ASTA’s Verified Travel Advisor Certification

By: Terri Henderson

Devising the picture perfect vacation for most travelers can be time consuming and daunting.  I’m proud to announce I recently obtained my Verified Travel Advisor certification from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).

In our industry, competition is fierce. But when stamped with the ASTA VTA badge, the travel industry and potential clients are granted with the reassurance that their professionalism and industry knowledge is at the highest standard.

The American Society of Travel Advisors is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry, and the traveling public. ASTA’s certification programs provide a higher level of verifiable professional knowledge to the advanced seller of travel. Completion of the Verified Travel Advisor Program proves to the traveler, and the industry, that the advisor has the highest level of proficiency and dedication to their business.  Only ASTA members subscribe to a 12-point Code of Ethics, the core of which is the concept of “Integrity in Travel.” Put simply, this is the pledge our members stake their reputations on.

The intense nine-course curriculum allots twelve months of completion consisting of training manuals, online videos and exams. Once completed, the travel advisor is awarded the distinguishing mark of being an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor.

I am proud to have passed ASTA’s rigorous standards and to be awarded the badge of being an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor. Stamped with the VTA badge, I have achieved the highest level of integrity by our industry standards.

For all your travel needs please contact me anytime at 630-845-8999 or at terri@genevatravelcruise.com.

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Our New Path

By: Terri Henderson

I started in the travel industry over 30 years ago, working for a small agency in Elmhurst, Il- an agency that I eventually purchased. During that time, I have seen many changes. When I began, there was no Internet, no Google, and no email. We worked on clunky airline reservation computers, hand wrote each airline ticket (many of you may remember having your tickets physically collected at the airport), and constantly flipped through huge travel information books. For the most part, I think the changes have been good ones: information is more easily accessible; with electronic documents, you don’t have to worry about losing airline tickets; and email made communication much easier.

Some of the changes, however, such as airlines choosing to generally eliminate commissions to travel advisors, have presented challenges. The biggest challenge the travel industry has faced by far, in my opinion, is the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve worked in the industry through 2 Iraq Wars, the Great Recession, the Zika virus, and 9/11. All of these were difficult times, but nothing even comes close to COVID-19. Travel has understandably come to a virtual standstill; the pandemic has affected the entire travel and tourism industries in ways no one foresaw. For travel agencies, the effect has been to receive next to no compensation for almost the entirety of 2020. What many don’t realize is that travel advisors usually receive compensation from our suppliers after our clients return home from their trips. Because of the vast number of cancellations we’ve received, we have been in the position of receiving no income for all the time, labor, and expertise expended to plan those cancelled trips.

We love providing excellent service and value to our clients. Due to the reality of the current situation, we have made the decision to charge a professional fee for our travel services. Professional fees have become more common in our industry in the past years, and I believe will be adopted by the majority of travel advisors out of necessity. Our fees are for our professional expertise, research, guidance, and support, and for acting as your advocate if something was to go wrong. As travel advisors, we spend many hours on destination and supplier training. We travel as often as possible so we can report firsthand on specific destinations, cruise lines, and hotels. Trip planning itself involves many hours researching, booking, and offering support for reservations, often helping clients even after they’ve returned from a trip. Due to these realities, as well as the future unknowns surrounding COVID-19, we hope our valued clients will understand the need for these fees going forward. Fees will be determined by the type of trip you request and the amount of time involved in creating that trip; therefore, we will advise on the fee on an individual basis at the time of the request. It is my belief that this fee will allow us to provide an even a higher level of service, focusing on those clients who want personal attention to their trip, desire a higher level of customer service, and who value our expertise and experience.

I’d like to thank you for supporting my small business. It’s been such an honor to be a part of your journeys over the years, and we hope you will allow us to continue to assist in creating travel memories with your family and friends for years to come. Our goal remains the same: to provide the highest level of customer service possible in creating travel experiences that will live in your memories for a lifetime. Please don’t hesitate to reach out when you’re ready to plan your next getaway, or if you have any questions regarding our new professional fees.

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You’re Invited to an AMA Waterways Virtual Presentation

By: Terri Henderson

River cruising is one of my favorite types of trips. It’s a fantastic way to travel, visiting the heart of cities with ease. If you’d like to learn more about river cruising and one of our favorite river cruise companies, AMA Waterways, please join us for a virtual cruise presentation on September 15, 2020 at 12:00pm. During this presentation you’ll learn all about AMA Waterways, the destinations they offer, and their fabulous ships.

We are also excited to announce our first Geneva Travel & Cruise group cruise where you can join myself and advisor Terri Smith on a AMA Waterways Rhine river cruise sailing April 14, 2022*, when the tulips in Amsterdam should be in full bloom! See the image below for further details.

