Behind the Scenes: Surprise Travel

How does Whisked Away choose where to send all of the lovely travelers?

This is an excellent question!  I wish I could tell you that the magical spot just pops up... but then everyone would be planning travel, right?

Right.

Whenever a client books a Surprise Travel Adventure through Whisked Away, there is a specific process that happens to ensure they get a trip that is unique to them and their awesomeness.  

Read on for the step-by-step of how a Surprise Travel Adventure is born!  

Whisked Away Surprise Travel:  Behind the Scenes

Step One:  Flights

Without a flight, you don’t have a trip!  Before I start thinking about weather, cool things to do or hotels, I have to look at flight prices from the client’s chosen hub.  

So, let’s say a client books a Surprise Honeymoon to Europe, and they are flying from Atlanta, GA. Their travel dates are April 15 through April 22, 2018.

Google Flights allows me to put in all of the information they’ve given me (right now I’m only focused on departure airport, travel dates and region) and then lets me see the prices of flights to all major cities!

Whisked Away Surprise Travel:  Google Flights

Because this client is coming from a major US hub, they have a lot of options for non-stop flights.  This is great as this is a Surprise Honeymoon booking- I’d definitely want to get them on one non-stop flight to avoid delays and layovers as much as possible.

Whisked Away Surprise Travel:  Google Flights

In their booking, they let me know that they’ve been to the following places:  London, Spain and Germany.  So, I can automatically cross those spots off my list of possibilities.

Whisked Away Surprise Travel:  Google Flights

What pops out from there are three very romantic choices:  Paris, Rome and Amsterdam.  I’m going to move forward with these three onto… Step Two!

Step Two:  Research 

I’ve narrowed down the continent of Europe to just three major cities for my traveling lovebirds. Now for the fun!

Pulling out my handy graphic organizer, I input all of the information I have so far:  the three cities and their flight prices.  I also note that all three flights are non-stop, so that won’t be a factor in my decision.

Sometimes one destination starts to shine over the others early on.  Maybe two of the three are notoriously rainy during this time of the year, or maybe there is a huge festival happening and there would be no way of booking my clients anywhere spectacular.  

But often it is a real race to the finish, and all of the research boxes get filled in before I get to ponder where to send my clients.  

Let’s see what happened in the case of my ATL honeymooners:

Planning Guide 1.jpg

If we were going by flight cost alone, Rome would be the clear winner.  However, all of these flights are within the honeymooner's budget, and Paris and Amsterdam have shorter flight times.

Planning Guide 2.jpg

Here's where it gets interesting!  Both Paris and Amsterdam have fairly high chances of rain for April... not many folks would prefer a rainy honeymoon.  Rome not only has the least chance of rain, but it also has lovely temperatures.  Perfect for strolling cobblestoned streets, arm in arm with your love!

At this point Rome is the clear front runner, but first I'd be checking for any state department warnings, holidays or festivals at that time (which can make booking a hotel a nightmare!) and possible day trips based on what the clients told me they love.

Only then can I book those flights and move forward with the trip!

Step Three:  Putting Together the Booklet

Step three is where the booking survey really comes into play.  I examine the ins and outs of what people love so that I can find the perfect activities, day trips and restaurants that they'll love.  

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This is just a portion of the survey (to see it in it's entirety, click here) but it is easy to see that clients go into a bit of detail when they book.  This is how each trip is perfectly customized to the traveler.  Nothing is automated or pre-planned.  

To choose the perfect hotel for the client, I: 

  • book hotels where I have personally stayed/loved or
  • speak to a friend who lives in the area that I've met through my travels or
  • choose a top 5 hotel from a ranking agency online, and only after reading through the reviews meticulously

If I must choose a hotel through a ranking agency, I make sure to personally speak with the staff of the hotel to explain that my clients are coming on a Surprise Trip, and that I expect only the best for them.  As a Surprise Honeymoon booking, these clients can expect to have a small gift waiting for them from Whisked Away upon their arrival.

Let's say that the honeymooners let me know that they'd love a day trip, they love wine and really adore historical sites.  Rome is perfect for these activities!

I'd be sure to book them a day trip for two to a nearby vineyard on a day in the middle of their trip (to avoid jet lag, and to have a break from the city!).  In their activities, I'd recommend they take a walking tour on one of their first few days to get a lay of the land, and then I'd put together a list of historical sites that are must-sees.

In short, everything they ask for, Whisked Away would provide!

Step Four:  Surprise Envelope!

Two weeks before departure, I send off an email letting my clients know:

  • the weather
  • what they should pack
  • when they should be at the airport.  

One week before they leave, they receive their Surprise Envelope!

Whisked Away Surprise Travel:  Surprise Envelope

Inside is everything the clients need to know:  their flight details, accommodations, restaurant and activity recommendations, etc. 

Most clients wait until they get to the airport to open their envelope, which is the case with our Atlanta-based honeymooners as well!  

Interested in Surprise Travel but still have questions?  That's perfect!  (We have answers!)  Let us know by shooting us an email or leaving a comment below.