be the stories told to friends and family members when the clients return from their travels. Years later, just thinking about these special moments will bring back those feelings.”
For the more social media-focused Millennials, these are also the moments that they will most likely share online, said Walker, adding that they “will inspire others to try to experience something similar on their own future trip.”
Thinking outside the box
As the holiday season approaches, have you offered your clients the option of adding on an experience-based event, show or concert to their itinerary? And better yet, did you know that these tickets are commissionable and not only add a lifetime memory to the equation, but also extra dollars in the pocket of you, their agent?
Here are some popular events that you might want to consider when qualifying your clients for their upcoming family holiday travel, whether their destination is New York City or a variety of gateway cities across the country:
Swan Lake – This classic, mesmerizing ballet performance is one for everyone’s bucket list. Performed at the New York City Ballet, it depicts the rapture and heartache of two doomed lovers and the evil that thwarts their romance.
Elf, The Musical – “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” If you’re not familiar with this line from the famed movie, you might want to reserve time for laughter this holiday season and take in this off-Broadway adaptation. Shows are running throughout the country, stretching from Pennsylvania to Kansas and South Dakota.
A Christmas Carol – Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly encounters come to life in this Broadway version of the classic Christmas tale and Charles Dickens’ most well-known story. The show has proved its staying power, with a decade-long run at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Nutcracker Ballet – The addition of this performance will add a festive spark to any holiday vacation. Also featured at the New York City Ballet, technical highlights include an enormous Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 41 feet as well as the continuous flutter of crystal-shaped snowflakes.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live – Featuring all the classic tunes you remember from the musical score now performed by a live 3-piece band, this all-time favorite comes alive with your favorite Peanuts characters as they sing and dance on stage.
Cirque Holidaze – Putting an energetic and unique spin on traditional shows, this stage spectacular assembles a unique cast of Cirque artists with theatrical talent that is wowing audiences nationwide.
Whether for entertainment on an upcoming existing itinerary or to fill time as your client moves from one city or port to the next, events such as these can be the extra touch that turns a good vacation into a great vacation.
FROM THE SPONSOR: Events 365 is a booking platform that offers travel advisors exclusive purchasing access to over 80,000 exciting live events around the world, including sports, concerts, theater performances, and special events. With over $4 billion worth of tickets running through an easy-to-access, internet-based booking platform, taking your client’s vacation to the next level is a breeze.
Travel advisors using Events 365 have the ability to earn commissions on competitively priced tickets backed by a 100 percent buyer guarantee, and have access to a dedicated sales and support team that will guide them through the registration and booking processes.
If that wasn’t enough, travel advisors can earn commissions even when their clients purchase directly, by sending a dedicated link to them through the Events 365 booking portal.
Signing up is free, and commissions are paid out to agencies on a monthly basis. Learn more at Events365.com, and register for an account HERE.