** Book this cruise by September 30, 2020 to receive $500 off per person, and for those attending our virtual cruise presentation you will have the opportunity for an additional discount! **

We hope you can join us! Please click the following link to RSVP for the event https://fs22.formsite.com/genevatravel/qdpk2lnigr/index.html, and contact us with any questions.

*based on cruise availability

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Armchair Travel

By: Maria McCormick

As we go through these trying times together, we at Geneva Travel & Cruise hope you are all staying safe and healthy. The stresses of worrying about our loved ones, our healthcare and other front-line workers, and our financial situations weigh on all of us. In addition to these stresses, we also have the disappointments of cancelled trips and missed special occasions with loved ones.

While at home, we can try to make the best of an unpleasant situation. Armchair travel has never been easier with streaming services, e-readers, and the internet at our fingertips. Though we cannot be together with far-flung loved ones, we can connect with them through phone calls and Facetime. And although we cannot currently travel to those destinations we had planned to, we can experience them through film and literature, learn about new places to explore, or even pick up a bit of foreign language in anticipation of the time we can make that special trip. Listed below are just a few movies which can bring beloved destinations into our homes.

Tuscany, Landscape, Cypress, Tuscany

Italy

Il Postino/ The Postman; Life is Beautiful; The Talented Mr. Ripley; Cinema Paradiso; A Room with a View; Roman Holiday

 France

Amelie; To Catch a Thief; Two for the Road

England

The King’s Speech; The Remains of the Day; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Withnail and I

Spain

Volver; All about My Mother

We hope that all in our traveling community remain safe and healthy through these challenging times. We’d like to share a video you may have already seen, but which demonstrates the wonderful human spirit of not only the Italian people, but of all people everywhere.  We hope it gives you some comfort until we can be together again.

Love From Italy

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Time to make your winter and spring break travel plans!

Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe - Beach (3)It’s fall, and what does that signal? It’s time to make your winter and spring break travel arrangements.  Those who make their plans early will tend to receive the best pricing and options, not having to choose from what is left. Need some ideas to get you started with the planning? Here were our top winter and spring break destinations from earlier this year.

1. Caribbean Cruise

2. Riviera Maya, Mexico

3. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4. Hawaii

5. St. Lucia

Why should you choose Geneva Travel & Cruise to assist with your travel arrangements? We provide personalized service and attention to detail, ensuring you have a smooth and stress free travel experience. Let us do the work for you, contact Geneva Travel & Cruise  at 630-845-8999 today to help plan that perfect getaway!

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Where Will You Be For Spring Break 2018?

By: Terri Henderson

It’s hard to believe but spring break 2018 is only about 6 months away. If you’d like to getaway during spring break and haven’t yet made your travel plans, now is the time to make your arrangements. Availability typically will become more limited everyday, with pricing increasing and the best options going first, booking early is definitely recommended.

Still thinking about traveling over the holidays? Although space is limited for this peak time period, we are still finding some availability. If you’d like to travel after Christmas and over New Years, we’d recommend making those travel plans as soon as possible (like today isn’t too soon!).

Now that you realize you should make your plans, the next step is to determine where you’d like to go. If you need a little inspiration, here is our top 3 spring break destinations from last year.

  1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  2. Caribbean Cruises
  3. Walt Disney World

As an extra incentive to make your travel plans early,  we will be giving away one, one-way airport transportation (value $120) to those who make their travel plans by November 30th, 2017, for travel December 15th, 2017-April 30th, 2018. Already booked your travel plans for that time period with us? No worries, you will still qualify for the transportation drawing!

Why should you choose Geneva Travel & Cruise to assist with your travel arrangements? We provide personalized service and attention to detail, ensuring you have a smooth and stress free travel experience. Let us do the work for you, contact Geneva Travel & Cruise  at 630-845-8999 today to help plan that perfect getaway!

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UNICO 20º87º Review

By: Terri Henderson

My most recent trip was to visit the brand new adults only UNICO 20º87º in the Riviera Maya, MX. UNICO is a new all inclusive concept, where not only are meals and drinks included, but you also receive select tours and spa treatments for just a small service fee. This resort truly is an all-inclusive experience.

Check-in
We were welcomed with a delicious drink, were quickly checked-in and escorted to our room by our personal host, who gave a brief tour of the resort along the way.

Room
What a view! Besides the amazing view our room was quite large, with high-end finishes, comfy beds, large bathroom, and huge balcony with large soaking tub. Literally loved the room, including the huge flat screen (so many channel choices and in English, which was a huge plus).

