Both of us have been on separate trips, Claire to Dubai and I, Mike to Thailand. Agents familiarisation trips are part of the job for Travel Agents. Its a great learning experience for both people new to the industry and for those who have been selling travel for a long time. It keeps you in touch with travelling, with security, with time zones and with early starts, car parking, tips on packing and ideas from other agents. Its like choosing a bag – so many choices.
..and this is without even mentioning the hotel visits (about 3 a day at least) one hotel we went to had 16 different room types, one hotel had “lead in” rooms I would not have put people in but the ones in the Villas on the hillside of the same hotel were to die for. We stayed in a hotel outside of Patong – great views and nice and quiet, but no atmosphere because it was all happening elsewhere. However we had the joys of using a Tuk Tuk and even then would you chose one with strobe lighting, pop music or furry seats?
Hotels change, areas alter, flights get faster but here’s a thing. Travel Agents know what they are looking for and spend their time researching on your behalf, trying different ideas, finding availability when its not there to begin with. Its quite time consuming and interpretation of 16 different room types can be difficult (see para 2) but it’s what we do. I timed myself connecting between Terminals C and A at Dubai Airport (50 mins) and it can be done even with a long wait for a bus. If you have not done a trip or visited a place before you can spend ages doing the research (and you might not know what you are looking for anyway), find a friend who has been there but might not be able to describe the experience or articulate the differences or you could try Langford Travel (or a good Independent Travel Agent.) Claire has just won an award from a “mystery shopper” review and beat other travel agents and online specialists who could also be contacted by phone.) Face to Face advice and interpretation of prices and what was on offer won the day.
…and whats the best hotel in Patong area? Well I did find one particularly that was central and quiet and good views and near the Bars and night life but would not suit honeymooners as it lacked wow factor and character. Honeymooners requirements, now that’s another story. Plenty of bag shopping in Patong though for the happy couple to argue over.