 

Pools
They have 3 pools, 2 main pools, and a more quiet pool for those looking for an area without music and a more relaxing atmosphere. All were beautiful and well maintained, and plenty warm for swimming. Many great seating options to choose from. We never had a problem finding a chair.

Beach
The beach is a decent beach, a bit narrow, but still what I would consider a nice beach. The water was just beautiful, all different shades of blue.

Food
Food was really excellent, we ate at the buffet, Mexican and Italian restaurant and honestly were not disappointed with one item we were served. I also appreciated the wait staff at each meal asking if we had any food allergies they needed to be aware of.  Oh, don’t miss the cucumber/mint margarita at the Mexican restaurant, it was beyond delicious.

Staff
The staff was always friendly and eager to offer assistance, even when we didn’t ask for it. Very pleased with the service we received. For a resort that had only been open for 2 months, I was surprised to see how smoothly everything was running.

Nightlife
The resort seemed a bit more quiet at night, but there is nightly live music offered in their lounge area, which had nice outdoor seating available adjacent.

Overall
I really enjoyed my stay at UNICO and hope I’ll be able to visit again soon. They seem to really have done everything right with this resort from the design, to the wi-fi that was lightning quick throughout the entire resort (even at the beach!), all ocean view rooms, and excellent food and service. I really couldn’t think of anything I’d change. There is still a bit of construction going on adding some more stores, etc., but it was very minimal and didn’t distract one bit from our stay, and will probably be completed soon. If you can, I’d get to this resort as soon as possible, you won’t be sorry you did.

Contact Terri Henderson at Geneva Travel & Cruise for further details about UNICO 2087 or to book your next getaway!

To see more of pictures of this resort please visit our Facebook page.

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The Clock is Ticking! Have you made your fall/holiday travel plans?

Southwest Airlines has now released their flights through January 7, 2018. If you have been waiting to make your fall/holiday travel plans, now is the time! Those who book early will tend to find the best rates and options. Contact us to start planning your getaway today!

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Have You Made Your Spring Break/Winter Travel Plans?

By: Terri Henderson

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It’s hard to believe it’s the first day of fall. What does the first day of fall signal? To most it means cooler temperatures ahead, changing leaves, plenty of pumpkin treats and ultimately winter. What does the first day of fall mean to us here at Geneva Travel & Cruise? It’s a time for us to remind travelers that if you haven’t made your spring break or winter travel plans, now is the time! Many of our clients have already booked their trips because they know booking early provides the best pricing and options. But, it’s not too late! We are still finding availability for this high demand travel season, and many tour operators are currently offering promotions to help lower pricing.

If you are planning to travel after Christmas and over New Years, the options are very limited at this time. We are still seeing availability, but space is filling up very quickly. Don’t delay if you wish to travel at this most busy time of the year.

Why should you choose Geneva Travel & Cruise to assist with your travel arrangements? We provide personalized service and attention to details, ensuring you have a smooth and stress free travel experience. Let us do the work for you, contact Geneva Travel & Cruise  at 630-845-8999 today to help plan that perfect getaway!

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Iberostar Grand Paraiso Review

By: Terri Henderson

IMG_5468

Recently I had the pleasure to stay the Iberostar Grand Paraiso hotel in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. I really looked forward to seeing this resort for myself, as many of my clients have loved the property. Iberostar Grand resorts are the chain’s adults only resorts, and are the most deluxe.

Upon arrival we were welcomed with a tasty beverage, and after a quick check-in, we were taken to our room. The room was spacious and had a view of the water and pool, along with some foliage. Everything was nice about the room, and I just loved the large balcony to relax on.

The salt water pool is just perfect at this resort, large and never felt crowded. I could have spent all day in that pool.

The beach was very nice as well. The water was a bit rough while I was there and there were some rocks in the water, but that didn’t deter me from spending many hours on the beach. I was always easily able to find chairs, with plenty of shade.

Food and drinks were really wonderful, I didn’t have anything I didn’t enjoy. The buffet had a great selection, and the specialty restaurants were all tasty as well.

Besides all the wonderful things mentioned above, one of the things that made my stay most special was the staff. I don’t think I’ve ever been greeted my so many smiles, and people asking how my stay was, or if there was anything that they could do to make it better (and truly there wasn’t!). You really felt like everyone at the hotel wanted to ensure you were having a wonderful time.

I’d highly recommend the Iberostar Grand Paraiso hotel, and hope I’ll get to return sometime soon. Please contact Geneva Travel & Cruise today at 630-845-8999 and we’ll help you plan that perfect getaway!

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